Ashamed to be a man

In the late 90s I worked at Together Networks, one of the employees was Laura Winterbottom, she was a very quiet person who kept to herself and I don't recall ever speaking with her at length. Eventually the company broke up and I didn't hear of her again until her brutal murder shocked Burlington a few years ago. Her attacker was, of course, male.

Then in August 2006 some guy got pissed off at his ex-girlfriend in Essex, Vermont and went on rampage at an elementary school, killing two teachers. Again, the perpetrator was male.

And, last autumn, Michelle Gardner-Quinn, a student at UVM, walked back to campus (a matter of a few blocks) from downtown with a guy... and was raped and murdered. The perpetrator was a man who preyed upon women. There are other local examples I could cite (Patricia Scoville, raped and murdered while bike riding in Stowe... etc.).

There isn't a direct connection between these brutal acts and the recent random violence at Virginia Tech, except when news of a shooting on campus started to show up online... I knew it was a male carrying this out. Women don't seem to act this way.

And, looking at Iraq, the people both inciting the violence, and carrying it out... are male as well.

All this makes me kind of numb. I feel a kind of collective guilt, shame and I doubt myself in my interactions with others -- particularly women. What is it about the male experience that makes random violence part of the equation? Is the sex that good? Or is the lack of sex so bad and frustrating? How did Cho Seung-Hui scramble the synapses in his brain... did he choose to submerge himself in flickering unreal images of violence? Who knows.

All I know is that it's just another day of tragedy and that it does change both how I view myself as well the larger world -- I find that I expect bad things to happen, if something larger than September 11 were to happen, I think I would respond with 'well, it's not like we didn't see this coming'. On both a micro and a macro scale there seems to be a whole a lot negative energy and ill will in the world today.


CoralPoetry said...

Hi, Jeff,

I found your blog thru next blogger button. You have interesting things to say and I love all your photos. I always imagine the perp of these violent acts as male and they usually are. The sheer volume of carnage was especially harrowing at the Virginia College. These males who act out their terrible fantasies are in the minority. The Holocaust survivor who died protecting his students was male.


Jeff said...

Thanks for reading my blog, I'm always surprised when someone stumbles upon it. I'm glad you like the pictures....