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Boys born to be violent?

by Peter Davison
Published in the Daily News, June, 1993

To the Editor,
How ironic that your editorial page featured Ted Byfield with his opinion that "Boys are Boys, violence natural"( Daily News, Friday May 28, 1993.) while on another page your local reporter informs us of yet another teen bringing a gun to school.
For Mr. Byfield to seriously suggest that violence is biologically driven and for him to consider that contact sports are helpful for boys to vent their 'natural' aggressive tendencies reveals a sad and shallow insight into a increasing social problem.
This young man brought a gun to school because he has learned no other choice to deal with his pain and problems. In a society where men are bombarded with the message that we must be strong and in control it should come as no surprise that so many men resort to violence in an attempt to solve their problems.
Mr Byfield is very naive to think that by continuing to socialize young men in the same old rules so typical of competitive "us against them" interactions like contact sports that they will curb their "natural" violence. Competition as a 'power over' relationship model, requires, by definition, the defeat of others in the game, whether in corporate world, the football field or in the ultimate competition, war. How does this practice sadly unique to the male gender build trust, empathy and cooperation in a world that needs so desperately to be healed?
If we, as men, continue to rest in the comfortable denial of shallow phrases like "boys will be boys" then we cannot possibly meet the needs of young men that are forced to grow up and survive in an increasingly competitive and violent world. Consider the future for our children if men continue to ignore the fact that we live in and unknowingly participate in violent society that begets only more violence. The cycle will only stop when men become responsible and accountable and join women to speak out to end violence in all it's forms. sadly Mr. Byfield is very far from leading the way forward.

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