I have a deep affection for all children, especially young ones, they are truly innocents, all they need and want is kindness, love, guidance, the kind of attention that makes them feel safe, wanted, appreciated, heard. I am deeply horrified by what we done to children in this country, especially in our schools. If there is a hell, and I hope there is for this reason alone, those who perpetrate the despicable violation of children’s innocence deserve to be tortured there for infinity. And it is doubly tragic to see a child killing other children.
All the things I listed above that children need to get a good start in life have been eviscerated over the last 60 years. The notion of the traditional two-parent family has been destroyed. Whatever critiques people want to level at that innate human model, every piece of research shows that children in these settings end up best positioned for happiness and success. This is especially true for minority and low-income children. Instead we have an epidemic of single mothers, grandparents and other relatives forced to substitute for parents. All this creates an atmosphere of anxiety and lack of certainty or safety for the affected children. Too many parents are focused on their own lifes and inattentive to their children. Many low-income parents must work multiple jobs and simply aren’t around. Others struggle with drug and alcohol addiction or their own mental health issues. We have millions of children being raised in far less than optimal conditions.
Instead of being places where children learn social and educational skills that prepare them for meaningful work, schools, especially public schools, have dumbed down learning expectations to pathetically low standards, hindering our nation’s ability to create scientific and other advances that improve the quality of life and for the students to gain any sense of the value of hard work and any real sense of accomplishment of difficult tasks. Schools in recent years have become playgrounds for the extreme ideologies of one party–ideologies that foster racial division, gender and sexual orientation confusion and lead to a sub-culture of violent nihilists who have no regard or respect for social institutions.
We should be clear-eyed that these trends in our schools are primarily driven by financial considerations–the teachers and teachers’ unions want to create voters who will support their demands for ever-higher salaries and pensions, and for no evaluation of the quality of teaching or teachers. The last thing these groups want is the development of independent and critical thinking. They are succeeding in creating generations of purposeless, mindless automatons that will vote as the Democrat party wants and destroy the country along the way.
And our broader culture exposes children to early and perverted obsessions with their sexuality, to violence and disregard for human life, and to failure to develop empathy and understanding for all people and their beliefs. They see rampant drug and alcohol use, meaningless sexual encounters, they are terrified about exaggerated climate concerns, they are taught that they live in a horrible country. And we are surprised that they are filled with despair and anxiety? That they increasingly have serious mental health issues; fall prey to substance abuse; attempt to commit suicide? What kind of world do we think we have created for our children? Certainly not one that feels safe, secure, nurturing–a place of love, a place where they are valued for their individuality, not just as ideological tools sent off to be social justice warriers for the benefit of one political party.
Unfortunately all these trends have led to young men in particular often feeling worthless and hopeless, with no prospects for anything in life. They are demonized for “toxic masculinity” and depending on their race, may be shamed. They have few positive role models in the form of fathers, teachers, coaches. They see in popular entertainment formats–video games, TV, movies–the constant glorification of violence. They see other shooters get their moment of attention. They are filled with both anger and despair and are generally suicidal. So a killing event in which they also die seems like a reasonable way to end their misery. And that is what we now see with some regularity–a mass murder/suicide.
The immediate solutions that always spring to mind are making schools more secure, making gun laws tougher and providing faster and better mental health interventions. All are problematic and not a leakproof solution. While a police presence at every school might help, hardening schools and having armed guards present sends a weird message to children about what life is like and how safe or unsafe they are. I really don’t think it would be a good idea to arm teachers. Protecting schools doesn’t prevent mass shootings in other settings. I don’t object to trying to keep crazy armed people out of schools, I am just dubious about how well it will work.
Identifying troubled children and getting appropriate mental health and social interventions is a step that should be taken in any event. As I laid out above, we have created a hellscape for young children and adolescents and it just keeps getting crazier. I don’t know how any parent keeps their child feeling safe and sane in this environment. Literally every child will need therapy at the rate we are going, so it would be better to address our sick society and culture. But in the meantime, it is clear that people are ignoring obvious signs of distress–people including close family members. Those family members need to understand the mental health of their children and young adults and ensure that they are referred to treatment. Time after time we learn that all sorts of warning signs were present, but ignored or not acted on.
A series of court decisions has made it harder to force people to get mental health treatment and in particular to be institutionalized. That needs to be changed. And it needs to be clear that patient confidentiality does not preclude clinicians or others from informing law enforcement authorities about the potential for violence. When people are identified as being potential threats, their homes should be searched for weapons or material which suggests a specific threat. We have to start being much more aggressive in identifying, monitoring and helping those who display these signs of potential violence.
One current flaw of the mental health approach is that our mental health professionals–psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers–have become increasingly woke and social justice oriented and completely unable to actually diagnosis, understand and treat mental illness. So referring disturbed children or young adults to them is as likely to exacerbate the problem as to identify a path that protects them and the community.
And some of you won’t want to hear this, but it is perfectly possible to respect the second amendment and have rational laws about who should be able to possess a weapon. There is no reason to fetishize the right to bear the arms, that certainly isn’t what those who wrote the constitution intended. They were interested in a well-regulated militia that would be called into service by the government at a time when there was not a standing military paid for by governments in the colonies. That rationale clearly has no applicability to the United States today. And it was not designed to ensure that people were armed to revolt against an oppressive government, although that may be a potentially useful side benefit. I am the owner of multiple guns and a lifetime member of the NRA, largely because it is a force against woke lunacy, but I have no problem with more reasonable controls on gun ownership and it is clear to me that the second amendment doesn’t prohibit such laws.
The age to buy a gun should be raised to 21. There should be a national tough red flag law that identifies people who should not be able to buy or possess a gun–criminals, domestic abusers, mentally ill persons and this law should be rigorously enforced through a waiting period allowing for a comprehensive background check. This should apply to all gun sales, including private ones. People, including parents and other family members, who are aware of a person with guns making threats of violence or being mentally disturbed should have an affirmative obligation to report the person to law enforcement and take other action to prevent harm. Failure to do so should lead to criminal and civil liability. The Buffalo and Uvalde shootings could have been stopped if multiple people who were aware of the issue had reported the perpetrators.
But the real question is how do we fix our very, very sick society and culture. One that burdens children with ineffective families and role models from the start of their lives. One that treats them as ideological tools. That is a difficult task and I despair that it can be accomplished. The universities that educate our teachers, lawyers, mental health professionals, doctors and others need to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up in an ideologically neutral manner. Teachers and health care professionals need to see children as individuals that they are responsible for educating, not turning into political tools. Men and women who are responsible for the creation of a child need to understand that this is a lifelong commitment to support that child, and that responsibility needs to be legally enforced. We have to find ways to help parents nurture their children and build safe environments. It is a tall order and we may simply not be up to the task or it may just be too late. Expect more Uvaldes, more mental health crises for our children, more drug and alcohol overdoses, more violence in the streets. As ye sow, so shall ye reap.