I shouted out “Who killed the Kennedys?”
when after all, it was you and me
– The Rolling Stones, “Sympathy For The Devil
As I type this, America is reeling once again from the effects of another mass shooting. This time it was a young man filled with racist and anti-Semitic hatred shooting people in a supermarket parking lot. The usual suspects are blaming the usual things. The gun control crowd is blaming what they call easy access to guns, the gun rights crowd is noting that this happened (yet again) in a “gun free” zone, and each side is going to make sure the other side takes the blame for what happened.
This finger-pointing makes us feel good. OUR side is/was holy and just and true, it’s THEIR side that’s messed up. It may make us feel good, but it’s not going to solve our problem, because it doesn’t address one of the key items that links pretty much every mass shooter, no matter their race, creed or gender. What is common to every single mass shooter, regardless of who they are, is a lack of a healthy and strong male role model in their life. The jury is out on this latest psychopath, but I will be shocked if he doesn’t come from a single parent household.
It’s all well and good to talk about toxic masculinity, and to be sure, I wrote “healthy and strong male role model” for that very reason. Having a father figure in your life isn’t enough by itself: That father figure has to be someone you wish to emulate, someone who can show you how men are supposed to act, who helps young men deal with the frustrations of the modern world in constructive, useful ways.
We have raised a generation of men without chests, and we wonder why they act like petulant children.