Statistics say the majority of young mass murderers come from broken homes. I say that it’s not only individual families in disarray, but also the country as a whole. Our nation has become an aggregate of broken homes.

Everything begins with the family, and the breakdown of family stands as only one of the many factors that contribute to young people abandoning all moral precepts. Consider the many faces of evil that teens must confront on a daily basis.

First, violence has metamorphosed into something resembling normality. Young people watch the grossest violence on television and in movies. And they immerse themselves in violence every time they play a video game. If they happen to watch the television news, a good portion of what they see and hear concerns violence. And what news isn’t about violence is about people doing bad things. All this has the effect of taking what everyone once found abhorrent and making it acceptable.

Today, we often fail to hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions. Our lenient society allows for unacceptable acts to go unpunished. We as a nation too often view criminals as victims. “He was a good boy,” we say communally, when some teenager acts out his fantasies and kills people. Well the truth is, he might have once been a good boy, but that has long since changed for the worse.

None of these murdering criminals are “good boys.” The best we can say of them is that they had far more excuses for turning bad than did people at any other time in our history. And that is a sad commentary on how we as a people have allowed society to lose its collective soul.

And then we have an almost universal repudiation of God. The Lord no longer has a place in our society. He, being a gentleman, does not intrude. When we drive God out of schools, he stays out of schools. When God is no longer welcome in our courtrooms, God stays out of the courtrooms. And when we remove God from our family and our daily lives, he accepts our position and stays out of our lives. But always, God waits for us to welcome him back. And until we do that, our problems will only continue to multiply.

Christianity itself is under attack. Atheist groups, well-funded God-haters, have gained so much power that religious people and entities fold like napkins every time some atheist makes a demand. It is no longer politically correct to stand for Christianity.

Even some churches have departed from Christian principles, preferring to act in a secular way. We all remember the Rev. Wright’s infamous line, “God damn America.” Our youngsters saw and heard that too, and don’t think for a moment that it didn’t make a big impression. Young persons growing up amid such godless behavior have little chance to escape the grips of evil thought and deed.

So what do impressionable young people, having no upright and moral leaders to emulate, think about right and wrong? The sad fact is many of them don’t know the difference. And many cases, it is illegal to point out that difference. It’s OK to tell a 3-year-old that they are of another gender, but illegal to teach decent or proper behavior.

In addition to all this, we have become a me-first society. This we can observe every time we drive down the road and every time we visit a supermarket. Drivers now feel as if they really do own the road. Tailgating, road rage and a general hatred of other drivers are much in evidence and it’s only getting worse. Then, in stores, people push and shove each other without even an “excuse me.” How are young people supposed to react when they observe such behavior? The answer is, they accept it because “that’s the way it is.”

Most adults realize that the only way to make a positive mark on society, to leave something good and decent for posterity, is to act in a good and honorable way. A good name is worth more than much treasure, but sadly, we desire treasure more than a good name. When we as a society make that trade-off, the dark side rejoices. And boy, has the dark side had a lot to rejoice about over the last several years.

Cheating, too, has become far more widespread on every level. It has become so pervasive that it no longer carries much of a stigma. From politicians to low-level bureaucrats and government hacks on sinecures, everyone cheats. So, given that, how can we expect our children not to cheat? Do as I say, not as I do, seems about all we adults are capable of imparting to our young people.

We can blame guns for the crimes that immoral people commit with them, but by doing so we miss the mark. Until we fix our society and turn again into a God-fearing and moral country, we should expect more of the same.

Tom Seymour is a freelance magazine and newspaper writer, book author, naturalist and forager. He lives in Waldo.