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School Shootings The Result Of Crisis Of Masculinity, Gun Culture, Professor Argues

Date:
February 18, 2008
Source:
University of California, Los Angeles
Summary:
The recent fatal shooting rampage at Northern Illinois University, and similar attacks at a Missouri city hall and in a Los Angeles suburb, again raise questions about the eruption of mass violence in America in recent years. What is behind these acts and, more importantly, can anything be done to stop them?

The recent fatal shooting rampageat Northern Illinois University, and similar attacks at aMissouri cityhall and in a Los Angeles suburb, again raise questionsabout the eruption of mass violence in America in recent years. What isbehind these acts and, more importantly, can anything be done to stop them?

In "Guys and Guns Amok: Domestic Terrorism and School Shootings from the Oklahoma City Bombing to the Virginia Tech Massacre" (Paradigm, 2008), UCLAprofessor of educationand cultural critic Douglas Kellnerargues that school shootings and other acts of mass violence embody a crisis of out-of-control gun culture and male rage,heightened by a glorification of hypermasculinity and violencein the media.

"The school shooters and domestic terrorists examined in this book all exhibit male rage, attempt to resolve a crisis of masculinity through violent behavior, demonstrate a fetish for guns or weapons, and represent, in general, a situation of guys and guns amok," Kellner says.

Focusing onlast April's Virginia Techshootings, the 1999Columbine massacre, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and similar events,Kellnerplaces these apparently isolated killing spreesin the broader context of American culture and societyand finds that in each case, the male perpetrators suffered from problemsof socialization, alienation and the search for identity in a culturethat holds up guns and militarism as potent symbols of masculinity.

Those images, Kellner says,are perpetuated not just by the traditionalmedia— both in news coverage and in the frequentglorification of violence and murder on television programsand in film—but also bynew media outletslike the Internet.

With the pervasiveness of male rage and such violentimagery, what can be done to change the situation and, hopefully, prevent further acts of mass violence?Kellner recommends stricter gun control laws; improved campus and workplace security; better guidance and mental health care on campuses and in communities; a reconstruction of educationtopromote programs advocating peace and social justice; and projecting new and more constructiveimages of masculinity.

Kellner holdsthe distinguished George F. Kneller Chair in the Philosophy of Education at UCLA's Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. His work focuses on the development of new literacies as a response to new technologies and the designof new teaching methods to meeting the challenges of globalization and multiculturalism.

Heis the author of several books, including "Media Spectacle" (2003), "From 9/11 to Terror War" (2003), "Media Culture" (1995), "The Persian Gulf TV War" (1992) and "Television and the Crisis of Democracy" (1990) and is co-author of "The Postmodern Adventure" (2001).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California, Los Angeles. "School Shootings The Result Of Crisis Of Masculinity, Gun Culture, Professor Argues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080217133643.htm>.
University of California, Los Angeles. (2008, February 18). School Shootings The Result Of Crisis Of Masculinity, Gun Culture, Professor Argues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080217133643.htm
University of California, Los Angeles. "School Shootings The Result Of Crisis Of Masculinity, Gun Culture, Professor Argues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080217133643.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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