Needed: A “Men Against Gun Violence” Campaign

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Well, I won’t back down/ No, I won’t back down…
I’ll stand my ground/Won’t be turned around…
I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down,

Gonna stand my ground

             Tom Petty, “I Won’t Back Down”

Again. Worse than ever.  A horrifying mass murder by a lone killer. This time in Las Vegas.

Republicans call for improved mental health screenings. Democrats revive demands for tighter gun control. Sure, fine; have at it.

Meanwhile a clue stares us right in the face, a key to preventing this madness and mayhem: The race and gender of the shooter. White and male. Again.

Okay, guys, white guys—all guys—this is our moment to say, “Enough!” This is the moment to start a national “Men Against Gun Violence” campaign. Right after Newtown, women launched “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense” the day after the murder of 20 six and seven year-olds, and six staff at Sandy Hook elementary school. The day after!

What are we waiting for, guys? You want to show courage? You want to act tough and strong? You want to stand tall for your family, your country? Then, let’s do it! NOW.

Let’s organize legions of men to question our gender privilege and challenge men to chart a new course in the gun violence debate. And, in the process, accelerate the transformation of our ideas about masculinity and manhood—including, especially, how we raise boys.

Men in their sixties, for instance—age mates of the 64 year-old shooter, Stephen Paddock—could be among the organizers of the campaign, demanding we recast US gun culture. Like me, a lot are grandfathers; many have time on their hands, as well as money and access.  They could, for instance, start a project to convince 58 senators—one for each of the murder victims—to vote not only for gun control, but also for funding the CDC to study how boys are socialized. Then, since there were 520 people wounded, they could call for all 435 members of the House of Representatives to vote for sane gun legislation. Add the governors of all 50 states, plus the mayors of the 35 largest cities in the country and it totals 520. See, in a campaign like this we are limited only by our imaginations.

Fathers, single men, gay men, men of color, indigenous men, white men, male coaches, clergymen, mailmen—the list of potential men to join the campaign is long.  Let’s not forget athletes and coaches in the NFL, and MLB, the NBA, the NHL. Even team owners could link arms in such an effort.

Musicians could play a part, too. Caleb Keeter, lead guitarist for the Josh Abbott Band, which performed just hours before the hail of bullets rained down on the Las Vegas music festival, could be recruited. “I’ve been a proponent of the [second] amendment my entire life,” Keeter posted on Twitter the day after the murders. “Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was.”

Guys, we’re problem solvers, so let’s figure this out. The National Rifle Association considers most men tacit supporters. Part of our speaking out must include calling out the NRA. If we stay silent, they have us right where they want us.

The common denominator in all the mass shootings—Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Aurora, Orlando, the list goes on and on—is that all the shooters were men. Let’s not shy away from that sad truth.

A lot of white men today feel the diversity train has left them in the station. Instead of playing the victim, these men have a lot to offer a society undergoing a major social transformation. This is not just an invitation; it’s a call to action for men to use the power and privilege we hold to start a “Men Against Gun Violence” campaign in every state and territory—and to include boys and young men each step along the way. Too many men have been the shooters; it’s time for some to be the peacemakers. What are we waiting for?

Viva Las Vegas.

 

  • Worgenator

    Rob, Rob, Rob. You are just amazing.

    You write: “Guys, we’re problem solvers”

    So, uh, women can’t be problem solvers? Why the obvious slight against women there?

    You write: The common denominator in all the mass shootings….

    Yeah, they all wore pants. They all had breakfast that day. Such a fallacy. Yes, they were all men but that is not the common denominator we should be looking at.
    Mental health, radicalism, behavior and yes, drugs prescription or otherwise.

    You write: Let’s organize legions of men to question our gender privilege

    Another fallacy. OUR privilege? I have never met a single man-boss that selected a man over a woman due to this mythical “privilege” in the 30 years I have been in business. It may exist in your slanted, biased textbooks but in the real world it is ridiculously rare. If anything, women are more prone to select women over men. Seen it happen that way many times. But I don’t expect you to believe me.

    Oh and lets not forget that there was a woman there with him who saw his melt down and could have got him help but she DID NOTHING. She could have saved all those people but she was getting a free ride from his gambling and real estate money so she said and did nothing.

    But you and your ilk have no problem using tragedy to promote agenda. Like Hillary said, “never waste a good tragedy”. (paraphrasing)
    Shame on you for using a killing to promote your agenda and to get click throughs and ad views on your articles. You are disgusting. ad hom!! but its true.

    The twisted version of feminism you are selling is just as crazy as the worldview of the gun nut, the radical zealot or the war mongering leaders of this crazy world.

    • StephenMcArthur

      While I can’t speak for him, I seriously doubt that Rob Okun was implying that women are not problem-solvers. The fact is that the stereotype is that men are problem-solvers and I think Rob’s point was pretty simple: men should be active and vocal as part of an overall strategy to end gun violence in this country. Worgenator, the fact that you have never met a man who employs his privilege in business or in his dealings with women is a miracle of epic proportions. But I suspect your claim is actually an example of the dictum that privilege is invisible to those who enjoy it. Denial of the common denominator that these have all been men is exactly that: a denial. It is prevarication and equivocation, an excuse that only serves the cause of not holding men accountable for a massive worldwide culture of violence that gives us constant war, individual and mass rapes, domestic violence, rampant gun violence, the sexual of young girls and the objectification of women, and a smorgasbord of media that teaches boys and men that women and girls are property, inferior, and whose private parts can be grabbed at any time. The beliefs, attitudes and behaviors boys and men are inculcated with at an early age are unhealthy for women, but also for men themselves. As a formidable woman once said: “What greater tragedy is there than for a man to be disconnected from his own heart.”

      • Worgenator

        You are blinded by your biases and agenda.
        Why can’t we all just condemn violence? Why can’t we all, men, women, blacks, whites, EVERYONE just join in ONE cause, one GLOBAL cause to pursue peace and justice for all people. Instead of driving wedges between races and sexes and cultures.

        But I see that you are just so blindly enraged over Trumps election that you now think that young men are all instructed at birth to grab woman’s parts at every opportunity. It must be so convenient to have a one dimensional view of the world.

        I guess I am a miracle and everybody I have met in 30 years in high tech. AND of course you don’t address my comment that WOMEN are more likely to choose women over men.

        Really you guys are hilarious. Hey, you go ahead and start your “Men against gun violence” campaign and have at it. Come to my town and I will debate you in person. Maybe we can go shoot trap, grab a few pussies and go on a male only hiring spree.

        LOL!

        • StephenMcArthur

          Ouch. Misogyny is a very difficult thing to hide.

          • Worgenator

            Oh you are so full of crap it is laughable.
            I am a misogynist because I disagree with you, because I don’t USE women as a revenue source like you and Bob here.
            Why don’t you quit hiding behind skirts and get real jobs you orangutan!

  • bmorejoe

    This comes up when I google voice male. Ironic.
    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/JGBVDj_qap4/hqdefault.jpg

    • StephenMcArthur

      This photo is connected to a promotion for the musical group Voice Male and has nothing whatsoever to do with the magazine Voice Male.

  • Don Mathis

    I would like to ask readers to take a look at the Wiki article, “2017 mass shootings in the United States.” Click each of the links for mass shooters. Do a name search for each of the shooters. Two of them are minors, so I don’t know their race. But out of the 14 total mass shooters, six of them were perpetrated by people of color.
    Take a look at the statistics for 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:2016_mass_shootings_in_the_United_States. I count eight of the 14 mass shooters last year were not white Americans. Please do your own research; don’t take my word for it.
    I say “Enough!” Enough of the mass shootings. And enough of blaming white men.
    Thank you!

  • Worgenator

    Hey Bob,
    How are you doing assembling the legions of men against gun violence?
    Do you have a plan to do this yet? are you just all talk?