Monday Morning Greetings 2018 #11 – A Fifth Commandment Solution to a Second Amendment Problem

March 12th, 2018

I was disturbed to hear about the recent school shootings in Florida and the epidemic of school shootings in general. I can’t imagine the pain of a mother burying her own child. I don’t have much to add to the debate on the immediate solution, but the liberality that assault weapons are accessible seems absurd. Obviously, something must be done. Although some form of legislation is needed to help alleviate this endemic problem, I can’t help but think that there is something more deeply amiss at the root that will not be solved by Second Amendment legislation—the increasing widespread frustration in American youth inevitably expressed in some form of destruction no matter their weapon of choice. In saying this, I do not intend to minimize the fact that the damage of that destructive urge can be exponentially increased by one’s weapon of choice, just voicing my concern that the root of the problem should not be neglected and that a comprehensive solution must include and prioritize what I call a “Fifth Commandment Solution”.
The Fifth Commandment, of course, states simply “Honor thy father and mother.” I call the pervasiveness of mass shootings a “Fifth Commandment Problem” to highlight that a culture that does not sufficiently focus on and safeguard the influence and importance of the family in the lives of its children will produce a society bursting with resentment and prone to violence regardless of whether guns are restricted or schools become armed fortresses. Krishna voiced similar concerns about the destabilization of family and its effect on society thousands of years ago in the Bhagavad-gītā, specifically referring to what happens to society when the men in the family are lost due to war. [1]
Unfortunately today we are seeing in full force what Krishna foresaw in terms of the effect of fatherless families, not due to war, as was Krishna’s concern, but instead due to the general degradation of dharma itself, where the grave duty to properly shelter one’s offspring is selfishly minimized or neglected. This level of irresponsibility in relation to family is a relatively new phenomenon as is the astronomical spike in mass shootings, practically one a day since the New Year. [2]  Can anyone doubt there is a correlation?
I was inspired to do a bit of quick research to support this connection. Here are just a few of the things highlighting this unfortunate parallel between the degradation of cultural norms and school violence that I found, beginning with a description of a reputable university sponsored project that researches the matter:
“The Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, Brad Wilcox, pointed out in 2013 that nearly every U.S. school shooting that year involved a young male whose parents either divorced or never married in the first place. ‘[A]s the nation seeks to make sense of these senseless shootings, we must also face the uncomfortable truth that turmoil at home all too often accounts for the turmoil we end up seeing spill onto our streets and schools,’ he wrote in his article “Sons of Divorce, School Shooters.” ‘The social scientific evidence about the connection between violence and broken homes could not be clearer.’” [3]
Dr. Warren Farrell, The author of “Boys in Crisis” discusses this same correlation:
“[…] boys with significant father involvement are not doing these shootings. Without dads as role models, boys’ testosterone is not well channeled. The boy experiences a sense of purposelessness, a lack of boundary enforcement, rudderlessness, and often withdraws into video games and video porn. At worst, when boys’ testosterone is not well channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most destructive forces. When boys’ testosterone is well channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most constructive forces.”
The absence of parental influence in children’s lives is not the only contributing factor to societal ills. The devaluation of motherhood can also have a profound effect. In this regard, I was recently sent an interview with Erica Kosimar, a psychoanalyst, concerning her book Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters. Here is an excerpt about her book:
“It’s a problem in our society that all mothers and babies can’t be together for the first year. Our society tells women, ‘Go back to work,’ ‘Do what you want. They’ll be ok.’ And the truth is, children are not ok.
The book is basically about a devaluing of mothering in society. I was seeing a devaluing of mothering that was impacting children in my parent guidance practice. I was actually seeing an epidemic level of mental disorders [emphasis mine] in very young children who were being diagnosed and medicated at an earlier and earlier age, and I became concerned. And so I started looking at the research, which backed up what I was seeing in my practice—that the absence of mothers on a daily basis in children’s lives was impacting their mental health.” [4]
Broken families across America are producing mentally disturbed and violent children at a rapidly increasing rate. Certainly the liberality to which such people have access to weapons and the level of those weapons’ destructiveness is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately, but ultimately more than anything else America has a “Fifth Commandment Problem.”

[1] Bg. 1.39





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