In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, people have been endlessly pointing the finger of blame and trying to come up with a one-size-fits-all solution that will prevent such a massacre from ever happening again.
The blame has settled squarely on the issue of gun control since, of course, it’s so much easier to blame an inanimate object than it is to handle the complex logic of an insane mind. Gun control also conveniently advances the progressive agenda to dismantle the Second Amendment, one of the dearest desires of the left.
But one issue seems to have escaped the mainstream consciousness so far: whether boys, in and of themselves, are evil. After all, boys (young men, actually) are the ones who promulgate the vast majority of violence in our society. What’s wrong with them? Are they evil?
This point is addressed by Michael Kimmel, professor of sociology at SUNY Stony Brook in a Dec. 19, 2012, CNN piece entitled “Masculinity, Mental Illness and Guns: A Lethal Equation.” In it, he writes: “Why are angry young men setting out to kill entire crowds of strangers? … Motivations are hard to pin down, but gender is the single most obvious and intractable variable when it comes to violence in America. Men and boys are responsible for 95 percent of all violent crimes in this country. … How does masculinity figure into this? From an early age, boys learn that violence is not only an acceptable form of conflict resolution, but one that is admired. However, the belief that violence is an inherently male characteristic is a fallacy. … Boys learn [violence]. … They learn it from their fathers. … They learn that if they are crossed, they have the manly obligation to fight back. They learn that they are entitled to feel like a real man, and that they have the right to annihilate anyone who challenges that sense of entitlement.”
Supposedly, Dr. Kimmel interviewed more than 400 young men to reach these conclusions. Since I have not read his book, I don’t know if he examines one critical factor: namely whether or not these young men have an active father in their lives.
Because Dr. Kimmel is wrong when he says boys learn violence from their fathers. The vast majority of boys don’t learn it from their fathers, because most violent boys don’t have fathers.
Our culture pretends that if it represses boys’ violent tendencies, violence will decrease. Society does this by trying to emasculate boys into girls. It encourages boys to play with gender-neutral toys, drugs boys into submission at school and otherwise suppresses their instinctive rough-and-tumble, smash-and-bang physical nature.
But none of these feminist-approved techniques erase the influence of genetics and testosterone. That persistent biochemical is something every boy must learn to handle. Testosterone gives boys less impulse control, more muscle strength and, yes, more violent tendencies. Unchecked, testosterone can cause boys to explode when they hit adolescence … unless they’re trained otherwise.
It takes a man – not a woman – to teach boys how to handle themselves. Without a male mentor, boys often give in to their animal nature and become violent.
“In 2011,” noted Dr. Kimmel, “more than 80 percent of all homicides among boys aged 15 to 19 were firearm related.” But how many of those firearm-related homicides were performed by fatherless boys?
“We need a conversation about gun control laws,” counsels Dr. Kimmel, “and far more sweeping – and necessary – is a national meditation on how our ideals of manhood became so entangled with violence.”
I have seldom seen an opinion piece that so blatantly disregards the obvious. We most certainly don’t need a “national meditation” on how our “ideals of manhood” became entangled with violence. We need men to be dads to the sons they create. That’s the “national meditation” we desperately need. Because nothing – nothing! – will change among America’s young men until they have fathers (or father-figures) to show them the proper way to behave. When young men perpetrate violence on society, it’s almost always because they are nothing more than boys in men’s bodies – a scary combination.
I don’t live in an area where it’s trendy to force boys to act like girls. I live in a rural area where boys hunt, fish, shoot, chop wood, plow fields and otherwise learn to shoulder the heavy burdens men have shouldered for millennia. Most rural boys grow up under the tutelage of their fathers, learning what is and isn’t appropriate.
In Real America, boys are not admired for their ability to act like girls. They are admired for their ability to channel their testosterone into acceptable areas, whether it’s rough-and-tumble games, hunting, sports, paintball wars, dirt bikes, or other manly expressions. Boys shouldn’t have to apologize for being boys. But men who do not shoulder the responsibility to lead, teach and train their sons should apologize for not “manning up” and being fathers to the boys they help create.
Let’s put it this way. Should every absent father in this nation suddenly recall his duty and begin the gratifying experience of actually parenting his own children, then a huge percentage of America’s problems would quickly disappear.
And if every woman learned to value marriage and stop ejecting men from the lives of their children, then we’d have far, far fewer “violent” boys who never learn how to become the men they were supposed to be.
Did you know that in the U.K., “a dad” was the tenth most popular Christmas list request for children? We have removed men as the spiritual and physical heads of households; then we mask their sons’ pain from that loss with psychotropic poisons. And we wonder why boys are violent?
The answer to our violent culture isn’t to curtail the Second Amendment. If you believe that, you’re not facing reality; you’re just pushing a nanny-state agenda. The answer to our violent culture is for men to father their sons and daughters and teach them that their worth comes from self-control, not the lack of it.
Boys aren’t evil. They’re just boys. But men are evil when they refuse to father their children. Women are evil when they deny their children a dad. Society is evil when it denigrates the importance of men. And the government is evil when it rewards men for abandoning their children and women for producing out-of-wedlock kids.
Don’t medicate our boys. Father them.