She said no.

I just read a news story about an 11-year-old boy who killed an eight-year-old neighbor girl because she said no.

She didn’t say no about sex. It wasn’t over something so charged with emotion as sex.

It was over a puppy.

He wanted to see her new puppy and she refused. So he went inside his house and picked up a gun and shot her.

It is so easy to say that this is a matter of a parent not locking up their guns. He was easily able to open up the closet door, pull out a shotgun and shoot this girl in the chest, killing her instantly. That is certainly an issue. But more than gun-control, we need to have people control. How have we gotten to the point where young boys feel that the way to deal with rejection is to kill? How have we gotten to the point where being told “no” means someone has to die?

It is to the point where we really shouldn’t be afraid of Muslim men with guns. What we need to be afraid of are young white boys with guns. They are responsible for far more murders in America these days than anyone else.

This has nothing to do with “America being a Godless nation” as some commentators say. You don’t need religion to know you should not kill someone.

Perhaps violent videogames are to blame. Perhaps neglectful parenting is to blame. Perhaps this kid (and all the other ones, too many to name) were left alone for too long, ignored, left to fend for themselves, unguided, unwanted. Perhaps it is all of this, and more. Whatever the reason(s), we as a nation need to figure it out soon, because too many deaths have already occurred.

I feel the root of this particular murder is the word “no” – and how he handled it.

If he didn’t kill her over this, it is entirely possible that he would grow up to assault or rape a different woman who told him “no”. Is this what our society has come to, where women cannot say “no” for fear of being harmed? Is this what our society has come to, where men can’t hear the word “no” without causing harm?

There was no way to predict that this would have happened. He asked to see her puppy. She said no. So he killed her. Something doesn’t add up. This equation does not lead logically from one step to another. And that is the problem. We say we want to stop gun violence, but deep down if we are being honest we really just want to not be the victim of gun violence. It has become random, uncertain, chaotic. Anyone can be a victim.

Long gone are the days where attacks follow a logical pattern. Someone was abused for years and kills his abuser. Someone was in a “bad” part of town and got mugged. Someone got into a fight and got shot.

These days, just going to school can be dangerous. Just going to the movies can get you murdered. There is no logic to it. All the victims are innocent. Often they aren’t even known by their murderer.

Why are there too many guns and not enough parents teaching their children right from wrong? Sometimes it isn’t even as easy or simple as that. Sometimes the parents need a few lessons themselves. Often the parents are less than stable. Giving birth does not suddenly improve intelligence or aptitude. It isn’t a surprise when their kids go off the deep end.

Stronger gun laws will only result in a greater imbalance. More “bad” people will have guns. They don’t obey laws anyway, so gun laws will benefit them and harm everyone else. It is too late to regulate guns – there are too many out there. What we need is to regulate people.

We need to teach our children from an early age how to handle loss, rejection, and pain. We need to teach them how to deal with their feelings, good and bad. We need to teach them how to be with other people in healthy ways, ways that are life-affirming. We need to teach people how to have dialogue versus having debate. We need to teach people about many other cultures and ways of thinking, so they learn there are many ways of seeing and understanding.

Under pressure

I knew a guy who had a girlfriend who lived many hours away. They met at camp, and dated long distance for many years. He pressured her to have sex with him, and she did, reluctantly.

Problem was that they were Pentecostal, and they weren’t married. This is a huge sin in the eyes of that church. It is considered a sin to many Christian denominations, but some just turn a blind eye. There is no wiggle room on this issue in this church.

He then expected to have sex with her every time he came to visit. She thought he would drop her as a girlfriend if she didn’t. So she had sex with him every time he came to visit.

Until she got pregnant.

They prayed for forgiveness. They prayed for a way out of it. They prayed, crying and wailing. She didn’t have the money for an abortion, and that would have only complicated matters. Sex before marriage is considered a sin, but so is abortion. There was no good way out.

God granted them mercy. She had a miscarriage. Fortunately she already had problems with her periods so it just looked like an extra difficult time of the month to her parents. They dodged the bullet that time. I remember him crying about how grateful he was for that act of mercy from God.

Then he went for another visit and expected to have sex again. Somebody had to be the adult, and he wasn’t it. Deep down, she knew there wouldn’t be another free break.

So every time he came to visit, she was “having her period.” He found periods disgusting, so they didn’t have sex. He kept asking, and she kept saying she was having her period. She was lying every time. She was lying so that they wouldn’t have sex. She was lying so she wouldn’t get pregnant again.

I’m stunned that they eventually married. His behavior was reprehensible.

I’m glad that she stood her ground and didn’t have sex with him again until they got married. I’m upset that he thought it was ok to ask after that bit of mercy. Maybe he’d forgotten. We all tend to forget our midnight promises to God when the dawn comes and everything looks better. But to ask her again after that is a sign of a lack of respect for her, and a sign that he thinks he can get away with anything. This does not bode well.

Perhaps she married him anyway because she actually loved him. Perhaps she felt she was “damaged goods” anyway, so it was better to stay with him. Not being a virgin is a big deal. It is safer to stick with the person who made you that way than have to fess up to someone new.

It isn’t fair to be a woman. We are expected to please, to put ourselves second, to humble ourselves. We are expected to let the man be in charge. Yet if we have sex and become pregnant, we have no guarantee that he will “do the honorable thing.” He can leave. We can’t. We have the most to lose.

When I was in college guys would expect to have sex with me just because we went on a date. Let us see – movie, $10. Dinner, $30. That would make me a $40 whore. There is no other way to say it. If they thought I was expected to have sex with them just because he paid for the date, then that is prostitution. They didn’t think of it that way, of course. They thought they were just going on a date, and they might “get lucky”. I’m sure they thought it couldn’t hurt to ask. They were wrong.

I figured out early on that I’d rather be seen as a prude than become a single mother. I couldn’t afford it. I’d have to quit school. My entire life would change and get a lot harder. Sex wasn’t worth that. The risk factor was way too high. It wasn’t fair that I had to stand my ground. It wasn’t fair that they kept insisting. I’d break up with one and the next one would be the same.

It is time for parents to raise their sons to respect women. I don’t even mean that they need to understand that “no means no.” I mean that it is time for them to stop even asking the question.