I appreciate the fact that our society is now having a good talk about the language used in rapes, whether it was “she was asking for it,” or “she shouldn’t have drunk so much.” It’s a good conversation to have and points out many of the flaws in our society’s historical way of dealing with rape.
Another school shooting happened today at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. In reading articles on the shooting, it didn’t take long before I saw a now too-familiar phenomenon: people arguing that if there had only been more guns at the school, no one would have gotten shot 1. This new form of victim blaming – that they should have taken measures to protect themselves and have only themselves to blame for injured or dead children – mirrors the rhetoric of the now-unacceptable rape arguments. Somehow, it’s still okay to blame shootings on the people at the receiving end of the bullets, rather than on the sending end.
Measures focusing on prevention of rape have turned their message to men, who commit the vast majority of rapes with campaigns like Don’t Be That Guy. These campaigns urge the general (male) public to consider their actions and perhaps contributions to “rape culture.”
Maybe it’s time to turn attention to gun owners. Australia has shown that a state-sponsored mandatory buy-back of automatic and semi-automatic weapons and shotguns can reduce the instances of violent crime. Can Americans be prevailed upon to consider their contributions to gun culture and make the kind of significant changes that have reduced the number of gun massacres in Australia to zero? Or will they continue down the blame-the-victim road and demand that more guns be put into schools?