I waited yesterday instead of writing a post. I wanted to sift through my thoughts.
My opinion is we’re in a lot of trouble. And I’m not talking about Democrats and Second Amendment attacks and presidential polls. Put all that aside for a minute.
Connor Betts was 24. Patrick Crusius is 21. We have young men who are of an age where they should be enjoying life to its fullest. Instead they’re flushing their lives down the drain in a senseless orgy of violence. And it’s happening more and more frequently. Without a doubt, the ones committing these crimes are the most damaged of their generation. They are probably terrible misfits that don’t feel empathy and live inside the tiny world of their own thoughts. There have always been people like this and there have always been crimes like these. But nowhere near as many.
What I’m afraid we are doing is widening a window of people who can fall into this kind of trap. Adolescence is a rough time, especially for males. Without someone watching out for them it’s easy to get involved in destructive behavior. And that someone no longer exists. Nobody is watching out for these kids. Mom and Dad are both working. Many times, there isn’t even another brother or sister around to communicate with. No one even knows or cares if they go to school. Work doesn’t leave any room for these kids. So, they spend their time on the internet or video games. If they fall behind in school or get into trouble often the parents and teachers will paper over it and make believe that something didn’t happen or didn’t mean anything.
And in the last ten years we have added a new dimension. The Millennials grew up in a world where there were no jobs to be had. So, after spending twelve years bored in school, without a job you live in your parents’ basement and have no adult life or even prospects of it. So, in addition to the truly disturbed individuals we are pushing the fragile normal people into the same place. They’re angry and are looking for someone to punish for their wasted lives.
The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton are, as always, shocking. But what isn’t a surprise is that these two young men were dangerously mentally ill long before their rampages. Just looking at the pictures and reading the accounts of their histories should be enough to convince people that what we have in this country isn’t a gun problem, it’s societal dysfunction causing a mental health emergency. Look at the kid in Ohio. The stories contain the fact that while in high school he had a list of kids he wanted to kill and a list of girls he wanted to rape. If you’re the parent of this boy what else do you need to hear to know that your son is a ticking time bomb? And maybe they did know. And maybe it’s just where we are as a country that they didn’t know what to do. What would I have done in that case? What can be done? These aren’t easy questions to answer. But they sure do have to be answered. We’ve got a whole continent full of young men growing up in a world that doesn’t value their talents and doesn’t have anything to keep them gainfully employed. That is a recipe for extinction.
So other than a lot of talk, what does all this mean? Well for the most deeply disturbed we have to stop thinking that antidepressants will allow criminally insane individuals to walk among us. These people need to be institutionalized for life. That’s for their own good but mostly for ours.
But for the run of the mill kid growing up in America there’s still plenty that needs to be done. What my take away from this is spend a lot of time with your sons and your grandsons. Don’t assume that just by keeping them in school and driving them to soccer practice that they’re okay. Talk about the future with them. Talk realistically and constructively about how kids transition into adults. Know their friends. Check their homework and see if they’re prepared for tests. Pay attention! Be aware of their activities on the internet. Help them to socialize in a constructive way. And don’t let them feel alone or bored. A kid is better off with a manual labor job than sitting around alone all day.
You may think that these things only happen to the worst of the worst people. But I don’t think that’s the case. The world that we live in isolates us and destroys our communities, families and especially our sons. Don’t let it. Even the kids who don’t go off the deep end are struggling in an environment that’s almost unfathomable even for adults. Help them! Adapt to the problems, compensate for the dysfunctional arrangements we live under. Save your kids. They’re the only possession of value you have.