We don't have a racial problem as far as crime and/or stupidity goes in our country.
We have a male problem.
And this observation is coming from a male!
Lest I be considered a sell-out for my gender, consider that:
• Mass murderers and school shooters always seem to be male;
• Sex crimes are almost always committed by males;
• Burglars and robbers are usually male;
• Most homicides are committed by males;
• The infamous knock-out game is being done mostly by males.
• If you fail to consider where I am going with all this, you're probably a male.
But let's be honest, the statistics don't lie. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 93.3 percent of inmates are male; 6.7 percent are female. That speaks volumes for wherein lies the problem.
Obviously without males, we'd have no crime problem to speak of for the females. Of course, we'd have no human race either. But obviously the vast majority of males are not criminals and not a problem.
The male brain must be, in some way, a defective device - especially when talking about the brain of the male 25 and younger. About 10 years ago I watched a teenager from Waterford douse his hand with hair spray and light it on fire, claiming it never burned him - until it did. And whenever I see an idiot zipping down Highway 99 weaving in and out of traffic like it's the Indy Speedway, they always fit the profile: male, aged 16 to 25, stupid.
In this post Jackass TV show generation, things only seems to be getting worse. There are stories abound to illustrate the fact that pre-teen and teen boys are a risk to themselves and others:
• A Georgia teen, 18, drowned as was horsing around with friends and he was tied to a shopping cart and tossed into a lake.
• Last month a 12-year-old boy allegedly pulled a gun on a girl and demanded one of her chicken nuggets in a McDonald's fast food outlet in Harlem.
• A 19-year-old caused a multi-car accident when he held his breath while driving through a Portand, Oregon tunnel and passed out.
• A Florida teenager filmed himself driving "like an idiot" and got into a multi-car accident in which he was seriously injured. While at the hospital, he uploaded the video of him crashing to YouTube, which helps police arrest him for reckless driving.
• A "Duct tape challenge" resulted in a brain aneurysm and crushed eye socket of Renton, Washington teenager Skylar Fish, 14. In case you're wondering, he had two friends duct tape him up and as he tried to break free he fell on his face.
• A high school student in Oregon organized a large party and bragged about it on Twitter, which earned the attention of local police. He was arrested and charged for giving alcohol to minors and disorderly conduct.
• Three 18-year-olds and a 24-year-old woman in Chicago were arrested for kidnapping and abusing a developmentally disabled man after broadcasting their crimes on Facebook live.
• And recently seven Central Valley High School kids were arrested for beating up and/or hazing a 15-year-old after one posted threats on Snap Chat and a video of himself and other boys in a white car.
But it's not just male teens that do themselves in. Consider these stories:
• In 2008 David Monk, 46, was on a ski slope in Sauze D'Oulx, Italy, when he decided to remove a protective mat covering the metal poles of the ski lift to use it as a sled. He came down and slammed into the metal barrier and died.
• When Ali Reza Tabibnejad, 32, of Missoula, Mont., was pulled over in La Pine, Ore., in 2014, he was sporting a beanie that read, "Weed." It gave police the idea to check. Inside the car they found six pounds of marijuana with a street value of $15,000.
• Fresno men committing a car burglary in May 2013 and talking about their drug use butt-dialed 9-1-1. Nathan Teklemariam and Carson Rinehart, both 20, were arrested when a police dispatcher figured out where they were.
• A man in eastern China was mauled to death by a tiger after he climbed a zoo fence and landed in the tiger enclosure - all to avoid paying for admission.
• According to WGNO-TV, Dwayne Hebert, 39, reportedly sent a misdirected text to a Sheriff's deputy his plans to arrange the delivery of methamphetamine.
• Also last month, Daniel Brian Blackwell, 55, of Baltimore became angry when his wife took a bite of his grilled cheese sandwich, and shot at her through the basement floor. He faces attempted murder charges.
You get the picture.
So what gives with this stupidity?
I'm sure there are plenty of reasons. There is evidence to suggest that the male teenage brain isn't developed until later. Neurologists suggest that the teen brain is remodeling itself at the same time he or she is given access to dangerous liberties - such as driving cars, drinking alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and yes, sex. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, children between the ages of 15 and 19 are three times more likely to die from all causes - with accidents, murder, suicide, and drugs all playing a role - than those ages 10 to 14.
Testosterone is another factor. If you add alcohol, stupidity only gets worse.
With more than 20 million U.S. children living with a dad, I can argue that fatherlessness is part of the problem. About 40 percent of children in the western world do not live with their fathers. (But just being present doesn't always mean a father is emotionally available for his kids.) Research indicates that children with absentee fathers grow up to experience five times the average suicide rate; dramatically increased rates of depression and anxiety; 32 times the average rate of incarceration; decreased education levels and increased drop-out rates; consistently lower average income levels; lower job security; increased rates of divorce and relationship issues; substantially increased rates of substance abuse; increased social and mental behavioral issues. Ninety percent of runaway children have an absentee father, so says Psychology Today. For girls, there is an increase in sexual promiscuity and teen pregnancy.
When it comes to mass murders, Candice Batton, director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska, Omaha said that research supports the idea that males are more likely than females to blame others for their frustration or problems while women tend to believe their problems are due to some failing of their own.
I also think that screen and cell phone addiction is leading to disturbing trends. Technology is a poor substitute for personal interaction. This paragraph comes from the Parentmap.com website: "Irritability is a major red flag for screen overuse, according to (Michael Osit, Ed.D., a clinical psychologist). ‘The more time kids spend on screens, the more irritable they become,' he says. Kids may also become hostile when parents try to take away digital devices or restrict screen time. Addictions can also manifest in physical symptoms such as eye strain, carpel tunnel syndrome, headaches and changes in weight."
Now that California has legalized pot, look for more stupidity to come from the immature, underdeveloped male.
I'm sure there plenty of stupid male actions down through the years that were never recorded. But it seems like there are so many cell phone cameras around to capture such acts preceded by the phrase, "Hey, ya'll, watch this," and prove to the rest of us how idiotic the male can be.
Do you have any feedback about this column? Let Jeff know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will read it, promise.