It’s not the End of Men, it’s the End of Forgetting
A ManKind Project Elder is Murdered, New Warriors across the country mourn the murder of Will Norman, Powerful Bull
by Rick Borutta
Will Norman was 76. He was a retired principal living in Florida, a father of two, and a volunteer for youth and church groups. He was a member of the I-Group Gulf Coast Warriors. On Thursday, July 5th, his body was found floating in a canal, the apparent victim of a homicide.
The two suspects were apprehended only one day later. Both 19 year-old boys, they left clues that made it easy for police to find them. They confessed to the murder and to wanting money. One of the boys rented a house owned by Will Norman. A neighbor saw them arguing in the yard only the day before – claiming Will told her that he was threatened by them and he was scared.
Those of us who staffed with him only three months ago at the Arizona Gateway NWTA are stunned and saddened that the kind, playful, big-hearted guy we met had his life taken from him. Staffing the gateway was a highlight for Will, one of the co-leaders recounted, to be on an NWTA “with his tribe.”
The two men have been charged with premeditated murder. If convicted, they could receive capital punishment and would be the youngest men to sit on death row in the state of Florida according to the Florida Dept. of Corrections website.
EDITOR’S NOTE: by Boysen Hodgson
If you read just one of the articles below about Will Norman, it’s easy to see why being a New Warrior was so powerful for him. He had already lived a life of deep service to others and was widely loved and respected by those he mentored and worked with. MKP was a natural homecoming into a community of like minds.
There is an idea in the culture and the media in the last several years, that somehow we have reached the ‘End of Men’; with women graduating from college at far higher rates, being more successful in the workplace, and gaining cultural power – while men and boys suffer from unprecedented rates of suicide, violence, poor health, and disconnection.
When manhood is treated like a commodity as if it could bought or sold like body spray, or acquired through a cell-phone application or muscle car, this extreme disconnection on the cultural level becomes apparent in tragedies such as the murder of Will Norman and other senseless acts of violence. Looking at how New Warriors have responded to this terrible tragedy, I believe that it’s not the end of men, it’s the end of forgetting – that manhood is simply the outcome of a hard-won hero’s journey – an initiation into communal understanding of the world.
In our broader culture of men, we seem to have forgotten. We have forgotten what it means to trust, to support one another, to encourage greatness, to tell the truth, to take responsibility for the next generation, to take responsibility for ourselves, to create the structures, institutions, and culture that will make crimes like the murder of Will Norman seem unthinkable.
The powerful outpouring of emotions from men across the country who knew Will, and from many who didn’t, shows the direction we are co-creating with the ManKind Project. It’s a culture that can share grief, and celebrate life, a culture that feels deep anger without seeking vengeance. It’s a culture where men are welcomed and held in the intensity of their emotions rather than turned away, and where men ask ‘What can I do to help’ when they feel most powerless to make a difference.
In the face of this horrible act apparently committed by two young men, New Warriors have expressed compassion and grief for the perpetrators, and wondered how we can help these young men learn a new way … and change the culture that created them.
We have heard it said … “If we do not initiate the boys, they will burn the village down … simply to watch it burn.”
We have stopped forgetting what it means to be conscious men. We are remembering now, more and more each day, that it is our responsibility and our calling to create a ‘new way of being for men.’ In our new way of being, in the world that many of us envision, a 19 year old boy has been mentored, loved, blessed and cared for by conscious men in a community that values connection between all people. In this culture, killing another man, woman, or child; whether because of difference, or for money, or out of rage … is no longer the way.
We know other ways. And we are awake.
And more and more men are waking up with us.
Articles about Will Norman’s life and death:
– is a deeply personal issue that everyone decides for himself. Sometimes the price is high, sometimes low. But this is not very important for life. Life is an interesting thing. And the price on Viagra – too.