Another tragedy in the national spotlight. A young lady comes up missing and eventually is found deceased after she and her boyfriend and she were subjects of scrutiny.

According to the information released, there were warning signs — the “red flags” — including video of a traffic stop and a dispatcher’s recording of a 911 call. A heartbreaking search ensued as the girls’ parents waited and prayed for the best. Eventually, authorities found her remains, and they’re classifying the event as a homicide. They’re still searching for the boyfriend as of now.

I’m sure he’ll get what’s coming to him if he’s guilty. However, as the story unfolded, there were plenty of warnings popping up everywhere and aimed at women. Few of the warnings are new. They’re the same messages I’ve seen and heard for years, and they essentially boil down to the same suggestion: Ladies, don’t ignore red flags in an abusive relationship.

Great advice for the ladies, but it conveniently ignores the guys creating and waving those flags. Nah, man. Let’s put it on the women to do all the ducking and dodging.

There are all kinds of protective measures women are supposed to take, some of which I’ve shared with my own daughters: Don’t walk through a dark parking lot alone. If you see someone following you in a store, find a manager or security guard to walk with you. Carry mace or pepper spray — or even a gun. Take self-defense classes.

Plenty of “how-to” info aimed directly at women, right?

Years ago, another case made national news. A young man from an affluent family sexually abused an unconscious woman. The reaction wasn’t completely focused on the guy. Instead, some asked, “Why did she allow her drunk self to get in that situation?”

Yet another case involved a college girl who went to a party with some athletes. When some of the men raped her, the first question seemed to be, “What was she doing there in the first place?

More advice aimed toward women. Don’t dress provocatively lest you “invite” unwanted attention. Make sure you’ve got company when attending parties or clubs. Don’t accept drinks from strangers.

Yes, ladies, by all means protect yourselves. Learn all the different ways to say “no.”

You know what I rarely hear?

Messages telling guys not to act like rapey, creepy, abusive freaks. Messages explaining to guys the meaning of “no.”

Why is that? Why aren’t we aiming anything at those targets?

Recently, the state of Texas passed some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the entire nation. There’s even a bounty of $10,000 for anyone in the state who assists with an abortion. Everything I’ve read appears to be targeting women’s rights — but I’ve read nothing addressing a guy’s role. And I do mean absolutely nothing. Theoretically, a male can help get a woman pregnant and then collect the reward if she attempts to abort the child.

Granted, I struggled plenty in my biology classes, but I seem to remember how making a baby typically takes two participants — with one of them being male.

So when does the law come out mandating vasectomies? What kind of reward is there for a guy who makes a baby and then disappears?

Oh, wait. I forgot. We’re not supposed to hold guys accountable. Let’s just keep targeting women.

It doesn’t seem to matter in what situation we discuss when it comes to how a woman is treated, whether it’s sexual abuse, domestic violence or making her own choices. The onus is always on the female, and rarely — if ever — on the male. We’ll keep the sights on our accusation rifles centered on the women without even considering the idea that maybe the men involved often are just as — if not more — responsible. It’s a classic twist on the difference between being “proactive” or “reactive.” Sure, we can tell ladies what to do after something bad happens. But why not aim our weapons of persuasion at the source and maybe stop some of it dead in its tracks?

Sorry, friends, but the male organ shouldn’t serve as a parachute ripcord. A guy shouldn’t be able to pull it just to get out of trouble of his own doing.

As a dad with married daughters, I’m eternally grateful they found the type of young men they did. I’ve never had to have the “tough dad” talk with my sons-in-law. You know, the one where a father explains just what will happen to the dude if his daughter is mistreated. Our guys treat our daughters with love and respect. Their parents raised them well.

If they didn’t, I danged sure wouldn’t talk to our girls about what they should or shouldn’t have done to become victims. I’d be heading straight to the source.

The problem isn’t that we can’t hit where we’re aiming.

The problem is we’re constantly aiming at the wrong target.

Gary Stallard is a regular contributor to the Opinion page of The Lufkin Daily News. His email address is