Trail Life USA CEO: Lack of positive male role models may contribute to psychosis of a mass shooter

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AMERICA — One aspect to consider in mass shootings is whether the suspects lacked a positive male role model who could have changed the direction of their lives.

Mark Hancock, CEO of Trail Life USA, suggested that a lack of good male role models seems to contribute to the angst of males who are involved in mass shootings.

Hancock spoke on the Todd Starnes Show and suggested that many of these shootings could have been avoided if the shooters had better role models in their lives.

The shooters had disturbing activity on social media, a history of mental illness that had never been dealt with or were bullied, which all sent the males down a dark path of evil.

Hancock said:

“We really need to get to the core of it. The last 56 shootings, only 18 percent of the shooters had a stable home life and the others didn’t have a father in the house. 82 percent of these shooters didn’t have a dad-like figure in the house. Maybe there’s something in that.

“The deterioration of men in today’s society has spiraled into boys growing up being told they have little to no worth and that their traditional roles in the family and culture is rooted in ‘toxic masculinity.’”

Trail Life USA encourages men who do not have kids to find a boy with no male role model and be present and engaged in their lives.

By first acknowledging the science that boys and girls are different, men can positively structure the direction of their lives, according to Hancock, who also noted:

“We have to get back to recognizing the power of boyhood. It’s not like it’s some kind of social disease that needs to be eradicated.

“There is something in a boy that, if developed properly through winning and focused men who are leading them, that boy becomes a winning and a focused man.”

There are also other factors to consider.

A research study showed that the vast majority of school shooters were current or former students.

One study done by Jillian Peterson, Ph.D., James Densley, D.Phil. and Gina Erickson, Ph.D. examined a total of 133 cases of school shootings and those that were attempted from 1980 to 2019.

The study noted:

“Perpetrators’ ages ranged from 10 to 53; however, only 16 shooters (11%) were aged 22 years or older. 

“Ninety-four perpetrators (70%) were current students, and 21 perpetrators (15%) were former students. 

“Of all perpetrators, 83 (76%) were White and 148 (98%) were male. Of 121 cases with full information, 57 (47.11%) were targeted shootings.

“There were 134 shootings, 12 with more than one shooter. A mean (SD) of 1.34 (3.25) people per case were killed and 3.15 (5.06) per case were injured, with a mean (SD) of 1.63 (1.22) weapons per shooting (primarily handguns; 68.66% [92 of 134]). An armed guard was on scene in 23.58% of shootings (29 of 123) (Table 1).”

The study acknowledged some limitations, but its data suggested that there was “no association between having an armed officer and deterrence of violence in these cases.”

The study further reported:

“An armed officer on the scene was the number one factor associated with increased casualties after the perpetrators’ use of assault rifles or submachine guns.

“The well-documented weapons effect explains that the presence of a weapon increases aggression.

“Whenever firearms are present, there is room for error, and even highly trained officers get split-second decisions wrong.

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“Prior research suggests that many school shooters are actively suicidal, intending to die in the act, so an armed officer may be an incentive rather than a deterrent.

“The majority of shooters who target schools are students of the school, calling into question the effectiveness of hardened security and active shooter drills. Instead, schools must invest in resources to prevent shootings before they occur.”

Densley and Peterson, who are co-founders of The Violence Project, said their research organization found common elements of self-hatred, despair and general anger.

Densley, who is also a sociologist, noted:

“Usually what’s motivating these shootings is a element of self-hatred, hopelessness, despair, anger, that’s turned outward to the world.”

Peterson, who is a psychologist, said:

“I think we’re too quick to write things off because the motive is slightly different.

“It’s the same trajectory over and over and over again. Just people get radicalized in slightly different directions, their anger points in different directions, but its roots are the same.”

The gunmen also tend to threaten sexual violence, particularly against females.

For example, CNN reported that the most recent shooter in Texas, Salvador Ramos, who killed 21 people, told girls he would rape them and showed off a rifle he bought.

Ramos also threatened to shoot up schools in livestreams on the social media app Yubo, according to several users who witnessed the threats in recent weeks.

However, the teen users of the app told CNN they did not take Ramos’ threats seriously.

CNN further reported:

“Three users said they witnessed Ramos threaten to commit sexual violence or carry out school shootings on Yubo, an app that is used by tens of millions of young people around the world.

“The users all said they reported Ramos’ account to Yubo over the threats. But it appeared, they said, that Ramos was able to maintain a presence on the platform

“CNN reviewed one Yubo direct message in which Ramos allegedly sent a user the $2,000 receipt for his online gun purchase from a Georgia-based firearm manufacturer.”

Emily Meadows argued in The International Educator that school shooters are male and that it is not just an American problem.

Meadows pointed out how she thought social gender norms have contributed to the epidemic of school shootings and that it is primarily a sociological issue. She also noted that social media is another factor that adds to the negativity in a shooter’s warped world:

Mass shooters are almost invariably cisgender men. (Those who commit homicide in the U.S. are also overwhelmingly male, comprising more than 90% of cases where the murder’s gender is known).

“If this was simply a biological issue, then all cisgender men would be murderers. But, of course, they are not. This is a sociological issue.

“Boys are fed the message, from a young age, that their masculinity is of paramount importance, and that they must actively maintain it lest they be figuratively castrated.

Sissy, or other feminine insinuations, are perhaps the greatest insult for a boy. Only more offensive might be the f-slur, and other gender and sexuality-based hate speech that connote a lack of both masculinity and heterosexual prowess.

“Social media has done a nice job of pointing out the lengths men may go to in order to clutch onto their male identity.

“The hashtag #fragilemasculinity pulls up a range of contortions designed to reassure men that they are, indeed, men.  

“It might seem funny that anyone would require his bath products to be shaped like grenades, but the underlying message is serious: boys, your masculinity defines you, and it’s at risk – take steps, even irrational and bizarre steps – to protect it.”

Writing for Women’s eNews, Rob Okun suggested:

We have to start in preschool, carefully attending to how boys are socialized. We must cultivate their emotional intelligence. Who would deny the value of educating boys to examine their inner lives; to talk about their feelings?”

The video game connection cannot be discounted either.

The New York Post reported that the Texas shooter, Payton Gendron, may have revealed his massacre plot while playing a video game with other players:

“Deranged Texas mass shooter Salvador Ramos may have hinted at his plan to gun down schoolchildren in a verbal rant after losing a violent video game, a report said. 

“Threats from a male player that he would ‘shoot up a school’ using an AR-15 disturbed one fellow gamer so much that she reported it to the FBI,  the US Sun reported Wednesday.

“The threats reportedly came after the player lost the video game Dead by Daylight just hours before the carnage at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday, the Sun reported. 

“Another source told the Sun that Ramos threatened to shoot up schools when playing Call of Duty.

“The worried Dead by Daylight gamer, who was not identified by the Sun, wrote on Reddit: ‘So I have no idea if they were joking or what but they were super angry about losing and started saying they were going to shoot up a school and they mentioned they had some type of gun and kept saying it was going to be all of our fault.’

“She added that she recorded the entire postchat and everyone kind of brushed if off, ‘but I just am in disbelief because I’ve never seen someone say that before.’

“Dead by Daylight is a multiplayer survival horror and action game, according to its website.

“The gamer said she reported him to the game’s creators and also the FBI, according to the Sun.”

The Nation’s progressive reporter, Elie Mystal, blamed “gamers” for promoting a widespread culture of hate that led to the May 14 mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, by Gendron.

Mystal tweeted in part:

“Everybody is on the ‘This is Fox News’s fault’ and, it is. But I want to focus on another community I follow closely: Gamers.

“I tend to follow streamers/YouTubers who explicitly *don’t* go in for these white supremacist dog whistles (obviously) but a lot of them don’t call it out

“I get it. For the most part these people are young, not particularly well versed in things like *the history of white supremacist movements* and avoid ‘politics’ as uncool and, more importantly, unhelpful to their monetization strategies.

“They’re overwhelming white and male and have been taught and told to associate words like ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ with somebody coming to reduce the breast sizes of their toons. …Which too often *is* the only corporate tech bro response to legit request for more inclusion

“And so when they see obvious white supremacist crap, in the chat, in the comments, they ignore it, laugh it off, or pivot to some other point to make everybody feel nice and happy again. And those are the GOOD ones.

“The bad ones encourage it, or go as close to the line they can.”

 

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