It happened again this week, this time in a small town in Pennsylvania when yet another angry loner, frustrated by his inability to connect with members of the opposite sex, vented his rage by killing three women — women he did not even know — before turning the gun on himself.
Guns, of course, are far, far too accessible in the USA, but I’ll save that for another blog. (They are, along with rap music and NASCAR, cultural distinctions I’ve never been quite able to appreciate about my homeland.) What seems as prevalent as automatic weapons, though, are various forms of misogyny. From Virginia Tech to the home of the Amish, we hear the story of the misfit male who blames his inability to relate to others on women and then decides to assert his “masculinity” in a violent way. The statistics on stalking, rape, and assault are as mind-wrenching as they are dispiriting.
The boy-ologist, Michael Thompson, points out in book, “Raising Cain,” that if boys can’t learn to think through or process out, then they will resort to acting out. The story of Cain was just the first example of this.
At UCC we have a unique opportunity — and I’d argue a special obligation — to deal forcefully with this issue. If those of us fortunate enough to work at boys schools can’t help our students answer the question: “What does it mean to be a good man?” then nothing else seems to matter.