I had thought to write a blog entry about the season, the celebration of light in darkness. Or maybe about the Geminid meteor shower. I actually saw some! But then I heard about the killings in Sandy Hook.
When I heard about another school shooting I thought, oh no, here we go again. Then I heard who the victims were, just little children. Could it get any worse? We have seen mass shootings all too often in America but seeing these little children - well, it broke my heart.
Some of my friends said that these shootings are all due to the prevalence of assault weapons in America and that strict gun control is necessary. Others said that a crazy man will always find a way, laws or not, to get a gun and kill. Another said that there is too little access to mental health for people who need it. Several blogged or posted that violence in the media is responsible. A good friend wrote that children are not being taught coping skills for dealing with their problems, a very good point. All of them are partially right.
I decided to look into the history of school shootings in the US. I was startled to see that they go back to before the nation's founding, although they have become more numerous recently. In every case but one the shooter has been male.
I am not the first person to notice this. The demands made on American men (to be emotional rocks, tough guys, always number one) are hard enough on the ordinary guy, let alone someone with serious emotional problems and no coping skills. Men are supposed to be capable of violence, although only in a good cause, as a last resort. Easy access to firearms can make this a deadly mix but the problems are far more deeply rooted.
It's easy to see how our society hurts women. I get that. I'm a woman. What is not so easy to see is how that same society hurts men. And that hurts all of us. We need to think about this, to do something, to change our demands, as a society, on boys and men. Maybe then we will read about mass shootings in history books, and only there.
Writing about the season of light will have to wait. My heart breaks for those little murdered children and their families.