I cannot imagine their mindset

Many of us recently saw an online video of a young teenage girl brandishing a knife, large enough to be a deadly weapon, attempting to stab another young girl.  Just in the nick of time, a police officer shot the attacker, who died.  

While this is the most extreme video I've seen, there are many other instances of similar behavior, mostly unrecorded by media.  Somehow, we have become a nation in which literally thousands of young people are walking around, ready at a moment's notice to react with violence, sometimes deadly violence, at the slightest provocation, or none at all.  I have myself seen more than one incident in which a simple misunderstanding erupted into a situation where one angry young man was about to launch a violent attack.

Bear in mind that the military learned a long time ago that training a combat infantryman requires more than physical conditioning.  Experience has shown that men, even in the heat of combat, their own lives in peril, will hesitate — will actually hesitate — to shoot at a charging enemy.  Why?  Because most of us find the thought of killing anyone repulsive enough to risk our own lives to avoid ending another's.  As soldiers, our mindset needs to be changed.  

Yet, with no formal military training, an astounding number of young people pose a real danger to the public, at the drop of a hat.  

Fortunately, most incidents do not end in death, such as the recently posted video of a brawl at Miami International Airport.  Even so, the violence there was appalling.  It involved kicking and stomping another person on the floor, which can easily result in severe injury or even a fatality.   

Other incidents involve only destruction of property, such as trashing a fast food restaurant because of dissatisfaction with a meal.  By comparison, that seems minor, but one should find it inconceivable conduct.

Everyone has a theory of how it came to this, and about how much worse it will get.  Videogames, rap music, and depictions of violence in movies — all have some influence.  Fatherless households are surely a significant factor.  No one of these, however, can entirely explain the unmoored mindset of so many young people.  

For most of us, cultural norms are enough to moderate our actions, even when we feel enraged.  We learn to suppress, or channel, our violent tendencies, even when we are not required to do so.  A dangerous percentage of people, however, do not respond to cultural norms, or at least not to the norms in our parts of the culture.  

Why?  Where do so many people get the idea that violence is the acceptable first resort after feeling offended?  Why is no one teaching them the right way to act?  

The problem is spiritual.  While we have always had our national sins, including the one that caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in the Civil War, I trace the beginning of the current debauchery to the 1973 decision that legalized abortion.  At first, the decision was narrowly applied, but as with all departures from morality, the slippery slope soon became the ground for an avalanche.  Additional symptoms, if not themselves the cause of moral decline, include the normalization of homosexuality, which in turn cascaded into transgenderism and into the practice of inviting flamboyant, gaudy, sexual perverts to speak to children in elementary school classrooms.  We now have a presidential appointee who is a man who thinks he is a woman.  

In other words, the problem is not small; it is not easily isolated into a single cause and effect.  That is the reason why the left can wield such disingenuous arguments against "legislating morality."  What business of yours is it whom I marry?  My marriage is an isolated circumstance that has no effect on anyone else.  Really?  That same argument was applied to voluntary single motherhood with disastrous consequences for the victims, the offspring.  It is now infringing our freedom of speech.

There is no single facet of the problem and no easy solution.  But one place to start is understanding that separation of morality from government is fatal.

Image via Pexels.

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