Robert Eugene Crimo, III
Photo: Screen capture

On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "The ReidOut," conservative writer and retired Naval War College professor Tom Nichols highlighted the ongoing problem of young men being radicalized by their own resentment into acts of unspeakable violence.

The conversation came in the wake of the Highland Park, Illinois parade shooting, committed by a young man named Robert Crimo Jr., who had a long history of violent imagery online.

"This is a phase all young men who go through," said Nichols. "It's adolescents. That's why the word is an adjective itself. It's adolescent. In previous eras, young men are socialized out of this. To put it another way, they grow up. You know that young men who have adolescent thoughts of playing soldier, rescuing the world, eventually grow out of that. They have to get a job and wash their face. Again, it's an impression on my part, is that they don't seem to ever internalize that. Waking up every day and saying, 'Why aren't I Tony Stark' Why aren't I the star of a Marvel superhero movie?' It's childish, but it is incredibly out of proportion to the way they live their lives, and then this anger builds up and they start shooting people."

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"They have easy access to guns," said anchor Joy Reid. "I was struck by the dad, Robert Crimo Sr. He said his previous threats he made to the family, I think that was taken out of context, he says. Police were called but it was taken out of context because the son said he wanted to kill everyone. It was a child's outburst. He took no responsibility. He said he has good morals and he's the one who sponsored him to get the weapon. What do you make of that? If you were growing up with somebody like that that makes those kinds of excuses for you, not as surprising you would be the kind of guy you would be who you are."

Nichols agreed that irresponsible parents play a massive role in enabling violent radicalization.

"If you are growing up with someone like that, you're not growing up," said Nichols. "That's part of the problem. The first thing I thought is, wow, how could a young man end up with this inability to take responsibility? And I think, you know, that's — that lengthening of childhood and adolescence is something that we couldn't afford to do as a society until 30 or 40 years ago which is a strange actual unintended consequence of affluence. There was a time when young men just simply had to get out of the house and go to work because that's just the way it was."

Watch the segment below or at this link.

Tom Nichols on young men who commit mass shootings