Cold Hearts, Bloody Streets
For a technologically advanced country as wealthy and capable as this one is, we are an astonishingly violent country. Whenever one of these mass killings happens I keep finding myself forlornly wishing we could have an honest national conversation about why. But we won’t. Already it’s instantly turning into yet another argument about guns and then it’s all just flag waving and static and nobody is listening anymore, except to themselves.
I wish we could have a conversation about violence. And in particular, about male violence. I honestly don’t think the image of the sex driven violence prone human male is accurate. I think it’s a careless stereotype. I think, like the way it can be with certain dogs, you beat it into males one way or another. You annihilate their capacity for sympathy, kill their ability to trust and love, and what is left, that all too human capacity for aggression and hate, well you just let it take root and grow, uninhibited. You beat the heart out of a boy, one way or another, and then you fill the void with hate…and it doesn’t matter who they hate, just that they hate, and that they are afraid not to hate.
From the bully culture in grade schools, to the pulpit thumpers who preach male supremacy over women, to the militaristic warrior culture that reaches from the pentagon to Wall Street, teaching a kind of human law of the jungle, dominate or be dominated, we systematically dehumanize our male citizens. Some days I look at what school kids have to go through, at the casual acceptance by our courts of male domestic violence, at the routine business-as-usual culture of predatory capitalism, at a conservative politics that claims letting working citizens to perish of sickness and disease is the highest kind of social morality, and I wonder that we aren’t even more violent than we already are.
I wish we could have this conversation. But no. We will have another bitter pointless argument about guns, and wash, rinse, repeat, until the next time some walking time bomb goes off and kills. And then we’ll do it all over again. And the bullies will still rule the school hallways, young men will still be fed the idea that their manhood depends on dominating women, predators in business suits will still raid and loot the life savings of working people and be exalted as job creators, preachers will still preach that god hates atheists, liberals and homosexuals and that god made man to rule over women, and politicians will win votes by promising to take food out of the mouths of poor people and be regarded as statesmen in their hometown newspapers. And we will go to bed some nights when the news is horrifying, wondering why oh why can’t Americans look at one another and see a neighbor whose life is worth cherishing too.