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Why boys have committed all mass school killings in the US since 1927
Mass killings in US schools is not new, and have been occurring for the past few decades. But we can't wash away the massacre that took place in Newtown, Connecticut, as yet another statistic. Why 20 young lives, and those of 6 adults, were lost due to 20-year-old Adam Lanza's insane blitz might have to do with his mental make up, parental issues or ease of access to guns. But yet another shooting by a man also points to the fact that all the mass school killings in the US have involved only men - not one has featured a woman. In this exclusive story, this citizen journalist spoke with psychologists to understand this phenomenon.

WHILE CATHERINE, Chase, Ana, James, Olivia, Dylan, Charlotte, Grace, Emilie, Noah, Josephine, Caroline, Jessica, Jesse and Avielle will never be able to come back to their home - it is important to understand what we are missing or overlooking as a society when it comes to men and violence.

The fact that all the US school mass murders have been committed by men does not mean that we are comparing the two genders but it is a quest to find out why girls do not act in the same way inspite of being vulnerable, frustrated and having access to guns, just as men do. It is a fact we must understand to prevent future happenings of such senseless acts.

A quick recounting of facts about mass killings in US schools dating back to 1927 indicates the overwhelming propensity of the male's involvement in mass killings. Infamous as the Bath School disaster, Andrew Kehoe killed 38 elementary school children, 2 teachers and 4 adults in the Bath township of Michigan. December of 1989 saw another such incident in Montreal, Quebec, which came to be known as the Montreal Massacre in which Marc Lepine killed 14 women and injured four others, as per CNN.

The problem of soft gun laws in the US gained international notice after the Columbine High School massacre in which two boys Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold wrecked havoc by murdering 12 students and injuring 21 others in 1999. This incident was followed in 2007 by the Virgina Tech rampage in which Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others in two separate attacks. The next most horrific attack, after the 2007 attack, was in Connecticut when Adam Lanza gunned down 20 children and 6 adults. In all the above examples, all the killers were men, and all committed suicide after their rampage.

Given all these facts, Atul Verma, a clinical psychologist, practicing for the last 8 years, pinpointed the fact to this citizen journalist that society's acceptance of the two genders are different. People take aggression as a positive sign for boys but for girls who are aggressive, masculine or tomboyish there is no social acceptance. In the same way, a boy who is caring, sensitive or feminine is ridiculed right from their elders to their friends.

Dr. Shefali Batra, a Psychiatrist, Therapist and a Counselor said, “Girls grow up with dolls, while boys enjoy cars and guns. Girls have Barbie bathtubs and accessories while boys have aggressive videogames that involve shooting and killing their enemies. Instinctively, boys do not enjoy playing with dolls, combing their hair, cooking food, playing with doctor sets and such and other similar tasks. Society encourages it too and parents presume it to be the socio-cultural norm. It is essential to let the importance of kindness and compassion be instilled at the outset. Parents need to take greater steps in this direction. Children are exposed to violence on a regular basis through games, toys, television, cartoons and the news.”

The fact that boys are physically strong plays on the psychological level. Dr. Batra further adds that the testosterone adds to the physical strength of men. While women scream, get upset, cry, wail and abuse; men punch, break things and become violent. “Probably the intent of the emotional outbreak is equal in the two genders,” she explains, “But the expression of violent aggression is a gender specific trait with a preponderance in males to use more loud and vivid means to curb their frustrations.” The need to act out is greater in men, while females normally harm themselves in such a situation.

More importantly, as Samta Nayar, a lady who was much disturbed by the shooting, points out, “We talk a lot when we are in pain. But the same is not with boys. They do not express their feelings of frustration or depression. People laugh at a boy weeping and it is from the very beginning that we tell a boy- 'boys don't cry.'”

Confirming this fact, Dr. Dharmendra Kumar, a clinical psychologist, also explains the contradicting factor that while girls talk and vent out, boys do not but boys externalize things while girls internalize. This means at the time of action, “Boys are difficult on their surroundings while girls are difficult on their own self.”

Historically, we have seen men raging war against its enemy without thinking about an individual. Kaustav Rakshit (MBA student), points this out that women normally think on an individual level. He also says, “They can plot and plan against one person but since they are more caring than men, hence they can't kill anyone and everyone.” Dr. Batra says, “We still have women in family courts and juvenile courts for the simple fact that they are believed to be more compassionate. Even if the level of frustration may be the same, a woman may be able to curb it.”

Dr. A Abraham, who treats patient with (Neuro Linguistic Programming) for mind-body well being, says that “There is more bravado in the male and less thinking and maybe vice versa in girls.” The spur of the moment act is also associated with boys, although women are equally capable of losing it for a moment and committing some crime.

It is a common knowledge that we imitate things we see around us. Not only that, Dr. Kumar also says that we imitate behaviors. So a role model's behavior is normally imitated by a child. Fathers who are violent normally have a violent son and dominating mothers have girls of the same temperament.

Last but not the least, it is important for people to get help, if they feel that they are not able to communicate fully with anyone or are generally not at peace. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, the famous author of the The Palace of Illusions says, “I think the first stop is to make it much harder for people to get hold of guns. A longer project would be to make sure that mentally unstable people are recognized early and treated for their problem.”

All the socio-economic factors boil down to the fact that at the very onset of a new life, based on the gender of a child, we start behaving in a certain manner with them. If a boy is born, we gift him a gun and teddy bears and dolls adorn the nursery of a girl child. Many may think this is a minuscule point but that sets the trend of thoughts in a child's mind. If by some difference in our act we can change a life why not do it. So think before you act - however small that may be for a child is truly like clay - can be molded into any form.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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