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MICHAEL REAGAN: Absence of fathers helps breed crime

Cagle cartoon syndicate Published: July 18, 2014 4:00 AM

Despite the media play Chicago gets, it isn't the official "Murder Capital of the U.S.A."

That unhappy distinction -- based on the murder rate per 100,000 people, not on the number of actual dead people on the streets -- belongs to poor, under-populated Flint, Mich.

Chicago gets the bad rap - and the attention of the anti-gun nuts -- because it led the nation with 415 homicides last year. That's more murders than any other city, but not even in the top 10 when you factor in population.

Thanks to its recent "Independence Day Massacre," which left 18 dead and 82 wounded, Chicago's murder toll has already hit 201 for this year.

Homicides have been trending down in Mayor Emanuel's kind of town and other major cities for decades. Chicago had nearly 1,000 murders a year in the early 1990s.

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But most of the city's murder victims, and their murderers, continue to be young blacks and Latinos who either belonged to gangs or were the victims of their drive-by violence.

The slaughter in our inner cities, while not as bloody as it used to be, is our continuing national tragedy.

The only solution liberals have for ending gun violence in the cities is to take away everybody's guns.

But Chicago already has some of the country's toughest gun laws. They obviously don't bother the local drug lords.

No one ever wants to address the underlying cause of the violence in our inner cities.

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It's not the presence of guns. It's the absence of fathers in the homes of the gang-bangers who are using guns to shoot each other.

The numbers are depressing and well known. Nearly two in three black children grow up in homes without a father present. One in three Latino kids do.

We can thank the liberals and their 1960s welfare programs for many of these broken families.

It was their "War on Poverty" that gave unmarried mothers financial independence, made fathers superfluous and undermined the formation of two-parent families.

Fathers were let off the hook for their baby-making and disappeared from family life. Mothers and grandmothers raised the children.

And when the fatherless boys grew up they did what children born into broken families often do. They went out and found their own substitute families on the streets. We call them gangs.

The murderous violence in our cities is never going to end unt il someone stands up and wakes up America with a "Put the father back in the family" speech.

It's time for someone politically and culturally important -- like the president -- to make a big, brave speech and remind everyone in the country that families need fathers, and vice versa.

The "fatherless family" problem goes beyond the inner cities and it transcends race and ethnicity.

We have a nation today where 20 to 30 million children go to bed each night without a father in the home.

We have a pop culture that constantly disrespects and mocks fathers. Dishonoring our fathers and denying their importance to strong families has to end. If we want Am erica to survive, we need to put fathers back in the home where they belong.

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skeezix Jul 20, 2014 1:48 PM

The problem isn't always with absentee fathers. Some of those fathers could care less about their wives or their children and are abusive physically, mentally and/or emotionally to their families. I don't know that having an abusive or emotionally absent father in the home is particularly a good "teachable moment" for the children in the home; in fact, its downright dangerous. Kids tend to emulate the adults in their lives. If there is no father present, they turn to other outside influences. They choose their own heroes and in some cases, the person who is chosen as the hero is not worthy of the title. There are many things in society that should change to bring positive differences but by villifying the mother is not always the only or correct answer. In those cases the mother has to provide for her children and that usually means working. As the social safety net crumbles away I'm afraid the result will be worse than anyone imagined.

amt_ Jul 19, 2014 9:20 AM


Everybody already has access to contraception, obviously.

Anomy Jul 18, 2014 1:54 PM

Of course we could always start addressing these problems by assuring access to contraception of ones choosing to all who want it.

Fewer irresponsible pregnancies = fewer absentee fathers.





childofgod Jul 18, 2014 10:46 AM

Thank you Michael Reagan for speaking the truth. The culture, ads on TV and billboards often mock the Man in the home or workplace. It's time for that to stop. And the 1960s welfare programs that still exist, push the Fathers out of the home by giving the Mothers financial incentives to do so. At the same time, TV and movies support adultery and "no-committment" relationships, which completely disregard the consequences of disease, more Children, and lack of supervision for those little darlings. It's IRRESPONSIBLE! That's what we've become, as a Society, and the first to suffer are the Kids. Will we be able to change these trends? Only with some strong, committed Men will we be able to make even a dent in the horrible atmosphere we now find ourselves. It doesn't look good. Hmmmm, maybe God knew what He was talking about concerning families being led by a Man and a Woman, who love one another and are committed ... all other relationships fall short of that model. Even great single parents can only do so much. I know, having been a single Dad due to the Mom having run off. Kids need both parents, if at all possible. Otherwise, we learn to pray and seek help...