Gunning for the Male Psyche

By Samir Shukla

Every few weeks there is news of a mass shooting somewhere in the United States. This time it hit home. Charlotte's name came up on this day, April 30, 2019, the last day of classes for the spring semester at University of North Carolina at Charlotte (my alma mater and the university that my daughter is currently attending), as the news quickly spread of an active shooter on campus. A shooter entered a classroom and began shooting.

One of the students ran toward the shooter and physically attempted to stop him. The student along with another died and four more were injured. The shooter, a young guy who for unknown reasons decided to shoot his fellow students, was quickly taken into custody by the police.

Once again debates about guns flared up. Here is the reality. We are a gun country, have been and always will be. Whatever is your interpretation of the second amendment, guns are in America's DNA. There are no simple solutions to gun violence, or most types of violence for that matter.

There is a bigger underlying dilemma here. It concerns half of the human species. I'm talking about males. I've written before that an overwhelming majority of violence of all sorts are conducted by my gender.

I often think about this. Yes, thoughtful regulations and background checks would help, more readily available and affordable mental health care would help, but more laws and rules still don't deter the innate male tendency toward violence. This is why we need a different, long-term approach.

What's really needed is a massive societal effort geared toward, let's call it, “Male Care." Yeah, it sounds odd, what is male care and why is something like that needed? The better question is what is it that drives males to violence? Females also experience physical, financial, and mental problems that males experience, but they don't resort to violence to try to “solve" those problems.

The overwhelming numbers of violent incidents, including shootings, brawls, domestic violence, religious extremism, wars, road rage, you name it, are spewed by males. We can make more laws and instill tougher punishment, but that doesn't get to the source of the problem.

A global effort involving multiple forces to reach out to boys in a “father figure manner" is a must, especially for boys who lack such figures in their lives. This is a complex discussion, but I guess what we really in the long term is a holistic manner of raising boys, if that makes sense, where they are able to find their place in the daily dissonance and rapidly evolving ethos of humankind as strong and stable men.

It's where males are instilled with a discipline and restraint that can be accessed when the dark forces of violence lurking beneath threaten to overtake them. This may be the only real remedy to reduce violence of all manners.


Samir Shukla is the editor of Saathee magazine. Contact -