BY STEVE BATES
This is a blog about men behaving badly. Some do it through sexual harassment and sexual assault. Some do it with firearms. While the latter is more serious, both cause lasting damage.
Is there a connection? Perhaps in a Freudian sense. Perhaps in another way: It’s all about power.
Men who coerce teenagers and adults into unwanted sexual behavior might be looking for a glandular thrill. But I believe that many such perpetrators have another motive: to revel in their power over those who are more vulnerable than them.
It’s a psychological compulsion. “I can do this to you and you can’t do anything about it” is implied, if not stated, frequently in these situations. For the perpetrator, that might be the biggest thrill.
One of the things that is so disheartening about this behavior is that it often is displayed by people who have power already. They seem to be white, employed, even affluent. They have jobs that put them in control of others: government officials, Hollywood personalities.
I have never understood the need to control another human being. I can’t recall a time when I crossed a line in a sexual context. I didn’t even manage to get my first date until I was in college. There have been times when I wished that I had more influence in certain social settings. But my thinking has always been: If you have to beg for something or bully your way to get something, it’s not worth having. Maybe if I looked like George Clooney things would have been different. I doubt it.
I have never understood the attraction of owning a gun, either. I have fired guns. In the Cub Scouts I was required to display a degree of marksmanship to earn a badge. So my den took a trip out into the woods. One by one we took turns gazing down the barrel of a .22-caliber rifle and murdering innocent tin cans.
As I recall, I wasn’t a bad shot in those days, when my vision was pretty good. I fired off a couple of rounds at a target at a carnival as well. But that was it.
Yes, I understand the Second Amendment right to own and use guns. And no, I don’t want to repeal the amendment or confiscate weapons. (Whatever happened to that rumored gun roundup that the Obama Administration was planning, alt-right people?)
Still, I don’t believe that those who wrote and enacted the Bill of Rights would have intended it to allow sick and deranged people to obtain weapons of mass destruction such as military assault rifles. The Founding Fathers would be angry at us if they could see the misery we have allowed to occur on a daily basis. They would call for an immediate uprising against the NRA and a re-wording or re-interpretation of the Second Amendment.
Americans, you are welcome to your guns. Please don’t use them against innocent people. What can drive someone to shoot up a school or a church or a concert? What sickness, what hatred, what lack of appreciation of the value for every human life could possibly drive someone to point that weapon at another person other than in self-defense?
Whatever pleasure a power-seduced person might get from sexual abuse or from shooting someone, it won’t last. These people need to find another way to exercise their power. If they can’t, we are in trouble.