Gun Problem or Fatherless Problem?

The face of gun violence is not Sandy Hook. It is Chicago.

In 2012, President Barack Obama’s adopted hometown had 506 murders, including more than 60 children. Philadelphia, a city that local television newscasters frequently call ‘Killadelphia,” saw 331 killed last year. In Detroit, 386 people were murdered.

Since 1966, there have been 90 school shootings in the U.S., with 231 fatalities. Yes, Sandy Hook shocked us. But the odds of a child being killed at a school shooting are longer than the odds of being struck by lightning.

Of the 11,000 to 12,000 gun murders each year, more than half involve both black killers and black victims, mostly in urban areas and mostly gang-related. The No. 1 cause of preventable death for young black men is not auto accidents or accidental drowning, but homicide.

Rapper/actor Ice T (“Cop Killer”) and I attended the same high school. In the 1991 John Singleton film “Boyz n the Hood,” the teenagers attend that school, and car-cruise the South Central Los Angeles boulevard after which the school is named.

Crenshaw High opened in 1968. By the time Ice-T left, less than a decade later, Crenshaw had become, in the rapper’s words, “a Crip school” — meaning one controlled by that street gang. Because of the school’s reputation for violence, Time Magazine called it “Fort Crenshaw.” A powerhouse in basketball and football, the school lost its accreditation 2005, before getting it back in 2006 on a short-term basis.

In 1970, I was part of the second graduating class in the new school’s history. Some kids, who started with me in the 10th grade, did not finish. But it was the exception rather than the rule. By 2012, only 51 percent of Crenshaw’s students graduated.

What happened?

Dads disappeared. Or, more precisely, to use Bill Cosby’s term, the number of “unwed fathers” exploded.

In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote “The Negro Family: A Case for National Action.” At the time, 25 percent of blacks children were born out of wedlock, a number Moynihan called alarming. Fast forward to the present, 72 percent of black children are now born out of wedlock. In fact, 36 percent of white children are born out of wedlock. Of Hispanic children, 53 percent are born outside of marriage.

In “Boyz n the Hood,” Tre, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., has an active father in his life.

Doughboy, played by Ice Cube, was raised without a father. His mother resents him because she dislikes his father. On the other hand, Gooding’s hardworking, responsible father, played by Laurence Fishburne, stays on his son. He warns him against hanging out with the wrong people and that becoming a street criminal was a trap. He lectures his son that “any fool with a (penis) can make a baby, but only a real man can raise his children.”

Studies show that children of divorced parents can have outcomes as positive as those coming from intact homes, provided the father remains financially supportive and active in his children’s lives.

But what happens without dads in the ‘hood?

In 1979, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth found that fatherless kids were twice as likely to drop out of school and that girls who grew up without dads were 2.5 times more likely to become pregnant teenagers.

Rutgers University sociology professor David Popenoe published “Life Without Father” in 1996, where he describes the “massive erosion” of fathers in America. Popenoe concluded that boys raised without fathers were more likely to have problems with drugs, alcohol, behavior and social interactions. Several studies during the ’90s found that disruption in family structures was a predictor of children’s gang involvement.

Many on the left dismiss the importance of fathers as “right-wing,” blame-the-victim propaganda. Well, the late rapper Tupac Shakur, in the posthumously released documentary “Resurrection,” said: “I know for a fact that had I had a father, I’d have some discipline. I’d have more confidence.” He admits that he starting hanging out with gangs because he wanted to belong to a family structure, and it offered structure, support and protection — the kind of thing we once expected home and family to provide.

The formula for achieving middle-class success is simple: Finish high school; don’t have a child before the age of 20; and get married before having the child. Preparing for the future requires dedication. It requires deferring gratification, precisely the kind of “discipline” that Tupac admitted he lacked because he grew up without a father.

Doing what you want to do is easy. Doing what you have to do is hard. Dads, by getting up and going to work each day, send a powerful message every day to their children: Hard work wins. There are no short cuts. The outcome is unknowable. But the effort is entirely within your control.

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  • UCSPanther

    We've known this fact for decades, both with men fathering children that they aren't involved with nor care about (AKA Baby-daddies aka sperm donors), or women who foolishly think that scumbag men are good father-material (And ignore good men thinking that they are boring) and/or can raise a well-adjusted child without a father in their life.

    It is a problem in all communities, but why it is such a problem in black communities, I don't know, but one thing is for sure, we have been reaping what we have been sowing.

    • Mary Sue

      Or even worse, idiot feminists who think they can raise a more non-violent male child without a father in the house.

  • AdinaK

    Leftism aims to deconstruct the family, in tandem with traditional values. The mishmash of every kind of family, except the championing of traditional ones!

    The fact that Blacks/minorities are mainly hooked/wedded to the Dem party is a travesty and a tragedy, mostly for them. Hence, so many fatherless families, so many on welfare. An endless cycle of dependency. Obama & gang's tailor-made shock troops.

    For if they hued to Conservative ethos, surely their values would be reinforced by more than Dem victimhood "values". Of course, the Dem party doesn't care how many minorities die from gun violence, they only want to control the outcome –

    Progressives are indeed regressive, and they have put Blacks at the back of the bus, all the while they point fingers at Conservative "racism". As if.

    Adina kutnicki, Israel –

    • eddie too

      the racism among liberals is evident throughout american society.

      evidence for the racism in liberalism abounds from the housing laws in ultra-liberal san francisco that result in the de facto elimination of the african-american population in the city to the minimum wage laws that have resulted in an obscene and immoral employment rate for minority youth to the diminishing educational results in the government-run schools throughout america that is especially evident among black children, i.e. the detroit public school system where 93% of students cannot read at their grade-level.

      evidence indicates that the law of unintended consequences is not the culprit but rather the innate and virulent racism of innate in liberalism is the culprit.

      the government-run educational system in america is a root cause for the demise of the black family and the inablity of people of negro-descent to recognize where their oppression is originating. that being the self-proclaimed liberal elite.

  • Parenthetical Phrase

    Good points, Larry but I think it is pretty much impossible to "get the genie back in the bottle," so to speak. Out of wedlock pregnancies, especially among blacks and latinos will not decline. They will increase — not because white progressives are forcing them to make babies at such young ages without marriage but because they choose to and it's considered hip to do so.

    • patron

      Welfare subsidizes absent fathers.

      Not too long ago California was represented by John Steinbeck and Woodie Guthrie. I bet if fatherless families had to pick peas and migrate over the state instead of staying at home eating cheetos bought off of tax dollars and watching honey boo boo, the father would probably stay around.

  • Mary Sue

    The whole mess is either a huge snowballed mess of Unintended Consequences rolling down hill and taking everything out around it, or someone knew this was going to be the resulting outcome. Either way, yeah, genie, meet bottle. Tupac said what we all know: Gangs are "family" to the members. The replacement. Not quite what the Left intended (they'd prefer they think of the GOVERNMENT as family), but with the way things are working out now, it's 6 of one, half-dozen of the other.

  • Pat C

    We all need to remember that our first taste of civilization begins at home. For those who would be "down with the struggle" The struggle begins with your parents. A shifting root structure gives children an unsteady foundation from which to develop.

    Life is hard enough without "shifty" parents. For children of all colors, their parents can either be their oppressors or their rock.

  • davarino

    Unbeknownst to Hillary, it takes a family to raise a child. But in case the left has destroyed the family structure, then it takes a village

  • CLW

    I am alarmed at how many times I read pieces, by professional writers, who obviously do not know what it means to proof read their work. Or maybe they did and decided it was okay.

    • Mo_

      I am annoyed at how many times people waste their time commenting on articles for the sole purpose of nitpicking at some real or perceived grammatical/spelling error, instead of addressing the issue being presented in the article.

    • bhami

      I am alarmed at how many commenters can't even spell "proofread".

  • Greg J.

    I have started a petition on to address this precise issue. See the petition here:….

  • Charles

    Loss of shame,something our mothers constantly reminded us of.

  • Spider

    If there was no Welfare State then women would go back to keeping their legs pinned together until after marriage like they used to – or face starvation. Here is where the problem lies – end the Government Substidized Irresponsibility (Welfare State) and you will solve all these problems..

    • eddie too

      that is definitely a factor in the rise of poverty and single parent households as well as the increase in sperm donors and the decrease in fathers.

  • eddie too

    the legal system should be identified as sharing some of the blame for degradation of fatherhood because of its immense prejudice against fathers in resolving custody cases during divorce proceedings.

    when the very system designed to administer justice in a society practices discrimination against a class, i.e. fathers, it necessarily creates a societal attitude diminishing the importance of fathers.

    i will leave for further discussion and debate the real negative impact of judges and lawyers on our society's attitude toward fatherhood. in my opinion however, the prejudices of judges against fathers is a major factor in the decline in the influence of fathers on children.

    judicial corruption does not occur only in cases where judges are accepting bribes. it is also evident in the judicial hubris wherein custody cases are disproportionately decided in favor of mothers.

  • JacksonPearson

    I agree in part with Mr. Elder, and disagree in part.
    It's not just a fatherless Chicago, but this phenomenon is now the same all over America, down to the young middle school teen level. The left have allowed it to evolve into a lack of personal responsibility, and moral decay.

    People of any age group can have unprotected sex, whereas a woman or child gets pregnant, then trots off to Planned Murderhood to have her fetus wiped off the face of the earth, to prepare for her next sexual fifteen minutes of quickie romance, all under the guise of woman's Health….funded with taxpayers dimes.

  • mekus milkdud

    The problem is the democraps need mo n mo po blacks to help vote them in power to stay. they keep rewarding these welfare hoes for poping out baby after baby just to live off the taxpayers dime
    with free schools and health care cards that let the ho mamma buy booze etc

  • Ghostwriter

    What a sad state Black America is today.

  • @quark1912

    Maybe fish really do need bicycles.

  • fanlad

    Thank you Mr. Elder for being a voice of reason and standing firm on solid Godly family values. In order for the left socialist neo-comms to collapse our system, they must start with God, family, and eventually country.
    Let's not kid ourselves, we are in a full blown cultural, and spiritual war. God loving Americans must wake up to this fact. It's a battle ground of inches, regulations, executive orders, and laws, all designed to infringe on the rule of law, the constitution, and our freedom and liberties.
    The road to serfdom has now become a freeway with very few exits in sight.

  • brandon

    Yes sir, Boss. We sick!

  • bluffcreek1967

    Larry makes some excellent observations on the black 'fatherless problem.' But the fatherless issue is really a symptom of a black problem. In other words, the rampant fatherless issue, crime and narcotic problem within every (not merely some!) black inner city is the result of what occurs when a large population of blacks dominate any community. The problems we see is but reflection of who these people are by nature and by culture. None of it occurred in a vacuum or by chance but, instead, is symptomatic of who they are. This can be seen time and time again in any place throughout the world where they exist in large numbers. Consider Haiti and South Africa.

    Whites are always foolishly trying to 'save' and 'reach' blacks, and it NEVER seems to work with any large-scale success in spite of billions of dollars wasted and 'caring' white folks. Gee, I wonder why? Could it be because blacks have low IQs, are impulsive, primitive, and culturally inferior? Yes. But we are afraid to admit this less we be accused of 'racism' – the label whites fear more than anything else.

    • Mary Sue

      No, it's because blacks are the ones that were preached to by the Marxists and proto-Marxists that they need to Get Whitey. So they're stirred into artificial anger about "Oppression" and that's why they're violent.

      If you'll notice, every failed state is Communist or Marxist. Including all the ones in Africa.

      • bluffcreek1967

        I hear you Mary, but the problem is that even before the radical 60s which influenced many blacks toward Marxism, there was already a widespread issue with crime, drug usage and other vices within their communities. Liberalism made it worse, admittedly, but it was already a growing problem. South Africa, Nigeria and other black dominated countries, even before the rise of Marxism among them, already had deep-rooted problems with rampant crime, illiteracy, drug usage and high rates of murder and rape (as is evident even today). In other words, Marxism didn't take good, decent and high IQ blacks and turn them into low IQ savages. Rather, it turned people who were already essentially savages, and make them progressively worse. As much as I despise Liberalism/Marxism, I cannot blame the state of modern blacks on this evil alone.

  • bluffcreek1967

    Larry urges blacks to not have a child "before the age of 20." No, don't have any children until you are married.

    Among his recommendations, Larry says: "It requires deferring gratification." True, but what race of people are we talking about? Asians? Whites? No, blacks. They have proven to be unable to defer anything. They are impulsive and live in the here and now. Very few of them think in terms of their future, and delaying gratification is not in their way of thinking. Everything in their culture, worldview and history reinforces their impulsive nature. The white man will never change this on any large-scale success. But don't worry, whites will continue to waste federal funds and well-meaning efforts to change them and it will never work. Whites refuse to see blacks as they truly are.

    • Mary Sue

      The teachings of the Marxist dialectic are what taught people (in this case blacks) NOT to delay gratification, because as the Oppressed, they are entitled to Instant Gratification to make up for The Man keeping them down.

      • bluffcreek1967

        That's certainly a part of it, but not the whole story. I respectfully urge you Mary to examine black history before the rise of Marxism and its influence on them. Truth is, a good many Blacks have never even heard of Marxism and wouldn't be able to express any of its tenants even if they tried. They possess low IQs, high levels of testosterone, impulsive, overly emotional and prone to crime because of several factors working in combination – namely, genetics, ingrained behavior and a destructive culture that's reinforced in every new generation. This cannot all or even mostly be blamed on Marxism (as evil as it is). Blacks do what they do because that's who they inherently are.

    • Western Canadian

      Try watering down your ignorance with a little knowledge (yes, a new and exiting, never before tried experience for you)…. Prior to lbj’s attack on the black family, they were doing just fine with a high marriage rate, and stable families…. From your ignorant posts, it is obvious you don’t belong here, and would feel much more at home on a board run by the bloody kkk. Get lost, loser.

      • bluffcreek1967

        You've obviously missed the point, and your ad-hominem arguments don't further your cause. Yes, blacks communities were in better condition prior to LBJ's 'great society' policies, but they still faced serious moral problems with drug usage, crime, illiteracy and increasing rates of illegitimacy. As social-liberalism increased in black communities, it took an already growing problem and exacerbated it. I would refer you to several works which would demonstrate this, but it would be useless for as the old saying goes, 'A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.' I urge you to read widely on some of the perils of diversity from such authors as Byron M. Roth, Ilana Mercer, Peter Brimelow, and a host of others.

  • Ron

    How can blck men be fathers if black women throw them out?

    The "white knights" in our society say women can do no wrong
    The leftists transfer male wealth to women
    The family courts gives cash and prizes to women who divorce their husbands

    All this disempowers men, encourages women to go feral, uses them as an excuse to send the state against our men, our young men give up, turn to drugs and gangs,

    God damn you men! Stand up for yourselves!

    • Mary Sue

      it's not always the women throwing them out; it's the men being irresponsible of their own volition.

    • bluffcreek1967

      No one is forcing black men to be sexually irresponsible and abandon both their mates and offspring. Many black women, in fact, would love to have their men be responsible and keep their families intact. But black men, by and large, choose to be morally and sexually irresponsible. Granted, welfare and liberal policies don't help the situation, but black men must ultimately take responsibility for their own actions. But don't worry, they won't. State social policies and the prevailing attitudes among modern blacks will ensure that they will blame everyone else for their moral failures rather than themselves.

  • Leo Martinez

    Hell, our Welfare system has been subsidizing illegitimate children the way that the department of agriculture has been subsidizing crops in low demand. Now we are reaping the result: Dysfunctional people who can't hold jobs, raise kids, or live lives indepantly.

  • polnick

    Cheap dark brown Chinquapin Heroin laced with Bath salts are addicting Chicago`s youngsters. The cashing of mom’s welfare check and food stamps cannot cover the costs of a week’s supply of dope. Kids are tempted to rob their well-armed peddler of his stash, it is kill or be killed and the drug dealer usually wins. Blame it on illegal desperado's and their 3 buck packet of Chinquapin poison.

  • niki saghafi

    what a bunch of knuckle-dragging bigots. you're all disgusting.

    • Western Canadian

      In light of the number and range of comments made replying to this article, your comment is pathetic. Stupid, childish, and unworthy of an adult. But since you think smearing people is the way to go, it is obvious you are NOT an adult. You are a ‘liberal’>

  • Rural Christian

    It has nothing to do with skin color. Both groups you mention, in addition to the fatherlessness you point out, are 'socialized' to believe that they don't belong as a real full part of America. They are told that they are oppressed, that they will always be oppressed, and that even to suceed is a sign of capitulation to the oppressor. Lacking fathers (not as much a problem among hispanics?) they form the sex segregated groups you mention, and lacking any sense of community with people who look different than themselves, they do not see aggression and crime against the Other as being a real crime, but rather as a patriotic (in the old Roman sense Macauley wrote of) and defending their people.

    Both the educational power clique and the entertainment world have contributed greatly to this, as does black liberation theology, the black muslim movement, racist theory in the colleges (and mandated for all students to learn -and- agree with, especially future teachers who are more ideologically screened than other majors).

    That is a lot to overcome, and it won't happen overnight, but we all have to do what we can to overcome this social, psychological and cultural segregation which makes the rest of us as 'Other' to them.

  • Len_Powder

    Jews are still waiting for their Messiah, but they manage to do rather well without him. The Black Messiah has arrived, but Black Americans are in dire straits despite his arrival. Maybe messiahs offering 'Hoax and Pain' are not Saviors but Demagogues primarily devoted to themselves and their own prosperity and happiness?

  • Glennd1

    I've seen analysis in the past of the web of govt incentives that are destroying family formation in poor communities in our country. It's crosses racial barriers and also has other corrosive effects in terms of social capital. Men who are married work more, save more, and families buy houses more, participate in the community more via school, sports etc – all of this is undermined by lack of marriage. Charles Murray's Coming Apart is a brilliant treatise on the subject – and just focuses on poor whites to avoid any charge of racism.

    Incentives are all about the marginal value of the next dollar. While contrary to what most right wingers think, welfare in the U.S. is a subistence and harder to get than they think, it still traps people by making benefits income based. One you hit a threshhold – boom – benefits are gone so the incentive to "earn" that dollar is greatly reduced, and people do less of it – it's axiomatic. Truly silly Progressives have tried to fix this by phasing the benefits out gradually at higher income levels, but the effective result of that has been to put tens of millions of Americans on welfare who aren't poor – and fully half of Americans (or more) who receive means-tested welfare (85+ federal programs) live above the poverty line. They've only succeeded in stretching the barrier to productivity and self-reliance to encircle more people. but they won't admit it.

    Dad's matter, but incentives matter too. If as a male, you can get a 16 yr old girl pregnant, and you know the city/state will birth her and provide food and shelter (albeit minimal), without you doing a lick of work, why would you? Today, the locals go after Dads where they can and put liens against them for child support. Again, nice idea but what is the incentive? When the guy gets a legit job on the books or opens a bank account, he will then have wages garnished and the bank account siezed. The welfare system is a minefield filled with incentives for self and societally destructive behavior – why don't we hear more talk of this on our media? Even this article manages to skip welfare's dramatic effect on all this.

  • Western Spirit

    I haven't been in Chicago since I was 18 years old. All I remember about the place was a girl friend had worn shoes that were too small and I took turns with her wearing the miserable things.

    And miserable is the right word to describe it. We should push it into Lake Michigan or bury it. Maybe the tottering town will totter into the lake on its own taking all the crime and corruption with it and leaving America to never again be saddled with people like Obama.

  • Western Spirit

    Evil is colorblind it doesn't have a race. Children need a good cop/bad cop upbringing, discipline and nurture.

    Usually the father provides the former, because they are better equipped to handle male children, and the mother the latter but it doesn't matter which parent does what or provides both.

    This means Larry is right, lack of fathers is the primary problem in the black family because a single parent finds it hard to do both well. As for White meanness, like taking this land from the Indians that's another story and anyone who lives on this stolen land is an accomplice so doesn't have the right to point fingers at the White man for what he did.

    white meanness, like taking this land from the Indians, that's another story and anyone who lives on this stolen land is an accomplice and instead of pointing a finger can put a sock in it;

  • genie krip

    this sounds very similar to the Genie Krip case: the 40 year old dancer/bartender wannabe who has been pimped all across south florida by the lamest DJ dorks ever. she has herpes and HIV allegedly from all her encounters. she got arrested for drugs, oral sex, and full on sex in the "vip" rooms, AND in hotel rooms with her clients. this is when she decided to go undercovers (literally) and work as an informant. she is being pimped now according to news sources. she needs help, for she is a failure at life. somebody please help Genie Krip of West Palm Beach Florida, she isnt in the gutter, she IS the gutter.