ARE YOU TIRED or frightened or depressed by consistent stories in Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit, and many other cities and locales of violence, killings, poverty, teen rampaging, bullying, and other social problems? Well, people who could effect significant change claim to share your concerns--in reality, though, not so much.
I know Baltimore best, as Maryland has been my state of residence for almost 50 years. Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young--he of the praise of and standing with violent and drug trade Bloods and Crips at a rally at the time of the Freddie Gray tragedy --proposed, as The Baltimore Sun saw it, the laughably inadequate "Boys Town" solution of setting up boxing matches to help violent youths sublimate their anger.
He also issues angry tweets, does radio shows, and holds press conferences to rail at the "Stop Snitching" ethic that poses a threat of death to anyone testifying against violence in the city--no effect there, either, except to make Mayor Young feel better and whip up support from talk show hosts who infer a "new energy" to stop the violence, but it goes on unabated, as Maryland is on track for more than 300 murders (again!) this year.
No one except one radio station's talk shows discuss fatherlessness any more. The lack of engagement concerning arguably the greatest cause of violence throughout the U.S.--the absence of present fathers in single-parent families--is deafening. I am not talking about the situations of separation and divorce where fathers still are part of their children's lives, but of the situations where men are mostly (or totally) missing in the lives of the children they fathered.
Every statistical analysis one can find links fatherless families causally to greater social problems and hopelessness. University of Maryland economics professor Melissa Kearney has stated that poverty, behavior problems, health, quality of life, and futures are all almost inexorably negatively affected by living in other than a two-parent family.
Moreover, study after study confirms this causal link. National Public Radio interviewed at length noted author Alan Blankstein, former head of the HOPE Foundation, about the connection, and he summarized the findings of much research: "Children are four times more likely to be poor if the father is not around, and we know that poverty is heavily associated with [lack of] academic success. [Fatherless kids] are also twice as likely to drop out. One study from 2012...