What’s wrong with American men? – Greeley Tribune

He didn’t get a date.

Or he hated black people.

Or he was bullied at school.

Leonard Pitts Jr. / McClatchy Newspapers
Leonard Pitts Jr. / McClatchy Newspapers

If any of this sounds familiar to you, it should. Every time there’s a mass shooting in this country – which means practically every day – these are the sort of explanations routinely offered after the fact.

A simple trip to the store, to a movie, to school — or, as was the case last week in Highland Park north of Chicago, to a parade — ends in carnage, with reporters dutifully lying in wait for parents, teachers and the gunman of the Sagittarius on asking friends how this could have happened. And the portrait is created.

He hated Jews.

Or he was depressed.

Or he was a loner.

But strangely, nobody ever seems to consider, let alone question, the neon thread that’s woven through everything. Does this pronoun mean “he”. Always “he”. We take it for granted. It’s hardly ever registered. But maybe it should. In a government-funded study of 172 mass shootings since 1966 — defined as a shooting in a public place in which four or more people were killed — The Violence Project, a nonpartisan and nonprofit anti-violence think tank, found that only four of the shooters were female. That’s a little over 2%.

So while we should debate mass shootings as a bigotry issue, as a mental health issue, as an issue of access to guns — and make no mistake, it seems about time we started debating it as a men’s issue as well. Especially since the numbers suggest it’s more of a male problem than any other type. That we rarely address it as such speaks to the fish-don’t-know-them-wet myopia of most of those shaping the discussion. What is meant, of course, is men themselves.

When viewed as the implicit norm, self-reflection is not self-evident. But self-reflection is long overdue. And here’s a retort from the old sitcom Living Single.

Synclaire asks, “Have you ever thought about what the world would be like without men?”

Khadijah replies, “A bunch of fat happy women and no crime!”

It’s funny, as they say, because it’s true. And painful for the same reason.

However, it is not enough to only accuse men. Other countries have men – and by the way also private gun ownership. But they don’t have the indiscriminate force of arms that this country has.

Which suggests the question isn’t “What’s wrong with men?” but “What’s wrong with American men?” What about our culture, about the things we teach them, about the way we socialize them, so often leaves boys and men with this grotesque sense of entitlement, this ability to decide they’re having a bad day because They Have their feelings hurt because life didn’t turn out the way they wanted, do they have the right to pull a gun and make innocent strangers pay for it?

Everyone has bad days. Everyone gets their feelings hurt. Everyone struggles with life not going according to plan. Only American men routinely seem to use this as an excuse to shoot down churches and schools.

After that we get thoughts and prayers, candlelight vigils and signs proclaiming “(insert name) strong” as the media investigates why this horrible thing happened – and keeps happening. But again and again we walk right past the most promising line of research there is. Yes, it’s important to know that he hated Asians. Or he wanted revenge. Or he got fired.

But it’s also important to keep in mind that “he” is always “he.”

It’s time we asked ourselves why.

— Contact Leonard Pitts Jr. at lpitts@miamiherald.com.

https://www.greeleytribune.com/2022/07/13/opinion-leonard-pitts-jr-what-is-wrong-with-american-men/ What’s wrong with American men? – Greeley Tribune

James Brien

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