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Monday, June 22, 2015

A common thread

     The latest shooting in Charleston South Carolina can be viewed in many contexts.  Racism, guns and mental health seem to be the most frequently mentioned.  I will leave out the faith context as being irrelevant to this situation.   The context in which I view this violent mass shooting and our too frequent mass shootings is young men with anger and hostility that plays out in violent outbursts.  We saw this play out in our own community in the past with the shooting at the Columbia Mall.  Young women have mental health issues, have anger, hatred and access to guns but these mass shooting seem limited to young men and not to young women with the same issues.
   Is it too simple to explain it as too much testosterone?  Aggression does seem linked in some ways to testosterone but how much of the influence comes from the culture in which boys are raised?  Haven't we all heard boys being told to "be a man" and "stop whining and crying."  When boys don't act out their feelings when young it is translated to "being a sissy."  We shouldn't be surprised when these repressed feelings are transferred to larger groups of the population that are convenient, vulnerable targets.
    The best description of this issue was in a TED talk from former Baltimore Colt Joe Ehrmann.

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