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The real problem is fatherless boys?


Father and son Image: Nick Kenrick/Foter/CC BY-NC_SA

A father and son Image: Nick Kenrick/Foter/CC BY-NC_SA

[by Dean Smith] After the unfortunate shooting of Terrance Walker, 21, by a police officer, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke went on Fox News to explain the situation. He was responding to criticism by a local chapter of NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) that described the incident as a “shoot first, ask questions later” killing of another young black man.

Police allege Walker had a gun and was stalking his girlfriend. A pastor, officiating a wedding, called police when Walker showed up outside the church.

When police arrived, Walker fled. A body camera shows a young man stopping to pick up what police say was a dropped gun, when he was then shot and killed by the police officer in pursuit.

Responding to NAACP’s criticism, Sheriff Clarke, also a black man, said instead of criticizing police, the organization should be dealing with the root problem which is fatherless homes.

Clarke said:

“The number one cause of this is father-absent homes. So what are we going to do in terms of having more-effective parenting, more role modeling, more engaged fathers in the lives of these young black men so that we don’t have this behavior.”

When asked to respond to criticism of the shooting by Walker’s mom, Clarke added:

“Well, what did his dad say? You know, we always hear what his mom says. You know, look, mom loves her son, we all get that. But shoot first and ask questions later — anytime a law enforcement officer is in a situation where a gun is introduced by a suspect, yeah, it’s shoot first, stop the threat, and then ask questions later.”

In a poignant description, Moses said the Israelis had arrived at the border of the promised land carried by God, like a father carries his son.

31 and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.’ (Deuteronomy 1:31 NASV)

The Promised land was Israel’s destiny, their hope and future. Though Israel balked this time, God had carried them to the very border where they had a choice to enter.

In a similar way, a father’s responsibility is to carry his children to the border of their destiny, preparing and encouraging them to enter their future role in society.

Without a father’s guidance, a young man can easily become lost in the wilderness.

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