Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Shape of Anger

Today I read this truth about what leads men to carry out a mass shooting, from a guy named Aaron Stark who says he almost did it when he was a teenager 20 years ago.

The aspect of Stark's story that I keep thinking about is why his (and others') alienation and hurt takes this particular form:

I wanted to take out as many people as possible — people who had tortured or ignored me — and then kill myself. It was 1997, and I had two possible locations mapped out: my school and a mall food court. I wanted to be heard. The abuse I’d suffered had closed me off, and I wanted to feel an emotion other than pain. I wanted to feel, for once, like I was in control, even if that meant spreading destruction and death.
Just as delusions of UFOs first were reported around the time humans were taking to the air, and usually were described as cigar-shaped craft, then later as saucer shapes after World War II... our angry, hurt men take out their feelings in a way shaped by our culture.

And mass shootings are the shape their dysfunction takes.

1 comment:

Gina said...

It's worth noting that women in their teens are also angry and hurt, especially those who have been abused, but they don't choose to act out the way boys do. Boys are socialized to be outer directed while girls are socialized to be inner directed. What would happen if boys inner directed socialization was included as well as outer for boys? And the same for girls? Would that increase the chances that angry, hurt boys would seek counseling and other help instead of wanting to hurt others? There's an opportunity here, but we're so caught up in the gun questions -- as we should be, though -- it's not possible to see.