Mailbag: Reflecting on the Pittsburgh Shooting and America’s Loneliness Epidemic

We woke up this morning wrestling with a topic we’ve covered oh so many times.

Once again, the dust is settling on a senseless act of ignorance.

As the details emerge, the neighbors speak out and the investigators sign off on their reports, we see the repeat of a pattern we’ve seen too many times.

He was a “loner,” the media tells us about the Pittsburgh shooter.

“He kept to himself,” the folks in the apartment above him said. They couldn’t even recall their neighbor’s name.

There are no excuses for what the man did.

Instead, we must use what happened over the weekend as a reminder of the importance of our Connections. They’re far more vital to our well-being than most folks could ever imagine.

Feeling Alone

Feeling alone is becoming an epidemic in our “connected” world. For too many folks, the lusty lure of the internet has replaced any real friendships. They socialize through the incredibly misnamed realm of social media.

It’s wrong. It’s getting worse.

And it’s incredibly dangerous.

We see it all around us.

We’ve got the idea blaring through our mind this morning as we dig into our mailbag.

But as we sort through the notes, we see grand signs of hope.

We see folks making real Connections and doing real good.

Our message is working. It’s clear.

For instance, we got a note from Reader D.D. this week asking for autographed copies of our upcoming book. He wants to hand them out at the two men’s groups he’s part of.

“I run two networks of men, good men, good businessmen, who come together,” he writes us, “to help one another personally and professionally better their respective lives and build one another’s respective businesses through friendship, network and community.”

Great stuff. We need more of that.

The nightly news would be a whole lot duller.

We’re certainly aiming to do our part. Later this week, we’re meeting with a team of folks to plan our first-ever Manward retreat.

The details are scarce, but let’s just say we hear it’s beautiful in Maine in the fall.

Teach ‘em Right

Let’s keep digging…

Andy, I think your idea of required government service is fantastic! At least half of the kids in college these days have no business being there – they are just marking time or maybe waiting ‘till it gets dark so they can go drinking again or looking for a spouse. 

I told my kids two things when they were young: 1) Don’t expect Dad to put you through college (I worked and put myself through, but I would have helped them some), and 2) Don’t even go unless you need college for the job/career you choose, but make that choice BEFORE you go.

My son worked his butt off in high school and got an appointment to two of the military academies – he went to Annapolis and is still in the Navy after almost 23 years. Not to be outdone, my daughter wanted to be an RN, so she joined ROTC, and the Navy paid for about 90% of her education. Can you tell I’m a proud Dad?! Reader C.S.

Good stuff. You should be proud.

For the folks who don’t remember, C.S. is referring to one of our most popular columns ever… when we hashed out our plan to save the nation by mandating every young adult spend two years doing good for our nation.

If you haven’t read it, this week seems like an appropriate time. Click here.

As you can see above… the idea has merit.

We especially like C.S.’s notion that if colleges had less demand, prices would go down.

It’s true, but thanks to the generous hand of Uncle Sam, we know of few markets more distorted than higher education. In fact, we recently found a list of colleges in the nation that accept no federal funding… including no financial aid or student loan programs.

Their goal is to remain 100% independent.

Amen.

Support them. The list can be found here.

On a similar topic…

Sorry this is a little late. GRRR! The “squeegie boys” have a nice protection racket going for them. They don’t WANT jobs; they want to learn the “protection racket” perfected by organized crime. They should be arrested. The money set aside to train them for jobs is just going to be wasted on the bureaucracy that will be set up to implement the program. A total waste of taxpayers’ money. 

Just to let you know that I am not a right-winger. Even deep-blue liberals like me can see a threat in this lawless hustle. Reader L.K., Ph.D.

Don’t worry, L.K. We don’t see color. Red or blue… anybody who fights the waste within bureaucracy is a friend of ours.

What’s interesting (and perhaps not coincidental) is that shortly after we penned our latest piece on Baltimore’s troop of young and aggressive “entrepreneurs,” the city’s mayor wrote a piece of her own.

She corrected our figure of $1.7 million… and now says it’s a $2 million program.

Our bad. We underestimated the power of government waste.

“We are currently developing the next iteration of our Squeegee Corps,” Mayor Catherine Pugh wrote. “Through our own analysis, we’ve set a goal of enticing 100 young people to permanently leave street corners by providing them with a stipend and the opportunity to enter our ‘Earn While You Learn’ program.

“Those who accept will be enrolled in a year-round program similar to our very successful summer YouthWorks program. They will receive financial literacy training, lessons in how to develop a business plan and run a business. They will be involved in landscaping, site cleaning, car washes (stationary and mobile), and they will also be connected when possible with other organizations and groups to form sustainable partnerships. We will further provide employment resources and job training, as well as social service needs as appropriate.”

We wish her the best… but we have a feeling the only growth we’ll see is the growth of the city’s bureaucracy.

America Awakens

One more.

It’s long, but it’s good (at least we think so)…

Hi, Andy. I am fairly new to the Manward “experience,” but I have to tell you, I read everything you send me. There is an American sensibility to your words, thoughts, ideas, and for me, it does NOT go unnoticed. 

I am 67 years old and worked hard all my life, was married, had three wonderful children whom I adore to this day. My wife fought a two-year-long, hard battle with cancer and passed in 2005. That left me with incredible, staggering debt, which led to bankruptcy. 

But before I lost it all completely, I paid off all of my children’s college debts by cashing my 401(k)s and my nest egg because I, like you, realize how important the family is to our life, well-being and the future – to our country’s future, to the world’s future. 

I am proud to be an American, and I am proud to be a Manward subscriber. And to think I stumbled across you by coincidence. I know, God doesn’t believe in coincidence. I’m absolutely positive He put you in my inbox for a reason, and I am blessed by association. 

Please don’t stop your work, your thinking and digging into the uncovered truth. I am positive that others out there feel the same as I do, but I wanted to personally tell you myself. 

Be well… Be Manward. – Reader W.H. 

Thanks. Your words mean a lot to us.

But we’re not doing this to get praise. We’re doing this to spread our message… the message that with a focus on Liberty, Know-How and Connections, we can all be better, have more success and live happier lives.

W.H. clearly went through some tough times. But he relied on his principles and his wisdom to get him out of them.

It worked.

We knew it would.

P.S. Want the No. 1 way to use your Connections to build liberating wealth? Join us and nearly two dozen other financial experts as we gather next March to discuss the very best ways to create a seven-figure retirement fortune. Don’t hesitate to join us. Put your name on the list by the end of today and receive a hefty “early bird” discount. Click here for all the details.

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