Men and Family Tragedies

Source. (Photo by Sandra Teddy/Getty Images)

On Wednesday around 8:30am, a man killed his three children (aged 3, 4 and 6) by setting them on fire in the family car. He then killed himself by stabbing himself in the chest . His wife, the children’s mother managed to get out of the car with serious burns, she died later in hospital. Five people dead in an appalling tragedy.

A tragedy is not something sad or upsetting as this news is. A tragedy is something that ends badly that was always going to end badly, even though people thought it might have a different ending. It turns out to be inevitable. Was this inevitable? I don’t know, but what I do know is that the way society and the law treats men means that murder-suicides are inevitable.

A strange thing about people is that we often divide things into male and female even though both sexes do something. For example we think of men when we think about money, power, jobs, violence, but about women when we think of beauty, hygiene and emotions. As shorthand it works fine, but we get into trouble when we forget that it is shorthand.

Society and the law treats men as if we do not have emotions, as if we have no right to feel. Certainly men are not as connected to their emotions as women or children are. Which means that when emotions do reach our core, they are extremely intense. And we find it hard to know what to do with these invasive thoughts. Unlike women, talking about emotions can make them seem more real, bigger. However bottling them up can lead to an explosion. What men need are answers, not talk.

But what answers are there when the woman you love leaves?

What answers are there when you are treated as if you are not your own children’s father?

What answers are there when the things you have worked for are taken from you?

In the past, before no-fault divorce, before men were demonized, these things were rare. But that is no longer true. When men have their lives destroyed and their hearts ripped out they often find little support or sympathy. Because men aren’t supposed to have emotions, or at least they are only allowed happy emotions. Sadness, hate, anger, are all real emotions, they are not alien to human experience. However that is how they are treated today, as if these feeling should not exist, and that is wrong.

What is also missing is charity, Christianity valued charity. Today when thinking about charity we think of giving money. Charity also means a generous and forgiving nature. To be generous with our time, our love and efforts. It also means to forgive those who wrong us, not automatically, but when someone seeks forgiveness or we need to give it to ease our suffering. But charity is not often shown to men, in time that will also apply to women and then in time to children.

Everything is unforgivable, no room for charity at all. Men are increasingly not allowed to be human or to fail. The fact that failure is a part of life, that it is inevitable means that this leads to explosions.

The way men are being treated and have been for decades is totally unnatural. Men and women should have children within marriage and that marriage should last for life. Sure it is possible live another way, with children being born outside of marriage, with marriage being regarded as a short term thing. But these have consequences and we can see those consequences all around us. The impermanent has replaced the permanent. Nothing is stable or solid, instead everything is hollow and cheap. Including our relationships and our lives.

That some men react violently to everything that they love being taken from them should not be a surprise to any person who thinks. It might not be nice but it is entirely natural. That it can lead to suicide or murder should also not be a surprise. That does not make it good or something that we should encourage. However we do encourage it. Every time we support the break up of a family we encourage this. Because it is inevitable that at some point a man will be driven to these extreme measures. We need to stop creating these situations.

Your children should not be taken from you, your marriage should not be taken from you. That people are imperfect is true, that we do not always treat others as they deserve is also true. But in a world without charity then we are all just enemies.

Originally published at Upon Hope. You can find Mark Moncrieff’s Subscribestar here.