No sooner had news of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre captivated our nation in shared sorrow, then gun control headlines quickly dominated the media, with mental health headlines coming in a close second.
Not because I think keeping weapons out of the hands of people who are inclined to harm others is a bad thing. And not because I’m against ensuring that people who have mental illness receive good services and support.
I simply was dismayed that 20 young children and 7 adults had been murdered, and once again it appeared that we were going to avoid talking about the elephant in the room.
But then, I heard an expert open the door a crack. And then another expert seemed to imply there was an elephant. I saw the articles of Jackson Katz and Michael Kimmel naming the elephant in the room. Today, President Obama stated, “We’re going to need to look more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence.” Vice President Biden, a man who seems to understand the gendered nature of violence, the man who wrote the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, will lead a group to come up with a set of concrete proposals.
Perhaps there will be enough of us who are ready to change our social norms. Perhaps we will find a way to sever the ties between violence and masculinity in our culture. Perhaps we will get it right this time.