Young Man Who Targeted Kavanaugh Wanted to 'Give His Life Purpose' — Why That's a Big Problem

Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool

I have a few questions to start out, addressed to my fellow young men: Are you doing okay? How’s your spiritual life? Do you have a solid support system, and things going on in your life that are meaningful?


I’m asking because it’s time to say the quiet part out loud: There’s a massive crisis of mental health and spiritual brokenness among our demographic in this country.

When I found out that the man who intended to kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his home early Wednesday morning was 26 years old, I was not surprised.

But I was even less shocked when I discovered that he told authorities that he wanted to “give his life purpose,” according to CNN, by attempting the politically motivated act. While people can discuss all day how the suspect was upset about the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade, or how he had a handgun despite being against the Second Amendment, there’s a larger theme at work here.

One should consider that this man, the Uvalde shooter, and the Buffalo shooter, were all young men. Those are just recent examples.


They all needed serious mental help, or at least better help. By going to such extreme lengths with their actions, it’s the failure of their support systems, their communities, and our culture.

Let’s be honest: Our current culture glorifies violence and dismisses the need to uplift young men. Sure, mental health problems have become less stigmatized, but faith has become taboo and even discouraged in some circles. Adolescent men’s mental health needs are still generally not prioritized, and healthy masculine solutions to leading a purposeful life are frowned upon.

Men like the one who wanted to violently take down Kavanaugh desperately need a higher purpose; that way, acts like this become completely unreasonable. Clearly, there was a level of spiritual brokenness at hand here.

If you have a teenager or 20-something man in your life, they’re probably not thinking up plots to do horrific acts on others, but they might be going through mental health struggles that they are unwilling to admit. Perhaps they feel like they do not have any direction in their lives.

If you’re a young man, the best thing you can do is go to church and find a healthy community there. I’m not saying you need to become some ultra-religious nut, but a solid faith life will work wonders. Maybe that is not your thing, but it’s worth a shot. If the thought of that makes you feel sick, at the very least you might need to talk with others about what you’re going through–ideally, in person.


In addition, getting a job and keeping one most of the time is helpful, too. It not only helps occupy one’s time but also helps you figure out strengths and weaknesses in a way that’s productive. This is especially important for teenagers, who might need to build back social skills after the coronavirus lockdowns.

When I constantly hear these stories about young men my age doing (or attempting to do) horrific things nationwide, it’s disheartening–especially because there are ways to prevent it.


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