Facing the Crisis

I will pick on my own ethnic background to offer the following example.  If ninety-five percent of violent crime in this country—murders, gun violence, sexual assaults, trafficking of minors, school bullying, hate crimes, and road rage—were committed by Swedish-Americans, wouldn’t we demand to know what’s terribly wrong with Americans of Swedish ancestry?  Wouldn’t we investigate every factor we could think of, from genetics, to how Swedish-Americans raise their children, to diet, to anti-social tendencies in order to address and treat this disturbing trend?        

And yet, there is another group whose mug-shots appear ninety-five percent of the time on the front pages of this and other newspapers.  It is this group that controls the drug market, who commits the vast majority of murders, who commits almost one-hundred percent of sexual assaults, who traffic minors, who enters schools in order to kill children, who fill prisons, and who has a love affair with deadly assault weapons.  

By this point, I imagine that the female readers of this column know where I’m headed.  The group that I’m referring to is the male population of our country.  A group that statistically is fifty-percent of the population is responsible for ninety-five percent or more of the chaos and terror that we are forced to live with.

But I hear no one, and certainly no political leader, demanding an all-out investigation of male culture in our country.  Instead, we hear the pat phrase “Boys will be boys,” ignoring the fact that men in other countries, such as Finland, Iceland, and yes, my beloved Sweden among others, are generally well-behaved, peaceful, and upstanding members of society.  

Of course, “Men behaving badly” isn’t just an American disease, but our country has a bad case of it.  What I am pointing out isn’t news to the women of our country.  I suspect that many women  reading this column are saying to themselves about now, “Duh, you think?”  

But whenever women point out the wide and growing gap between men and women in relation to violence and anti-social behavior, they risk being called “men-haters.” It’s time for men in this country to step forward and say, “The growing violence perpetrated by men is destroying our society.” 

I would love for all those seeking public office, from city councils to the presidency, to address this issue as they run for office.  I would love for a candidate to run on the platform that advocates male-based violence being recognized as a public health crisis, a crisis that deserves significant tax dollars, not our spare change, to be allocated to analyze and remedy this disease.  

If any man thinks that these modest proposals are wrong-headed and utopian, I would ask that he answer two simple questions.  Over the last year, when you finished shopping in an evening and were walking back to your car, how many times were you listening for footsteps behind you or fearing for your life?   Now, ask the women that you know the same question—when you finished shopping in an evening and were walking back to your car, how many times were you listening for footsteps behind you or fearing for your life?  

The numbers don’t lie.