Fatherless Shooters … as Liberals Push for Fatherless Families

Editor’s note: The following column reports figures on the fatherlessness of mass shooters that turned out to be inaccurate. Immediately upon discovering the error, Dr. Kengor took it upon himself to do his own research to find out what the actual numbers are and recorded his discovery in a new column published in Crisis several days later. Here Dr. Kengor discusses what he found and whether or not his research alters his original thesis regarding the cause of mass shootings and the growing liberal disinterest in the importance of fatherhood.

A fascinating fact has emerged in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida mass shooting: 26 of the 27 deadliest mass shooters in American history all happened to share one thing in common. What might that be? Your favorite liberal might pipe up with anything and everything from casting a vote for Donald Trump to NRA membership to a seat in the local megachurch. Nope.

All but one of the 27 was raised without his biological father.

The list of 27 was compiled by CNN. Suzanne Venker, a marriage-family expert, went through the family backgrounds of the 27 shooters, where she found only one “raised by his biological father since childhood.”

“Indeed, there is a direct correlation between boys who grow up with absent fathers and boys who drop out of school, who drink, who do drugs, who become delinquent and who wind up in prison,” observes Venker, adding: “And who kill their classmates.”

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that boys raised in fatherless families are likely to become mass shooters. (Do I really need to say that?) But it’s yet further affirmation of what we already know: boys need dads. Just as daughters need dads. Children need fathers. They also need mothers.

No surprise. We all know this. Liberals once knew it, until they started pushing for fatherless families.

Wait … repeat that, please. Liberals have started pushing for fatherless families?

Oh, yes. Of course. Liberals are now fanatically pushing for fatherless families. Actually, they’re also fanatically pushing for motherless families. Think about it: Liberals are on fire for same-sex “marriage” and same-sex parenting, and what is same-sex “marriage” and same-sex parenting than—by very definition—a form of “marriage” and parenting that’s either fatherless or motherless?

Take a depressing gander at any silly liberal website (the Huffington Post on any given day will do, especially the “Queer Voices” section) and you’ll encounter piles of drivel from pompous progressives prattling about how the best parental relationship they’ve invented is two lesbians as moms. They’re asserting this in their newspapers and “studies.” They’re claiming it with a sense of authority inspired by little more than their New York Times and a grande skim latte at Starbucks. This fatuousness flies in the face of what all human beings know in their hearts, and what even liberals conceded until the dawning of Obergefell, namely: the optimal situation for a child is a mom and dad.

Normal people uncorrupted by poisonous ideology inherently understand this. Common sense and rudimentary observation tell us. Studies have long affirmed that kids who grow up with a mother and father are less likely to be poor, to end up in prison, to get addicted to drugs, and are generally healthier and stronger and more successful. The most common denominator among men in prisons is not income or class distinction, not a high school or college diploma, not ethnic or racial background, but whether they grew up with a father.

Well, now we can add yet another dubious correlation, a downright frightening one: The most common denominator among males who commit mass shootings is the presence of a biological father in the home. Wow.

But again, we’ve all known this, including liberals.

In a speech for Father’s Day 2008, Senator Barack Obama was emphatic: “We need fathers.” He explained: “We know the statistics—that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.” Obama added: “Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives … family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation.” If “we are honest with ourselves,” said Obama, “we’ll admit that … too many fathers” are missing—they are “missing from too many lives and too many homes.”

Yes, if we’re honest with ourselves we’ll admit this. But that’s the problem. The modern secular-progressive project cannot be honest with itself. In seeking to fundamentally transform human nature, it must deny human nature. In seeking to fundamentally transform reality, it must deny reality. These denials, for the liberal/progressive, are applied to marriage, family, sexuality, and on and on. It’s fundamental to the fundamental transformation. And ironically, our President of Fundamental Transformation, one Barack Hussein Obama, spearheaded the insanity, illuminating the new White House in rainbow colors and aggressively looking to renovate everything from school bathrooms to the definition of gender and marriage and family.

In that process, the progressive project must reject the notion that the best model for a child is a home with a mom and dad.

And that’s a recent shift. Go back further from Barack Obama. Go back to Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Go back to Bill Clinton in the 1990s, when he and other Democrats championed the National Fatherhood Initiative. For a while, this was a rare, precious consensus among liberals and conservatives. There are few things that liberals and conservatives have agreed upon, but this was one. Kids need dads.

That law of reality remains unchanged, of course. Call it the natural law. But what has changed is the putrid politics, courtesy of the rotten madness of liberal-progressive ideology. In their militant advancement and forced acceptance of “gay marriage,” liberals are jettisoning this national consensus on fathers, explicitly demanding a category of parenting that excludes fathers. As for those who disagree with this new paradigm, they are reflexively derided as cruel, thoughtless, backward bigots, with no possible legitimate reason for their unenlightened position. Suggest a mere pause before this grand push forward! by the left and you’re smeared as nothing but a vile hater.

And again, what today’s liberals are advocating is actually far worse than fatherless families, as they are agitating for motherless ones as well. Thanks to the nature-redefining left, there will be a new generation of children deliberately raised without dads and moms and with the sanction and celebration and coercion of the state and culture and the leftist forces of “tolerance” and “diversity.”

And for what? What has prompted this mass shift? It’s so that liberals can accommodate their ideological marriage to same-sex “marriage.” Such is the depths of the secular-progressive descent from common sense to the pit of political depravity. Reject natural law and biblical law, and this is where it ultimately goes. The social-moral consequences of this fundamental transformation will careen in directions we cannot yet begin to fathom.

Editor’s update (March 6, 2018): Different sources have reported varying data on the 27 largest mass shooters, and some initial posts look as though they may have been amended. Some sources report 26 of 27 shooters as fatherless, whereas others deal with the seven most recent shooters, of which six came from homes without biological fathers. Professor Kengor reports from his own research that “based on available information perhaps only four shooters (at most) of the 27 might have come from families where the biological parents remained together.” Kengor adds that these four families included cases of a “frequently absent father” or general “dysfunction.” One of the shooters with an apparent biological father present was a Muslim jihadist.

Paul Kengor


Paul Kengor is Professor of Political Science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and author of many books including The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor and Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage (2015). His new books are A Pope and a President and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism (2017).