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letters | More sides to the gun debate

Time to end stigma against men expressing their emotions

JOANNA WEISS suggested putting a stigma on guns as a way to solve the gun violence problem (“Stigmatize guns,” Op-ed, Dec. 23). Wouldn’t we have to solve another stigma problem first — the real stigma on men’s expression of feelings except anger?

People not equipped to sort out distress with another person may have to deal with explosive frustration. Women are often no experts at nonviolent conflict resolution. But at least women are not shamed for having feelings in the first place.

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Old, entrenched notions still prevail. John Wayne was an important model of the stone-hearted, gun-toting solution. We seem to have some models of a new way in front of us, including some handsome football players who are expressing more heart than the previous generation perhaps ever would have been allowed.

Besides new models, there is training. Nonviolent communication is a learnable skill. Imagine if men and women could deal with everyday distress in a nonviolent manner.

Meanwhile, as long as men are expected to be perfectly competent at everything but are not supposed to understand themselves or others, they will continue to go berserk. Who wouldn’t under such rules?

Joyce Thompson


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