Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Violence to prove manhood" rides again

I've gotten to the point that my disgust with the media for exploiting 20 year old Adam Lanza's mass murder of 20 children and 7 adults, including is mother, as well as his own suicide, is becoming almost as disgusting as the act itself.  

That said, let's identify the REAL problem - PATRIARCHAL MINDSET. Unless we raise the consciousness of males worldwide so that they stop thinking that competition, aggression and violence are the primary way of proving manhood - or that manhood has to proved at all!! - we're just twirling our thumbs behind our backs.

As a female CNN guest said other day about the video game playing shooter Lanza, it's not the violence of the video games per se that gets them violent, it's the exaggerated image of manhood and maleness being obtained through violence that is the problem.

Jackson Katz wrote an excellent article Memo to Media: Manhood, Not Guns or Mental Illness, Should Be Central in Newtown Shooting In it he writes:

...We talk amongst ourselves about how so many boys and men in our society are conditioned to see violence as a solution to their problems, a resolution of their anxieties, or a means of exacting revenge against those they perceive as taking something from them. We share with each other news stories, websites and YouTube videos that demonstrate the connection between deeply ingrained cultural ideas about manhood and individual acts of violence that operationalize those ideas. 

And then in the wake of repeated tragedies like Newtown, we turn on the TV and watch the same predictable conversations about guns and mental illness, with only an occasional mention that the overwhelming majority of these types of crimes are committed by men -- usually white men. Even when some brave soul dares to mention this crucial fact, it rarely prompts further discussion, as if no one wants to be called a "male-basher" for uttering the simple truth that men commit the vast majority of violence, and thus efforts to "prevent violence" -- if they're going to be more than minimally effective -- need to explore why. 

Maybe the Newtown massacre will mark a turning point. Maybe the mass murder of young children will force the ideological gatekeepers in mainstream media to actually pry open the cupboards of conventional thinking for just long enough to have a thoughtful conversation about manhood in the context of our ongoing national tragedy of gun violence. 

He then lists a number of issues that need to be explored.  Check it out. (Update: another good article on the same subject by Megan Murphy: But what about the men? On masculinity and mass shootings.

And yet I'm getting emails from peace groups whose response is not much better than the mainstream media: BAN GUNS! Give the government MORE control!  BAN GUNS! 
Do they want SWAT teams shooting up tens of thousands of homes? Cause that's what they'll get if they get their way. Of course, another State Enforcers' trick is to make any misdemeanor or alleged felony an excuse to ban guns, pick people off one at a time on flimsy excuses, and then turn every gun owner into a criminal on some pretext or other.  That's real civil liberties for you....Not.
Banning guns just ensures most of them will be owned by some of the most violent and macho guys: police, state and federal agents, including those who as ex-military with a history of legalized killing. Who do you think all the right wing gun nuts are afraid of? Ralph Nader? Code Pink?

Police forces at all levels get the most and best weapons AND an excuse to go after anyone with the wrong gun or accused of having the wrong gun or who might have any gun or who lives in a house formerly occupied by someone who had a gun, or whose house number just happens to be typed out by mistake by some incompetent government clerk.

You thought the war on drugs was violent? Wait til the war on guns really gears us.  Waco redux

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