Letter: Children — especially males — must be carefully taught to be nonviolent

“You’ve got to be carefully taught.” A quote from the musical “South Pacific” about prejudice.

We know our country is the leader in gun violence, that we have the most guns and the most people killed by guns of any country not currently at war … and most of these deaths, over 90%, are caused by males between age 14 and 45 when testosterone levels are highest.

But not all males commit violent crime. So what’s the difference? From the data I’ve read recently, it has a lot to do with home, school and friendship groups. Beginning at a very young age, a family can encourage the development of violent behavior in a child with toys, language, books, films, media and by example.

Hopefully, women will partner with a nonviolent male and if/when children arrive they will teach them in a nonviolent home environment. Parents must choose books and media carefully, refuse to buy toy weapons or make heroes out of strong violent film/comic characters, avoid violent sports, or activities with an aggressive win/lose quality that have been found to raise testosterone levels.

Teach both girls and boys to value compassion, thoughtfulness and watch your own behavior as you solve problems. Equalize thinking where girls and boys are concerned so that both sexes value independence, ability, but also devalue aggression, violence and extreme competition.

According to recent studies, your children, males especially, “must be carefully taught” to be nonviolent — especially here in the U.S.

Bev Terry, Salt Lake City

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