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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review December 26, 2012/ 13 Teves 5773

Man-ufacturing mass-murders

By Rekha Basu




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's stunning when it hits you: Mass murderers are almost always male.

Judging from the fact that we almost never call attention to it, it's also a loaded topic. So when a female businessowner friend brought it up this week and suggested I write about it, at first I balked. How do you address it in a constructive way without seeming to hold an entire gender responsible for the crimes committed by a few of its members?

What made it particularly difficult was my friend's insistence that biology — rather than culture — is to blame. Testosterone, she argued, makes men innately more violent.

Biology can't be overcome, but culture can. If we just blame DNA for men's violence, I retorted, then how can we hope to end violence?

Whatever the reasons, the facts speak for themselves. It's hard to find a female name among perpetrators on the Wall Street Journal's list of the deadliest mass shootings in the world since 1966 or on the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence list of 431 U.S. shootings of three or more victims since 2005. Young men have been responsible for the shootings in Columbine, in Oak Creek, in Aurora, in Portland and now in Newtown.

To the extent that gender is addressed, it is almost peripheral — as on a network news report Wednesday, linked to the Newtown massacre, about the difficulty getting mental health treatment for young men who commit violent crimes.

But there is therapeutic perspective on male violence that could help our understanding of it and point us toward preventive strategies. It is well articulated by Jennifer Lock Oman, a Des Moines therapist, who acknowledges the roles of both biology and culture, but focuses on the different male and female behaviors in response to emotional triggers.

Oman draws on the work of the late Silvan Tomkins, an East Coast psychologist, and Donald Nathanson, a retired psychiatrist who between them developed the idea that experiences lead to one of several emotions that may trigger people to respond with certain "scripts." Oman identifies shame as a primary emotion in men who are feeling powerless. Shame, according to Nathanson, may bring one of four responses: withdrawal, avoidance, attacking one's self or attacking others.

"We all do all of them," says Oman, "but we generally prefer one or two scripts. Those can fall along gender lines." She suggests that for males, avoidance and attacking others are the more common responses, while females are more likely to withdraw and attack themselves.

Avoidance might be excessive drinking or abusing substances, or even buying fancy things to impress others. Attacking others can mean murder, but also road rage, bullying and even gossip. The ultimate attack on one's self is suicide, but staying in an abusive relationship, cutting or starving one's self are others.

These are in part a response to the traits society assigns to the different sexes. For example anger, a secondary response to shame, is culturally acceptable for men but rarely for women, says Oman, who teaches a graduate University of Iowa social work course on emotions and the brain. "For men, anger is cool. It's John Wayne," she said. But there are names — and not very flattering ones — for women who show anger.

So if a man feels ashamed for being weak and vulnerable, "Why not go to anger?"

Physiology plays a role, she says. "Testosterone does predispose, but that's not the whole story." Then there is what's going on around you. She calls this a difficult time for young men who are graduating and starting life on their own in an uncertain economy. Feeling powerless can translate into shame, and shame can translate into anger.

So what can be done? The best approach as a parent is to give kids a different script from early on, "to put a harness on affect systems when they're still manageable." Help kids express emotions. Let them know it's normal to have them.

"If you start teaching kids this at a tiny age, they get it," says Oman. "They haven't learned the scripted responses yet." Just like buckling your seat belt, it becomes instinctive.

"If you give people a language for their experiences, the whole system calms down."

Oman says this should not be dismissed as "touchy feely" nonsense because it's becoming hard science, and challenging what has been the Western world's prevailing approach to psychology. That focused too much on cognition, and not enough on emotions.

This makes sense to me. It helps to explain what's happening to young men when they explode into a murderous rampage, and how that script could be altered. It is one piece of the puzzle of dealing with the terrible violence in our midst, one worth exploring with your loved ones, especially children. Pick a night and make it a dinner-table conversation. Each one of us needs to start somewhere.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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Rekha Basu is a columnist for the Des Moines Register.


Previously:




11/21/12: We all pay for Thanksgiving Day shopping



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