SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Over the next several weeks we’ll explore the issue of mass shootings and why in most cases the shooter is a man.
As of September 1st, for the year 2019 there had been 283 mass shootings in the U.S. according to CBS News and data compiled by the non-profit group gun violence archive.
Gun violence archive defines a mass shooting as an incident where four or more people are shot, excluding the shooter, in one location at the same time.
Our reporting over the next several weeks will look at the external factors at play with experts, parents and local leaders weighing in with possible solutions.
To begin we have to examine the problem where we are going wrong and why boys at risk are really everyone’s child.
A book called “The Boy Crisis” aims to help us understand possible reasons and what we can do about it.
Dr. Warren Farrell is a co-author of The Boy Crisis.
The book examines various mental health and societal issues that have led young men to act out in aggressive ways.
“One of the greatest discoveries from the book’s research was just finding over and over again, the degree of male vulnerability,” Farrell said. “That men’s weakness is our facade of strength. And when we encourage our sons to keep their feelings to themselves, we are encouraging them to go into depression, to withdraw into video games. To become obese. To become addicted to drugs or drinking.”
Among many findings, Dr. Farrell believes there are 4 key areas outlined in his work that could help steer young men down a more positive path.
LISTTTT”Keep father and mother equally involved. Make sure they live close to each other. Make sure there’s no bad-mouthing. And make sure you as parents are going to relationship counseling so you can see the best intentions of the other parent. and no deprive your child of the other parent.
Dr. Kyle John is pediatric psychiatrist with Mercy. He says outside of the difference in how children are being reared and their connectedness to information. There’s no cut and dry answer as to why bad things happen.
“Occasionally there will be more of those sociopathic type behaviors that are rare, and this is not that typical kid who grows up without a father,” John said. “But occasionally you’re going to have a kid who has inherited risk factor for sociopathic behaviors and something triggers them to go and do something totally inappropriate like a mass shooting.”
In general, terms when it comes to helping young men channel their energy or aggression Dr. John feels it’s important to introduce positive role models.
“Is there a scout leader? is there a football, soccer, baseball…whatever coach? is there a youth group leader or church or in some other civic activity who can be a positive role model for boys? yeah absolutely you can find that,” John said.
Dr. Loren Lundstrom is dean of student development at OTC. He heads up “Project Heal”, a federal grant program in partnership with Missouri State which aims to reduce sexual and domestic assault and dating or domestic violence on the campus of both schools.
As part of the effort, OTC is forming an “Emerging Men” group to provide targeted mentoring to men on campus.
It’s a program like this that could perhaps help a troubled teen student find peace and purpose.
“There’s a tendency to loose sight of the fact that men can be victims too,” Lunderstorm said. “That can lead them to act out.”
Dr. Farrell also believes we need a national public education system that focuses on the early warning signs. To help young men not fall into patterns of self-destruction that lead to a senseless shooting.
“Recognizing if we believe in no child left behind, that starts with no parent left behind.” Farrell said.
Dr. Warren Farrell just returned from a trip to the white house where he met with top-level officials. He’s being asked to provide input because he tells me the president plans to make the “boy crisis” a focus of next years state of the union speech.
We talked to Dr. Kyle John about suicidal thoughts in young men. He says one of the leading causes of that ideation is hopelessness when boys feel unworthy academically or don’t see and experience positive male role models they don’t feel they have a purpose.