The Heart and the Fist: The issue behind the triggers

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In the wake of the mass shooting problem in the U.S., gun control has been a hot topic of debate. Even though the U.S. has a gun problem, the issue does not stop simply with getting rid of weapons of mass harm, but also by reforming how the country deals with educating children, especially how young men are being raised.

Gun control is the only solution our citizens are running to. Many articles from major news sites ranging from the Bay Area to East Coast seem to talk about gun control as the only way of curtailing mass shootings. Even though gun control is a move in the right direction, once we think about it, there is an underlying issue with how we raise our children, especially our young men, and how we basically train them to be weapons.

A majority of mass shootings in the U.S. have been committed by men and young males. Even the Washington Post published an article on how most U.S. based mass shooters are almost always men, there wasn’t a clear percentage, but it’s a massive difference between men and women. With how we raise our young men to deal with negative emotions, it makes a lot of sense.

It is not a far assumption that from an early age, boys are raised to deal with negative emotions, be it sadness or fear, through aggression. Have a bully problem? Don’t take it, show them who’s on top! Feeling sad? Go play football or punch a punching bag. We tell our boys that the heart and the fist are the same size, but we forget they don’t have the same function. Sometimes talking it out is better than fighting through. We often don’t let our boys talk out their feelings like how we let our girls. In an article done by the Recovery Across Mental Health, women are 12 percent more likely to be treated for a mental health issue. We need to let our boys know that therapy and mental health treatment is a positive experience and is an option for them.

Fixing a massive issue like mass shootings, is a challenge that delves into a lot of interconnecting problems that society is only beginning to address. Guns clearly play a big role in why the U.S. has so many mass shootings, but they are only a tool used by the person who really wants to hurt other people. It’s no coincidence that men are more prone to having these feelings because of how we were raised, because most of them do not know how to deal with negative emotions, other than aggression.

We forget that our boys are not rifles or shotguns, we have more options than to hurt and destroy. Boys have more emotions other than anger, and should be dealt with in different ways. If we want to stop mass violence among our citizens, we need to start letting everyone experience sadness, fear, and other negative emotions and teach them how to deal with it in other ways than with their fists.

A quick solution is having strict gun controls, but this is not dealing with the underlying issue that caused all of this in the first place. It also acts only as a Band-Aid for a wound needing more attention. A country with no guns will still have bullying, fighting, and overall violence among the citizens, admittedly on a smaller scale, but it is still there. Even if we put up strict gun regulations, undoubtedly, people seeking to harm a mass of people will find a way with or without those guns.

We can put as many gun regulations up as we want, even enforced to the highest degree, but like the alcohol prohibition era, determined people will find a way to get what they want. If society goes down deep into why people want to hurt others and prevent it from the beginning, maybe this could make regular mass violence a thing of the past.

If we teach our young men that negative feelings are not a bad thing if handled properly, then maybe we will not have to keep hearing about a mass shooting regularly. It requires us to start with our children, primarily our boys.