Previously in this series:
- “A Veteran on the Need to Control Civilian Arms”
- “‘Show Us the Carnage,’ Continued”
- “Only in America”
- “Show Us the Carnage”
- “The Empty Rituals of an American Massacre”
and before that:
- “Why the AR-15 Is So Lethal”
- “The Nature of the AR-15”
- “Why the AR-15 Was Never Meant to be in Civilian Hands”
- “More on the Military and Civilian History of the AR-15”
- “The Certainty of More Shootings,” from back after the Aurora massacre
- “Two Dark American Truths from Las Vegas,” with included video.
Here are some readers with extra elements on this discussion—political, cultural, international. First, an American reader on the interaction of current concepts of masculinity and the nearly all-male population of mass gun murderers:
There are obviously many components to the gun and mental illness issues but one thread that never seems to be acknowledged: America is going through a crisis of masculinity brought on by structural changes in our economy.
Jobs, if men possess them, no longer provide routes to self-esteem for working class men and so, with the help of the NRA, guns have become a talisman for a potency and meaning that has evaporated in the marketplace.
Take a moment to look at the gun magazines at your local WalMart and register the themes that are hammered home. Constant references not to hunting but to warfare, and the trappings of masculinity, the humorless insistence on the tacticality of every day objects, including, I kid you not, a spork with a hidden knife. These industries are preying on the needs of men to feel like they have a job, bigger than themselves, a protector of the fatherland, the constitution.
When I look at [the Las Vegas mass murderer] I see a man who gave himself a job. He worked out all the details as though he were a character in his own mission impossible. He moved from stage to stage with the precision of an engineer. He embraced this culture of death that is fed to men as a surrogate for that which was available for all too short a time in this culture: the ability to take care of a family on one salary.