Most of us today are looking for answers to tough questions, especially when it comes to the violence in this country.
For example, why is the United States, unlike any other country in the world, experiencing so many mass shootings?
Why have conspiracy theories become so common, and why do so many people believe them?
Conspiracy theories are not new. People have gravitated to them for centuries. Yet, only in the U.S. have conspiracy theories done so much to “damage public health amid a global pandemic, shaken faith in the democratic process, and spark a violent assault.” 1
But are some people more likely than others to endorse conspiracy theories? The answer to this question, we have learned, is yes.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, a study by Cambridge University found that “women are significantly less likely than men to endorse COVID-19 conspiracy theories and that this gender difference cuts across party lines.” 2
This last point is significant and may be related to the increase in mass shootings, workplace violence, and other forms of violence in this country.
According to expert Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business, violence is on the rise because boys and men in this country have become much more isolated and disconnected than they were 30 years ago.
When this happens, Galloway says, “You end up with a group of men who are more prone to conspiracy theories and misogynistic content. This is [now] the American story. … [and] this crisis of failing young men does not end well.” 3
Let’s look at some of the stats regarding isolation and violence:
· In 1990, the share of men with six or more close friends was 55 percent. Today, only 27 percent say they have six or more friends.
· In 1990, 3 percent of men had no close friends. Today, 15 percent of men have no close friends.
· In today’s high schools, two-thirds of the top 10 percent of students ranked by GPA are girls. Two-thirds of the students with the poorest scores are boys.
· Men now account for three out of four “deaths of despair,” such as suicide and drug overdoses.
· For every 100 middle-aged women that died of COVID, 183 men died.
· Thirty percent of young women, ages 25 to 35, are single; 60 percent of young men in this age group are single.
This is all leading to a disconnection crisis for men. In a worst-case scenario, this disconnection of boys and men “can have tragic consequences. … Younger men are largely responsible for rising rates of mass shootings, a trend some researchers link to their growing social isolation.”
Analyzing this data, TAL Global first wants to remind our subscribers that we are not political. Nor are we directly involved with social changes in this country or any country for that matter.
What we do is take data such as this from credible and reliable sources and use it to help protect our clients – minimize their risks and ensure their safety. Invariably, this means encouraging our clients to have ongoing risk and security assessments conducted, and to remain vigilant to workplace violence triggers and warnings.
It reminds us that in times like this, organizations need Expert Trusted Solutions more than ever.
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Notes and Sources:
1. How Conspiracy Theories in the US Became More Personal, Cruel, and Mainstream After Sandy Hook – UConn Today, referring to the Jan 6 uprising.
According to the Rockefeller Institute of Government, “a mass shooting is targeted violence carried out by one or more shooters at one or more public or populated locations.”
The title of this newsletter comes from the book Of Boys and Men, by Richard V. Reeves, published in 2022. It takes a deeper look at the issues discussed in this newsletter.
Survey Center for American Life, January 2023.