Today, one Dr. Frank Ochberg, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Michigan State University and former Associate Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, reports for CNN that boys and men are responsible for almost all school shootings, consistently, around the world.
For some reason, Dr. Ochberg explores several possible reasons for all this violence, focusing on American schools and trying to figure out why it’s apparently unusually difficult for American boys and men to go to school without opening fire and killing people, but ultimately concludes that each one of these alleged “factors” is irrelevant, wasting the readers’ time in the process and leaving us seriously wanting. What is the point of positing irrelevant “factors” and wasting precious words and punctuation — and space — exploring the irrelevant? This is a serious question, as there is most certainly a point to it. There is always, always a point.
For example, he asks himself, “Self? Are detection of warning signs, bullying and revenge fantasies, major mental illness, violent role models, drug culture, and extremism responsible for all this despicable male violence?”
And he answers “no” every time.
In the section exploring how mental illness is irrelevant, he names the agent of harm in these violent rampages — in a parenthetical — as follows:
[…]But America is really no worse than other nations when it comes to the numbers of seriously mentally ill, of violently mentally ill, of insufficiently treated violent mentally ill school-age boys. (Yes, we are talking about boys and young men; by far, they are the school shooters).
Okay! Yes, indeed we are talking almost exclusively about boys and men. But what he really wants to know, apparently, is not why boys and men around the world are going on violent, bloody rampages, in schools, with guns; he wants to know why American boys and men are doing this more than non-American boys and men.
After wasting lines and lines of prose exploring what’s not relevant, at the very end, he concludes that the availability of guns is the problem, and is why there are so many more deadly school shootings in America than anywhere else in the world. (Drug-culture, to the extent that it overlaps with gun-culture, plays an indirect part only).
From the article:
Access to guns is a significant factor in American school shootings. If kids could not and did not bring guns to school, we wouldn’t have Columbine, Virginia Tech or Chardon, Ohio. There have been crimes with knives and bats and fists. But school shootings are gun crimes. Kids with guns kill kids at school.
I do not think America is an extremist nation, compared to other nations with bloody histories and despotic leaders. True, we have polarized political speech, and some of that speech is about access to guns. But the reason we have an American school shooting problem that exceeds other nations has to do with access to loaded weapons by kids who should not have that access.
I’m not offering a gun control solution. But any serious attempt to prevent school shooting will have to attack the problem by determining who should not be armed, and preventing dangerous boys from bringing guns to school.
Oh dear! He slips into gender-neutral language there in the beginning, saying “kids” a bunch of times, but corrects himself at the end. It’s not “kids” doing this. It’s men, and male-bodied children.
Without exactly coming out and saying it, this expert’s bottom line deals a devastating blow to male- and male-violence apologists, and appears to be this: American boys and men kill people with guns, because they can.
Now, because he is making a comparison here, while he is asking why American rates of school shootings are relatively high, he is also implicitly asking why non-American rates of school-shootings are comparatively low. And again, while he doesn’t come right out and say it, he may also be implying that the only reason non-American boys and men don’t shoot up their schools MOAR, is because — and is only to the extent that — someone had the foresight to make guns hard(er) for them to get.
And that Americans, to date, haven’t made guns harder for boys and men to get, even though it’s completely foreseeable that boys and men globally, and in America, do and will continue to use guns to hurt and kill people. And that, the world over, boys and men do this, and will continue to do it because — and to whatever extent — they can.
And that this is a shared experience among men, cross-culturally. And…there’s probably a reason for that.
It’s buried beneath a lot of nonsense, but *that* appears to be the crux of this article. An indictment of men, globally, who, with numerous other factors being equal, will use guns to hurt and kill people, to whatever extent they can. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for boys and men around the world, is it?