Re: Littleton, Jonesboro, Paducah, etc.

From: Linda Purrington (
Date: Tue May 11 1999 - 12:01:54 EDT

Forwarded from Women Organizing for Change Alert List


>From Davy Crockett to Rambo, male culture has celebrated guns as a way for
men to wreak vengeance and act on their perceived righteous beliefs.
Since the wresting of this nation's lands from the Native Americans, men have
used guns to enforce their entitlement. And getting a gun, with all its phallic
symbolism, is a rite of passage for far too many young men in rural, suburban
and urban areas, marking their entry into macho manhood, providing visible proof
of their virility.

If symbolism were all, there would be no problem. But couple the
availability of guns with the inability of too many men and boys to
control their anger and the male sense of entitlement fostered by the culture,
and death is the result. Each year, 32,000 people are on the losing ends of
this guns-and-anger combination, dying in the name of this symbolism. 15
children each day are victims of gun violence.

The recent mass shooting at Columbine High School should bring even more
clarity to this problem. Once again, young men, armed to the teeth,
have killed to get revenge for being harassed and disrespected. And easy
access to guns and bombs, along with right-wing fueled hatred and
Nazi-fostered sense of white male entitlement, made their reaction
almost inevitable. Had these boys been girls, the harassment, more than
likely, would have been endured in silence, and internalized. But clarity and
solving the problem - seems to be far from the collective will of those
in power.

Perhaps unconsciously, politicians, media commentators and others in
positions of authority have been unwilling or unable to address this
nexus of guns and male violence. The contortions used to avoid naming this
problem range from using gender neutral terms (such as children) to talk about
the shooters, to banning black trench coats, to blaming abortion. And even those
(including President Clinton) who talk about guns, talk in terms of keeping
access for some guns, rather banning them altogether. It seems the mystic pull
of guns as a symbol of virility continues in the nation's male-oriented psyche.

But we cannot permit our nation to be defined by machismo. The results
are too deadly for both women and men.

Just as we have on issues ranging from birth control to sexual harassment to
child support, women must force our nation to look at guns through
women's realistic eyes. We must force our nation to recognize the deadly
facts and fatal fables connected with guns. And we must, as the people
of other nations have, stop all general access to guns.
forwarded by Linda Purrington
        Title IX Advocates

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