By Randy Rossi – Illinois Review

The latest tragic mass shootings of innocent people in Texas and Ohio are a predictable result of the accelerating decline of morality in America. Of course this will be controversial; but the problem is not guns, the problem is the accelerating decline of our culture.

How can one community have a loaded gun behind every back door “to shoot the fox in the henhouse” with not one murder in decades (my family’s farm town), while Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the U.S. with multiple gun homicides every day? How can it be that the college I graduated from decades ago used to have a pheasant hunting club and you could keep your shotgun in your dorm room with no murders?  Can you imagine that today? All that proves that the problem is not guns, its people and immoral behavior.

What happened to us? The answer is actually quite simple and Plato explained it 2,600 years ago when he said “To have a good society children must be exposed to good material and shielded from bad material”. Before social media and the decline of religion, most American children went to church every week and were taught good behavior and morality at home, at school, and while watching movies or playing baseball. The vast majority of American children were raised with their biological father and good behavior was reinforced on TV with good programs like “Leave it to Beaver” and “Father Knows Best”. There was a high value placed on honor and civility and people that behaved badly were “scorned”, not made heroes like they are today. Schools punished bad behavior back then and that was supported by the parents of those children because they wanted their kids to be good people so that they good succeed in society. And when kids weren’t in school they played baseball and football where good behavior was reinforced and/or they went to Boy Scout or Girl Scout meetings which also reinforced good behavior. As a result, good behavior was the norm in most of America.

Sadly, our culture has dramatically declined for multiple reasons which is essentially destroying the concept of moral and responsible behavior. First and most important is the decline of the family. In 1960, only 8% of American children were raised without their father. Today, 41% of our kids are raised without their father. I distinctly remember my criminology professor telling us decades ago that that 70% of kids raised without their father were doomed to live a life of crime or poverty. To add to that tragedy is the fact that there has been a dramatic decline in church attendance so many kids today do not have the positive impact of being taught that a great and glorious God wants them to follow His Ten Commandments for moral behavior.

To make those tragedies of the decline of the family and decline of church attendance even worse; thanks to social media and violent and immoral TV, movies, and computer games; our kids are now bombarded every day with violent and immoral filth that is destroying the concept of good and moral behavior. The e-mail and text messages our 12 year old kids see on line contain horrific language that most of us never heard until we were adults. Now we have computer games which our kids play for hours that feature shooting and blowing up people which desensitizes those kids to the result of violent behavior. Those violent games “dehumanize” millions of our kids today.

So let’s add this up; for well over two hundred years our culture followed Plato’s wise advice to surround our kids with good material like a happy intact family, church, good TV shows, movies, games, and music with proper morals; and sports and/or Boy Scouts and Girl scouts all of which reinforced moral behavior. But today, our culture is constantly bombarding them with immoral and violent material on social media, movies, computer games, and music for over a dozen hours a day. Based on this, why would anybody be surprised that we are seeing more violence and barbaric behavior from young people today? Why is anybody surprised that we are seeing so much violence and insane mass shootings?

The solution to this tragedy is quite simple philosophically, but incredibly difficult in our declining culture. We must go back to following Plato’s critical advice and surround our children with good moral material and shield them from the filth and immoral material that our culture has bombard them with for well over a decade. But that can only happen if the American people embrace Plato’s advice and demand that we start shielding our kids from that immoral filth and surround them with the good material that created the greatest nation in the history of the world. As our Founding Fathers constantly warned us, democracy can only exist with a moral people with a faith in God that will hold them accountable for their behavior. The tragic mass shootings and violence that we see every day is proof of their and Plato’s wisdom.

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