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News Archives

Thoughts on Vegas and Why Men Keep Doing This

Tuesday October 10th, 2017

Note: This post by Charlie Hoehn has some great applications to what we do in student ministry and we wanted to make sure that you see it

It’s tempting to say the mass shooter's motive was simply “pure evil,” or to blame the media or guns, but that absolves us of looking deeply at what each of us — as individuals, family members, friends, and community members — might be missing.

Now, I’m not a psychiatrist. And I don’t know much about the Vegas shooter. I’m just a guy who studies mental health.
Again, this is not a political post about guns, for the same reason it’s not a political post about weaponized cars. Easy access to guns is a part of the problem, but I’m not as interested in the tool as I am in what causes a man to use it so destructively.

Nor is this a post in defense of the shooter, or to make him sound like a victim in any way. What he did was a horrific act. He is a murderer, and he is not excused from this by any stretch (though I truly feel sympathy for the shooter’s brother, who seemed to be totally caught off guard by this behavior, and now he has to deal with the aftermath for the rest of his life).

The goal of this post is simply to shine a light on what’s eroding men’s emotional health.

1- Men in the United States are chronically lonely.

Boys in the United States — just like all human beings — need touch, caring, warmth, empathy, and close relationships. But as we grow up, most of us lose those essential components of our humanity. What’s worse: we have no idea how to ask for those things, or admit we need them, because we’re afraid it will make us look weak.

As a man, you might be thinking, “Not me, I’ve got drinking buddies. I play poker with the guys. I’ve got friends.”
But do you have confidants? Do you have male friends who you can actually be vulnerable with? Do you have friends whom you can confide in, be 100% yourself around, that you can hug without saying “No homo,” without feeling tense or uncomfortable while you’re doing it?

For many men, the answer is “no.” So, we spend our time posturing instead.

Read the entire post by Charlie Hoehn

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