Photo by John Belmont, Merriam, KS.
Sounds crazy but gun statistics show there’s more self inflicted gun death than murder. You are safer getting those weapons out of your hands and into someone else’s.
Annual US Murders by guns: 14,542 Center for Disease Control 2016
Annual Suicide by guns: 23,854** Center for Disease Control 2016
**Men are over represented here
Why are guys such a threat to themselves? My unprofessional diagnosis goes back to what fathers, or at least my father taught me regarding the strong silent man: Dad said “Emotions are like bad breath or stinky feet: Commonplace but you needn’t let anybody else know. Keep your feelings to yourself. Arguments with an emotional appeal are wrong.”
As a guy who grew up on John Wayne and later Clint Eastwood, Dad’s theory made sense. They were the gold standard of masculinity, I learned as a kid in the 1950s.
Today I think less of the “Silent Unemotional Man”. This thought came to me recently when I got a call from Jay, an old college classmate. He asked me to “.. join our reunion luncheon group for our monthly meetings. We gather to see how everyone is doing, reminisce about the good old days and spout off with boasts and lies.” About the same time I noted my old businessman’s forum that for years talked marketing, finance and personnel now talks more of the poetry of life. We meet to chat about where our old friends are in post-career life.
The end of “Strong Silent Man” and birth of “Chitchat Man” feels like a stretch. With three sisters and a wife, I always knew women were quick to gather socially- for tea parties, showers, and ladies luncheons where they’d chatter, and express feelings. In my restaurants, there were many ladies groups or girl friends getting together to chat socially. Guys would meet to discuss deals. I assumed this was the iron law of gender. Camaraderie, prattle or gossip was taboo for us. I thought guys were forbidden to gossip, spill their guts or work out their emotions. Today, certainly at this stage in life, the rules are changing.
There are just too damn many lonely guys with guns bumping themselves off? More guys die of gun violence by their own hand than at the hands of criminals. It’s sad. More over it indicates a failure to have a well conceived transition to later life.
No way those guys chatting at McDonalds every morning, the poker club members or jazz bands guys are going to shoot themselves.
So join something, anything. Call up a friend. Lose the guns.