Hypermasculinity Does Not Beget Gun Violence

The March 15 edition of The Old Gold and Black published several articles on gun control that were filled with blatantly false claims surrounding guns and gun violence.

In the article “Hyper masculinity leads to gun violence,” the first inaccurate statement refers to the firearm used in Parkland as an assault rifle.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, “an assault rifle is fully automatic.” While the definition of an assault rifle has generally expanded to include rifles with select-fire capabilities — meaning that the firearm can switch between single, burst and/or fully automatic modes — a semi-automatic rifle, by definition, cannot be an assault rifle. True assault rifles are heavily regulated by the ATF and are illegal to own without a special permit.

Following this mistake, the author said the Parkland shooter used “large capacity magazines.” According to National Review,  the Parkland shooter used magazines that had a maximum capacity of 10 rounds, which is far below the standard 30 rounds for the 5.56mm AR-15 that the shooter used.

The term “large capacity” is a convenient buzz-word for liberals calling for gun control, but this phrase has little-to-no real meaning. For example, a 30-round magazine is standard for an AR-15 style rifle, but for most handguns, such a number would be considered tremendously “large.”

Going into handguns, however, makes the issue of “large capacity magazines” even murkier because some smaller handguns typically hold six to eight rounds in a standard magazine, while other, full-sized handguns can hold 15 rounds.

One thing that is correct in this piece is that the violence issue in America “is a problem exacerbated by American men.”

The root issue, however, is not “hyper” or “toxic” masculinity. It is a complete and utter lack of what true masculinity should look like.

In a piece for the Federalist, Peter Hasson referenced a list of  “27 Deadliest Mass Shootings In U.S. History,” compiled by CNN, in which “seven of those shootings were committed by young (under 30) males since 2005. Of the seven, only one … was raised by his biological father throughout childhood.”

Furthermore, the Daily Wire referenced a study conducted by Brad Wilcox, a University of Virginia professor, of Wikipedia’s “list of U.S. school attacks.” He found that “nearly every shooting over the last year” on this list “involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.”

The higher frequency of men dying due to guns, this author suggests, is due to “a corrupted culture of hyper-masculinity in America [sic].” Masculinity is becoming corrupted in America, but this corruption is not due to hypermasculinity. The corruption flows from a culture that disregards personal responsibility and attempts to undermine the familial unit that used to be so foundational to life in America.

The last thing America needs is more emasculated men.

In mentioning the disparity between men and women who die due to the use of guns, the author fails to mention that almost two- thirds of gun deaths in America are suicides. The author repeatedly uses the phrase “killed by guns,” seemingly in an attempt to take responsibility away from the people who pull the trigger and to be able to include suicides in his statistics through the use of this incredibly broad phrase. Additionally, according to fivethirtyeight, 85 percent of the people in America who commit suicide by using a firearm are male.

The disparity mentioned in the article narrows dramatically when you take into account who actually pulls the trigger.

The author goes on to say that he “had long thought it curious that feminists have never embraced guns en masse.” Glossing over the litany of issues with the modern feminist movement, many women do use firearms (particularly in the form of a concealed-carry handgun when not on their property) to protect themselves.

If the self-appointed leaders of the modern feminist movement in America are attempting to discourage women from defending themselves with guns, they are failing.

For example, eight states that gathered data from 2012 to 2016 showed that there has been “a 326-percent faster increase in permits among women than among men.” Tremendous numbers of women are in fact working to better protect themselves with firearms.

A fundamental mistake in the argument presented in this piece for women to not carry firearms is that “we should expect our citizens to never commit such heinous crimes.” People do not expect tragedy. However, those who want to be prepared for any horrible experience they may face, whether gun violence or any other form of tragedy, take the necessary steps to be ready if they must act during a disaster.

Furthermore, the piece says “fighting to quell the proliferation of guns is an assertion by the movement that male gun violence is unacceptable and will be eradicated.” It is dangerously naive to believe that turning your nose to any form of violence will somehow completely “eradicate” such violence.

The piece goes on to discuss how the author does not have an extensive background with firearms, but some of his friends do. Many of these friends are male, and while they did grow up using and learning about firearms, the author writes that “most of their sisters” did not.

The first thing to consider is that girls may be less drawn to guns as firearms are stereotypically considered masculine (ie. the piece I am currently referencing). Could this be due to the inherent differences between the sexes? I would ask your biology professor about this, not your Women’s Gender Studies professor. (One of these things is not like the other.)

When given the opportunity, many women do take to using firearms, whether out of enjoyment, sport, self-defense or any combination of these or other factors.

I grew up shooting with my sister, who has an Expert Marksman Badge that she earned at Basic Training for the United States Army. Maybe she can teach you about this hypermasculine “gun culture” you admit that you do not know much about? 

Another piece published in the OGB is worth mentioning, as it simply spews many incorrect, leftist talking points on firearms.

In the piece titled “Gun control intransigence is difficult to overcome,” the author regurgitates the common line that when the constitution was written, the founding fathers could never “conceive the technological advances” that dramatically enhanced the power of firearms.

While few on the left apply such reasoning to the first or other amendments, this line is popular with the ban-guns crowd.

It is completely false.

Early precursors to the Gatling gun had emerged by the early 18th century, but, as in the case of James Puckle’s patented “Puckle gun,” such attempts were hampered by the flintlock technology of the day. This patent was issued in 1718 while the gun ultimately failed to be widely used, claiming that the Founding Fathers, some half-century later, could not “conceive” the idea of a technology leading to semi-automatic or even potentially automatic firearms is simply not true.

The author continues to write that “the gun lobby has conned Americans into believing that they have a God-given right to own an unlimited number of any type of firearm without any restriction.” While (I hope) this part may be hyperbole for effect, it is important to mention.

This just regurgitates the stereotype that Americans who own guns are Bible-thumping, gun-clutching rednecks. (Believe it or not, I do not drive a Ford or a Chevy.)

The “gun lobby” does not try to convince anyone that their right to own firearms is a restriction-free right. This is certainly not the message of the NRA.

The NRA sometimes even advocates for certain restrictions on guns.

For example, the NRA has recently released a video calling for Gun Violence Restraining Orders, a measure I examined in my last piece for The Wake Forest Review.

Both articles mention “toxic masculinity” or “hyper masculinity” as a contributing problem to gun violence. I would like to invite either author to go up to anyone outside of an isolated academic institution and tell a normal Joe that the problem in America is too much masculinity.

You will get laughed out of the room.

Or try Fort Bragg. I’m sure the 82nd Airborne soldiers will get a nice kick out of you telling them that they’re too masculine and that toxic masculinity is hurting America.

America needs more masculinity, not less.

Long live hypermasculinity.

  • Zigfried Ost Vind

    For some reason, well meaning folks feel that disarming the victims (no gun zones) violating the law abiding (gun control) all while they protect more criminals (sanctuary cities) will magically make our students safer.

    Just wow.

  • bckn

    No woman mass shooters…

  • TD

    If it is not a problem with the American male – then what causes the US to have, by far, the biggest problem with guns of any of the modern world democracies?

    Why do we have twice as many civilian guns per person as any other country?
    Why is our death rate much higher than any other modern democratic countries?
    Why are 80% of non military guns owned by less than 5% of the people?

    Is the problem American men or is it our lax gun laws and weak enforcement?

    • Henry Koontz

      We also have more lives saved by defensive use of guns than the amount of gun deaths. So we don’t have a gun problem, we benefit from having so many guns in this country. More to come in next week’s article…

      • TD

        If the number one country in ownership of guns (by far) is also the worst of the modern democratic countries in homicides, we might say quite firmly that gun do not save lives.

        How many AR-15 type guns are used as defensive weapons?
        One can enforce strict gun control laws without removing all guns from homes. Would you an AR-15 for self defense?

        BTW Since the NRA has convinced congress not to let the CDC study gun deaths and, it seems, guns used in self defense, there are only very questionable telephone surveys.backing up any claims of lives saved by defensive use of firearms.

        • Henry Koontz

          The CDC estimates there are 500,000-2,500,000 defensive gun uses per year. Surveys show that about 17% of those who used a gun in self defense think someone would have died if they had not had a gun. So that’s 85,000-425,000 lives saved per year by guns. Much higher than the 38,000 gun deaths in 2016.

          • TD

            Do they say how many of the 17% of people feel someone may have died because they were confronted with someone holding a gun?

            The conclusion of the CDC study says
            ” The depth of the relationship is unknown “and “this is a sufficiently important question that it merits additional, careful exploration.”

            The CDC study clearly states that because of the ban not enough information is known to make conclusions.

            What we do know is the US is the number one country in the rate of ownership of guns (by far) and is also
            the worst of the modern democratic countries in homicides,

          • Henry Koontz

            I don’t think it says exactly how many. It’s certainly something that could be studied some more. Do you mean the assault weapons ban of 1994? That’s true, but I think in judging the effectiveness of gun control legislation, its best to look at time-series data on the murder rates of countries that have tried something similar.

          • TD

            A important example was the Australian changes in gun ownership and gun laws in 1996

            “While 13 gun massacres (the killing of 4 or more people at one
            time) occurred in Australia in the 18 years before the NFA, resulting in
            more than one hundred deaths, in the 14 following years, there were no gun massacres.”

            “In the seven years before the NFA [change in the law] (1989-1995), the average annual
            firearm suicide death rate per 100,000 was 2.6 ; in the seven years after the buyback was fully implemented
            (1998-2004), the average annual firearm suicide rate was 1.1

            “In the seven years before the NFA, the average annual firearm
            homicide rate per 100,000 was .43 while for the seven
            years post NFA, the average annual firearm homicide rate was .25


            “[T]he drop in firearm deaths was largest among the type of firearms most affected by the buyback.”

          • Henry Koontz

            Well the firearm homicide rate doesn’t matter. What matters is if the policy reduced the overall murder rate. I f someone gets killed by a knife, that’s just as bad as getting killed with a gun. If someone doesn’t have a gun anymore and they commit suicide without a gun, that’s just as bad. Likewise, if 6 people die in isolated incidents in gun homicides, that’s just as bad as 6 people dying in a mass shooting. So a policy is only successful if it reduced the overall murder rate or overall suicide rate. Australia’s gun ban had no effect on the murder rate.

          • TD

            The latest report of the national homicide monitoring program [in Australia] reveals there were 238 homicide incidents in Australia in 2013-14 compared with 307 deaths in 1989-90.

            That finding brings the national rate down to one victim per 100,000 people – the lowest since the program started in 1989.

          • Henry Koontz

            Yes, the murder rate was lower after the ban. But it was on the decline before the ban and the ban did not have an effect on the rate of the decline. This was discovered by using New Zealand as a control sample. New Zealand has about the same demographics as Australia and its murder rate was declining at a similar rate to Australia’s before the ban. New Zealand did not do a gun ban and their murder rate continued to decline at the same rate as Australia’s. So Australia’s gun ban did not have a measurable effect on the murder rate.

          • TD

            NZ 1995 population 3.67 million Homicide rate 1.09
            NZ 2013 population 4.42 million Homicide rate 1.00

            Australian pop 1995 18.07 million Homicide rate 1.70
            Australian pop 2013 23.12 million Homicide rate 1.03

          • Henry Koontz

            Yeah, so there was no statistical difference in the rate of the decline. The years in between were studied too.

          • TD

            One went down about 10 percent
            the other by more than a third – I would say there is difference

            Australian population increased more than total NZ population

          • Henry Koontz

            You can’t just look at those 2 years for a proper statistical test. When the other years in between were studied and when a proper hypothesis test was done, there was no statistical difference between the 2 countries. An increase in population doesn’t effect the murder rate since it’s a ratio.

          • TD

            The difference in size of the populations and the large increase in Australia show that this is not an apples to apples comparison.
            Do you have a link with the data for the “proper test”

          • Henry Koontz
          • TD

            Your first article deals with mass shootings, not homicides. It says “Methodological challenges Mass murder in Australia is a rare event, with a low baseline level.Consequently, mass shootings have historically represented an even rarer event, making statistical analysis extremely challenging. Although there exist a rangeof statistical tests that can be applied to rare events, these tests are limited in their ability to produce reliable results and are prone to a highdegree of error. Also, Australian mass shooting data sets are heavily zero inflated.That is, the number of zeros is so large that the data do not fit standarddistributions (e.g. normal, Poisson, binomial, negative-binomial) (Heilbron,
            1994; Tu, 2002). It then, nonethelessuses T-tests and p.
            value (a statistical test) for mass shootings, not homicides.

            Your secondstudy states “The paired
            t-test comparing predicted firearm suicide values with the observed values forthe years 1997 to 2010 indicated the predicted mean firearm suicide rate was
            significantly higher than the observed mean firearm suicide rate (μpred = 1.50, μobs= 1.05, p <0.01).” That is the incidence of homicides was lower
            that the prediction using the rates before the law change. The neither the data or links are provided.

            Your third study states “To determine whether enactment of the 1996 gun laws and buyback program were followed by changes in the incidence of mass
            firearm homicides and total firearm deaths.” And “Following enactment of gunlaw reforms in Australia in 1996, there were no mass firearm killings through
            May 2016.
            However later “To determine whether
            the mass gun-related homicides that occurred prior to the introduction ofAust ralia’s new gun laws might have distorted the comparison with gun-related
            homicides after implementation of the gun laws,sensitivity analysis was conducted in which the number of deaths due to mass homicide was subtracted
            from the total firearm gun deaths for that calendar year. The resulting counts were then analyzed using the same procedure.” In other word mass killings (all before 1996
            passage of the law) were taken out of the homicide data. Why this manipulation of the data? Surely,they were homicides. And again, no link tothe data they used.

            Try again?

          • Henry Koontz

            The data for all three studies is listed in their “references” section. Most of these studies used cause of death data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics.

            You are correct to point out that in the first study this is a difficult thing to study because of the rarity of mass shootings. That is why no statistical effect of the gun ban on mass shootings has been found.

            For the second study, there were two key findings. One is that the gun ban had no statistical effect on the firearm homicide rate. The other, as you pointed out, is that the firearm suicide rate may have been influenced by the gun ban. But we can’t know for sure, because the non-firearm suicide rate also decreased by much more than predicted.

            For the third study, I think you misread that quote. That was a separate analysis done that was not used to determine their conclusion that there was no statistical effect on firearm suicides and homicides as a result of the gun ban. So they did actually include mass shooting deaths as part of homicide deaths when they did their main analysis.

            The main takeaway from these three studies is that there is no statistical evidence of any reduction in firearm suicides or homicides as a result of the ban.

          • TD

            The following statement is true “In the 18 years before and including the Port Arthur massacre, the new analysis showed that 13 mass shootings happened between 1979 and 2013. None has occurred in the 22 years since.” It maybe a failing of statistic to handle this type of data but if common sense can be used I would say thegoal of reduction mass shootings was met.

            Article three states “Total Suicide Deaths Total
            (firearm + nonfirearm) suicide annual death rates had been increasing by a mean of 1.0% per year before the introduction of the gun control laws, for an
            overall mean of 12.3 ….per 100 000 population, but declined by a mean of 1.5% peryear after the introduction of the 1996 gun laws .. for an overall mean of 11.7 per 100 000.” Both at a confidence level
            of 95%. Suicides were going up before and down after the law was changed. And homicides were going up before and down after. Sounds like a strong result, the one envisioned by the law.

            The article continues “Considering that firearms have a very high lethality index (or “completion rate”) in both homicide and suicide, it is possible that had the
            gun law reforms not occurred, more Australians contemplating suicide might have more easily accessed firearms and completed suicide. The data in this study
            show that the declining rate of suicide by firearm accelerated significantly after the 1996 gun laws, with no apparent substitution to other lethal methods, or if there was substitution, it may have been into less lethal methods.”

            Despite a surge of post law gun buying to replace destroyed semiautomatic and other rapid-fire weapons with single-shot rifles and shotguns,17 in a trend that preceded the Australian firearm buyback but seems to have been accelerated by thisinitiative, the proportion of Australian households reporting private gun ownership declined by 75% between 1988 and 2005.

            Given all the data the conclusion that the law had no effect seems odd.

          • Henry Koontz

            Like I pointed out earlier, focusing on mass shootings is pointless. The indicator of whether a gun policy is effective is whether it had an effect on the overall murder rate, which statistically it did not.

            If you read the whole article three, you will see that rates of non-firearm homicide and suicide decreased at greater rates than firearm homicide and suicide. This indicates that factors other than the gun ban were responsible for the decline in firearm homicides and suicides. This is why the authors conclude that there was no statistical effect on firearm homicide and suicide rates as a result of the ban.

          • TD

            Voters and parliament in Australia who passes the new law to outlaw semi-automatic rifles disagree with you, they stated that the with the primary purpose of stopping mass killings. The conclusion was that they could not statically say without qualifications that the new law reduced suicides and homicides. They did not say they can prove it did not.

            Published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine, scholars at the University of Sydney and Macquarie University used mathematical techniques to test the null hypothesis that the rate of mass shootings in Australia before and after the 1996 law reforms is unchanged. An analysis of firearm deaths between 1979 and 2013 showed that 13 mass shootings (homicides in which at least 5 persons died, not including the perpetrator) took place in the 18 yearspreceding and including the Port Arthur massacre; none has occurred in the 22years since. The odds of a 22-year absence of mass shootings in Australia since1996 gun reforms being due to chance (that is not due to the new law) are one in 200,000.

            https://www.sciencedaily.co….
            http://annals.org/aim/fulla

          • Henry Koontz

            So if “x” people die in a mass shooting, do you think that is worse or equally bad to “x” number of people dying in separate incidents?

          • TD

            False choice! If Las Vegas and Parkland were avoided they would not naturally become 76 individual homicides. That is what the people of Australia voted for and they got reduced (zero) mass shootings for twenty years. As pointed out above, fewer guns per capita and strictly enforcing laws about guns is the hallmark of states and countries with lower homicide and suicide rates.

          • Henry Koontz

            So what you’re saying is that if the Vegas and Parkland mass shootings didn’t happen, then total gun homicides would have decreased by 76. Essentially you’re saying that a decrease in mass shootings should cause a decrease in the total gun homicide rate. If that is true, how do you explain Australia’s gun homicide rate being statistically unaffected even though mass shootings decreased?

          • TD

            Australia’s homicide incident rate has fallen from 1.6 per 100,000 in1995-96 to 1 per 100,000 in 2013-2014, according to a government report on crime trends. That was the lowest homicide incident rate at the time in 25 years. Seems significant to me. If the US reduced its death by gun rate (more than 1/3) as the Australians have we would save over 10,000 gun deaths per year.
            I am sure the NRA, like the tobacco companies, can hire statisticians to say this is statistically meaningless. I disagree,

          • Henry Koontz

            I don’t think you understand that whether or not a number is statistically significant is not something that is an opinion. It is a mathematical fact that can be calculated. The studies I referenced proved mathematically that there was no statistically significant effect on the gun homicide rate as a result of the gun ban. Unless you can prove that their methodology was flawed, you can’t just ignore these studies because they don’t support your argument. I don’t believe any of the studies I referenced received funding from the NRA. Do you have any proof that they were funded by the NRA?