By John J. Duncan Jr.
On my first day as judge of the criminal court, Gary Tulloch, the chief probation counselor for 16 counties in East Tennessee, told me that “98% of the defendants in felony cases came from broken homes.”
He was a little high, and it is much more accurate to say that the overwhelming majority of defendants in felony cases come from father-absent households.
Although we were trying a lot more jury trials in the 1980s than now, even then most criminal defendants would plead guilty and apply for probation.
Thus, in my 7 ½ years as a judge, I went through more than 10,000 cases in my court.
Every day, I would read probation reports saying things like “defendants’ father left home when defendant was two and never returned” or “defendants’ father left home to get pack of cigarettes and never came back.”
I became convinced, and am still convinced, that the primary cause of the crime problem in this country is father-absent households.
Other factors contribute, but they pale in comparison to missing fathers. And the absent father situation is much more harmful to boys than girls and is the main reason that most crimes are committed by men.
Of course, fathers are very important to girls, too. I have read that most prostitutes had abusive or absent fathers.
I also realize that millions of good and even very successful people come from broken homes, but that does not change the relationship of absent fathers to the crime problem.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a liberal Democrat, who later became a long-serving U.S. Senator from New York, wrote a report in 1965 calling attention to “the steady expansion of welfare programs” as one of the major factors in the “steady disintegration of family life.”
At that point, he was an Assistant Secretary of Labor in the Johnson Administration and out-of-wedlock births were much lower than they are now.
Three weeks ago, the ABC 6:30 national newscast reported that there had been over 1,000 people shot that weekend with over 400 gun deaths. The report said that 96% of the deaths were of Black or Brown people.
Unfortunately, it is no longer shocking or even surprising that many murders have occurred over the weekend in Chicago and other big cities.
It is also not surprising that most of these murders are occurring in minority communities where the out-of-wedlock birthrates are over 70%.
And it is not surprising that crimes and murders have skyrocketed since the federal government has given out so much free money without working for it, giving young people more time to get in trouble.
And the crime rate has exploded in all the cities where left-wing billionaire George Soros spent millions to elect soft-on-crime district attorneys.
Black leaders like Al Sharpton and others start nationwide protests when a white policeman kills an unarmed Black man, which occurs on average about 22 times a year according to a 2021 report on NPR.
However, their silence is deafening when it comes to the thousands of Blacks killing other Blacks each year.
We need a nationwide program to teach teenage girls that if they have a baby out of wedlock there is a very good chance they are dooming that child to a life of crime.
Unfortunately, as Sen. Moynihan said in a famous paper in 1993, “We have been defining deviancy down, accepting as a part of life what we once found repugnant.”