This weekend, four young men between the age of 13-16 were found after sexually assaulting several women in south Minneapolis. I will spare the details. Our impulse is to blame the parents. They share some of the blame. But I believe the fault reverberates throughout the culture of America. Where were the men in that park, in that alley, at any point in the life of these young men? It will be said these young men fell through the cracks. What good is that to the women who were raped? Clearly these young men had little if any interaction with men able to model the Sacred Masculine.
Why do I call them young men? Because a boy at thirteen goes through the physical transformation by which he becomes a man. But our culture does not recognise adulthood until one reaches the age of 18, and even then there are rights not extended to us. Historically, the men of the culture would take the boy going through that transformation and put him through a set of trials, after which he would be recognised by the whole community as a man among men. The older, wiser men would be there to guide the young man throughout his life. He would be encouraged to model Sacred Masculine.
In our culture, young men are left to figure it out for themselves. Most of us get lost, whether we know we are lost of not. If we are taught anything at all, it's mostly about how to get in line, how to bow down, how to rule. Manhood in America is most often associated with violence and ownership. The individualist creed so prominent in our culture says, "Every Man for Himself." It is the fundamental basis of modern economics, and there is nothing more sacred in this culture than the Market. Women are thought to be less than. Community is virtually dead, and so the presence of the watchful, protective eyes of strong, grounded adults is not a reality in most neighborhoods.
That thirteen year old got his initiation, from older men in his community. And for it several women and the children of one of those women will be haunted much of their lives. And we can all go back to our televisions and our jobs and forget, though in each of us is a vaguely unsettled feeling that something is not right with the world. How helpless we feel.
Cheers to the officers who are said to have interrupted the young men as their went about their awful work. Thank you. As for what to do about these young men, I admit I have had visions of killing them. I would be content to be allowed into a dim room, all four boys tied and bound. I will paint myself green, attach horns to my head, carry my deer horns and dance and roar. I promise I won't kill them. At most, I would demand from each how they hope to redeem themselves, and maybe puncture a thigh of each with a horn.
What? Do you suppose the "Justice" system can do better? Regardless, they will be treated as adults now. By the courts. Thrown in with the rest of the rapists and murderers. While the culture, which is us, goes about creating more and more young men without the ability to feel. More young men who laugh at the pain of others.
So, men, what are you doing to restore the sense of Sacred Masculine in yourselves? How are you modeling that for the boys and young men in your life? Good men, rise up. You are models, whatever you do. It can't be helped. Look deep inside and find healing. The world is in desperate need of good men, protectors. It can't be left to the police alone.