On Thursday, former NFL player Jack Brewer testified at a Congressional hearing on school shootings.
Brewer, who works with young men through his non-profit,the Jack Brewer Foundation, has spoken out about how fatherlessness contributes to crime and violence.
Since 2006 the Jack Brewer Foundation has helped populations around the world combat extreme poverty and human rights challenges.
Speaking at the hearing, said:
I am a resident of Parkland Florida and I understand the impact of these tragedies on our communities. I am the father of four.
Unfortunately I have experienced gun violence first hand. At 14-years-old my friend shot a skinhead in the neck, self-defense, after a group tried to break into his house.
I will never forget the trauma I felt from having to serve as a witness in that case. Trauma and fear hardened me. After I was threatened and bullied and harassed by skinheads, I started to carry an illegal pistol at 15 years old….a 22-long to be exact. I even took it to school after the skinheads threatened me.
I didn’t know it then, but I know it now, I was traumatized.
I’ll never forget being shot at and seeing a stray pellet skim my cousin’s arm. I was a young kid, with all the world in front of me. I was a straight-A student, a great multi-sport athlete, and even director of my church choir.
If I was caught with that gun in my pocket, I would not be testifying before you today. If I had shot and killed a skinhead or a bully back then, I may still be in prison serving a life-sentence today.
The difference between me and the hundreds of young black boys who are shooting at each other every day of the week in communities across America comes down to one thing….one word….father.
The reason I thought twice about ever using that illegal gun I carried in my pocket is because I had a hard-handed daddy at home that would whoop my butt.
I had a fasting and praying mama at home that taught me to fear my father, which art in heaven. And I had a father in the flesh and the father in the spirit.
The very school shootings that have brought so much darkness to our nation’s history are exacerbated by fatherlessness.
A 2016 study found that out of a sample of 56 shooters, only 18% grew up in a stable household with both biological parents.
And we know this Uvalde shooter did not have a man, a man of God, in his life.
When I saw this was a bi-partisan hearing to find solutions to gun violence, I prayed that the men and women of God in this room would finally be bold enough focus on the root cause. Talking points may win elections, but addressing the root cause is the only way to solve a crisis.
Research has indicated as many as 85% of shooters in communities were previously arrested…and most of them arrested for violent crimes.
My foundation has worked on addressing the root cause of these issues in some of the most impoverished black communities on the planet.
Recently, a neighbor of mine was shot in the face. And the two young gunmen ran past my kids at my youth center. As you can imagine, they are traumatized. Fearful. Disheartened.
The same feelings and emotions I had their age, carrying guns and always looking over my shoulder.
The difference is, the kids at my youth center are fatherless.
Gun laws are the least of their worries.
Watch Brewer’s full remarks.
The full hearing can be viewed below.