Victimhood culture fosters violence

Family cultures create methods to interpret feelings of rejection and loneliness, helping young people accommodate pain into the larger life story of positive and negative feelings. But if we live in a blame-based culture — where others are always blamed for our grievances or misfortunes — then the taste for vengeance grows.

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Columnists

July 14, 2022 - 3:13 PM

A pair of pink flip-flops left behind at the scene of a mass shooting on the Fourth of July parade route Monday, July 4, 2022 along Central Avenue in Highland Park. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Recent mass shootings in Highland Park, Illinois; Buffalo, New York; and Uvalde, Texas, have produced the same futile debates that always follow such tragedies. Conservatives blame mental illness, and liberals blame gun access.

But we cannot make progress if we do not examine the cultural roots that repeatedly produce these vengeful loners who murder innocent people to aggrandize themselves.

Young men commit most mass shootings, as well as the majority of violent crime. A United Nations study in 2000 found that 96% of homicides worldwide are committed by men. This is not an indictment of men as intrinsically “toxic.” Rather, it’s a sign of failed masculinity — failed development, failed culture. Most men are well-adjusted, competent providers, protectors and creators. A small minority of men become violent predators.

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