Anne Leigh Parrish Writer

crowd of men


Before anyone gets up in arms about what I’m going to say, please consider that I address this commentary to the very small number of men who lose it every year and shoot people dead.  It’s always men, isn’t it?  A comedian once asked, “Have you ever noticed how all these mass murderers are always men?  Well, women kill, too.  We marry you, then nag you to death.”  All joking aside, it’s a point worth thinking about.

Do we encourage boys to be violent?  Not anymore, and not for a long time.  Anyone who has kids today knows the phrase “use your words.”  Hitting people is bad, requiring a time out.  And old-schools parents who spank are seen as one step up from pure scum.  Some parents still practice corporal punishment, to be sure, and a lot of study has been done into backgrounds of gun murderers.  There does seem to be a correlation between being physically abused as a child, and turning that rage on others.

But in general, maybe the bigger problem is that men aren’t encouraged to explore their feelings enough.  Maybe we still live in a world that wants men to put up, shut up, and simply perform.   Women had their movement several decades ago where they griped about the roles of wife and mother, broke through the corporate glass ceiling, and demanded their reproductive rights.  Men didn’t have the same moment to explore what being a man can and should mean.

The other half of this dreadful problem is, of course, the guns.  A young man interviewed on television after the Senate failed to pass any of the recently proposed gun control measures said, “Just because bad things happen, I don’t have to lose my right (to buy guns).”  Okay, what about the rights of the rest of us not to be mowed down because some messed up guy, who can’t work out his feelings in a productive, responsible way, decides this is the day to take out a small segment of the population so he’ll feel better?

Think about it gentlemen, and tell us what’s wrong.  More importantly, tell us what we can do to help.