After El Paso and Dayton, an uncomfortable fact about America has come into the foreground. America has a domestic terrorist problem and it is killing people.

An Age of Violence

During the 20th century, and preceding the Good Friday agreement, Ireland was plagued by terrorist violence from the IRA. First Ireland struggled for independence from Britain and then struggled internally in terrible violence between Protestants and Catholics. Eventually, the violence stopped. The government took steps to stem the violence and healing eventually occurred. 20 years on from the agreement, Ireland is a place of peace. However, the troubles ended because problems were addressed and the government worked with the IRA to end the violence and bring about peace. The violence in America is different now. There is no central group to bring to the table. That does not mean that the government cannot take steps to ensure the safety of all Americans. That is the primary job of government. Instead, Americans live in fear.

Today in the United States, Americans are facing the same amount of violence as The Troubles in Ireland. Americans now live in fear of a mass shooting. Recently, a car backfired in Times Square and people ran quickly away from the scene. Why would they run from a car? The backfire sounded like a gunshot. Americans, whether they realize it consciously or not are living in fear.

At date of writing (early September) the number of mass shootings this year have exceeded the entire number of shootings in 2018. In just 9 months, Americans have had to endure the terror of an entire year of mass shootings. This is not an isolated problem. This a national problem that requires national solutions that extend well beyond the discussion on gun control.

Sexism and Misogyny

Mother Jones in this amazing analysis shows that recent shooters have also been shown to be fairly violent people in general and with an undercurrent of sexism and violence towards women. The article states that in 22 mass shootings since 2011, a full third of all mass shootings during the period, those 22 shooters were violent in other ways including domestic violence. Why is this? What is about sexism and misogyny that breeds violence? It begins from the contempt of women and the difficulties the modern male faces in society.

Stemming the violence against women has been as difficult as the general conversation on gun control in America. When Congress attempted to restrict gun ownership by men accused or convicted of domestic violence the NRA helped kill the legislation because falsely accused men could have their gun rights trampled on. Domestic partner violence is on the rise and women bear the burden. Their chances of getting killed by a partner are on the rise. Over 2,000 women die each year from domestic partner violence and they are usually shot.

Domestic Terrorism

The comparison to the Troubles in Ireland is apt because the fear that Americans live under is real. Between public violence and domestic violence it seems that no one is safe. Compared to all violence, mass shooting are rare but happen in a regular basis. At time of writing, another mass shooting in Odessa, TX had occurred. 5 people died. The United States, unlike neighbor Canada, lacks a domestic terrorism agency. The FBI is tasked with all matters within the borders of the US. The CIA is not allowed to operate within the borders of the US without FBI oversight and partnership. In the years since 9-11, the FBI has been focused on trans-national terrorism more than domestic terrorism. The last meeting for the working group on domestic terrorism was set to meet the morning of September 11, 2001. The group would not meet again for 13 years.

There is a good reason to bolster the FBI’s powers to combat domestic terrorism or set up a new agency tasked with the project of identifying potential terrorists or terrorist organizations within the nations’ borders. We live in an age of militias with weapons of war and gunmen who are plotting to kill as many as people as possible. It is hard for many Americans to think that their fellow citizens are possible threats but that is an eventuality that must be considered and combatted against. While the US could use a domestic terrorism agency whose sole job is to root out these threats, there is also a greater conversation about men that needs to be had.

Fixing the Culture

America has undergone many cultural shifts in recent years. While not often acknowledged, men have become more disadvantaged than before. Women are excelling in all areas of life. In education, the economy, and socially, women are racing ahead of men. This has radically changed the dynamics of offices, dating, and more. One of the interesting things mentioned in the Mother Jones article is the commonality of Incel (involuntary celibate) attitudes among those violent shooters. In a companion article for this piece, we discovered an article from The Guardian encouraging the Left to reach out to men. In the discussions about men, there are two conversations going on. On the right, Jordan Peterson and others are giving men useful advice about how to life, date and get married, and encouraging men to be men in the traditional sense and rooted in very traditional values.

Meanwhile, over on the Left the discussion about men is fundamentally antagonistic. Cis men are often denigrated in favor of new forms of gender expression. The talk of privilege both of maleness and sexuality are often spoken about. The conversation is often not welcoming and certainly does not address the 2 generations of men forced to navigate a world that is unfriendly to them or not built for them entirely. The discussion about medicating boys on school has been a hot topic since the 1990s. Books about the destruction of boyhood and young men who don’t grow up or fail to launch have been published since the early Aughts. Men are facing new challenges for which they are unprepared and the Left has cut itself out of the conversation. Merely pointing out the problem of toxic masculinity does little good if a new solution isn’t also proposed with actionable steps to create a new world where women and men can coexist as equal partners and contribute together as one society.

Terror and Men

History has shown that when you have a group of disenfranchised and lost men, violence will break out. One of the greatest fears during the 19th century, by the harbingers of manners, was the unattached male. This was with good reason. Men have very real needs, like any other human being, and those needs have not often been prioritized in society. Men have been forced in a box and told to “man up” if they should complain. Helping men navigate this new world and offering real solutions would also contribute to solving the new age of terror that we live in. While we do need an agency to attack terror at home, the underlying economic and cultural stressors cannot be ignored. The best and most well-funded agency can only find the terrorist once he begins his plot. Culture will stop him from creating that plot in the first place. In the early days of this publication, we posted a video about women, sex, career, and old joe.

The precepts from that video still hold. It is important to remember the dynamics of the economy, sex, and dating that everyone has to endure but that adversely impact men. Men have been robbed of male spaces and institutions that allowed them to be themselves and bond with other men. These spaces have moved online, especially towards video games, if they exist at all. Economically, uneducated men are in a very difficult place, and that has been coupled with women’s greater options and increasing choosiness of picking a male partner. For the single male today, it is tough to maintain connections, find interest, find a partner, or simply survive economically. The education system is no longer built for his success. The culture no longer celebrates men and masculinity in its wholeness, and that will continue to drive some men to violence. This does not have to be the end of the story. This is a cultural story that can and should be prepared. If this is not changed, everyone will continue to live in the terror of the mass shooter. The best agency will not be able to keep everyone safe forever. These shooters are attacking others and themselves as also giving the system one final punch in the face. It is time to fix both problems.