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Michael Swartz / Feb. 23, 2018

The Youth Massacre Outside Florida

The five cities with the highest number of murders in 2017 combined to match the Parkland shooting in just three days.

The tragic loss of 16 students and one coach from one high school in a single incident is bound to dominate the news for days. But who knew that the five cities with the highest number of murders in 2017 combined to match that terrible total in just three days?

Chicago led the way with 650 murders last year, and while Baltimore was second with 343, its per capita total of 55.8 per 100,000 residents was the highest in the nation among its 50 most populous cities. As Baltimore partisans were quick to point out, though, St. Louis, whose steady population decline has put it outside that top 50, had an even higher murder rate of 65 per 100,000. It matters little — the vast majority of the cities on the list have been run by Democrats for decades. So where’s the outrage?

Bear in mind that many of these cities have stringent gun laws. But while the Left’s answer is to blame guns, there’s truly much more to the story. One key element is the issue of gangs: “Some young men take precautions appropriate to Beirut, circling their home block three or four times in search of any person or car that is out of place, before they will park,” writes Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson. “Others must be smuggled out of the city to avoid revenge killings.” A lucrative drug trade and a lack of respect for human life are clearly fertilizing these killing fields.

Yet too often among these “war zones within the borders of America,” young men grow up without a dad. Whether that’s because the father has left the mother voluntarily (or was never really “with” her in the first place), has since been imprisoned, or was a victim of violence himself doesn’t necessarily matter — the issue is the lack of positive male influence in the these children’s lives.

As marriage and family expert Suzanne Venker points out about divorce, “More often than not, children lose contact with their fathers — for two reasons. One, mothers remain the default custodial parent in the average American divorce and thus retain most of the control. Second, it is usually women who consider themselves the aggrieved party, as evidenced by the fact that wives initiate 70 percent of divorces.” She continues, “The unfortunate result is that some divorced mothers use any opportunity to undermine their children’s relationship with their father or, if not that, dismiss the significance of a father’s role.”

Government fosters this behavior with its longtime financial encouragement of single motherhood through generous welfare programs — some “Great Societythat’s turned out to be. Popular culture has done likewise with the “girl power” theory that men aren’t even necessary to raise children. If your male role model is the drug dealer on the corner or the violent protagonist of a hardcore video game, it’s likely that your disagreements are being settled with bullets, not banter. These kids will get the guns, by hook or by crook.

Democrat-run urban poverty plantations are the petri dishes of this lab experiment to create a society where life is disposable. But those who prosper from this politically would rather blame the NRA and tell us how its money and influence won’t allow for “common sense” gun legislation that invariably includes restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms. It doesn’t matter that the NRA badly trails a number of left-wing groups in terms of annual spending on political activism — the Left needs a convenient scapegoat.

As Mark Alexander wrote Thursday, Democrat “common sense” is a non sequitur.

The kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been omnipresent in the media since the day of the shooting, and their plight is inspiring them to march and protest for gun control — which leftists are more than happy to exploit. That, however, is not the issue. As we find out more about the perpetrator and his story, we find out there were many missed opportunities for intervention from school officials and law enforcement that could have prevented this. But there are thousands of shooters and victims in America’s inner cities, most of whom you’ll never hear about from the 24/7 crisis media. Media reporting or no, we can’t address the problem unless we reverse the policies that created it.

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