1. Judy Deloy

    Excellent, as always. You have given language to the foggy thoughts circling around in my brain. I worry that we are becoming more dumb and unable to deal with this after every incudent. We see this anger regularly in Chicago with all the shootings by thugs who don’t even seem to care whether they hit their intended target.

    1. Marcia

      Thank you, Judy. The violence that permeates American society is a bewildering reality. I am glad this post resonated with you. One thing we are seeing over and over is how fraught this violence is with the wounds of racism and generations of dehumanizing mentalities about bodies who do not fit the white male norm. I know Chicago is in the grip of frequent gun violence. Such a tragic cycle. I can understand your exasperation. And I also understand the desire to “otherize” those who are pulling the triggers. One thing I try to keep close to my heart is that words like “thug” keep us from seeing ourselves reflected back in ways that can lead to positive cultural change. I hear that term used a lot about football players often as code for more racist sentiments and so am working to erase it from my vocabulary. Aside from the vocabulary, the practice is to let our culture’s disease give us each pause about how we contribute and how we can be instruments of healing and change. Thank you, again, for reading and sharing your thoughts.


  2. Thank you for this piece. I had hopped over here after reading your comment on Carol Christ’s post at FAR…I’m glad I did. Your comment that, “The eliciting of mental illness as the cause also helps us avoid the ways the angry young man is all around us and constantly normalized, excused, and even rewarded for his rage” touched on my own concerns about how easy and/or tempting it is to assign “mental illness” as the problem. That approach ignores the larger scope: of the individual’s frustrations or rage as the symptom rather than the dis-ease…similar to how I never viewed a “mental illness” label trustingly after reading “Women and Madness” when I was in my 30s.


What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *