The Reporter (Lansdale, PA)

What’s behind the heightened pace of mass shootings?

- Chris Freind

Like clockwork, the goto “solution” after a mass shooting is to ban guns so that future massacres do not occur. Sounds nice, but that ignores the root of the problem. And you cannot solve something until you know what it is.

Here are some cultural changes that may be contributi­ng factors in why mass shootings are occurring at a heightened pace.

Broken households: The lack of two-parent households has made many children pawns of bickering parents. The lack of direction and discipline often “empowers” children to do whatever they please.

Disappeara­nce of stay-athome parents: In many households, both parents must work, a fundamenta­l shift from prior generation­s. Massacres, and in particular school shootings, were a rarity in the age when a parent stayed home and guided children during the critical after-school hours.

Dwindling fraternal organizati­ons: The idea of service has declined precipitou­sly. Not long ago, a multitude of social organizati­ons enjoyed huge membership rolls, where participan­ts helped the community and learned life lessons..

Softness: We’ve lost the cando attitude that was once prevalent. Now, we don’t just close schools because of an inch of snow, but often because it’s too hot or cold. The problem is exacerbate­d when parents cannot remain at home.

No common enemy: The fall of the Soviet Union was a great moment, yet it disunited the country. After standing together against the gravest of threats, that unity and common purpose vanished overnight.

Everyone gets a trophy: Attempts to eliminate failure have created massively unrealisti­c expectatio­ns, resulting in young adults unable to cope when they fall down in the real world.

Social media: The cocoon of social media has stripped away personal skills and produced generation­s oblivious to traditiona­l social mores. A person’s self-worth is now often measured by “Likes.” And that is how an entire generation views its success and failures.

Parental problems: Time was, parents understood that primary responsibi­lity for the education of children was the home, and the school was to assist in achieving that goal. Now, many parents won’t lift a finger to help with homework. In prior generation­s, when a child got into trouble at school, they were also punished at home. But now, Little Johnny can do no wrong, as both he and his parents often blame everyone else, even teachers, for his bad behavior.

Disrespect: Following our lead, youth are emboldened to disrespect authority. In youth games, parents and players alike get in referees’ faces. Someone must be blamed, just not themselves.

Technology: People are glued to phones or tablets from a young age. The decline in person-to-person contact has contribute­d to a startling lack of empathy.

Lack of religious faith: Social engineers think removing the Ten Commandmen­ts is laudable and displaying them is offensive. How rules advocating loving thy neighbor and not stealing, killing and lying could be considered harmful is mind-boggling.

Intoleranc­e accepted: After a mass shooting, some immediatel­y call pro-Second Amendment legislator­s and the gun groups murderers. That is the height of intoleranc­e, yet we see nary a rebuke. Only one person has blood on his hands: the shooter.

Not that long ago, most school doors weren’t locked. Schoolyard fights were quick, and the “combatants” were soon friends again. Children played outside and survived. Scoreboard­s weren’t turned off, and losing teams worked harder, which served them well in life.

Know what? There were almost no school shootings, and bullying was kept in check. Imagine that.

It’s time to stop the coddling and end entitlemen­t. It’s time to grow a thick skin. And it’s time for parents to step up to the plate.

If we don’t, the crashing and burning of children will continue to become a tragic but normal part of American culture.

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