Three Things You Need to Know – February 19, 2018

A Fatherless Nation

“He looked lost. Absolutely lost.”

That’s the way James Snead described the 19-year-old Florida school shooter, when he saw him up close as he was led inside police headquarters in handcuffs. James Snead and his wife had tried to help the teenager by letting him live with them recently. The shooter’s mother, who adopted him when he was a baby, died last November. His adoptive father died in 2004.

The latest school shooting in Florida is the ultimate nightmare. Our hearts ache for the families of the murdered and injured students. There are no words for this kind of tragedy.

It’s also unreal that we’re calling this “the latest” school shooting.

America is caught in a vicious cycle of tragedy, blame, and division. When something this horrible happens, we scramble to pinpoint blame. It’s our way of trying to make sense of the senseless. It’s the gun. It’s the person. It’s the FBI. Social services. The school district.

We want to prevent this. But no one has all the answers. There’s no single solution. The hard Left sees no issue beyond guns. The hard Right sees no issue beyond gun rights. That leaves a deep canyon of problems in the middle that we refuse to deal with.

Besides being a young male, the Florida shooter has something else in common with almost every single mass shooter in recent years – he grew up without a father. Why aren’t we talking about that? The data is clear about links between fatherless children and violence, suicide, dropping out of school, and drug and alcohol abuse.

Of the deadliest mass shootings in the last fifteen years, nine of them were committed by males under 30-years-old. Seven of those nine came from fatherless homes.

This isn’t to drum up sympathy for the murderers. And obviously, not everyone who grows up without a father has their life ruined, becomes a criminal, or worse. But America has an epidemic of fatherless homes. In 1960, just 5% of American children were born out of wedlock – today it’s over 40%.

Our society is feeling the stress of more than half a century of this epidemic. So many of our children are lost. They have no moral compass, no truth to anchor their souls.

So many of our kids grow up without an identity. They don’t know who they are. In the U.S., genealogy websites are the second-most visited category of sites after pornography. People are desperate to figure out who they are. Many are searching for significance.

Having a father isn’t a guarantee of anything. It’s not a cure-all. We still make our own choices and are responsible for those choices. There are plenty of abusive or absentee fathers. Trying to be a good dad almost seems like a niche thing these days.

Right now, our society is running with the narrative that men are bad. We don’t place cultural value on a masculine influence. We think we’ve evolved beyond the need for fathers; we don’t need them anymore because they’ve done too much damage. Frankly, men haven’t done ourselves any favors with our behavior.

But the unpopular truth is, we need a nuclear family, including a father. The nuclear family is the bedrock of every society. Our bedrock has deep cracks in it.

If you are a father, dig in and do better. If you have the means, reach out and be a father figure to someone without a father.

We can make a bunch of reactionary laws, and that may make us feel better for a while, like we fixed something. But you can’t legislate the deepest needs of the human soul – to be known, accepted, and loved.

Meuller's Indictments

We now know a few of the details on what could possibly be the largest and most successful intelligence operation aimed against our country in decades. The Mueller investigation is FINALLY delivering. This is what we’ve been waiting for, and quite frankly, desperately needed ever since the intelligence community assessment was released to the public over a year ago.

The 37 page indictment names 13 individual Russians and three Russian businesses. The operation involved multiple shell companies in order to mask their actions and hide their funding. Several hundred employees worked round the clock shifts on social media and the internet. In addition to that, several agents were sent to the United States to gather intelligence. In some cases, political rallies were actually organized and promoted thousands of miles away from offices in St Petersburg, Russia.

This could actually be a galvanizing moment in our country. We’ve been attacked by a hostile country, and we now know the names and faces of the people that did it. Unfortunately, we’re far too polarized for that to happen. The left will say, “You see?!! Putin loved Trump and gave him the election!” The right will say, “This proves Trump is innocent! FAKE NEWS FAKE NEWS FAKE NEWS!”

First of all, if anyone actually believes 13 Russians swung the election they’re delusional. Trump won because he appealed to millions of people who have been ignored for years, AND because he ran against the worst candidate in modern history. To say the Russians loved Trump is completely misreading the evidence. Sure they supported his campaign, but they also supported Bernie Sanders AND Jill Stein. Basically, anyone that ran against Hillary was A-OK with the Kremlin.

The Russians wanted us to doubt our government. They wanted chaos. They wanted us to eat each other. It’s sad how polarized our society AND the media has become that we allowed this to happen. Are we THAT easily duped? Friday’s indictment was a critical first step in finding out what happened, but we as a country need to get to work on fixing what it was that made this so easy for the Russians to pull off. Both the right and the left need to come together and heal our society. If we don’t, we’re just setting ourselves up for a bigger attack VERY soon.

Weaponized Social Media

The traffic was unbearable.

Andrew felt like it would take forever to get to the high school.

The police cars and cops dotted every foot of asphalt.

He rolled down the window and held out a picture of his daughter Meadow on his phone to the passing officers—hoping someone would recognize her.

That moment in time was captured and posted to social media.

Most saw a father barely hanging on to the last bit of hope he had that his daughter survived the shooting.

Some just saw his “Trump 2020” shirt.

The reactions were instant.

“I don’t feel sorry for him and F*** trump.”

“Maybe he should have thought twice before voting for #TerroristTrump”

Andrew eventually found Meadow. And it was every parent’s worst nightmare. She was one of the victims of the shooting.

And the comments continued.

“He’s Pro-Trump which means he supports the guy who is responsible for the death of his child.”

How did we get here? Don’t we see how callous we have become?

We live in a world where it is easier to choose cynicism over compassion. Where a snarky remark is more satisfying than a kind word.

Our phones and our computers allow us to safely be our worst selves without consequence.

Both sides are guilty of using the screen as a shield from which we can hurl grenades at our perceived enemies.

Why are some people blind to the despair in Andrew Pollack’s eyes in that picture? Why do they only see his shirt?

It is the sin of pride.

We have become too proud to see past our insignificant differences with each other. If we can’t get past different political opinions, how are we going to get past the big stuff?

We have become so proud that we think we can alter the very fabric of humanity.

Who do we think we are that we can legislate violence out of civilization? It’s a consequence of the gift of free will. It will never go away. We are not God.

It is time to humble ourselves, America. It is obvious that we need humility now more than ever.

MORE 3 THINGS

Christmas has arrived early for mainstream media. They have their first sentencing of a major player in President Trump's inner circle. Yesterday, Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced by a federal judge in Manhattan. How did it come to this and how did Cohen explain himself to the judge? We start there next…

President Trump's former attorney, 52-year-old Michael Cohen, is going to jail. Well, it will probably be one of those federal prison camps with a dorm that's more like a college campus. But he's going to be locked up. A federal judge sentenced him to three years in prison for financial crimes, and two months for lying to Congress. He also ordered Cohen to pay $2 million in financial penalties. The judge called Cohen's misdeeds a "veritable smorgasbord of criminal conduct."

RELATED: Michael Cohen's plea deal won't lessen Trump's support. Here's why.

The judge said:

As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better. While Mr. Cohen is taking steps to mitigate his criminal conduct by pleading guilty and volunteering useful information to prosecutors, that does not wipe the slate clean.

Cohen pled guilty in August to eight criminal charges in two different cases. One brought by special counsel Robert Muller for Cohen's lying to Congress about a potential Trump Tower project in Moscow. The second was for bank-fraud, tax, and campaign finance violations brought by federal prosecutors in New York.

President Trump said recently that Cohen has simply been lying to get a reduced sentence for crimes that have nothing to do with him. Cohen was very emotional as he apologized to the judge, saying:

It was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light. Time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds rather than to listen to my own inner voice and my moral compass.

The left thinks that Cohen's sentencing marks the beginning of the end for Trump's presidency. They may be ultimately disappointed in that regard. But this does intensify the long national nightmare of the Muller investigation that seems to have no end in sight.

How long until we follow in Europe's footsteps?

JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE/AFP/Getty Images

Christmas should be a time of happiness and celebration the world over. But in Europe, it is now the season of terror. The sounds at Europe's famous Christmas Markets of "Merry Christmas!" and laughter are rapidly being replaced with the sounds of "Allahu Ackbar!" and gunfire. Two years ago ISIS attacked a Christmas Market in Berlin, killing twelve and injuring another forty-eight. And tragically, the sound of automatic gunfire and the chant of "Allahu Ackbar!" was heard at another Christmas Market in Europe yesterday afternoon… this time in France.

Two people are dead and thirteen are battling for their lives right now in Strasbourg, France. The attacker walked into the city's Christmas Market shortly after 8pm, shouted "Allahu Ackbar" and began shooting indiscriminately. He then proceeded to battle the police in four separate locations while he fled the scene. As of this moment, he still hasn't been caught. The city of Strasbourg is on full lockdown, and France's terror level has been elevated.

RELATED: Paris pandemonium: Here's what happens when people feel ignored

A man of Middle Eastern descent has been identified as the suspect. He was already on a terror watchlist and had been deported from Germany recently with twenty criminal convictions. He's well known in Islamist circles and was reportedly radicalized after spending time in prison. Apparently he was too radical for the Germans… but not for France.

What is it going to take for progressive governments like France to wake up to their failed policies? Nearly 300 people have been killed in terror attacks in France over the past three years. 300 in three years! But despite that, the French government refuses to address immigration, they continue their open border policy and - more importantly - they refuse to listen to their people when they try and tell them that they're scared to death over this issue. Instead they get a lecture on Islamophobia… "that's the real problem."

Outrage has replaced baseball as our national pastime.

This is one of the reasons why the Yellow Vests are tearing the country apart. The government refuses to listen to their fears on terrorism, unchecked immigration, open borders, the failing economy, high taxes and out of control spending. Wow... do these issues sound at all familiar? How many years behind France are we? Just listen to ourselves.

Outrage has replaced baseball as our national pastime. People have lost the ability to engage in peaceful protest. Street demonstrations have turned into street brawls. Have you seen the images from places like Portland lately? European governments are losing the social contract with their people. After years of broken promises and outright lies from Washington, how long before that happens here?