Guest columnist Rob Okun: Mass shootings: It's masculinity, people

I’m fed up that the sex of murderers is still widely absent from conversations about the mass shooting crisis in the United States. In B...



I’m fed up that the sex of murderers is still widelyabsent from conversations about the mass shooting crisis in the United States. In Buffalo, of course, racism and white supremacy cannot be overstated, but we ignore gender at our peril.

Let’s tighten restrictions on poisonous hate speech on social media. It is imperative that we conduct threat assessments. Absolutely, no more gun control regulations. And, we must analyze the racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic, white supremacist manifestos. But if we do all of this and continue to minimize or ignore how these murderous men were socialized as boys and young men, the mass shootings will continue to plague us.

We have to start in kindergarten, paying attention to how boys are socialized. We need to cultivate their emotional intelligence. Who would deny the value of educating boys to examine their inner lives? talk about his feelings?

Who in Congress is going to introduce legislation calling on the Centers for Disease Control to conduct a national study of how we socialize boys? Who will push for a comprehensive, multi-year pilot program with preschool boys in Head Start? The data collected will not only help reshape our understanding of boys and men, but could ultimately transform masculinity.

The shooter genre remains central to my writing. Here is a sample of columns which, unfortunately, show how far we still have to go:

■August. 9, 2019: [In] the killings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio… the media, politicians, and pundits rarely cite the most important common denominator of virtually all mass murders in the United States – shooter gender. A message that I repeat from Columbine and before Tree of Life, Thousand Oaks, Parkland, Sutherland Springs and Las Vegas; even before Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and Aurora.Gender belongs at the center of the firearms debate,” Mrs. magazine.

May 23, 2018: Heart Contracts; numbness and tears collide. Ten dead, 13 injured; this time Santa Fe, Texas…If we ever want to end the bloodshed…highlighting the gender of shooters is essential to better understand and prevent future tragedies…Virtually all murderers are male, usually white. “Let’s talk about the obvious: most mass shooters are men”, Dallas Morning News.

■Oct. 5, 2017: Again. Worse than ever. A gruesome mass murder by a lone killer. This time in Las Vegas… [A ]clue looks us straight in the eye to prevent this madness and chaos: The race and gender of the shooter. White and male. Once again… let’s organize… challenge men to chart a new course in the gun violence debate… [A]accelerate the transformation of our ideas about masculinity and virility – including, in particular, the way we raise boys. “Needed: A ‘Men Against Gun Violence’ Campaign”, Women’s Electronic News.

■June 16, 2016: The Pulse nightclub massacre was carried out as an act of rage. By a man… [U]until or unless we put the gender of the murderer at the center… [to] not just this story, but the broader effort to prevent mass shootings…we will fail to prevent such horrors in the future. “Why isn’t the Orlando murderer genre central to the story? Backlash.

October 9, 2015: Again. This time a community college in Roseburg, Oregon… This time nine people were murdered… How many more lonely, alienated, disconnected (usually) white men committing murder and then committing suicide do we need to see before admit the irrefutable fact that shooters are all men?“After the Oregon Shooting: A Campaign to Raise Healthy Sons”, Ms magazine.

December 16, 2013: As we come to Newtown’s heartbreaking first anniversary, I waver between sadness and anger… [W]like a man or woman who killed innocent people at the Washington Navy Yard, the Boston Marathon, Santa Monica College, homes in Hialeah, Florida, Manchester, Illinois, and Fernley, in Nevada; a hair salon in New York’s Mohawk Valley; and Los Angeles International Airport? To find? “The question of masculinity is still missing after Newtown”, Truth.

The day after Adam Lanza murdered his mother, six employees, and 20 six- and seven-year-old children at Sandy Hook in 2012…women started “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.” the next day! How many “days after” another mass shooting do we have to wait to launch Dads Demand Action to Raise Healthy Boys?

The violent rampage in Buffalo was not just a racist attack on African Americans; it was also an assertion of white supremacy. Without healthy male antibodies in a vaccine to prevent mass shootings, we will never achieve herd immunity.

Men, men, men. It’s toxic masculinity, people.

Rob Okun (byrob@voicemalemagazine.org) syndicated by Peace Voice, is editor of male voice magazine. He writes about politics and culture.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Guest columnist Rob Okun: Mass shootings: It's masculinity, people
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