The Washington Post’s latest documentary is focused on what they suggest is the role masculinity plays in mass shootings in the U.S.
The WAPO documentary opens by indicating their have been over 150 mass shootings in America since 1966 and “all but three were committed by men.” They add, “And more broadly, the majority of gun violence in America is perpetrated by men.”
Having posited men in such a light, the documentary then shifts to masculinity–defining traits and characteristics–eventually placing masculinity at the root of mass shootings and suggesting current efforts to rein in masculine tendencies could be applied to limit gun crime.
The documentary lists “traits” of masculine as “control, power, independence, [and] entitlement.” They take these traits to the halls of academia for examination, with professors such as University of Arizona’s Jennifer Carlson asking, “What is it about guns that gets linked to masculinity? Or what is it about masculinity that guns address?”
Carlson comments, “That physical object matters. That is part of how you go through your everyday life and how you affirm in your everyday life that you are a particular kind of person.”
Albion College Scott Melzer suggests “guns are symbols” to which men are drawn; that guns are viewed as fulfilling the demands of masculinity.
Melzer said, “I think we gravitate, especially in times of tragedy, to simple explanations. We want an easy fix. Fix the mental health system, fix the gun show loophole.” He then suggested one of the solutions has to be “redefining what it means to be a boy and a man.”
Perhaps without intention, the WAPO documentary presents men as creatures with posteriori longings that are fulfilled by gravitating toward ideals such as masculinity. The commentary excludes the observation that men enter the world with an a priori bent toward masculinity, at least to a degree, because the traits of masculinity are the traits of the male gender. As a result, the WAPO documentary rests on post-modern theories that men are conditioned to believe they ought to be masculine, and thereafter pursue the traits of masculinity, while overlooking the longer-established view that men are born with a disposition for masculinity; that they are hardwired for it and grow into it as part of nature.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.