Family is the basis of our social existence, but like with so many other facets of life, we have no influence over our origins. Some of us are lucky enough to receive adequate parental care in order to develop into healthy, contributing members of society. Unfortunately, some are tormented by adults posing as parents who carelessly use vinegar instead of water to soak their soil.
In a mass shooting at the Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Anderson Aldrich, 22, allegedly performed an unspeakable deed, killing five innocent people and wounding 25 more. Aldrich had allegedly been subjected to a lifetime of poisonous ancestry.
After each catastrophe, we search for a reason, a motive, to explain why someone would over the inexplicable line and commit murder. Instead of identifying motives and causes, we invent them in order to suit our political expectations. Before the victims’ bodies had even cooled, we had already established superficial ideas regarding the killer’s actions.
Once a person reaches maturity, he or she is accountable for his or her actions; regardless of how destructive one’s past was, there is never an excuse to become a predator. But if we seek to prevent such mass shootings in the future, we must be ready to study what many mass killers share: They are primarily males from broken families.
Anderson Aldrich, whose birth name was Nicholas Brink, never had a close relationship with his father. His parents divorced when he was a little child, divorcing him from the most significant male figure from the beginning. His father, Aaron Brink, led a wild life, turning from a mixed martial arts fighter to a porn star reliant on crystal meth.
According to court filings, Aldrich changed his name to “protect himself and his future from any ties to his birth father and criminal past.” Laura Voepel, the mother of Aldrich, has a lengthy criminal record, including outstanding warrants in California, as she suffered for decades with mental-health issues stemming from her childhood following her parents’ divorce when she was 10 years old.
Dysfunction breeds dysfunction, and dysfunctional parents are more likely to produce dysfunctional offspring. Aldrich’s roots were poisoned from the start, and a toxic environment stunted his growth toward prosperity.
Aldrich is one of a large number of mass shooters, including school shooters, who grew up in troubled homes during the past two decades. Peter Langman, a psychologist, compiled a list of 56 school shooters and found that 82% of them were raised in dysfunctional or single-parent families.
Considering that the United States ranks first in the world for single-parent households and among the top ten for divorce rates, this statistic is even more alarming.
Early males are a destructive force if they are not taught to control their emotions at a young age and if they are not disciplined when they transgress normal boundaries. Their fathers are expected to be their natural disciplinarians and guides in navigating life’s challenges.
They are more likely to be unable to effectively manage their frustrations, which will test the limits of their willingness to perpetrate violence, if they lack their natural emotional instructor. The struggle of Aldrich’s father with his personal issues contributed to the creation of the vengeful demon that innocent people in Club Q were forced to confront with a gun.
Obviously, not all children from damaged homes commit violent acts. However, if we continue to increase the number of children living in disconnected and dysfunctional homes, the number of people with a propensity to commit violent crimes will continue to rise.
Although family dysfunction is not the main cause of violence, it is a significant one. It can be an important indicator, especially among our young men, that we need to pay closer attention to their behavior and emotional disposition rather than dismissing them or medicating them for short-term results with mind-altering prescription drugs.
In the end, the rest of society pays for poor parenting, whether monetarily by housing the children in prisons across the nation or physically by watching awful bloodshed in Colorado Springs.
Monsters are cultivated rather than born.