August 6, 2019

On Monday, Martha MacCallum had a very thoughtful segment on her FOX News show THE BREAKING STORY, talking about the toxic environment surrounding boys and young men, the kind that encourages them to act out with horrific violence. “There’s a sickness in America,” she said.

Partisan “experts” like to say that the people most likely to pick up a semi-automatic weapon and shoot up a public place are almost overwhelmingly young, male, far-right and white supremacist. Statistically speaking, they’re absolutely right about the young and white part, but they’re off on the political/racial animus part.

I was a guest for that segment, but before I came on, Martha talked with the brilliant Dr. Warren Farrell, who has spent the past four decades studying men and boys in America. His overall point: something that leaves young men with a hole in their hearts has been brewing for a very long time. One of the biggest factors is what he calls “the dad deficit,” which is the title of one of his books on the subject. Of the mass shooters who have killed 8 or more people, 26 out of 27 had been deprived of their fathers.

Even though many kids are growing up without fathers today, that statistic is stunning. Dr. Farrell says that boys without dads lack a male role model to channel their testosterone effectively. (Talk about politically incorrect! Boys aren’t supposed to need a man in their lives, according to women who want to believe that. Come to think of it, some would even say they don’t need testosterone.) Men in general, he says, tend to be much tougher on enforcing boundaries than the moms are, which means boys have to learn to postpone gratification, which means they work harder in the present, which means they have more accomplishment in school and sports, which leads to praise and encouragement from others and pride in themselves.

Martha made a good point: that there are many boys growing up in divided families or without fathers who do just fine and don’t go on to commit crimes. (I would add that they manage, in turn, to become good role models for the sons they might have in the future, which is so important.) Many single moms do a great job of enforcing boundaries. But often there’s a clash of personalities that makes this challenging even for moms who see the importance of doing it. We’re not talking here about the boys who do all right –-we’re talking about a particular subset of boys who lack identity and struggle socially.

Martha had a good question: Why is it that of the many girls who also grow up without fathers, almost none become mass killers? They have the same access to violent video games and even to guns that boys do. The answer, I’m sure, is complex, and girls without dads have a different sort of hole to fill, but Dr. Farrell pointed out one key factor: that young girls in fatherless homes typically still have a female role model and get at least some empathy at home. Still, the boys and girls who tend to do significantly better have benefited from what he calls “checks and balances” parenting, with dads dealing more with boundary enforcement and moms focused more on nurturing.

The last words posted by one young man before he shot someone to death were “I wish I had a dad.” Others tell of the sense of power they get from picking up a gun.

Dr. Farrell described a typical scenario in which boys are told by their moms that girls like the sensitive guys, but then they see girls going out with the not-so-sensitive captain of the football team instead. They feel hurt, angry, rejected. “Boys who hurt, hurt us,” he said.

As we see a marked increase in the problems of young men –- including suicide –- Dr. Farrell recommends a White House Council on Men and Boys. Who would’ve thought that the life expectancy of this segment of our population would be going down? But it is, he said, along with sperm counts and even IQ.

Then it was my turn to talk with Martha, who in her introduction brought up the decline in social support systems that used to be the bedrock of communities: mediating institutions such as churches, Rotary Club, Scouting, etc. It’s so true; kids used to get together at the library, the park or the “Y”; now they get on social media. They used to belong to clubs and groups and get involved in community activities; now they’re often lost and lonely. They feel abandoned by their fathers, with whom they would love to identify and can’t. Many blame themselves: “Why would my dad leave me? What did I do? What is it about me that would make him leave?”

What about finding spiritual answers? That’s tough for this reason: How can a young man think of God as his Father, when the image he has of his own earthly father is someone who abandoned him or beat up his mother? But the hole in the human heart can’t be filled just by human things; it has to be filled by spiritual things. It’s the spiritual that gives a young man a higher sense of who he is and why he matters.

White supremacy is a hideous evil. But the young man in Dayton seems to have identified with leftist politics, though the media (of course) are not doing very much with that fact, as it doesn’t fit their false “Trump/racism” narrative. Before the bodies lying on the floor of that mall in El Paso were cold, activists were sprinting to cameras and microphones to politicize the issue and blame President Trump. I don’t remember anyone blaming Bill Clinton or Barack Obama when similar violence erupted during their administrations. Just remember, it’s not the President’s fault –- no matter who is President.

It’s the fault of our culture. Kids get drawn into destructive fringe ideologies because they’re looking for significance in their lives. Lives without significance are easy to throw away. If young people don’t have those basic relationships with their families and their God from which to draw that significance, we all better look out, because some of them will find ways to release their anger and hate, as we continue to see.


'It's our cultural fault': Mike Huckabee pinpoints spiritual crisis behind mass shootings

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Comments 1-25 of 46

  • Susan Bartlett

    08/08/2019 07:24 PM

    My dear Gov. Huckabee,

    I have thought the same thing re: removing God and Spirituality that includes God the Father Son and Holy Spirit and for me also Mary his mother.

    Men in our country have taken a beating by women and women have taken a beating by men and each has decided they don’t need a partner of the opposite sex to live a fulfilled life. Marriage is about to be lost except for the wedding industry.

    God is God and we are not. We can fool around with conception and abortion which by the way God is not happy about but He will allow humanity to implode and destroy itself - that’s called free will, but there will be collateral damage.

    God created man and then gave man a human companion and called her woman because she is created with a womb.

    Women have not ever been revered because they have a womb. Yet women are created to be life bearers in cooperation with men.

    Mass shootings are like movies and video games except the reality isn’t captured on film, nor is the adrenaline rush and the end of your life when you are stopped from shooting anymore.

    Respect for life it’s beauty and sacred majesty perhaps celebrated most at birth from my mother’s womb, loses its awesomeness as time goes on. Life twists and becomes twisted through the game of competition and life, power, money and power brokers be it through grades sports drugs yada yada- without a weekly sabbath time with God for whom all life is created by which His creatures pay Him homage praise thank and love Him because He is the only the only reason anything exists.

    We are far and distant from that, especially since we can no longer say Gods name or use gender references in our schools. Ok it goes on etc. thank you governor.
    Susan Bartlett Austin TX

  • Bradley David Harte

    08/08/2019 07:22 PM

    Amen Mike! Lord we are in agreement with our dear brother's comments. Bless him we pray, in Jesus name.

  • Michael K. Garrett

    08/08/2019 06:01 PM

    Finally, someone in the media has hit the nail on the head of why we keep having these mass shootings. Broken family units will always contribute to these shootings, in addition to the fact that our society is filled with violent images in movies, TV and social networks. We've also experienced the last 56 years in which God is not present in our public schools. If our kids aren't taught anything about God in our schools and for the most part don't attend any churches,. That void will always be filled by our enemy, the devil, the father of this world. The lamestream media will never acknowledge that we are engaged in a spiritual warfare (Ephesians Ch. 6) and that spiritual voids will always be filled with replacement theology or instant gratification through social networking to replace father figures. Bring God back into our nation's classrooms like He was there before 1963 and you will see a big change in our society.
    Michael Garrett
    Trinidad, Colo.

  • Margaret Yerman

    08/08/2019 11:57 AM

    Simple solution. Bring the Bible back into the school. Opened to the page that says " Thou shalt not kill." Then apply it to the born and unborn with a graphic description of what the eternal fires of hell look like.

  • Catherine Boutz

    08/07/2019 09:46 PM

    Excellent commentary. The Kendrick Brothers' movie, Courageous, brings out this point also. Our Heavenly Father created the family as a complete unit - father, mother, and children. This is the first unit of society. The devil keeps trying to destroy the family so society will fall when the foundation is weak.
    Keep it up, Gov. Huckabee! You are on the right track and I love your daughter Sarah too! May God bless and keep you and your entire family safe and healthy!
    Catherine Boutz

  • Marilyn Calhoun

    08/07/2019 05:52 PM

    I would love to be able to print and also save this great article. Somehow I'm not able to do it. I do think that it needs to be widely circulated.

  • William Schlumpf

    08/07/2019 01:51 PM

    A boy must learn to become a man and having a father is the best way to learn. William Golding's Lord of the Flies is a fictional account of what happens to adolescent development in the absence of parental supervision. The real life account of the mutineers of the Bounty is a perfect example of adult men without the constraints of society or the Bible. Total anarchy ensued. They killed the natives and each other over women and possessions to the last man until that man discovered the ship's Bible and began reading it to the women and children. Only then did the settlement become sustainable. Others such as Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, and Hitler did not believe in a heavenly Father and over a hundred million died.
    Firearms are not the problem and eliminating every last one of them will not turn the evil homicidal maniac into a passive upstanding citizen.

  • Walter Maude

    08/07/2019 08:41 AM

    Institute universal military service for all MALES. Absent that, Selective Service.

  • Thomas Messner

    08/07/2019 08:30 AM

    If only it were possible to that everyone had a father like mine.

  • Jimmy Cox

    08/07/2019 07:15 AM

    Though there are many cultural influences that challenge a person's progress toward an acceptable normalcy, no one person will ever stand before God and be given a pass by saying "it's the cultures fault". Political correctness looks for answers in all the wrong places. Mike, you are smarter than that.

  • John R Courter

    08/07/2019 07:08 AM

    There are many things that contribute to the violence that we are seeing. Guns are not the cause, nor the cure. Some of the gun laws are making it worse. We need to develop a working profiling system to help point out the potential violent people and situations. We need to stop punishing the good guy and punish the bad guy. most of all Law enforcement must act on indicators and it seems there are always indicators. Law enforcement must be better trained and has to work together better.

  • Anita Mae Barker

    08/07/2019 05:53 AM

    Good column.
    Bless you!!

  • Edward Lester

    08/07/2019 03:23 AM

    Dad is a divinely appointed job. Mom is a divinely appointed job. You cannot get past Genesis Chapter 1 without knowing that man (Adam) must have woman as his sustainer (helpmeet). Everything else God said was good but Adam alone was "not good". And together they are completed, separate they are incomplete. Fatherless homes are therefore "incomplete" or in the new jargon, dysfunctional.

  • Robert F. DimlichThe two

    08/07/2019 02:02 AM

    The two biggest vacuums in the lives of these young boys or young men is a dad and God. God is by far the biggest vacuum.

  • Cynthia K Marrow

    08/07/2019 12:59 AM

    Excellent article. So true!

  • Christine Kerekffy

    08/06/2019 11:56 PM

    I don't think things are going to get better. I believe we are in the end times and nothing will get better until Jesus returns.

  • Charles Sigars

    08/06/2019 11:27 PM

    One of those destructive ideologies is Socialism, and Antifa (Marxism), and todays Democrat party which has adopted both ideologies in their platform.

  • Carl Smith

    08/06/2019 11:19 PM

    I must add that My Dad was absent early in my life because WWII had other plans for him. Truman's decision to FOLLOW thru on FDR's commitment to use Fat Man and Little Boy to end that war might be the reason my Dad was able to return home only to work three jobs to support us. His Role model was never apparent to me until I married and started my own family. Dad was the Head of the Household and determined the Rules and the arguments I was Never supposed to hear did occur because Moms BABY just didn't need discipline. The irony is Dad NEVER laid a hand on me while Mom wore out the hedge cutting switches? One remark he made that had a profound influence on me was he told Mom that I needed a Parent Not a Buddy. In spite of working Three jobs he managed to find time to become a Boy Scout Troop Master and continued even after I had earned the Eagle with palms and the highest Explorer award BECAUSE he Loved seeing young men Grow to have a Purpose in Life. I look back on how tough he was on me while, in my eyes, was letting others settle for a lower standard. He of course was looking to apply needs to ability and with his wisdom he could see what my 15 year old eyes would take a few more years to understand. conclusion; When LBJ managed to remove the Fathers out of the homes of people using welfare he was only enlarging the problem of M.M O'Hare's success in removing God from the conversation and our schools have been all the worse for it. Question? can the Republic Recover? or will we just become another satellite Socialist State as Khrushchev predicted in the 50's?


    08/06/2019 11:02 PM

    YOUNG MEN 18 TO 26, THAT IS MEN, SHOULD SERVE IN THE MILITARY ACTIVE DUTY FOR 24 MONTHS AND RESERVE FOR 4 YEARS. OOPS, THAT MEANS RE-ENACT THE DRAFT. There will not be some problem with no father in the house, because the Military will force a boy to be a man. that is a MAN!

  • Joseph Trokey

    08/06/2019 10:48 PM

    You have said it more than once and I have said it many times. the family unit is being destroyed, God and Jesus being thrown to the side like trash. Approval of the murder of innocent babies. Need I go on? Life as God would have us live it, for the most part, is shunned and laughed at and then we are appalled when an act of violence like what has happened this past weekend. We just have to blame something but we refuse to look at ourselves because we just can't lay the blame at our own feet. It's a shame. I pray. I pray that God will forgive and turn hateful, uncaring, hurtful hearts around and help us all remember that we are our own worst enemy. It is truly a sad situation we have put ourselves in and my hope lies in God for a better time.

  • Robert Burton, M.D.

    08/06/2019 10:48 PM

    This is a society induced problem that goes beyond absentee Dads. It starts with an expanding identity crisis created through the "PC" invoked by the LGBQT, "Tranny", and sexual identity and deviance to culminating in massive confusion and a death wish culminating in "death by cop" which the anger (not depression) defiantly pursues and vacillates between fantasy, anger, and self rejection so deep and not understood that suicide is the only solution that can bring relief. The expanding drug culture plays a key role. Nicholas Cruz had both insanity and "demons" for which he sought relief and was denied...

  • Robin Dunbar

    08/06/2019 10:37 PM

    I agree completely. And think you are very wise.
    I’ve heard that the downfall of every great society is preceded by the downfall of marriage and families.
    That does not bode well for us.

  • Nelda White

    08/06/2019 10:08 PM

    Maybe you can answer a question. Twice I've seen on the news media that the young man that shot up the Walmart store in El Paso was not white. One said that he comes from grandparents that were Mexican immigrants. It showed once and never was seen again. If by chance this is true, then it wouldn't be white supremacy but an child of immigrants that was trying to make sure that the immigrants already here had jobs, etc. I don't know if it was true, but I did see it twice and it disappeared. If you can find out, I'd appreciate it. Either way, I'm sorry for what happened in El Paso and pray that we could find an answer so that it would never happen again. Of course it comes to mind, God said come to me and obey my laws and I will heal your land.

  • Bill Dilworth

    08/06/2019 08:28 PM

    The dems have for years preached their rhetoric to the minds of these people and I believe they are winning . They have abandoned the truth, America, God and right for power and greed. By endorsing illegals, by allowing all of the horrible people to come into this country and giving away everything that is ours to them, they have made enemies of these people and their hate is directed at the people we're being abused with. Put law and order back on top. Stop taking away our rights and honor your oath of office, follow the constitution, give Americans back their country and you may begin to see a reversal of all the hate !

  • Par Pfeiffer

    08/06/2019 07:37 PM

    Word is that the El Paso shooter had listed his political affiliation or sentiments as "Democrat" on his manifesto, but it was changed by ??? to "Republican" within hours......hmmmm.......who would want to do THAT? Worth investigating......