Yet another school shooting occurred at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, where 8 people were killed by a teenage male gunman.
In classic fashion, many on both sides of the mainstream political spectrum used the tragedy to advance their respective agendas: People on the left calling for gun control, and people on the right calling for the arming of teachers. While possibly well-intentioned, both sides are essentially trying to solve a problem without regard for a cause, an underlying connection between the two dozen+ actual school shootings* since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.
*(I say actual because I don’t consider every time someone brings a gun on campus to be a school shooting, regardless of what mainstream media outlets claim)
In the 2015 TEDx Talk below, PhD scholar and men’s activist Warren Pharrell stated, “We often say, ‘school shootings; they’re the result of guns, of family values, of mental health problems. But girls live in the same families, with the same family values, similar mental health problems, the same violence on TV, and our daughters are not doing the shootings, our sons are.’”
If we take a look at the commonalities between contemporary school shooters, essentially all of them have been males. This trend can plainly reflect the increasing disillusion and systemic issues of males in America, an issue largely ignored in the mainstream discourse. Boys in the modern age are largely punished for acting like boys, and are not being properly transitioned into manhood. Schools today drug young boys up to make them “calm” and “attentive,” take away their time spent outside during recess, discipline them disproportionately, and do not even groom them to become real men because masculinity in society is increasingly being considered “toxic,” especially in the liberal-dominated female-centric world of modern education.
Another element linking almost all of these shooters: they are brought up in fatherless homes (This most recent tragedy is a rare exception; the Santa Fe shooter actually used his father’s gun for his spree). Only 60% of children are born to wedded parents, around half of all marriages end in divorce, and the US court system has a notorious bias towards mothers in family law cases.
Boys more and more often grow up without a consistent male presence in their lives, and growingly feel isolated without someone to mentor them to adulthood. It is in this environment of isolation and lack of guidance where mental and behavioral issues can proliferate and go undetected.
This horrific act of male youths terrorizing schools with acts of violence has been a trend in America for almost two decades now, and is indicative of an endemic problem in our society. And like most of the other endemic problems in America, it cannot truly be resolved with more laws or money being thrown at it.
If you really want to prevent another Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Adam Lanza, Nikolas Cruz, or Dimitrios Pagourtzis, don’t donate to the Brady Campaign or the NRA, donate to organizations that help mentor young boys. Don’t petition to ban weapons or arm teachers (it is NOT a teacher’s job to put their lives at risk, and they really don’t get paid enough to mandate weapons purchases), petition for more outdoor time for kids and hands-on vocational training for teens.
And ya know, some trained armed security for public schools wouldn’t hurt either.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, it is time for us to recognize and address that while our contemporary institutions have largely advanced women and girls, they have also had a negative impact on men and boys. We need to create systems that understand the fundamental differences between the way boys develop and the way girls develop, and help both sexes innovate and achieve at comparable rates. This can not only provide a solution to the horrific trend of disillusioned boys committing school shootings, without violating people’s civil liberties, but can also be a large step towards ending the so-called “gender wars” that have perforated American society for decades.
Let’s end the #WarOnBoys