The Elephant Has a Name

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.

So disheartening.

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.

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