As many in the media call for some vague “leadership” from our politicians in the aftermath of the gun violence in Toronto, few are willing to spell out what kind of leadership is needed precisely. I would suggest some honesty about the role of the breakdown of family and growth of fatherlessness among some populations in the city. As our friend Lou Iacobelli recently noted:
We shouldn’t be afraid as a society to confront the important F-words: Family and fatherhood. When I was teaching students in the care of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society, it was almost always family dysfunctions that brought the children to our group home. As the Catholic teacher, I spent nearly eleven years working with many well meaning youth workers trying our best to get these broken and troubled young men and women back to regular schools. These students were placed in our program because they were going through a time of serious personal crisis, many by the time they got to our program had spent time in jail, but the underlying problem had for most of them started long before they arrived to our alternative school: the physical, mental, social and emotional scars had begun in the family, even as far back as the time they were merely babies.
These students without exception knew only hurt and pain and so naturally it’s what they were good at dishing out to others. Our profit driven culture and the media offer no remedy here. Just think of the steady diet of violence most children are exposed to in the movies, the video games, the television shows and the music that morally anesthetizes them and exploits them for profits daily.