Is the answer to multiple victim shootings more gun control, or less fatherlessness?

Did the family background of Dylann Roof have anything to do with his desire to commit a violent crime?

This article from The Federalist has some answers. (H/T ECM)

It says:

As more information slowly seeps out about Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old who murdered nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, one fact should surprise exactly no one: Roof came from a broken home. Roof’s parents divorced three years before he was even born, later reuniting just long enough to produce a child who would later become a mass murderer.

[…]As University of Virginia Professor Brad Wilcox pointed out back in 2013: “From shootings at MIT (i.e., the Tsarnaev 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.” His observation is largely ignored.

In contrast, conversations about black-on-black violence often raise the link between broken households (or fatherless homes) and juvenile delinquency. But when the conversation turns to mass shootings, we seem to forget that link altogether.

[…]On CNN’s list of the “27 Deadliest Mass Shootings In U.S. History,” seven of those shootings were committed by young (under 30) males since 2005. Of the seven, only one—Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho (who had been mentally unstable since childhood)—was raised by his biological father throughout childhood.

It turns out that fatherlessness is known to cause the character traits that are present in multiple victim shooters.


Let’s revisit some those characteristics of mass shooters. Violence? There’s a direct correlation between fatherless children and teen violence. Suicide? Fatherless children are more than twice as likely to commit suicide. Dropping out of school? Seventy-one percent of high school dropouts came from a fatherless background. Drug use? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.” How about guns? Two of the strongest correlations with gun homicides are growing up in a fatherless household and dropping out of school, which itself is directly related to lack of an active or present father.

If we wanted to get serious about stopping these multiple victim shootings, the first thing we should do is repeal no-fault divorce and make it harder for people to leave marriages in which they are “unhappy”. People should be more careful about vetting their candidate spouse before they marry. And people should also be careful about preparing their own character for the constraints and duties of marriage – perhaps by not engaging in recreational sex with a high number of partners before marriage.

But in addition to repealing no-fault divorce, we should also be scaling back welfare for single mothers, because this is basically paying women to have fatherless children.

Read this congressional testimony from a Cato Institute economist:

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)

[…]Current welfare policies seem to be designed with an appallingly lack of concern for their impact on out-of-wedlock births. Indeed, Medicaid programs in 11 states actually provide infertility treatments to single women on welfare.(12)

I should also point out that, once the child is born, welfare also appears to discourage the mother from marrying in the future. Research by Robert Hutchins of Cornell University shows that a 10 percent increase in AFDC benefits leads to an eight percent decrease in the marriage rate of single mothers.(13)

As welfare contributes to the rise in out-of-wedlock births and single-parent families, it concomitantly contributes to the associated increase in criminal activity.

So, it seems to me that we know that there is a link between fatherlessness and crime, and that’s where we should be putting our efforts. Gun control isn’t the solution young people who commit terrible acts of violence, but promoting fathers in the home is.

7 thoughts on “Is the answer to multiple victim shootings more gun control, or less fatherlessness?”

  1. Well you have that plus you have dylan growing up with racist beliefs. Also yes there should be some more control on who can own a gun like if you have any mental problems like if your bipolar, have depression or anything like that you should not own a gun. I know of too many kids at my college who have these mental disorders and majority of the time they forget to take their medication and clicked out.


  2. I completely agree that excessive divorce is damaging Western society but I disagree with changing the current divorce laws as the solution. The key is educating society on the negative attributes of life after divorce. I don’t think government should force people to stay married. I’m very curious to hear Specifically what changes to current divorce laws you would make.


    1. I would repeal no-fault divorce entirely, and I would end all single mother welfare entirely. I would also redistribute taxpayer dollars from unmarried (single and divorced) people to parents of children based on the children’s ability to earn money between the ages of 16-25. I.e. – All income earned by young adults would not be taxed between the ages of 16-25, and each parent of that working young adult would get a non-expiring tax credit for the amount earned by that child. This would work for all children during those age ranges.


      1. As an advocate for smaller government, I don’t believe government should force it’s citizens to stay married, I believe it is up to the Christian community to assist and nurture marriages through counseling, relationship education and mentor-ship.

        WK, I have to admit I am really impressed with the content of your blog. Three posts a day, even during the weekday is quite impressive and I can imagine rather time consuming. At first glance, I could’ve sworn you were married with a couple of home-schooled kids. I was quite sadden to learn that such an intelligent and successful young man who has “done everything right” as far as preparing himself for a God-honoring marriage is approaching 40 and is still single. As Christians we need men just like you to have families that flourish in the Faith and help eradicated the dreadful “none” religious category that is sweeping our nation and improve the “Christian” category in which half of those folks are really just convenient Christians.

        So I began to read your blog in depth over the past few days and became fascinated by your analysis on relationships, marriage and the perils of 3rd wave feminism. I am in complete agreement with your analysis of the 21st century Christian relationship crisis. What really concerns me is that many Christian men like yourself may have given up hope in finding a spouse and have chosen “to go their own way.”

        I believe the number one reason men have given up on marriage is simply the fear of a failed marriage and rightly so.

        WK, after reading a couple hundred of your blog posts, I think one of your biggest fears, and correct me if I’m wrong as i’d love to hear thoughts on this, is that you end up in a picture perfect marriage devoted to God, with a beautiful wife talented in apologetics, defending the Faith (to women only), works out daily, cooks delicious healthy meals, has a little home business, runs the household like a Toyota Lean Plant with 4 kids in private Christian school who believe in your vision BUT years later on one fateful day, out of the blue, she says, “I’m no longer happy loving you and supporting your vision. I have filed for divorce. Please gather your things and move into a apartment across town. You can see the kids every other weekend. See you in court.”

        Now since, you’ve admitted feel you haven’t received the call for singleness, I can assume you want nothing more than a God-honoring marriage. I believe that many Christian men so desperately want to prevent the scenario described above that they will set spousal requirements so high that when they do find this “one in a billion miracle woman” they have effectively eliminated any chance what-so-ever of a divorce. Mission accomplished.

        Of course, you’ve heard it a million times in the comments, your ideal spouse does not exist. A good analogy on your requirements for a spouse that is right for you and God according to WK, I would equate to finding a planet that can support life, and if any of these requirements are missing, i.e. no Jupiter like planet to absorb asteroids, voted for a Democrat in college, established an orbit to close to a similar like star, came from a divorced family etc. that planet is lifeless/you abruptly end the relationship.

        WK, what I think needs to happen to help you find your “life sustaining planet”, err I mean your wife is some gold fashioned divine ‘fine tuning”. What is this fine tuning you may ask? It is REASONABLE COMPROMISE. Maybe she doesn’t get excited about apologetics at first glance but after a little digging she is a teeny tiny bit curious about why she is here on Earth. Maybe she has a silly guilty pleasure of a stupid reality show or mystery novel and just isn’t interested in reading dry textbooks about cosmic background radiation or divorce statistics but would hate to repeat her parents’ divorce at all costs.

        What will peak her interest is real life examples of the line items that compromise your “life vision”. These examples will connect your vision with your future spouse on an emotional level. Instead of making her read studies upon studies on divorce statistics, volunteer at a Christian-run woman, infant, children center and hear the real stories of divorce and how it destroyed these women’s lives. Or instead of watching a debate on the Kalam cosmological argument, start small and go to a local planetarium or simply just star-gaze and have basic conversations about astronomy.

        You say you want a women who at the very least will demonstrate to you a willingness to learn the topics you care most about but I don’t think you’re following your own advice. I think you want a WK Plug n Play girlfriend who already passionately love’s WK’s vision and is pre-loaded with WLC’s lectures in the early stages of the courtship. Clearly she doesn’t have a USB port, but do note that what you want in a wife is completely reasonable except it takes YEARS to lead and develop your spouse AFTER you are married and not before you are married. This is critical and I wish someone wise told me that in my early 20’s.

        My wife is not the woman I married 22 years ago and neither am I the same man. I would never have married her because I thought she had too many flaws as I rejected so many other Christian women who would have made great spouses before my wife, I got married late at 38 because of my own self-idolatry. What finally brought me to my senses was an older Christian couple that I respected and admired said, and I’ll never forget this, “You now have a choice. Her (my wife) actions clearly shows she’s a god honoring woman. The ideal wife in your stubborn skull does not exist, as you will never ever be 100% certain that your marriage will succeed in God’s eyes. You have to take a risk. No risk equals no wife equals no children and guess who wins, the secularists!”

        I simply couldn’t imagine what my life would be like, if I didn’t take their advice. No wife, no kids. Just the joy that my kids bring me every day in watching them grow and absorb the life lessons we teach them like a sponge in preparing them to fight God’s battle in this harsh secular world.

        I’m praying for you WK to find not “the one” but simply “a one” who will bring you support, love, joy, respect and lot’s of children to carry on the fight! At the end of the day the only person you can control is you and only you. Best of luck on the hunt!


        1. WK, still curious to get your feedback on my diatribe above. Do you think this advice would help single Christian men in anyway, shape or form? Does it a strike a nerve?

          Also what do you think is an effective realistic way that married Christian men can support/mentor single Christian men towards marriage? I say “realistic” because things like instituting nationwide fault divorce or the complete removal of all welfare programs would significantly help the marriage problem but is NOT going to happen in our lifetime simply because the current U.S. voting population won’t support it. We have to “change” the population by getting married and raising more Christian children than the secular left does. And of course our Christian children must have a thorough understanding of apologetics.

          Lastly I’d like to get your take on csmonitor’s current assessment of the state of marriage in the United States. Stephanie Hanes did not write an editorial per se but more of straight up “as is” analysis as she does provoke thought without leaning left or right


  3. This is a theory of mine* (I strongly believe it is true). These mass shootings are committed by young men because of an intense, extreme indifference to their feelings and emotions (as males) within their environment, to the point they lose the capacity to feel empathy and compassion in order to survive psychologically. Combine that with a broken home in which many are raised by mothers who do not understand or even fear masculinity and heavily repress such urges in their son in favor of teaching them to be maidens (ever notice many of these shooters tend to look rather effeminate or feminine?) along with a society teaching them all sorts of lies, myths and propaganda about what it means to be a man.

    All of the abuse serves to deliver this unspoken message:

    Your feelings and emotions do not matter. They need to die. What you think about what you want to do with your life means nothing.

    And they grow up socially dysfunctional and emotionally stunted as a result.

    I’m only speculating with this particular man’s case, but one would be surprised at the callous things that are said to young men by “loved ones” behind closed doors even within normal households. Hear the same thing enough times, and some will snap.

    *Stefan Molyneux explores the topic in this video


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