Letter: Getting at the root of gun violence

To the editor:

When an airplane crashes, the government intelligently conducts an investigation to determine the causes of the crash in order to come up with recommendations to make flying safer. This policy has led to American commercial aviation becoming the safest mode of travel with no deaths last year.

Knowledge of causes of gun violence will reduce deaths, especially, when groups must prone to violent deaths are considered. Since 1979, more than 44,000 black children have been murdered by guns. The Centers for Disease Control report that 54 percent of all murder victims are black, overwhelming killed by other blacks. The rarest form of violent death is mass murder.

The cause of this, I believe, is single parenthood. On a national statistical level, the primary indicator of future social pathologies — crime, school dropouts, drug addiction, long-term poverty — is out-of-wedlock births to uneducated mothers.

The CDC now reports that 41 percent of all births are out of wedlock and 58 percent of all first births. The out-of-wedlock birthrate for blacks is 72 percent. Hispanics over 50 percent and whites are now 30 percent, up from 2 percent in the 1960s.

My conversations with young African American males at Hartford High School in Hartford, Conn., during decades of inner-city teaching, has convinced me that the absence of fathers — many did not even know who their biological father was — is the primary cause of violence. Half of all black males have some experience with the criminal justice system, according to the CDC.

Strengthening the family structure, supporting the institution of marriage, and not demonizing males in the media, will reduce gun-related deaths.

The acceptance of pregnancies outside of the institution of marriage has had a devastating effect on vulnerable young girls. I had one student who had four children with four different males. Young girls need to learn proper responses to sexually aggressive males. Fathers can provide that.

Rick Sirvint


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