Yet again, another shooting has happened in America, and I am sad to say I believe it won't be the last. It saddens my heart deeply when lives are unnecessarily taken, and I find it odd that this has become something that our society is now on consant alert for. I remember when Columbine shooting happened. It was as an eerie day, and yet we seem to be living in a sort of groundhogs type society where this is repeating.
When ponding on the lost lives and the heated gun control debates that are ruining social media, I wondered what can I actually tangible do to make a difference in these moments when I feel so helpless from afar.
I wanted to formulate practical steps that could help men make a difference rather than debating with their beloved relatives and acquaintance on social media that they do not see eye to eye with.
As you read through the following ideas, I have compiled I hope they help you rethink how you approach issues and heated political arguments. In my personal opinion, I think more gun control would not be the end of the world, but I do not believe that doing this will address the root of the issue. Diving into that topic though is a whole other ordeal.
You see behind every perpetrator there are so many factors. There could be bullies, mental health issues, lack of emotional support, and dysfunction at home just to name a few. To only think guns are a factor in these shootings is shortsighted. Sure if you got rid of all guns shootings would decrease but would killings?
What is driving these kids to the point of internal and external destruction of lives? What gets them to the point where they pull that trigger? Since the target audience of this blog is men I will be specifically focusing on the factors that involve them.
In the conclusion of the study "The Causal Effects of Father Absence," this is stated, "We find strong evidence that father absence negatively affects children’s social-emotional development, particularly by increasing externalizing behavior. These effects may be more pronounced if father absence occurs during early childhood than during middle childhood, and they may be more pronounced for boys than for girls."
So, for example, have you ever asked yourself how many of these shooters come from a fatherless home? I mean sure it is easier to blame guns for all our problems but what if we have a generation of fatherless boys who are emotionally unstable due to the lack of father figures in their lives? What if this is a key factor but blaming a gun is an easier solution because as men then we are not responsible.
The article, "Fatherless homes a factor in mass shootings," states the following.
"The adoptive father of the 19-year-old killer of 17 people, Nikolas Cruz, died when he was 6, not the usual way in which a son is left without a male role model. Far more often, it is fathers fleeing their responsibilities, the mother never getting married or divorces. But, in the case of Cruz, we still had a struggling mother who needed help..."
The author continues, "Roof is the white supremacist who slaughtered nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church. His parents were divorced before he was born. Adam Lanza is the mass shooter who killed his mother and then 20 first-graders and six staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. During the previous two years, he had not even talked to his father."
The last quote I'll use from that article is this, "Brad Wilcox will testify. He is a professor and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, studied school shootings in 2013 and found all the perpetrators had either had a mother who never got married or had seen a divorce in the family."
Isn't this fascinating? If you were to actually believe that the reason behind shootings was a lack of a father figure would you want to strengthen gun control or start finding ways to get more fathers to step up to the plate? Would this influence what you would petition to fix/change?
For example. If you knew the reason your car was running out of gas was because you never went to the gas station who would you blame? Yourself right? You wouldn't chose to protest the government for its car regulations and tell the car manufacturers to make their cars more gas efficient? Doing that would seem a bit odd right?
Yet, very often it seems easier to blame guns for displaying the deep cultural issues of our society. For the lack of fathers in homes and the loss emotional intelligence in our culture at large is an even more complex issue that needs to be addressed.
- 23.6% of US children (17.4 million) lived in father-absent homes in 2014.
- In 2011, children living in female-headed homes with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6%. This is over four times the rate for children living in married couple families.
- A study of 263 13 to 18-year-old adolescent women seeking psychological services found that the adolescents from father-absent homes were 3.5 times more likely to experience pregnancy than were adolescents from father-present homes. Moreover, the rate of pregnancy among adolescents from father-absent homes was 17.4% compared to a four (4) percent rate in the general adolescent population.
- Disengaged and remote interactions of fathers with infants is a predictor of early behavior problems in children and can lead to externalizing behaviors in children as early as age one.
- Researchers using secondary data from the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research examined gun carrying and drug trafficking in young men, linking father absence to the likelihood of engaging in these behaviors. Results from a sample of 835 juvenile male inmates found that father absence was the only disadvantage on the individual level with significant effects on gun carrying, drug trafficking, and co-occurring behavior. Individuals from father-absent homes were found to be 279% more likely to carry guns and deal drugs than peers living with their fathers.
- Children with negative attitudes about school and their teachers experienced avoidance and ambivalence with their fathers. On the other hand, children with a secure attachment to their father and whose father was involved had a higher academic self-concept. The father-child attachment was more associated with the child’s social-emotional school outcomes than their academic achievement.
- Father involvement is related to positive cognitive, developmental, and socio-behavioral child outcomes, such as improved weight gain in preterm infants, improved breastfeeding rates, higher receptive language skills, and higher academic achievement.
- Fifty-five (55.2) percent of WIC recipients are raised by single-mothers, 48.2% of all Head Start recipients are from father-absent homes, and 37% of public assistance and Section 8 housing are female-headed households.
Anyway, I could keep going and going with this stuff but here is the reality that I want to expose. We men need to start stepping up to the plate and engaging with society. I am not a father so I do not have that level of influence at this point in my life but I am a writer so I am trying to do my part.
I just want to help empower men to think about these issues in a different light. So, if you think what I am saying is interesting and you want to approach life from a different angle, check out the following practical ways listed below.
+ Grow in Emotional Intelligence.
This is one of the most practical and impactful ways each and every man can impact society. How? Because emotional intelligence influence each and every interaction you have with other human beings.
It helps you create a healthy emotional environment for young and old. It impacts your professional, personal, and social life. It is in many ways the backbone of emotional well being that is deteriorating in western society.
I wrote some in-depth steps over at, "7 Practical Ways To Be An Authentic Man," if want you to learn more about this.
+ Speak up.
If you are passionate about your beliefs in gun control, want to start a program to stop bullying, or feel a need to help those who are fatherless. Do something other than posting on social media.
Join a local non-profit that helps in these areas or go to your local government and find out ways that you can have a tangible impact on your surrounds. Just please for the love of God stop bitching and moaning on your social media accounts.
At the core of this practical step, I just implore you to grow in assertiveness. A lazy man who says and does nothing is worthless.
+ Learn and teach self-defense.
Now, this practical step is both reactive and forward thinking. I think it is essential for men to know how to defend themselves and those they love.
Join your local self-defense gym and invest in yourself. Once you have learned the basics start teaching those around you. With boys I find this to be very important because self-defense and martial arts teaches you self-control and anger management on top of being able to be able to protect yourself.
+ Wake up.
In a world where there are so many distractions, it is easy to forget that which happens. Living an intentional life can be difficult but it is necessary if we do not want to see our societies crumble. Men need to be present and show up in life and society. We do play a significant role.
If you want help becoming more present as a man I have written two articles that may help you on this journey.
The whole point of this article is to get men to think beyond what the initial media is feeding us. I hope you the reader take time to ponder these thoughts I have written down and take tangible action as you see fit.
If you have other ideas or suggestions I would love to hear them. I am aware I am not a scholar and I continue to seek knowledge so your input is highly welcome.
That being said I hope you the best on your journey and please start taking action today!