Tuesday, October 23, 2012


    I am thankful that I am writing this without being in the circumstance of grieving, or anger, in having just lost someone to murder.  I am writing as an observer of a fairly consistent dynamic within our American culture.  I am speaking about our propensity toward killing each other.
   I have written previously, with anger, about the killing of our inner city young people, especially our young men.  Some of my anger has been about the relative silence on this subject by national leaders, even well known civil rights leaders, who become incensed  when they see racial injustice or police brutality. While agreeing that we should always be angry about injustice I don't like us to be silent about what is proportionately much worse than, what is today, relatively isolated incidents of racial killing.
    I would like us to have some sustained anger over what is happening way too frequently in our country.  It is difficult to go very long in time without seeing another story in the news about a domestic or employment related killing.  These killings are often multiple killings or shootings, and the perpetrator often kills himself or commits "suicide by cop."  We are a nation of blood, more than we like to admit, and it seems to be everywhere around us.  Yes, there are certain neighborhoods that don't have nightly drive by shootings, thank God some of those still exist.  True normalcy would be an answer to David's prayer in Psalm 144:14, "...that there be no cry of distress in our streets."  Yet there is no neighborhood exempt from murder because it happens wherever people live or work together.
    Often the scenario is a woman who has recently separated or divorced from her boyfriend or husband respectively.  We seem to have a substantial amount of men in our society who cannot handle the fact of their woman leaving them, and they threaten that if they are left they will kill the woman, her (or their) children, her parents, and anyone who gets in the way.  How does our society create such men?  What is the culture, the psychology, the spiritual bankruptcy that fosters such proclivity?
    It is interesting to me that such situations often happen when an "order of restraint," injunctions or some kind of legal restraining order has been issued.  Facing jail, even the presence of police, does not seem to prevent angry males from stalking and hunting down the female they feel has destroyed their life.  This is "maleness" off the chain, where a man will let nothing stop him to accomplish his mission.
    This is also a glimpse into the weakness of men, the profound depth of feeling worthless, powerless, and emotionally emasculated.  Men cannot abide it and they will reduce themselves to their lowest common denominator, which is to be physical and to take physical action.  This kind of thing happens on the job when employers and supervisors and those who seem to have control over a worker, usually male, face that angry male worker (now holding a gun) who will not endure the insult to his life being dominated, and in his mind destroyed, by others.
    Ego weakness in our society is a prevalent disease.  In the ghettos it is quick offense at being dissed, sometimes territorial or group competition; juvenile idiocy dressed up as being tough.  In the suburbs it is more hidden behind the blank looks of men who marry, work, and feel like they are nothing in a world of women who have minds of their own or employers who decide to call them extraneous.
    Obviously having lethal means translates into more lethality.  Without so many guns we wouldn't have so many murders or suicides.  I love guns; love holding them, love firing them.  There is something powerful about holding one and having one.  I know they are dangerous.  I would kind of like people to think of me that way, that I have the potential to be dangerous.  I'm not a bad shot either.  I love cowboy movies, I love action movies, I even love the sort of vigilante revenge movies where the abused guy finally comes out the winner in the end.  I am such an American.  None of that makes, or can make me, manly.
    This is the problem, and unless we deal with it we will continue to have a scourge of quiet, strange, unknown individuals who one day become infamous because they kill everyone that at one time they said they loved, or knew, or worked with.  We keep being surprised by such things when we ought to start dealing with some of the sources of the problem.
    I don't think the problem is simply trying to outlaw guns, and if anyone wants to rid the country of all the illegal guns and keep criminals from having them, or the clinically insane from buying them, I will be thrilled and supportive.  I don't even care if you want to register my guns.  The government knows I own a car, and I can kill you with that too.
      I don't think the problem is strong women.  Women who can out talk men, or who have more education than men, or who seem sometimes to get away with all kinds of things because our society still thinks of them as the victim even when they can be the evil engine of things gone wrong in a relationship, family, or at the office.
    I don't think the answer is homosexuality for those who can't figure out their sexual identity, or need love but are terribly intimidated by the very difficult obstacle of figuring out how to live with someone of the opposite sex.
    I do think the answer is very traditional, and in absence of that it must be religious.  I divide those things because I do think God Almighty gave the world a lot of common grace when he established the family.  This is a fairly consistent picture (though with plenty of failed men in history to make one think those examples give the lie to my opinion) of traditional cultures and the historical family.  Men who work, who take a wife and are shown respect by that wife, who raise children and teach them to respect their parents.  There, that is pretty much it.  Oh, I know we want to add affection and love, building up self esteem.  Yes, those would be great additions if they didn't already come with the package, but historically it usually did.  It is a sad commentary that some think a patriarchal culture oppressed women, usually inferred by someone's own personal experience, but traditional families didn't create so many murderous boys.
    That atmosphere usually produced boys who could reduplicate what they had grown up in.  Muslim cultures do the same thing except where those that particularly oppress their women and girls and keep them ignorant.  Those cultures develop masses of insecure men, and those men murder and kill their wives, daughters, and infidels.
    Cultures do not stay consistent.  Cultures often suffer from cultural disintegration and both the cause and effect of that is family disintegration.  One can redefine the word family to keep up some form of political politeness, but as families fail so do neighborhoods, societies and nations.
    I mentioned religion, and as I am a Christian I know that Jesus redeems and makes new what was once broken and perverted.  God can make men men again, and if ever that was needed in America it is today, when weak men go on killing sprees to somehow prove to themselves they are still powerful.  They are in fact broken men who can still take action, like in horror movies where the hand has been cut off but it still is chasing you down. They are in fact not real men, not worthy of the name, not men who know love and how to give it.  Males who instead have a consistent assurance, with the confidence that even if their world falls apart they are rooted by their heritage and have hope in their future.

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