Tag Archives: Crime

The link between single mother welfare, fatherlessness, poverty, crime and school shootings

Does government provide incentives for people to get married?
Government pays people welfare not to get married before having kids

We now know that the shooter in the Oregon shooting did not have a close relationship with his father – he was fatherless.

According to reports, Harper-Mercer was born in the UK to a British father before the family moved to the US in the mid-90s. His parents divorced in 2006 and he had lived most recently with his mother in Oregon, OregonLive reported.

My friends Patrick C. and William B. both messaged me about this article by sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox, who points out the link between fatherlessness and crime.

The article appears in National Review.

Wilcox writes:

Another shooting, another son of divorce. From Adam Lanza, who killed 26 children and adults a year ago at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., to Karl Pierson, who shot a teenage girl and killed himself this past Friday at Arapahoe High in Centennial, Colo., one common and largely unremarked thread tying together most of the school shooters that have struck the nation in the last year is that they came from homes marked by divorce or an absent father. From shootings at MIT (i.e., theTsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia’s “list of U.S. school attacks” involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.

[…]The social scientific evidence about the connection between violence and broken homes could not be clearer. My own research suggests that boys living in single mother homes are almost twice as likely to end up delinquent compared to boys who enjoy good relationships with their father. Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson has written that “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States.” His views are echoed by the eminent criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi, who have written that “such family measures as the percentage of the population divorced, the percentage of households headed by women, and the percentage of unattached individuals in the community are among the most powerful predictors of crime rates.”

Why is fatherlessness such a big deal for our boys (almost all of these incidents involve boys)? Putting the argument positively, sociologist David Popenoe notes that “fathers are important to their sons as role models. They are important for maintaining authority and discipline. And they are important in helping their sons to develop both self-control and feelings of empathy toward others, character traits that are found to be lacking in violent youth.” Boys, then, who did not grow up with an engaged, attentive, and firm father are more vulnerable to getting swept up in the Sturm und Drang of adolescence and young adulthood, and in the worst possible way.

So where do fatherless children come from? It turns out that government programs incentivize women to make them.

Dr. Michael Tanner of the libertarian Cato Institute explains how welfare causes fatherlessness in his testimony to Congress:

Welfare contributes to crime in several ways. First, children from single-parent families are more likely to become involved in criminal activity. According to one study, children raised in single-parent families are one-third more likely to exhibit anti-social behavior.(3) Moreover, O’Neill found that, holding other variables constant, black children from single- parent households are twice as likely to commit crimes as black children from a family where the father is present. Nearly 70 percent of juveniles in state reform institutions come from fatherless homes, as do 43 percent of prison inmates.(4) Research indicates a direct correlation between crime rates and the number of single-parent families in a neighborhood.(5)

As Barbara Dafoe Whitehead noted in her seminal article for The Atlantic Monthly:

The relationship [between single-parent families and crime] is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature. The nation’s mayors, as well as police officers, social workers, probation officers, and court officials, consistently point to family break up as the most important source of rising rates of crime.(6)

At the same time, the evidence of a link between the availability of welfare and out-of-wedlock births is overwhelming. There have been 13 major studies of the relationship between the availability of welfare benefits and out-of-wedlock birth. Of these, 11 found a statistically significant correlation. Among the best of these studies is the work done by June O’Neill for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Holding constant a wide range of variables, including income, education, and urban vs. suburban setting, the study found that a 50 percent increase in the value of AFDC and foodstamp payments led to a 43 percent increase in the number of out-of-wedlock births.(7) Likewise, research by Shelley Lundberg and Robert Plotnick of the University of Washington showed that an increase in welfare benefits of $200 per month per family increased the rate of out-of-wedlock births among teenagers by 150 percent.(8)

The same results can be seen from welfare systems in other countries. For example, a recent study of the impact of Canada’s social-welfare system on family structure concluded that “providing additional benefits to single parents encourages births of children to unwed women.”(9)

The secular left in this country believes that fathers need to be separated away from their children, and that’s why they support welfare programs that redirect money from husbands in intact families to single mothers. They believe that fathers are harmful because they set boundaries on children, and judge them and punish them when they act immorally. To the secular left, boundaries, judgments and punishments on children are bad, and must be stopped. So how can the secular left discourage men from marrying and teaching their own children morality? Well, they can tax married men, and they can give the money to single mothers.

Not only is crime caused by fatherlessness, but poverty is. as well.

Here is Dr. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation to explain:

Census data and the Fragile Families survey show that marriage can be extremely effective in reducing child poverty. But the positive effects of married fathers are not limited to income alone. Children raised by married parents have substantially better life outcomes compared to similar children raised in single-parent homes.

When compared to children in intact married homes, children raised by single parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; be expelled from school; and drop out of high school.[19] Many of these negative outcomes are associated with the higher poverty rates of single mothers. In many cases, however, the improvements in child well-being that are associated with marriage persist even after adjusting for differences in family income. This indicates that the father brings more to his home than just a paycheck.

The effect of married fathers on child outcomes can be quite pronounced. For example, examination of families with the same race and same parental education shows that, when compared to intact married families, children from single-parent homes are:

  • More than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime;[20]
  • Twice as likely to be treated for emotional and behavioral problems;[21]
  • Roughly twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school;[22] and
  • A third more likely to drop out before completing high school.[23]

The effects of being raised in a single-parent home continue into adulthood. Comparing families of the same race and similar incomes, children from broken and single-parent homes are three times more likely to end up in jail by the time they reach age 30 than are children raised in intact married families. [24] Compared to girls raised in similar married families, girls from single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to have a child without being married, thereby repeating the negative cycle for another generation.[25]

Finally, the decline of marriage generates poverty in future generations. Children living in single-parent homes are 50 percent more likely to experience poverty as adults when compared to children from intact married homes. This intergenerational poverty effect persists even after adjusting for the original differences in family income and poverty during childhood.[26]

People on the left claim that poverty causes crime, but they don’t look for the root cause of poverty. The root cause of poverty is the decline of marriage, which produces fatherless children.

Merkel’s decision to let in tons of “refugees” is backfiring in Germany

Political Map of Europe
Political Map of Europe

This is from the UK Daily Mail. A good article, that shows what happens when people make decisions with their hearts, and don’t use their heads to ask “what are the consequences for every group, going forward?” I actually thought that Merkel had backed off of her plan, but I guess I was wrong…


Mrs Merkel’s offer last month to accept all refugees from war-ravaged Syria opened the floodgates. More than a million migrants are expected this year alone, the bulk of them far from genuine asylum seekers. There is now deepening disquiet in this Christian country, dotted with churches, that it is being overwhelmed by people of a different religion and culture.

[…]Police in the Bavarian town of Mering, where a 16-year-old girl was reportedly raped this month, have warned parents not to allow their children outside unaccompanied.

Girls and women have been told not to walk home alone from the railway station because it is near a migrant centre where the rapist may live.

At Pocking, another well-kept Bavarian town, the headmaster of the grammar school wrote to parents telling them not to let their daughters wear skimpy clothing. This was to avoid ‘misunderstandings’ with 200 migrants who were put up in the school’s gymnasium over the summer, before being moved on this month.

The letter to parents said the migrants were ‘mainly Muslim, and speak Arabic. They have their own culture. Because our school is directly next to where they are staying, modest clothing should be warn… revealing tops or blouses, short skirts or miniskirts could lead to misunderstandings.’

And by “misunderstandings”, they mean rape, child abuse and “forced prostitution” (in the words of the article).

But don’t worry, the government can be counted on to hush up any problems that might arise:

At yet another migrant camp in Detmold, a city in central Germany, a 13-year-old Muslim girl was raped by a fellow migrant. The child and her mother had fled to Europe to escape a ‘culture of sexual violence’ in their own country.

Astonishingly, police kept silent about the rape, which took place in June. Only this month, after a local newspaper revealed that it had happened — and claimed German authorities are not ‘going public’ about crimes involving migrants because they don’t want to ‘give legitimacy’ to critics of mass migration — did they confirm it had taken place.

The area’s police chief, Bernd Flake, insists the official silence was meant to protect the rape victim. But he adds: ‘We will continue this policy (of not informing the public) whenever crimes are committed in migrant facilities.’

Multi-culturalism works so well. It has to work, because it makes the left feel so good to rush things along with unskilled immigrants from non-Western countries. You wouldn’t take away their good feelings from them, would you? You just have to take it, because they’re right and you’re wrong.

Census date: more firearm ownership is not associated with higher rate of suicide

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery
I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

As famous evangelical theologian Wayne Grudem has discussed, the Bible provides strong support for self-defense.

Grudem looked at the following questions, before turning to the secular data to confirm the Bible:

  • what about turning the other cheek? doesn’t that undermine self-defense?
  • what does Jesus say about the right to self-defense in the New Testament?
  • did Jesus’ disciples carry swords for protection during his ministry?
  • why did Jesus tell his disciples to sell their cloaks and buy swords?
  • what about Jesus stopping Peter from using force during Jesus’ arrest?

Dr. Grudem concludes that the Bible does teach that self-defense is moral.

Unfortunately, that view is not often not popular in the culture as a whole. There is a large portion of the society that does not want law-abiding citizens to be able to defend themselves from criminals. Not only that, but there seems to be a lot of suspicion about law enforcement, now. We even seem to be losing the ability to see criminals as responsible for what they do, and wanting to protect innocent people from criminals. There are two cultural trends behind this – 1) the push for compassion and non-judgment, and 2) the tendency to turn evildoers into victims.

So, sometimes when the teachings of the Bible, e.g. – self-defense,  fall out of respect in a society, it makes sense to defend what the Bible teaches using ordinary evidence from respected secular sources. And that’s what I’ve done on this blog on so many issues where the secular culture disagrees with the Bible.

Regarding self-defense, I previously wrote about how the gun ban in Australia did not reduce suicide rates, because people who wanted to commit suicide simply found another way to commit suicide. On the broader issue of self-defense, I blogged about a recent study from Harvard University, and in that same post, I also linked books from Harvard University Press and Chicago University Press showing that banning guns raises rates of violent crime, and enacting concealed carry lowers rates of violent crime.

Today, though, I have another point about guns and suicide rates from the Daily Caller.


According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, which cover years 1981 through 2013—incidentally, a period in which Americans acquired an additional 195 million firearms—the firearm suicide rate (the number of suicides per 100,000 population) decreased five percent, while the non-firearm suicide rate increased 27 percent.

Although more law-abiding people got guns, the crime rates have been declining.  We are now down to 1970s levels of violent crime. Part of that is due to tougher sentencing and more imprisonment of criminals, but part of that is due to more law-abiding citizens defending themselves from criminals. And if we want fewer prisons, a good way to achieve that cost-effectively would be to encourage more law-abiding people to own firearms, not less.

So, if the gun control crowd tries to make the case that more guns are causing more people to commit suicide, then we should be ready to answer with some data. Hope this data helps you to make your case.

Did Australia’s ban on guns lower violent crime rates and lower suicide rates?

Guns are for self-defense against criminals
Guns are for self-defense against criminals

Someone asked me about what I thought of Australia’s experience banning the use of handguns for self-defense against criminals, and so I thought I would link to an article from The Federalist, then explain what peer-reviewed studies say about the issue.

Let’s start with The Federalist.

It says:

The argument, as Vox’s headline puts it, is “Australia confiscated 650,000 guns. Murders and suicides plummeted.”

The piece, along with many gun control advocates, cites a Harvard University study whose conclusion begins with this line: “It does not appear that the Australian experience with gun buybacks is fully replicable in the United States.” Not a great start for Vox’s angle, but I digress.

The study doesn’t conclude that “murders and suicides plummeted” in Australia after the 1996 gun ban, as Vox claims in its headline. Instead, it focuses solely on firearm-related murders and suicides.

After the gun ban, violent crime rates were up:

Yes, as with the gun-happy United States, the murder rate is down in Australia. It’s dropped 31 percent from a rate of 1.6 per 100,000 people in 1994 to 1.1 per 100,000 in 2012.But it’s the only serious crime that saw a consistent decline post-ban.

In fact, according to the Australian government’s own statistics, a number of serious crimes peaked in the years after the ban. Manslaughter, sexual assault, kidnapping, armed robbery, and unarmed robbery all saw peaks in the years following the ban, and most remain near or above pre-ban rates. The effects of the 1996 ban on violent crime are, frankly, unimpressive at best.

It’s even less impressive when again compared to America’s decrease in violent crime over the same period. According to data from the U.S. Justice Department, violent crime fell nearly 72 percent between 1993 and 2011. Again, this happened as guns were being manufactured and purchased at an ever-increasing rate.

So although you have fewer firearm-related deaths when you disarm law-abiding civilians, violent crime increases, because there is now NO deterrence to criminals. Even a criminal with a knife can rob, rape and murder someone who is unarmed.

What about suicide rates?


The Australian gun ban’s effect on suicide in the country isn’t any better. While Vox repeats the Harvard study’s claim that firearm-related suicides are down 57 percent in the aftermath of the ban, Lifeline Australia reports that overall suicides are at a ten-year high. The Australian suicide prevention organization claims suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians 15 to 44 years old. So, while Australians kill themselves with firearms less often, it seems they don’t actually take their own lives any less often than before the ban.

So, overall suicides are not down, people simply found other ways to kill themselves. So the gun ban had no effect on the overall suicide rate. But it did raise the violent crime rate. Should we be surprised by this? Actually, this is consistent with peer-reviewed research.

The peer-reviewed research

Whenever I get into discussions about gun control, I always mention two academic books by John R. Lott and Joyce Lee Malcolm.

Here is a paper by Dr. Malcolm that summarizes one of the key points of her book.


Tracing the history of gun control in the United Kingdom since the late 19th century, this article details how the government has arrogated to itself a monopoly on the right to use force. The consequence has been a tremendous increase in violent crime, and harsh punishment for crime victims who dare to fight back. The article is based on the author’s most recent book, Guns and Violence: The English Experience (Harvard University Press, 2002). Joyce Malcom is professor of history at Bentley College, in Waltham, Massachusetts. She is also author of To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an AngloAmerican Right (Harvard University Press, 1994).

Upon the passage of The Firearms Act (No. 2) in 1997, British Deputy Home Secretary Alun Michael boasted: “Britain now has some of the toughest gun laws in the world.” The Act was second handgun control measure passed that year, imposed a near-complete ban on private ownership of handguns, capping nearly eighty years of increasing firearms restrictions. Driven by an intense public campaign in the wake of the shooting of schoolchildren in Dunblane, Scotland, Parliament had been so zealous to outlaw all privately owned handguns that it rejected proposals to exempt Britain’s Olympic target-shooting team and handicapped target-shooters from the ban.

And the result of the 1997 gun ban:

The result of the ban has been costly. Thousands of weapons were confiscated at great financial cost to the public. Hundreds of thousands of police hours were devoted to the task. But in the six years since the 1997 handgun ban, crimes with the very weapons banned have more than doubled, and firearm crime has increased markedly. In 2002, for the fourth consecutive year, gun crime in England and Wales rose—by 35 percent for all firearms, and by a whopping 46 percent for the banned handguns. Nearly 10,000 firearms offences were committed.

[…]According to Scotland Yard, in the four years from 1991 to 1995 crimes against the person in England‟s inner cities increased by 91 percent. In the four years from 1997 to 2001 the rate of violent crime more than doubled. The UK murder rate for 2002 was the highest for a century.

I think that peer-reviewed studies – from Harvard University, no less – should be useful to those of us who believe in the right of self-defense for law-abiding people. The book by economist John Lott, linked above,compares the crime rates of all U.S. states that have enacted concealed carry laws, and concludes that violent crime rates dropped after law-abiding citizens were allowed to carry legally-owned firearms. That’s the mirror image of Dr. Malcolm’s Harvard study, but both studies affirm the same conclusion – more legal firearm ownership means less crime.

Family of woman murdered by illegal immigrant sues sanctuary city

Is it time for justice for the victims of Democrat policies?
Is it time for justice for the victims of Democrat policies?

Investors Business Daily has some good news, something that makes me hopeful of the future.


The family of Kate Steinle, the young woman gunned down by an illegal alien in San Francisco, is suing the city and its enablers. How sad nothing’s changed since her death, and lawsuits are all citizens have left.

After enduring a round of crocodile tears and flapdoodle from city officials — and a noticeable silence from the White House — it was obvious to the family of Kathryn Steinle, the 32-year-old woman gunned down in broad daylight by a five-times-deported illegal, that the powers that be in the sanctuary city of San Francisco and in the federal government would try to ignore the death of their daughter.

After all, the San Francisco and federal governments encouraged the non-enforcement of immigration laws and were banking on the public forgetting how illegal aliens are committing heinous crimes with impunity against Americans, shielded by sanctuary city policies.

Business as usual could go on. Or so they hoped.

Except that the Steinles have decided not to let this one go. On Tuesday, they filed a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco, its sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and the Bureau of Land Management, whose insufficiently secured gun became the illegal’s murder weapon.

“We’re frustrated,” said Brad Steinle, the dead woman’s brother, at a news conference on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday. “Because the system failed our sister. And at this point, nobody has taken responsibility, accountability. And nothing has changed.”

“We’re here not only for Kate, we’re here for every citizen of this country who comes to San Francisco,” said her father, Jim Steinle. “If you think this can’t happen to you, think again.”

He recalled how, strolling in broad daylight on a tourist pier in San Francisco last July, he watched as Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, with a long criminal career behind him, gunned his daughter down.

The illegal later admitted to investigators that he was attracted to San Francisco for its sanctuary city policies.

So far, we have not seen a lot of progress in punishing Hillary Clinton for sending and receiving classified e-mails, and storing them on a thumb drive to give to her lawyer. We have not seen a lot of progress in investigating and de-funding Planned Parenthood for alleged criminal activities. We have not seen a lot of progress at punishing the IRS for persecuting conservative groups ahead of the 2012 election, in order to suppress their influence so that Obama could be re-elected. It sometimes seems impossible to hold the Democrats accountable for the harm they do with their delusional laws and policies. And the media successfully covers up the greed, corruption and destructive incompetence.

Until now.

This time, it’s very clear that the Democrats are responsible for what happened to Kate Steinle. This criminal was released without informing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. That refusal to follow the law cost Kate Steinle her life. And it showed the world the consequences of leftist ideology. The left is soft on illegal immigrants who commit crimes and/or take unfair advantage of social programs. The left is soft on crime – they would rather favor the criminal over the victim of the criminal. They don’t like moral judgments. They don’t like when people reap what they sow. They call evil good, and good evil, and they feel compassion when they fix the problems of evil people by taking away from what good people have earned.

So often, the public is deliberately deceived by the media about the effects of leftist policies. We won’t see the consequences of Obama running up 10 trillion in new debt right away. We won’t see the consequences to the crime rate for rewarding women who choose to create fatherless children. We don’t see the consequences of redefining marriage on the next generation of taxpayers. We don’t see the consequences of legalizing no-fault divorce right away. We don’t see the effect on our social safety net when we abort the next generation of taxpayers and create a demographic crisis. Liberals seem to be impossible to hold accountable. They just keep talking and talking about how generous they are with other people’s money, and how compassionate they are to favor evildoers over innocent citizens.

But this time, the mask is off. Now we know the consequences of wanting to be generous with law-breakers. Now we realize that relaxing the rules in order to be “nice” actually does harm to innocent people. And if this lawsuit succeeds, and the Steinles get justice, maybe it will be the beginning of government becoming accountable to the people. The solution to bad government is holding the government leaders accountable for their mistakes right away. And I think the mistakes are going to become easier to spot as the money for welfare spending runs out, and people have to pay for their own poor decision-making.