Toxic masculinity, gun culture and the loss of a Williston-Elko alumna

by jovan1984

Like most everyone else, I was stunned to learn of the loss of a Williston-Elko alumna to a murder-suicide in Richland County.

Officers from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department found the woman deceased from a gunshot wound after her soon-to-be-ex-husband shot her.  He then turned the gun on himself.

This incident puts toxic masculinity and the gun culture right at home.

This is why we need to have a good talk to the boys in our lives. This is why I am immediately calling on parents of boys to cease and desist in telling them to “be a man”, “boys don’t cry”, “pink is a girl’s color” and “boys don’t play with Barbies”. This is the kind of toxic masculinity that makes it ok for men like the 32-year-old gunman to hurt and kill women like the one being mourned by our schoolmates who graduated in the W-E Class of 2000.

It’s also the kind of toxic masculinity that leads to incidents like one Eliot Rodger committed 21 months ago.  It’s the kind of toxic masculinity that leads to a Kenneth Myers situation.

And on top of all that, we have an out-of-control gun culture, which continues to be proven with near-daily mass shootings indiscriminately in every state.

All of these things – yes all of them – led to where we are now, mourning the loss of a schoolmate from my years at Williston-Elko.

Guns are uncool, as the dead bodies, the graves and the grieving families obviously show.

And toxic masculinity, as a movie called the Mask You Live In by Miss Representation shows, is an equally major problem in the States.

I believed enough time has passed now so let’s confront our gun culture and rein in toxic masculinity.  If not for our own good, at least do it in honor of one of our own Williston-Elko graduates.

Aiken Area Progressive will not reveal the identities of the deceased.