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Where Have All The Men Gone?

April 17th, 2007

Another random shoot-fest, another day when men failed to step up and be men. While others can debate whether an armed student body would have stopped Blacksburg gunman Cho Seung-Hui, or whether it’s George Bush’s, the Police or the university administration’s fault I have to ask, where were the men?

Why, in shooting after shooting, is their never, ever one Todd Beamer? Before Marc Lepine shot his fourteen victims in 1989, he sent the men out of the room. Not one tried to stop him, knowing full well he would probably kill the women. That would happen in no other time and place in history; men simply wouldn’t walk meekly away while the women were slaughtered. In Montreal in 1989, nobody even questioned it.

It happens every time, the complete lack of story about some guy who stepped up, succesful or not. It doesn’t take an armed populace to stop a shooter, although it helps. Cho Seung-Hui walked classroom to classroom, opening doors and shooting. He was vulnerable every time he walked through a door, and not once did one of the men in the room decide, not this room, not this time.

It’s not the mens fault, you can’t blame someone for what they don’t do in these situations. I can’t promise I would step to the plate given the choice, although I don’t know how I would live with myself after if I didn’t. But it speaks volumes about the society we’ve created that not one person in that school decided to put the school, society and classmates ahead of himself.

Not one man said “I’d rather go down fighting,” and that’s part of the tragedy.


  1. Anonymous
    April 17th, 2007 at 22:19 | #1

    When the word “men” ceases to be a euphemism for “disposable”, you won’t have to ask.

  2. Canadi-anna
    April 17th, 2007 at 22:59 | #2

    This is a tough one.

    I think in our culture we are taught to project our own normalcy onto others. We can’t believe that someone is psycho enough to actually pull this kind of thing, because we teach our kids that everyone is the same and deserving of equal respect, acceptance etc.
    We are teaching kids to ignore warning signs and red flags because we don’t want them to be mean.

    When something like this actually happens, people are ill-prepared to expect and confront aggression. It isn’t cowardice that prevented people from acting –it was manners and rules and disbelief. It happened in a matter of minutes and I can’t even imagine the confusion and fear.

    Anyway, I’m sure in days to come we will hear stories of heroism and bravery.

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