But that decision had ramifications. Years later, some of young males started attacking Pilanesberg’s herd of white rhinos, an endangered species.
Raspberry described the problem, and the solution:
The elephants used their trunks to throw sticks at the rhinos, chased them over long hours and great distances and stomped to death a tenth of the herd — all for no discernible reason.
Park managers decided they had no choice but to kill some of the worst juvenile offenders. They had killed five of them when someone came up with another bright idea: Bring in some of the mature males from Kruger and hope that the bigger, stronger males could bring the adolescents under control.
To the delight of the park officials, it worked. The big bulls, quickly establishing the natural hierarchy, became the dominant sexual partners of the females, and the reduction in sexual activity among the juveniles lowered soaring testosterone levels and reduced their violent behavior.
The new discipline, it turned out, was not just a matter of size intimidation. The young bulls actually started following the Big Daddies around, yielding to their authority and learning from them proper elephant conduct. The assaults on the white rhinos ended abruptly.
Fathers matter. And though it is possible for a young man to get along without a father, it is difficult for young men to get along in fatherless communities, or in fatherless cities.
So why don’t the media focus on the epidemic of fatherlessness in our inner cities and on the tragic consequences for boys? The mostly white liberal editors and gatekeepers of the mainstream media would never admit that liberal policies of the 1960s have had disastrous consequences. They won’t admit that government can’t replace the essential role that marriage and family plays in raising, disciplining, and loving children.
Those same white liberal editors also assume that such stories won’t draw ratings or readers, especially not from a white majority insulated from the problems of inner-city life.
And that assumption may be correct.
In a column last year in the Wall Street Journal, Juan Williams cited a comprehensive study by the Justice Department in 2005 on the subject that he said should have been a “clarion call” for the black community and the nation at large.
Almost one half of the nation’s murder victims that year were black, and a majority of them were between the ages of 17 and 29. Black people accounted for 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2005. Yet they were the victims of 49 percent of all murders, and 93 percent of black murder victims were killed by other black people.
That’s right. Almost half of murder victims in the entire country are black males and, all too often, young black males. And nine out of ten of those young black men were killed by other young black men.
So much for the war on women, a narrative the media sold relentlessly in the run-up to the November election. The real war in America is on men, and black men in particular.
Men need fathers, and need them desperately, but the out-of-wedlock birth rate in black America is 75 percent.
Fewer than half of young black men graduate from high school, and for far too many black boys public schools are jails before they get to real jails. Young men staring down such bleak prospects are young men without hope. And young men without hope can do desperate, senseless things.
That we are still not properly talking about this all-too-real race problem in America is a failure of imagination and conscience.
That the media have spent so little time on the body count in Chicago and other inner cities in this country is sheer malpractice.
Yes, the senseless murder of those children in Newtown was a tragedy of epic proportions, and our prayers should go out to every affected family and to all of their loved ones.
But white kids in suburbia are not getting gunned down with regularity. White suburban kids live, for the most part, on safe streets, free of gangs and drug dealers.
White suburban kids go to public schools that work, and work because having two parents matters when it comes to schools and the culture of schools.
The nation is still grieving the loss of those innocents in Newtown, and a nation continues to lift that community up with our prayers.
But while you are praying for the families in Newtown, say a prayer for all of the thousands of young black Americans whose lives were cut short by street violence. Say a prayer for the faceless, voiceless victims we never hear or read about or see on TV.
Say a prayer for all of those young black men without fathers.
And with the out-of-wedlock birth rate recently passing the 40 percent mark for all Americans, say a prayer for all of those young American men without dads.
Because they’ll need them.
— Lee Habeeb is vice president of content at Salem Radio Network.