The system failed, but which system?
There were four young people, archetypes but undoubtedly real. As racial minorities, they were born into the wealthiest nation in the world and given every possible opportunity to succeed. Two of them did: a young man and a young woman. They went on to lead normal lives, meeting and marrying (not each other) for love, holding jobs and raising families. Life was not a bowl of cherries for either of them. Each had many difficulties, but both faced them all. Their children also succeeded in life, which, as every parent knows, is the greatest success of all.
The other two, a young man and a young woman, did not fare so well. In school, they failed to learn. Worse yet, they were discipline problems. Oftentimes they disrupted classes and even missed entire days. After school, they could often be found on the streets well past midnight. At age sixteen, they dropped out. By this time, they had become street-wise and had learned to plunder from others. They sold drugs and eventually became addicted to them.
The young man was convicted of a violent crime. His fifth felony conviction resulted in a decades-long prison sentence. He became an absent father to his three children by two women. After completing his sentence, older but no wiser, he went back to his life of crime but soon became a victim himself, murdered by a rival criminal.
The young woman gave birth to a series of children, with no father in the home. All were raised in poverty amid a criminal environment. While her children were still small, she died of a drug overdose.
The children of both followed in their parents' footsteps, with similar results.
The stories are archetypical but true, repeated thousands of times across the nation and across the years. Some underprivileged people succeed; some fail; and some fail tragically, inflicting yet more tragedies on innocent victims.
What makes the difference between success and failure?
True, there are some privileged people who have all the failures enumerated above. There are also some in the underclass who are so victimized that despite their best efforts, they succumb.
For the most part, however, success or failure depends on the choices one makes. Fortune, good or bad, has a heavy influence. In my case, divine intervention spared me from the well deserved, terrible consequences of my many character defects.
In the cases depicted above, the two people who failed in life made abysmal choices. They made them persistently and continually. They made them under the influence of very bad people, and despite the influences of very good people, but in the end, it was they themselves who made the decisions that most affected their lives for the worse.
It has been pointed out that there are knowable factors that lead either toward success or toward failure. For young people, those factors include education, vices (or their avoidance), sexual promiscuity (or its avoidance), association with gang members or their ilk, and well-meaning but destructive mentors (who poorly counsel their charges).
Those well-meaning mentors are often motivated by destructive ideology. Ask them why our two failing people failed, and they will likely blame it on white supremacists and racists, the wealthiest one percent, Republicans and conservatives, Jews, and when all else fails, "the system," but never the person himself. They never blame the George Floyds or the Jordan Neelys who died, but the worst of it is, they never blame such people while they are still alive, while such blame might have prevented their deaths, and indeed, while early intervention might have influenced them to lead successful lives.
So yes, the system failed, but it was not the system that was in effect for the centuries when there were no mass murders in schools. The failing system is the one we have now, the one that has been put in place by what were once called "bleeding-heart liberals." That was a misnomer. They are, and always were, "bloody-hands leftists."