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Virtuous Cycle or Vicious Circle? Unstable Families and Crime

Thomas F. Roeser 17 July 2009 One Comment

Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis said yesterday “For the month of July we’ve had about almost an incident a day where someone has tried to murder a police officer. If they’ll do that to a uniformed officer, what will they do to civilians and innocent people on the street? That’s why we need the entire community to get together. Because if the bad guys are willing to shoot uniformed officers, the citizens in this city are in very grave danger.”

He made the statement after two veteran officers, wearing full body armor and yelling “Police! Search warrant!” were shot when a 22-year-old black male shot at them through a closed bedroom door in a house at 112th Place and State. Several other people were holed up in the bedroom when the shooting occurred and a 3-year-old child was also in the house.

It was the third shooting involving police in 24 hours.

Incidents like this always produce the same response. Tearful neighbors rush outside and tell the cameras, sobbing, that the number of guns on the street is intolerable and that violence in their neighborhood is also intolerable.

The TV cameras switch over to a portly black minister who talks with a backdrop of tearful black men and women behind him. He pledges that this must stop “or our community will be devastated” and everybody behind him-just as they do in church-say “amen! Amen! Amen, brother!”And downtown Mayor Daley calls a news conference and says the violence is intolerable and the number of guns is intolerable. And at St. Sabina’s parish, blond whitey Rev. Michael Pfleger announces he will lead a march against violence and tells the media when his march will take place and where so they will be sure to cover it. TV anchors report this in tones of sadness (they somehow know how to lower their voices to produce the right tone: a tone of resignation and despair). Editorials appear in the two papers saying these incidents of violence must stop and that guns must be taken away.

Does this have an eerily familiar ring? Of course it does-because it happens virtually every other day during the summer. Why does it have no effect? Because the authorities, the media and the black neighborhood clergy of the neighborhood…and the largely white bishopric clergy downtown in the cathedrals and stately near Michigan Avenue churches…have nothing to say except that more guns must be taken off the street.

Actually, the long-range solution to this starts with the clergy-the black clergy in the neighborhoods…the gesticulating clergy at Operation PUSH…the rhyming heroic-couplet black orators at community organizations…the cowardly Catholic clergy downtown. Essentially they have forsaken their mission.

And the mission should be to return to the precepts of Judeo-Christianity and campaign…stump as in a political campaign…for the black poor to get married. How long will it take for these people…and the media…to understand that the family-married couples with father and mother-are the foundation of society…and that without it, with fathers scattering their seed and disappearing…with teen-aged black girls themselves without a family who importune males to impregnate them so they will have a cuddlesome little bundle to love…is the source of the problem?

I stress black here because largely that’s where the crime is. Also there’s a vital distinction between blacks and whites on the marriage issue. Yes, assuredly, as Kay Hymowitz says in a brilliant article in City Journal, it is politically unpopular to say it but “first and foremost, marital breakdown is not rampant across the land. It is concentrated among low-income and black couples. Americans seem to have a lot of trouble grasping this fact, probably because so much public space is taken up by politicians, celebrities and journalists with marriages on the skids.” The John Edwards, Bristol Palin, Mark Sanford stories are banner-line everywhere. But while given Superbowl publicity, they are not the reality. The divorce rate among college-educated women has been declining since 1980.

Out of wedlock child-bearing among wealthier classes remains rare. Writes Ms. Hymowitz: “The bottom line is that higher-income, college-educated couples are far more likely top get married and stay married than their less-educated and lower-income peers.” The problem with getting this through lies with cowardice-cowardice with clergy who shirk from being unpopular or seeming to sound racist by this truth…cowardice with our left-leaning journalists who profess they “feel” for the poor and so they cannot report the facts about broken families the huge number of female-headed families in the ghettoes. And it doesn’t only concentrate with the poor. Yesterday the papers carried almost as routine the story of Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, unmarried, who impregnated two women and is being charged with fathering another child with a third. He has a $36 million, six-year contract with the Bears.

Why is it so hard for our society to understand what has been commonplace for 5,000 years? That there are vital differences between men and women and the only way to tame the savage male beast is with an enduring relationship through marriage with a woman…that the male’s link with the chain of nature, his life energy, his connection with social grace is dependent and contingent on a woman’s durable love and on her sexual discipline?

It may sound in this piece that I’m tough on blacks…but that’s where a huge chunk of the problem is, ladies and gentlemen…on blacks and on their clergy which has substituted grievance against whitey for moral training. And it’s not just black clergy that misses the boat…or black wanna-be clergy like Fr. Pfleger who shouts the popular things from his pulpit. It’s the big white churches downtown including my own Catholic. How many times do we see priests, archbishops with prominent gold chains testifying to their belonging to the hierarchy who never, ever mention the need for marriage to the underclass? I cannot remember once when any archbishop in my church…and I’ve been around long enough to qualify as a octogenarian…who has the fortitude to bring this up.

The popular wimpering liberals in journalism…which in shorthand I will say the Carol Marins of this city…cannot bring themselves to say this but instead prattle for more federal and state money, more alms, more philanthropic dollars. If they do it they link whitey’s problems…Mark Sanford, Bristol Palin, John Ensign…as a kind of soft and easy pro-and-con. But the numbers show that the poor…the blacks…are being devoured by fatherless couplings…and are producing what may well be a permanent underclass. But, gee, don’t bring it up in public because it may sound racist!

Murders by the score each week, shot cops, tons of black kids running the streets until 2 in the morning, drugs, sauntering insouciant black males who are used as sperm donors importuned by young teen aged black women. This is the problem which the clergy…Protestant faiths…Catholic clergy…Jewish rabbis…can’t muster the spiritual strength to mention. Small wonder the editorial boards and the politicians can’t either.

There has been only one gutsy public policy official with the courage to tackle this in my lifetime. That was Daniel Patrick Moynihan who as an assistant Labor secretary in LBJ’s administration produced the shameful record of disintegration of the black family…and the fact that Aid to Dependent Children had a “man out of the house rule.” Everyone climbed on him as a racist and he shut up. The opprobrium that happened to Pat Moynihan from Jesse Jackson and others…the slurs that he was a racist…carried through to everybody and everybody…the media, the two parties…the churches were cowed and silenced. But without contradicting himself, without falling back on political correctness, Pat Moynihan went on to become a good U. S. Senator from New York.

Where, I ask, will the next Pat Moynihan come from? He doesn’t have to come from government or politics. Ideally he should come from the churches. But the churches are too weak. They’d rather kick in dollars to “feed the children of the poor” rather than muster the moral strength to advance the truth and the lesson for real change.

Read Kay Hymowitz’s book “Marriage and Caste in America” or her article in The Wall Street Journal weekend edition July 3-5. And for God’s sake kick that gushy “we’re all guilty” liberal bleating. The churches…yours and mine…are guilty, damn it.

Tom Roeser is the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Chicago Daily Observer

image Tip of the Hat to Sen.  DP Moynihan

One Comment »

  • Jim said:

    I’m sorry but you really have to spend some time in a neighborhood that you write about. It is clear to me that you are just experiencing these places from behind a desk and through the paper you read. Why not write about something positive? Or does this article really sell papers.

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