Posted by: joshjasper | April 20, 2009

Man kills wife and 3 kids…yet we have missed the point…AGAIN!

The headlines read this past weekend, “Town in shock after man kills wife, 3 kids, and then himself.”  The police chief is quoted saying that this is the worst tragedy ever committed in this “sleepy” community.  Neighbors had no idea this could happen.  “They seemed like such nice people.”  Friends close to the slain wife describe her as “vibrant, bubbly, and a loving person.”  Yet another neighbor described the wife as a “good homemaker.”

Article after article, interview after interview, the same important question was never asked.  The focus remained fast on the fact that everyone is shocked that such a tragedy was committed, and that the family seemed so normal.   Focusing so much on the victims and once again, forgetting that once again, another man has committed an incredibly heinous act.  Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly sympathetic for the victims, but my sympathy will not translate into preventing future acts such as these if we don’t focus on the individual (gender) perpetrating this violence.

The question that must be asked every single time is simply “Why are so many MEN committing SO much violence??”  It goes without saying that if women started coming home from work and murdering their family members, we would be asking ourselves why women are behaving so violently.

We of course don’t ask this question because men’s violence has become normalized.  Of course it is men that are committing these acts because that quite frankly, is what we expect.  I by no means am excusing some men’s violent behavior, but we must understand why men are acting out in violence so frequently before we can attempt to effectively pursue prevention.  Think about what so many boys learn at such an early age about what it means to be a man in today’s society.  Think specifically about what boys learn about repressing their feelings (never cry) and how to respond to feelings of anger (lash out).  Now couple those factors with the fact that we teach men to be strong, macho, the provider and protector, dominant, and controlling.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what is going on here.  Things are never as simple as teaching boys to be strong and then having them act out violently, but when so much of our society reinforces this behavior and does not hold men accountable for these behaviors, is it any wonder that such violence is committed so often by the same group of people?

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