Posted by: joshjasper | March 31, 2009

Common Denominator…ALWAYS

You may have read or heard about the shootings that took place in Carthage, North Carolina this past week.  8 people killed.  Yesterday our local newspaper reported that a woman was beaten and set on fire.  I was talking with a friend of mine from Los Angeles the other day and he was telling me about the 2 people run over on the USC campus; 1 killed and 1 in critical condition.  The driver and passenger of the car only stopped to remove the person stuck on the hood, and then drove away.  And of course you remember the 32 people that were killed at Virgina Tech this past year.

These examples of violence unfortunately occur everyday in our society and receive the near identical response from our media and members of the community.  Of course terror strikes at our hearts when such violence occurs close to home and then that terror quickly turns to grief for the ones lost in the senseless violence.  What we fail to observe, examine, criticize, and most importantly understand, is the common denominator in all of these acts of violence.  Time and time again, men are perpetrating these heinous acts of violence against both women and men.

Why are we not asking ourselves what is really going on here?  Why are men acting out so violently, so frequently? We know violence is learned, so what is going on that teaches men to be so violent?  Then it occurred to me….

I remember shopping for my son’s 1st birthday last year and walking through the aisles of the toy store only to find mountains of toys for young boys that were associated with violence.  This experience then reminded me of the first trip we took through Baby’s R Us.  I was hard pressed to find anything for a baby boy that wasn’t saturated in stereotypical masculinity.  Could it all really be that simple?  Could we actually counter men’s violence by simply understanding what men are being taught from day one?

Accepting men’s violence as the norm has not proven to be effective in prevention so this might be a good start.


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