I don’t believe there’s a single fix-all solution to America’s “gun problem.” I do believe gun sales need to be better monitored; that semi-automatic rifles should require even more tightly-controlled licensing (perhaps the NRA can help with this process, rather than fight it); that an early-warning system needs to be instituted among psychiatrists and psychologists (including school counselors), requiring additional counselling and clearance before flagged persons can purchase guns; and that much harder long-term sociological steps need to be taken.
But another crisis has emerged: The Problem with Boys. Last month, a high-schooler less than an hour from where I live shot eighteen people. The incident got limited national attention because “only” two kids died, a number that’s no longer front page worthy.
The 15 year old shooter’s answers to police questions were startling. He is not obviously “mentally disturbed.” What he is is deeply alienated: from his family, from his friends, and from himself. He acted on impulses he only vaguely understands, in response to programming he didn’t even know he had. And neither did his disconnected parents. He is, I suddenly realized, terrifyingly typical of thousands upon thousands of American boys.
This hugely important phenomenon is analyzed in a New York Times Op Ed by Michael Ian Black entitled The Boys Are Not All Right. I would also refer you to two related blog responses, both entitled Lost Boys with Guns, one at Perspective and the other at Navigating by Faith. Please, let us read these articles, talk about this issue…
And consider what action we may be called to take.