Per The Washington Post, “Not a single week in 2022 has passed without at least four mass shootings [in the US].” The article defines a mass shooting as 4 or more people being injured or killed. These facts need no other words to illustrate the state of our nation today.
Over 600 mass shootings have taken place so far in 2022, with the numbers increasing every year since 2017. And for each life lost, imagine the mothers, fathers, children, grandchildren, families and friends left behind, their lives and psyches ripped apart for their lifetimes. And we do not have the mental healthcare or the social safety nets to provide for these broken lives.
At the COP 27 environmental summit, no steps were taken by world leaders to cut emissions, leaving our world on track to the temperature tipping point at which the Earth will cease to become habitable. Meanwhile, little man Putin continues his barbaric shelling of Ukraine. Europe has not seen such a level of violence since the Second World War. Another little fat man in North Korea has developed ICBMs capable of reaching the Eastern United States. And young women and teens are being brutalized by the Iranian regime for showing hair.
And when I say leaders, men, and regime, I squarely lay this destruction of life at the feet of the supposedly “Masculine.” The “toxic masculinity” that we have all heard of.
It never occurred to me to consider the term deeply enough to realize that toxic means poisonous and deadly. Because toxic masculinity kills. It kills wives. Breaks up families. Rapes. Molests, beats, and kills children at school, church, in their own homes. It lays waste to all life without regard. It is what George Harrison called “I, I, Me, Me, Mine.” It’s the single unit, the fragile ego, the individual without regard for the lives that surround and help sustain it. Without regard for its own life, on a trajectory to collide with and explode all that is good, wholesome, and beneficial.
I fully realize that these traits can be found outside of the cis-male. But it is the cis-male who can and does do the most damage. It is woven so deeply into the fabric of human life that it is difficult to recall a time when its deathly touch was not felt. But it hasn’t been and needn’t be the only way to survive. In fact, it is an excellent way to prohibit survival: of individuals, families, the Earth that sustains us, the survival of our species.
Darwin never used the term “survival of the fittest.” That was devised to debunk his theories as “the law of the jungle” — the antithesis of civilization. All a species needs to do to survive is to continue having children who go on to have children. And the success of modern humans has always been the result of our ability to live in large groups cooperatively. This increased our lifespans, which allowed the community’s older members to watch all the children while women and men worked. Everyone, every life, matters to our continuing existence in this world. Survival of any species is not about any one individual, it is a numbers game.
The enemy of life is the man who thinks he is an island. Who believes his life, desires, whims must all be satisfied to the detriment of others. He must have all the wealth, the power, the sexual partners he desires. He can hurt, wound, kill at his pleasure. He believes there should be no repercussions for what he perceives as his right or “freedom.”
It is true that freedom is not free. There will always be consequences. The man who beats his wife and children creates broken children, who grow up to repeat the cycle ad infinitum. These violent, angry, arrogant, and selfish men are never satisfied, and will never stop until we are all dead, in our dead world.
Toxic means deadly. And until the good men and women stand up to these killers of all things beautiful and life-sustaining, we are a doomed species on a doomed world. None of us alone can change this. Yes, we need to change our culture. We need more access to mental healthcare, more help and advocacy for the damaged, broken, weak and innocent, more respect for our only home in the vast Universe, to end this destruction. But we also must all do our part, and begin the change within and with everyone we encounter in our short stay here. Or we become accessory to this murder of humanity and its spirit.
The lucky few may hang on a bit longer. Surviving inside barricades, while others do the dangerous business of getting groceries. And there will be no more human voices or sounds of joy from churches, schools, baseball fields, theaters, or even our own homes. There will be no one left.
“Better recognize your brothers
Everyone you meet
Why in the world are we here?
Surely not to live in pain and fear?” – Instant Karma, John Lennon
Namaste, you legends. Go forth in love.
– JL ✌🏼❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🤎🖤🤍🖖🏼🌻
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