I don’t think that I need to explain to everyone, that this epidemic of gun violence has been speeding more and more out of control. One can only hope, that with the most recent Florida high school shooting on Valentines Day, that somehow, someway, something can be done to prevent more of these horrible acts of violence.
I used to believe, that this was in fact a mental health issue. Clearly, cases of individuals need treatment, and to learn ways of coping with whatever disorder that they have. However, since getting my hands on the following article (published after this more recent shooting), my theory has changed.
Piggy backing off of the above article, I started researching mass shootings in America by gender. Since 1982, only 2 mass shootings in fact have been carried out by females. One mass shooting was carried out by both a man and a woman. The remaining 93? All by men. Age and race of the men has varied, but in the vast majority of cases, they are in fact -male.
So, if the ‘boys are not alright’? Why is that? Why are men committing these crimes, and seemingly getting worse and worse? By no means am I gender stereotyping here. The vast majority of men are able to handle their emotions and anger in productive ways. But obviously, others, are suffering-and reach a point where they feel, that there is no other way to convey what they are feeling, thinking, or whatever cause they may be standing by-than committing these heinous acts.
Further research indicates that 50% (1/2) of all mass shootings suggest that there is no clear evidence of mental illness inherent in the individuals that commit the crime. (So, there goes that theory). Instead, what is being seen, and studied more and more with each of these individuals is (are) the following characteristics/beliefs:
1. They have a history of violence. Could be domestic against a partner, and/or could be at their workplace/school.
2. They genuinely believe , that they have been wronged. In some way, in some manner, they have been wronged and treated unfairly (even if not true).
3. They have some level of rage often against organizations, women, and **feminism**.
4. They may have been a loner for most of their life, or feel that way (invisible), and want some type of fame, glory, or attention. Low self-esteem is common.
5. They may believe, that by carrying out the act of violence, they will be viewed as a hero (particularly when it is a cause that they see themselves fighting for).
** Feminism: I am highlighting this one here for a specific reason. My take on the issue is most heavily connected to this problem. Do not get me wrong-I am a product of women’s liberation, and the very things that our ancestors have fought for, have helped me immensely, as well as thousands upon thousands of other women out there. But I do believe (and have been saying this for a long time), that with women’s lib, has come things like role reversals, confusion over who does what, many women making more money than their male counterparts, and a higher than ever divorce rate, as many women are able to do things on their own, and not needing a male in their life to the degree that they did pre-women’s lib. If you are a male that is pretty well adjusted, has a healthy level of self- esteem, and perhaps has effective ways of managing your anger, and day to day stress-these modern day issues are not too big of a concern. But for the male that does not, these can be the issues, that can lead to violent tendencies. Women often have their supportive cohorts and friends to talk to about their emotions and feelings. Men often do not. Men do not handle loss and perceived failures well. Studies have repeatedly shown that they fare much worse after a divorce than a woman does these days**.
So what can be done? From my perspective, we have got to start empowering boys just as much as we do girls. We have got to encourage them to talk about their feelings. Congratulate them for a job well done, and stop following the societal belief that ‘big boys do not cry’, or-to ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps son’.
The gun issue can be debated on and on…. But in the end, just like the title of the article says: The Boys Are Not Alright. We need to empower each other, support each other, nurture each other, and stop living by these stereotypical beliefs that are ancient, and continuing to cause these problems. To look more at the common thread amongst them all, (the person behind the gun) more- and less about the gun.