Monday, December 17, 2012

Mass killings are a male problem

By Donald Sensing

Of the 62 mass murders (at least four victims) committed in the United States since 1982, only one was committed by a woman. Criminologists use three categories of mass murders:

  • "Family annihilators," when a killer turns on members of his own family.
  • "Hit and run" killers, who carry out the crimes and then try to escape and elude capture.
  • And the type we are most familiar with, "pseudocommandos," "a category that would seem to include James Holmes, the suspected shooter in the July movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., and Seung-Hui Cho, who in 2007 killed 32 people during a rampage at Virginia Tech."
Taking into account that most physical violence is male-driven, it's clear that "the transition from boy to man is a risky endeavor," says Erika Christakis at TIME, "and there can be a lot of collateral damage." So what's to be done? Charles and Kennedy-Kollar note that "the positive presence of a father in the life of a son constructing his hegemonic masculinity identity is a key means of preventing the emotional problems that trigger male violence." [Italics original]
Another insight: "The male construct, known as hegemonic masculinity in gender studies, is mainly developed at school." So if the male identity is principally formed at school, and a malformed male identity is at least partly contributing to the fact the almost all mass murderers are male, then shouldn't we start examining closely the feminization of our schools?

As I have said, discussion about America's "gun culture" is inherently flawed because if it focuses on the guns and ignores the culture.



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