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  1. Drahill
    Drahill May 30, 2014 at 1:23 pm |

    I’ve done a lot of thinking about this, and here’s the only answer I can come up with:

    Stuff like guns and mental illness are easier to point at because, for a majority of people today, those things are “other.” It’s easier to point at a gun and say “that caused it” (and to be very clear, I can support many gun control measures, but that isn’t the point of this). I am talking about rhetoric that emphasizes the gun without a critical examination of human agency. It’s also easy to point at people with mental illnesses because the majority of people are not mentally ill (or even if they are, they are not suffering from the level of severity of illness that lends itself to acts of violence). Misogyny, however, is a different animal.

    People never want to believe in their own complicity. If you don’t own a gun, you’re not part of the problem of gun violence. If you’re not mentally ill, you’re not part of the problem of mental illness-related violence. Both are fairly easily identifiable and they both can provide excellent opportunities to “other” somebody else. But you can’t “other” misogyny, precisely because its too pervasive. It’s too large. It’s too much a part of the culture. To some extent, to attack misogyny would be to attack our domianant cultural and social model.

    Addressing misogyny would force this society to do something it never, ever wants to do, and that is turn the mirror around on ourselves. And this society has shown repeatedly that it simply cannot do that.

    1. BJ DuVall
      BJ DuVall May 30, 2014 at 2:42 pm |

      Addressing misogyny would force this society to do something it never, ever wants to do, and that is turn the mirror around on ourselves. And this society has shown repeatedly that it simply cannot do that.

      Pretty perceptive. The above article is pretty spot on too. My only problem is that I don’t want to exclude gun control from the debate. That’s just my personal feelings on it. gun control and out of control misogyny are my two greatest troubles with the world lately… and I am torn on this issue. I think its more important to discuss the misogyny angle, but I don’t think that we should completely ignore that he legally bought an arsenal of guns and this is what he did with it. I see the points about the knife an auto attacks. sigh, there is just too much wrong with this.

      As a man, I too have had the classic “but I’m not bad!!” gut reactions to stuff like this, and it takes an effort to pull out of that an examine it as a whole. I think it’s an ego thing, and it’s a selfish thing.. and it’s a bit of a narcissism thing. It’s hard to do initially, but once you realize that it’s OK if people get angry at straight white men that are doing awful things, and that is not an attack on you as an individual SWM, it’s pretty easy after that.

      {sarcasm}
      I wish you ladies could just understand for one minute how hard it is to be a privileged white straight male in this society… and how many people are against you and trying to tear you down all the time!!!!
      {/sarcasm}

      I get why people sometimes react that way, and I recognize that I have done it in the past to some degree (not that bad tho) and I think those people need to grow up a little, like I did.

      In other words, there is hope.

      anyway, great reaction article.

      1. Drahill
        Drahill May 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm |

        BJ, I agree that gun control certainly is a valid discussion. The issue is whether this particular case is the right forum. My contention is that it probably is not. Largely because, as Caperton points out, this isn’t a case that largely was possible because of gun access. His victims were equally split among 3 shot and 3 killed with a blade. On some level, I feel angry towards the people talking about guns in this case, because I feel as though the 3 people he stabbed are being white-washed and removed from the conversation because their deaths cannot serve to further any political arguments or agenda. I feel that especially because the first 3 victims were all Asian and the police reports so far have suggested that Rodgers killed them due to his racist beliefs. Don’t they deserve some part of this conversation as well? I can’t shake the feeling that a focus on guns here, in this case, positions their deaths as less then or less important because they serve no particular viewpoint. And that is a shame.

        1. BJ DuVall
          BJ DuVall May 30, 2014 at 3:15 pm |

          hmm… point taken. I guess we can chalk it up to our inability as a nation to have a multifaceted discussion on an given topic. Hell, we barely get by on having single focused topic discussions. Well, I guess I give up on the gun issue. It’s just that especially since Sandy Hook that has become such a focus of mine.

          I just see so many angles to this thing. Parenting, male entitlement, guns, racism, sexism, misogyny, capitalism/consumerism, PUA/MRA, it goes on and on.

          The more I think of it though.. the more I am glad that it went down like it did if it had to go down at all. If he had developed more coping skills, if he had more success “getting laid” if he was more popular of a person, his evil nature would be that much more insidious. Instead of this 10 minute spree.. he might have been a Jeff Dahmer type or something in that vein. serial rapist/serial killer. He may have done far greater damage had he not sort of flared up so quickly and decisively. I dunno.

          Well, I agree that misogyny is the real issue here. Those other things are part of it, but to a lesser extent.

        2. Henry
          Henry May 31, 2014 at 1:02 am |

          …their deaths cannot serve to further any political arguments or agenda.

          The reduction in domestic violence deaths when guns are removed from households (which has been proven) is the real poster child for gun control – not this case.

          If he had developed more coping skills, if he had more success “getting laid” if he was more popular of a person, his evil nature would be that much more insidious.

          If I had my wish he would have gotten effective counseling to deal with his anger towards women and minorities – I have never heard of such being provided in high schools – correct me if I am wrong. When I was in public school guidance counseling was a joke, I doubt it’s changed. If we catch this early in adolescence maybe there’s a shot at prevention? I’m not a fan of the born evil theory, at some point I believe people do pass a curable stage.

    2. Clytemnestra's Sister
      Clytemnestra's Sister May 30, 2014 at 2:46 pm |

      Stuff like guns and mental illness are easier to point at because, for a majority of people today, those things are “other.”

      That, and they are just easy, period. If you make the discussion about guns, it fits into a lot of prefabricated tropes already out in the light of day. Mental health issues also have easy tropes and platitudes there for the lazy journalist to write about: if we just had better X, then Y wouldn’t happen!

      (And if she had just agreed to go to prom with him, he wouldn’t have killed her. It’s still rubbish.)

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve May 30, 2014 at 4:55 pm |

        That, and they are just easy, period. If you make the discussion about guns, it fits into a lot of prefabricated tropes already out in the light of day. Mental health issues also have easy tropes and platitudes there for the lazy journalist to write about: if we just had better X, then Y wouldn’t happen!

        (And if she had just agreed to go to prom with him, he wouldn’t have killed her. It’s still rubbish.)

        100% agree on the word ‘easy.’

        Palliative measures are easier than preventative measures. It’s like chemical castration as punishment for rape or cutting someone’s hand for stealing. Changing people’s hearts and minds about important issues is way more difficult than making an individual unable to commit a crime by locking them up in a mental institution or attempting to to prevent people from having guns, (or removing their hand or genitalia.) Not that I am against gun control, I just see how bringing up guns in this case then turns the conversation to the familiar comfortable gun arguments.

    3. Yup
      Yup May 30, 2014 at 2:55 pm |

      It would be an attack on large parts of our economy, as well.

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll May 30, 2014 at 3:34 pm |

        And even worse, it would mean feminists were right.

    4. Xexyz
      Xexyz May 30, 2014 at 3:44 pm |

      Stuff like guns and mental illness are easier to point at because, for a majority of people today, those things are “other.”…

      …Addressing misogyny would force this society to do something it never, ever wants to do, and that is turn the mirror around on ourselves. And this society has shown repeatedly that it simply cannot do that.

      I think these are very important points. Every time a spree killing happens, people get lined up to defend their interests (guns, music, video games, violent movies, what have you) and point their fingers at some other possible scapegoat in which they have no interest. Gun enthusiasts point to video games, gamers [who have no interest in guns] point to bad parenting, parents point to violent movies, and the circle just goes around and around.

      It’s why I’m kind of apprehensive at the focus being put on MRA/PUA “culture” instead of the misogyny that defines both MRA/PUA and our culture in general, because then MRA/PUA will just be another labeled other that people can point their fingers at and say, “well I’m not an MRA or PUA, so therefore I don’t have any misogynistic beliefs and nothing Roger said or any of his motivations applies to me.”

      (Not that I support PUA/MRA in the slightest, I just don’t want it to be reduced to a meaningless label that can be thrown around with everything else.)

      1. Yup
        Yup May 30, 2014 at 3:53 pm |

        Right, the same mentality will just go on ignored under other, acceptable labels.

    5. Xexyz
      Xexyz May 30, 2014 at 3:47 pm |

      Because I can’t edit I just want to add that if the end result of this tragedy does lead to widespread condemnation of MRA/PUA culture, I’ll take that as a positive.

  2. BroadBlogs
    BroadBlogs May 30, 2014 at 6:16 pm |

    Yes, to reword your first paragraph slightly, Consider this:

    “How is that a man can leave a 140-page manifesto describing, in explicit detail, how much he hates blacks, why he hates blacks, why he thinks blacks deserve to be punished, and precisely how he plans to punish them — and then his subsequent killing spree is attributed to everything but racism?”

    When I teach I notice that my students are much more sensitive to racism then sexism (I don’t think we are a more sexist than racist society, but we seem to be more sensitive to racism when discussing issues). When I substitute race for sex, it seems to be easier to make the point.

    1. trees
      trees May 31, 2014 at 3:32 pm |

      Bullshit. You can’t just substitute “black” like it’s some universally recognized oppression. If only life were so simple.

      People are ignoring the shooter’s racism just as they disregard the misogyny.

      1. EG
        EG May 31, 2014 at 3:45 pm |

        I agree. Unless I do it first (and I do), my students are awfully squeamish about calling even the most flagrant examples of racism “racist.” (They might go for “racial” or “ignorant.)

        Now I start off the semester by saying something like “We’re going to be reading significant and influential works of nineteenth-century children’s literature, and many of them are terribly racist. We’ll be talking about that racism, but for now, I just want to make something clear: these works are racist. They are not ‘ignorant’ or ‘maybe racial,’ and no, not ‘everybody’ thought that way back then–black people and Indian people and Native Americans, for example, knew full well that they were human beings who deserved respect and good treatment, so think about who you mean when you say “everybody.” These texts are racist. And that doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to be moved by them or find value in them, but in this class, you’re not allowed to ignore the racism or pretend it’s OK, either.” I find that clears the air somewhat.

        1. trees
          trees June 1, 2014 at 11:53 am |

          If I was a student in your class EG, that approach would work for me. The argument that I am judging the past by the standards of today, and “everyone was doing”, is like salt to a wound. Conversely, the “black” substitution strategy would have me rolling my eyes and seething in my seat.

  3. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin May 30, 2014 at 6:42 pm |

    This issue, to me, is a complex interplay of a bunch of societal ills working in interlocking rhythm. Yes, it is about misogyny, but it’s almost never just about misogyny. To me, it comes down to being our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper, intervening directly in the lives of someone who we may not even know.

    It’s about doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. It’s about living our religious faith, regardless of what form that takes. This incident sets off many alarm bells, but as a society we’re clearly not ready to take on such an adult approach yet. It’s also about privilege and about having caretakers nearby who notice warning signs and are proactive about it.

    We cannot keep thinking that rugged individualism is a tenable strategy. We have to see others as children of God, which is the only way this sort of brutality will ever be fixed forever. If our society won’t take responsibility than some of us must, or expect more of the same.

    1. EG
      EG May 30, 2014 at 7:19 pm |

      I’m not going to live any faith, because I am an atheist.

      That said, his parents tried to intervene. They called the police, who didn’t bother to watch his disturbing videos and decided he was a polite and courteous fellow.

      What kind of interventions do you imagine working, here? Particularly ones from strangers? And who do you imagine making them? Because speaking as a woman, I have no interest in opening myself up to direct attention from an MRA by “intervening” in the life of man who gives me a bad feeling.

      1. Annaleigh
        Annaleigh May 30, 2014 at 11:58 pm |

        What kind of interventions do you imagine working, here? Particularly ones from strangers? And who do you imagine making them? Because speaking as a woman, I have no interest in opening myself up to direct attention from an MRA by “intervening” in the life of man who gives me a bad feeling.

        Yep, I think it sometimes is a position of privilege to be someone’s keeper. Especially if the one nudged to be the keeper is from a group that the one who needs the intervention has been violently threatening. There is a reason that for instance, that although I care very much about the need for gun control, I don’t directly engage gun rights advocates very much at all: my gender, and the fact I share a surname with a kickass gun control activist who has had a lot of misogynistic crap thrown her away.

        And sometimes for a lot of people the only thing you can do is try to get the hell away and leave the interventions to someone else…

    2. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve May 31, 2014 at 3:26 pm |

      It’s about doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.

      What’s wrong with doing unto others as they want, regardless of what we would have them do to us?

  4. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin May 30, 2014 at 8:01 pm |

    Cling if you wish to your atheism. I’m reminded of William Penn speaking to George Fox. Penn was having doubts about wearing his sword while being a member of a pacifist, non-violent sect.

    Fox’s response was “Wear it as long as you can.” Keep your atheism as long as you can, though I hope you will see past it eventually.

    It shouldn’t be any single person’s responsibility to prevent tragedies like these, though they usually start with one person or a small group of people. Leave the possibility open that human beings can do great good rather than continue to let evil cause problems for everyone.

    Any successful movement has relied upon the help of everyone. I don’t see it as fair to strand any potential person with the sole responsibility. Social movements are conglomerates of people who stand together and act together. Allow yourself to believe that they can come to pass.

    1. Drahill
      Drahill May 30, 2014 at 8:52 pm |

      Kevin, please do yourself a favor spend some time learning about actual Quaker history before you cherry-pick stuff to suit your beliefs. As a Quaker myself (born into) with an actual Divinity degree and some theological chops of my own, let me clarify –

      The conversation between Penn and Fox had nothing to do with religion. It has to do with actual force. Penn saw a conflict between carrying a sword for personal self-defense and being part of a religion that opposed organized military actions and institutional violence. Fox’s response was that Friends were fully permitted to carry weapons for personal self-defense (especially given that they were a persecuted religion at the time).

      For the life of me, I can’t exactly see how you can draw any damn correlation between that story and theology today. Fox was correct in noting that the religion was striving for a time when weapons, of any kind, would not be needed. However, all can agree that moving towards peace, away from force, is an actual equitable goal. I don’t consider moving atheists into theism to be quite the same thing. Atheism impugns me (and you) in no way. Atheism poses no threat to theism in any appreciable way; both are simply matters of belief and faith. Whereas violence actually impugns and threatens peace.

      If you’re going to come up on threads with your apparent strong need to testify, you could at least understand the context of what you quote and the strength of your own faulty analogies. Besides, you’re making my much-loved religion look quite patronizing and fundamentalist, and it’s so far from that. I’d hate for you to be the resident Quaker around here. So I feel the need to counter this.

      (And mods, if this is a derail, feel free to delete me, I just felt the need to respond to this!)

    2. Annaleigh
      Annaleigh May 31, 2014 at 12:01 am |

      Cling if you wish to your atheism.

      Ugh. That’s really condescending.

    3. kittehserf
      kittehserf May 31, 2014 at 12:06 am |

      How about knocking off the “cling to your atheism” stuff, Comrade Kevin? That’s no more acceptable than someone telling you to cling to your faith as long as you can. This isn’t about religion or atheism and it isn’t the place to prosetylise. It’s a derail from the subject – murderous misogyny.

    4. EG
      EG May 31, 2014 at 3:50 am |

      I have no need to “cling” to my atheism, because it is not under siege. It’s like telling me to “cling” to my use of the English language. Um, OK, dude. I’ll…do that. You let me know when it’s under attack.

      Cling if you wish to your pathetic need to project your own values and experiences onto the rest of us. When you have something specific and useful to say regarding this most recent misogynist and racist mass murder, you know where to find me.

    5. Ledasmom
      Ledasmom May 31, 2014 at 9:05 am |

      Cling if you wish to your atheism. . .Keep your atheism as long as you can, though I hope you will see past it eventually

      What?
      I am neither a child nor ignorant. You may not realize that this is an obnoxious and offensive thing to say, but it is. Keep your god; I have no need of that hypothesis.

  5. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin May 30, 2014 at 8:15 pm |

    I think many women see in this situation the very face of creepy men who have accosted them throughout their lifetimes. And it is indeed true that such men exist and often go unpunished. All I’m saying is that my faith teaches to try to understand conflict resolution and peaceful solutions, if they are indeed possible.

    It’s easy to see that belief as pie-in-the-sky do gooderism, but I went through a time in my life where I automatically assumed that the worst case scenario would always come to pass. I can’t live like that anymore.

    1. kittehserf
      kittehserf May 31, 2014 at 12:10 am |

      Kevin, you’re close to saying it’s up to women to be nice and gentle and conflict-resolutiony with men who want to, and do, hurt us. How about taking the line that it’s up to MEN to push harder against misogyny, if only because most men don’t bloody well listen to the women who’ve been pushing against it so damn long?

      1. BJ DuVall
        BJ DuVall May 31, 2014 at 8:18 pm |

        I have been seeing this sentiment a lot lately, and I think it is probably the direction things should go in order to improve.

    2. EG
      EG May 31, 2014 at 3:55 am |

      I don’t see it as a pie-in-the-sky do-gooderism. I see it as vague, abstract notions that aren’t coalescing into anything practical. In this situation, what do you suggest?

      Believe me, women are expert in finding non-violent, non-confrontational ways to get the hell away from our accosters, abusers, and attackers. But we’re not the ones causing the violence and the confrontations.

    3. bookshopcat
      bookshopcat May 31, 2014 at 6:44 am |

      If pompous theistic sermonizing like what you’re offering here actually had any effect on gun deaths, the You-Ess-of-Eh would be one of the safest places on the planet, but since that’s not how the world works, I’m going to say that your ‘contributions’ here are a useless steaming load of offensive bullshi-. Theism is all well and good if it helps you sleep at night, but please have the basic decency to keep it private. This smug holier-than-thou nonsense has no place in the public eye, especially now.

      (Mind you, if your goal is to make people think that Quakers are obnoxious, self-righteous proselytizers, you’re doing a great job. )

      1. Ledasmom
        Ledasmom May 31, 2014 at 9:09 am |

        You know, whenever people say “somebody should do something”, my interpretation is always that it’s not going to be them. It’s like assigning housework by the least-tolerance-of-disgusting method; you’d be amazed what people can overlook if the alternative is picking up a fucking mop.

  6. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve May 30, 2014 at 8:21 pm |

    All I’m saying is that my faith teaches to try to understand conflict resolution and peaceful solutions, if they are indeed possible.

    Reason would dictate the very same thing.

    1. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable May 31, 2014 at 5:21 pm |

      I like this comment very much.

    2. BJ DuVall
      BJ DuVall May 31, 2014 at 8:19 pm |

      +1

  7. Donna L
    Donna L May 31, 2014 at 12:01 am |

    I agree that misogyny is the issue. But so is racism. Both are essential aspects of this story. It really bothers me when I see statements that focus everything on the former and effectively dismisss the importance of the latter.

    Separately, Kevin, please just stop making comments here about how you hope people will “see past” their atheism. How monumentally arrogant and condescending can one person be? Not my previous experience of Quakers, I must say.

    1. kittehserf
      kittehserf May 31, 2014 at 12:11 am |

      WordPress ate my comment … and all I said was “Seconded”!

      Harrumph.

    2. Anna
      Anna May 31, 2014 at 11:52 pm |

      I haven’t seen much analysis of his racism on the Internet — maybe I’m looking in the wrong places. I read some of the comments he left on body-building forums, which were sickening in his construction of white, blonde women as the ultimate “prizes,” as well as the racial hierarchy he built in which he declared himself “more white” than the men of color with whom he saw himself in competition, and therefore more deserving of those “prizes.” That was about as much as I could take — I have no desire to comb through his manifesto, but I would be very interested in reading other people’s analysis of the role his racism played in his attacks.

      And I second your comments about another poster’s condescending comments about atheism. I could just as easily hope that he “sees past” his theism, but why would I do that? Other people’s belief systems don’t bother me, unless of course they are actively harmful (e.g., a misogynistic belief system).

      1. Tim
        Tim June 2, 2014 at 12:09 pm |

        [CN: video at link does not start playing automatically, but it is on a still image of Elliot Rodger]
        Chauncey Devega at We Are Respectable Negroes has done several posts on how the shootings relate to white supremacy. I would say that he mainly focuses on the racist aspects because that is the focus of his blog generally, but he addresses misogyny, too.

        1. Barnacle Strumpet
          Barnacle Strumpet June 2, 2014 at 4:15 pm |

          …I wish someone would analyze the impact race had on this while not dismissing the man as white. Doing so ignores the issue of internalized racism and the impact it has on PoC.

          Even if he was white-identifying and white-passing, he was a biracial man who grew up absorbing the white supremacist ideas that are presented in the U.S., and which could have contributed to his alienation from society* and weird ideas.

          I’ve seen plenty of articles that in summation, are essentially “white men entitlement everyone points fingers at something else, won’t address the real issue”.

          Which, sure that is worth being addressed as well. Does anyone know of any articles that don’t focus solely on Elliot as a white male and instead go into issues on internalized racism, the way Asian and biracial’s men’s sexuality is perceived in the U.S, or any other angle?

        2. Angel H.
          Angel H. June 2, 2014 at 4:41 pm |

          Does anyone know of any articles that don’t focus solely on Elliot as a white male and instead go into issues on internalized racism, the way Asian and biracial’s men’s sexuality is perceived in the U.S, or any other angle?

          http://youoffendmeyouoffendmyfamily.com/what-role-did-elliot-rodgers-eurasian-status-play-in-his-rampage/

          http://qz.com/213553/what-isla-vista-shooter-horrific-manifesto-my-twisted-world-says-about-values/

          http://reappropriate.co/?p=5755

        3. Echo Zen
          Echo Zen June 2, 2014 at 5:30 pm |

          I was thinking the same thing, and the fact the U.S. media has glossed over this aspect irritates me. If you’re looking for more substantive analysis, I think The Frisky and BlogHer are spot-on.

          Skimming Rodger’s manifesto, it’s depressing how accurate his observations about intersections between Asian masculinity and American sexuality actually are. It doesn’t excuse how he used those observations to justify his prejudices, but I can imagine many hapa males of his background being able to relate in some way.

        4. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve June 2, 2014 at 5:47 pm |

          …I wish someone would analyze the impact race had on this while not dismissing the man as white. Doing so ignores the issue of internalized racism and the impact it has on PoC.

          Even if he was white-identifying and white-passing, he was a biracial man who grew up absorbing the white supremacist ideas that are presented in the U.S., and which could have contributed to his alienation from society* and weird ideas.

          I’ve seen plenty of articles that in summation, are essentially “white men entitlement everyone points fingers at something else, won’t address the real issue”.

          Which, sure that is worth being addressed as well. Does anyone know of any articles that don’t focus solely on Elliot as a white male and instead go into issues on internalized racism, the way Asian and biracial’s men’s sexuality is perceived in the U.S, or any other angle?

          I’m having difficulty seeing why Rodger’s racism is ‘internalized’ as opposed to garden variety every day racism. He thought he deserved to be treated better by white people than ‘Full Asians’ because he was half caucasian. Everything in his manifesto points to racism. Could someone explain to me why the pre-formative ‘internalized’ needs to be placed before the word ‘racism’ in this case?

        5. tigtog
          tigtog June 2, 2014 at 6:09 pm | *

          I’m having difficulty seeing why Rodger’s racism is ‘internalized’ as opposed to garden variety every day racism. He thought he deserved to be treated better by white people than ‘Full Asians’ because he was half caucasian. Everything in his manifesto points to racism. Could someone explain to me why the pre-formative ‘internalized’ needs to be placed before the word ‘racism’ in this case?

          Quoting commentor Inaji at Pharyngula responding to a similar sort of question:

          Speaking as a half-breed, that’s not odd at all. The bigotry mixed-race people encounter is one which instills self-loathing, and it’s difficult to deal with, to say the least.

          Without the self-loathing instilled by his internalised racism, would he have manifested such social paralysis over so many years, feeling unable to approach/relate to others in case they saw him as Asian instead of as half-white? Would he have hated “full” Asians so much if he didn’t hate having his own whiteness “spoiled” by his Asian descent? Would he have fixated on and hated white blonde women so much if he didn’t hate that he himself wasn’t white and blond?

        6. tigtog
          tigtog June 2, 2014 at 6:12 pm | *

          P.S. As I understand it, internalised racism is not *opposed* to garden variety every day racism. It is in *addition to* garden variety every day racism.

      2. Annaleigh
        Annaleigh June 2, 2014 at 9:38 pm |

        I don’t know about the internet when it comes to this, but Univision shared passages from the manifesto when it came to Rodger’s sister’s boyfriend (who he identified as being half-Mexican) in discussing his racial/ethnic bigotries, as well as talking a bit about Christopher Martinez. So far they haven’t gotten really in depth about it yet because it’s been brought up during the 30 minute program on weeknights, but I’m sure if at some point Richard Martinez wants to talk to Jorge Ramos or Maria Elena Salinas or whoever from Univision would get the gig, then that aspect of Rodger’s bigotries (the anti-Latin@ aspect) will get some good coverage…

  8. Navin Kumar
    Navin Kumar May 31, 2014 at 12:03 am |

    I initially attributed his motivations to misogyny as well. what clearer example can you find of someone who hates women? Plus the fact many of his victims were killed with a knife, and the fact that he was getting help despite the (generally) shitty mental healthcare system in the US helped rebut the idea that it was guns or mental illness.

    I then read a very interesting comment on the subject which makes me think that calling it only misogyny may be simplistic. I’m not saying that it’s “misandry, not misogyny” but rather that his hatred wasn’t restricted to any particular gender.

    http://www.feministcritics.org/blog/2014/04/11/an-open-thread-full-of-huskies-and-hoops-noh/#comment-849276

    So I’ve been fairly obsessively following the discourse on this one in a couple of places for a few days now, and I’ve been taking the “this was a hate crime against women” angle pretty hard.

    I’ve just now realised that I’ve been unusually invested. I mean, I’m never exactly hunky-dory with gynocentrism over the bodies of dead men, but I’ve been involved in the world of online gender discussions for long enough that I stopped getting ruffled by it a few years ago. I’ll still still get annoyed/upset, but I don’t hold on to it for days, I move on.

    So I stopped and thought about it, and I’ve realised why it’s getting to me so badly this time.

    By the time I was the age of the victims in this, I had been physically assulted twice by other men for reasons that boiled down to their resenting me for being with women. Once it was over a specific woman, once it was just ‘women’ (both times the truth was that I wasn’t actually “with them” with them).

    Those weren’t crimes against women, they were crimes against me. I was assulted soley because I was a man; had I been a woman I would not have been assulted.

    Those men saw me as nothing more than an obstacle and an insult, the same way that this guy saw the boys that he killed (particularly his roomates) as nothing more than obstacles and insults.

    That is misandry. That is not misplaced misogyny.

    Their murders were not collateral damage in his rampage against women – he stabbed them in their beds because he hated them, and he hated them because they were men.

    Yet the discourse is focused entirely on this as a hate crime against women. They erase their deaths and then tell me it’s all good because “#YesAllWomen live in fear” and they’re just trying to do something about it.

    Two girls and four boys are dead. The killing of the boys was motivated by the same beliefs and hatred that have caused me to have to fight to keep from being beaten to a pulp, and the ONLY issue worth talking about (and that it’s acceptable to talk about) is how misogynistic out society is.

    I’ve built up a thick skin over the years, but yeah, that hurts.

    Before you say “His hatred of men was rooted in his hatred of women” – I’ve considered this. You could just as well say “His hatred of women was rooted in the misandric belief that men who don’t have sex are losers.” I’m NOT saying such a view is right. I am saying that trying to disentangle misogyny and misandry (and he clearly hated men too) in this case is a pointless exercise, best avoided.

    1. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve June 1, 2014 at 2:08 am |

      Before you say “His hatred of men was rooted in his hatred of women” – I’ve considered this. You could just as well say “His hatred of women was rooted in the misandric belief that men who don’t have sex are losers.” I’m NOT saying such a view is right. I am saying that trying to disentangle misogyny and misandry (and he clearly hated men too) in this case is a pointless exercise, best avoided.

      What is ‘misandry’? Men who hate themselves? That sounds made up.

      1. kittehserf
        kittehserf June 1, 2014 at 3:54 am |

        It is made up. It’s a tell when MRAs invade sites that they whine about misandry. They like to pretend that there’s systemic prejudice against men (usually white hetero cis men, ‘cos they’re the only dudes who count) and that feeeeeemales really run everything. The things they count as examples of misandry are invariably ridiculous, but go from the hateful – the idea that women get to choose who we have sex with, for instance – to the laughable, like Tom Martin suing the London School of Economics because they had only hard chairs, and men have bonier butts than women, ergo it was MISANDRYYYYYYYYYY.

        (Needless to say, Mr “Never Thought of Cushions” lost, and owes something like £30 000 in court costs.)

        1. Digger
          Digger June 12, 2014 at 4:23 am |

          It’s distasteful to shove such a terrible straw man into the mouth of someone who appears to be bound from responding. So I will respond instead.

          You seem to think that you’re very familiar with MRA’s. “Invariably ridiculous.” So I suppose you’ve seen every example, and they all fall into that spectrum from hateful to laughable?

          Here are some examples just off the top of my head. 75% of murder victims. 80% of suicides. 90% of on-the-job fatalities. 95% of the prison population (where rape culture is a popular joke). Routine circumcision. Blatantly sexist divorce courts. Segregated and unequal support for victims of domestic violence. Draft registration. Vast majority of the homeless population, often in conjunction with being a drafted Vietnam vet.

    2. Angel H.
      Angel H. June 1, 2014 at 7:11 am |

      We need a giraffe here.

      [Thank you for sending a giraffe alert ~ mods]

      1. Navin Kumar
        Navin Kumar June 3, 2014 at 7:48 am |

        What is a giraffe?

        1. tigtog
          tigtog June 3, 2014 at 5:05 pm | *

          If you’d read our Comments Policy, you would know. It’s rude to come to a new forum with a combative attitude and not take the time to learn the local netiquette.

          With regard to your other comments currently in the moderation queue, I’m not about to impose your dictionary arguments on the readership here. This is not a 101 forum. Your current efforts are glib, superficial, and pedantic; you need to read some sociology and anthropology and become better informed.

        2. Echo Zen
          Echo Zen June 3, 2014 at 6:16 pm |

          Here’s an explanation.

    3. trees
      trees June 1, 2014 at 12:11 pm |

      I’m not saying that it’s “misandry, not misogyny” but rather that his hatred wasn’t restricted to any particular gender.

      In his own words, he tells us over and over again that he hates women and that he has only contempt for people of color.

    4. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve June 1, 2014 at 6:25 pm |

      Those men saw me as nothing more than an obstacle

      Learn the difference between ‘object’ and ‘obstacle’ and you will perhaps understand why this is misogyny. If you get a really small dictionary they might even be on the same page.

      1. trans_commie
        trans_commie June 1, 2014 at 11:46 pm |

        Well said.

  9. AnnaMae
    AnnaMae May 31, 2014 at 10:08 am |

    How can we not talk about mental illness here? He had been seeing psychiatrists since he was 8, had been seeing a psychiatrist EVERY DAY before this incident and his parents went as far as warning the police when they became worried. Had he been properly functioning and able to relate to people on a normal level, this may not have happened. I feel like everyone takes the misogyny road because it is convenient to their cause even though the very fundamentals of how he took in and processed the world round him was obviously the culprit.

    Yeah, he had some fucked up views on women and people in general. He had a improperly functioning brain that compounded each and every experience that he failed to connect on. He never should have had access to guns considering his history and the psychological care he received never had the desired effect.

    How can you say “But when you’re talking about a guy with no diagnosed psychiatric illness, it’s not an issue.” Did you not read anything about this? Or do you just want to blame everything misogyny?

    1. EG
      EG May 31, 2014 at 5:25 pm |

      My understanding is that he had been seeing therapists, not psychiatrists. If he had been seeing a psychiatrist, he would most likely have been on medication, and for that, he would have had a diagnosed illness.

      I started seeing a therapist at age 14. My father was sent in elementary school. Neither of us is or has ever been unable to make connections to the world around us, and neither of us is or has ever been in danger of becoming a mass murderer. When you make seeking help evidence of violent tendencies, when you pretend that seeing a therapist is signifies a fundamental and dangerous abnormality, all you are doing is shaming an already stigmatized group of people and discourage other people from getting help.

      Men murder women every damn day. Don’t pretend that this is evidence of mental illness.

      1. Hrovitnir
        Hrovitnir May 31, 2014 at 9:37 pm |

        THIS. Because apparently it would be a good idea to react to violent bigots by associating their actions with getting therapy, as if the only consequence won’t be people being even more loathe to get therapy. For fuck’s sake.

      2. Tim
        Tim May 31, 2014 at 10:14 pm |

        When you make seeking help evidence of violent tendencies, when you pretend that seeing a therapist is signifies a fundamental and dangerous abnormality, all you are doing is shaming an already stigmatized group of people and discourage other people from getting help.

        Is this really what people are doing? Yes, I agree that many people are saying stupid things about mental health, many of them the NRA types who are trying to deflect from talking about the role of easy gun availability. It’s also true that seeing a therapist used to carry a greater stigma. But it seems like people now are a lot more comfortable both with the idea of seeking help themselves or with their families, friends and coworkers doing so. There’s also a great deal of acceptance of psychoactive drugs. I say this as someone who has seen three different therapists over the past 40 years, the last one in consultation with a psychiatrist who prescribed an SSRI. I still take one and I’m fairly free with talking about it around coworkers and they haven’t given any indication of it making them frightened. I hate the idea of letting a few extremists put us off of talking about mental health.

        1. EG
          EG May 31, 2014 at 10:57 pm |

          I think outside of the middle and upper classes in major cities, yeah, it really is what’s happening.

          And unless there’s an actual correlation between seeing a therapist and, you know, killing people, I don’t see the relevance of a mental health discussion. This dude had great access to mental health care.

        2. Tim
          Tim June 1, 2014 at 8:38 pm |

          Does that include today when I had the urge to ram the stroller I was pushing into the slow-moving crowds blocking my way today?

          A momentary rage impulse would not, assuming you had the impulse control to not carry through on it, indicate that much of a problem.

          Or sadists involved in consensual S&M?

          By definition, that usually does not involve a desire to do, or on the part of the “M,” to have actual harm done. In the presumably rare cases where it does, then yes, that would indicate a problem.

          Or yesterday when I heroically refrained from smacking the young people engaging in inane conversation at the top of their lungs while the subway sat in the tunnel?

          Pretty much the same answer as the stroller situation.

          Or people who join the army during wartime?

          War is a whole ‘nother complicated thing with a lot of complex variables, too many variable motivations to go into here. But if someone joins up actively wanting to kill, looking forward to and liking the idea, then yes it is a sign of mental illness.

          What about when my little sister stuck her hand in my face and told me to talk to the hand, and I slapped her hand away?

          Kinda depends on your respective ages, the difference between them, how hard you slapped it and maybe some other things. Sounds like a pretty normal sibling squabble.

          Just my own considered answers, YMMV.

        3. tigtog
          tigtog June 1, 2014 at 8:41 pm | *

          Relevant link: Violence Is Not a Product of Mental Illness. Violence Is a Product of Anger.

          In the wake of a string of horrific mass shootings by people who in many cases had emotional problems, it has become fashionable to blame mental illness for violent crimes. It has even been suggested that these crimes justify not only banning people with a history of mental illness from buying weapons but also arming those without such diagnoses so that they may protect themselves from the dangerous mentally ill. This fundamentally misrepresents where the danger lies.

          Violence is not a product of mental illness. Nor is violence generally the action of ordinary, stable individuals who suddenly “break” and commit crimes of passion. Violent crimes are committed by violent people, those who do not have the skills to manage their anger. Most homicides are committed by people with a history of violence. Murderers are rarely ordinary, law-abiding citizens, and they are also rarely mentally ill. Violence is a product of compromised anger management skills.

        4. EG
          EG June 1, 2014 at 9:06 pm |

          You said “wanting to hurt people,” and now you’re going on to exclude a whole lot of different instances in which people want to hurt other people. You are defining your terms in a circular way: violence is obviously related to mental illness because wanting to commit violence is the result of mental illness, and any desire to commit violence that is to common to be mental illness just doesn’t count. This doesn’t make sense. It’s circular, it’s self-fulfilling, and it begs the question. In the actual sense, which is to say that you are assuming what you are supposed to be demonstrating.

          As for “momentary rage impulses”–I wouldn’t say “momentary.” Not at all. My desire to break the nose of the old lady who grabbed me in the grocery store today lasted for quite some time.

        5. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve June 1, 2014 at 11:45 pm |

          You are defining your terms in a circular way: violence is obviously related to mental illness because wanting to commit violence is the result of mental illness, and any desire to commit violence that is to common to be mental illness just doesn’t count. This doesn’t make sense. It’s circular, it’s self-fulfilling, and it begs the question. In the actual sense, which is to say that you are assuming what you are supposed to be demonstrating.

          I also think Tim is defining mentally ill as being anything other than completely mentally healthy.

        6. Tim
          Tim June 2, 2014 at 12:31 pm |

          I also think Tim is defining mentally ill as being anything other than completely mentally healthy.

          YES!, Fat Steve, that is probably a somewhat apt summary of my position, although the “completely” may be an exaggeration. If we are using an analogy to “physical” health (although I think part of the problem with stigmatization of mental illness is that we make too much of a distinction between “physical” and “mental” illness), then there is some sort of fuzzy zone where one is not “completely” well (would that apply to any human anywhere, ever?) but not quite “ill,” and I am drawing the (somewhat fuzzy) line in a different place than others are.

          And I think I should leave it at that for this thread as I have probably gone on about it enough, although I am going to post one other comment about that article tigtog linked to.

        7. EG
          EG June 2, 2014 at 12:49 pm |

          Then it’s a meaningless distinction, Tim, because under those rules, sure, most killers are mentally ill and so are most non-killers, and then that means that mental health has nothing to do with this kind of shooting. So here we are back at the point.

        8. Tim
          Tim June 2, 2014 at 12:59 pm |

          @tigtog
          That Slatearticle. It’s very interesting, and the author does, at least implicitly, offer an actual definition of mental illness as something that can be labelled by a diagnosis from the DSM-V (EG also offered a quite reasonable working definition elsewhere on this thread). But it seems kind of like Laura Hayes starts out saying one thing but then arguing something different.

          It seems sort of odd, BTW that she uses a story about a person with a psychiatric diagnosis from that book who stabs a man in the supermarket who had too many items in the express lane as an example of how people with mental illness aren’t dangerous. I’m not following the logic there. But anyway …

          She goes on to say the real cause is anger, and that there is only one specific diagnosis in the DSM-V that deals with anger. She then says

          One of the allegations that have recently been made is that the mental health community is failing society in dealing with violent crime. I would agree with this assessment. We have failed to provide an appropriate diagnosis for out-of-control anger or a framework to assist people in understanding the senseless violence around them, and worse, we have done nothing to prevent it.

          So if violence resulting from anger is not mental illness, then why does a mental health professional agree that it is the job of the mental health community to do something about it? She also says that “anger disorders” are a “pathological misdirection of normal aggressive feelings.” Words like “disorder” and “pathological” make it sound sort of like she is talking about illness. Later on, she mentions something called “dialectical behavior therapy” as a way of helping people. Again, sounds something like illness is being discussed here.

        9. tigtog
          tigtog June 2, 2014 at 5:28 pm | *

          It seems sort of odd, BTW that she uses a story about a person with a psychiatric diagnosis from that book who stabs a man in the supermarket who had too many items in the express lane as an example of how people with mental illness aren’t dangerous. I’m not following the logic there. But anyway …

          The whole point of that story was that the woman’s “voices” were telling her to control her anger and not to stab the man in the supermarket, but her anger was too overwhelming so she stabbed him anyway i.e. her mental illness was *not* what caused her violence.

        10. bookshopcat
          bookshopcat June 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm |

          Tim, the fact about mental health professionals is that they’re human beings with their own biases and agendas, so finding one who’ll say that violence is a sign of mental illness really means nothing. I’ve seen probably two dozen mental health specialists over the years, and their approaches (not to mention willingness to set aside their personal prejudices) varied widely.

          [Content note for transphobia, cissexism and incest; I'm not comfortable talking about my other mental health stuff here]

          For example, one had a policy of never mentioning gender dysphoria to any kid she treats because she “doesn’t want to give them any ideas”. Another one told me that transitioning was a “selfish delusion” and that I needed to accept that I was actually a woman (after spending less than five minutes in the same room as me). A third believed that unless my depression vanished as I transitioned, I should be denied access to medical care; another one wouldn’t talk about my history of sexual abuse because she “didn’t believe” that a woman would molest her own kid. Hell, one of Canada’s widest-recognized ‘specialists’ in treating gender-variant children actually practices aversion therapy on children, some of whom haven’t even started pre-school yet, but he still gets interviewed as the ‘cautious side of the “debate”‘ every time any media outlet does a story on childhood transition.

          So pretty much any bullshit idea out there has at least one mental health professional supporting it, and if you think that ableism isn’t a problem in the profession, think again.

      3. PM
        PM June 1, 2014 at 2:22 am |

        He was seeing a psychiatrist, Dr. Sophy, and was prescribed Risperidone, most likely for disruptive behavior secondary to Asperger’s Disorder, with which he had been diagnosed as a child. He read about the drug on the internet, decided it was bullshit, and didn’t take it. All of this is from his manifesto. I can understand why people don’t want to read it, but all this stuff is widely available/publicized information at this point and I am kind of puzzled as to why people are still saying he had no mental health diagnosis.

        1. tigtog
          tigtog June 1, 2014 at 3:19 am | *

          Except he wasn’t diagnosed with Asperger’s as a child (and conditions on the Autistic Spectrum are not mental *illnesses*). His parents thought he *might* have Asperger’s but it was never professionally confirmed. Even if it had been, as I said above, ASPERGER’S IS NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS, and there are many many many people walking the planet with neurological and cognitive disorders who are simply not full of hate or in any way violent, just as there are many many many people with mental illnesses who are not full of hate or in any way violent.

          Rodger seems to have manifested some disruptive behaviours since childhood, certainly. His parents sought help from various neurological/psychological/cognitive-therapy professionals for him to become better socialised many times over the years. Apparently none of these professionals were able to arrive at any definitive psychiatric or neurological diagnosis, even though his social maladjustment seems to have been obvious his family and many social therapies were attempted. Hard as it might be to accept, it is very common for people to be socially maladjusted and irrational in their beliefs/behaviours without necessarily having a diagnosible mental illness.

          Now, since the professionals couldn’t establish a diagnosis for Rodgers, and mental illness wouldn’t be a sole explanation for his rage, hate, and violence even if Rodgers had been diagnosed, what exactly are you trying to achieve by speculating on the internet as a non-professional about what mental illness you think he might have had?

        2. tigtog
          tigtog June 1, 2014 at 3:58 am | *

          Relevant link: We’re gonna need a bigger asylum | Pharyngula

          But are we seriously going to diagnose them as mentally ill because they’re terrible people? Shall we slap them into straitjackets and shoot ‘em up with Prozac?

          Because if that’s the path we’re going to take…we can probably lock up a few thousand World of Warcraft players, and I suspect we might easily find a million Call of Duty players who will fit this trivial online diagnosis of psychopathy. Then we can visit the Stormfront site, and get all the members there committed. All those contributors to Uncommon Descent, the intelligent design creationist blog…clearly insane. Especially Denyse O’Leary. I once visited a car forum when I was looking for a recommendation, and was appalled at the racism on display — a significant fraction of Honda drivers are clearly nuts. Oh, and Tea Party members! They all need to be rounded up and put in camps, for their own good…they must be so dysfunctional that they can’t possibly cope with the real world.

          We also need to do this fast so that we become the majority, otherwise they will decide that commenters on Pharyngula are so far outside societal norms that we must be mentally ill.

        3. Tim
          Tim June 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm |

          @tigtog
          That PZ Meyers piece …

          It’s what I said yesterday, that people think “violations of conventional mores, or doing acts that harm people, are prima facie proof of mental illness” — which, if true, would mean that atheists must all be mentally ill because they defy traditional expectations of behavior in society.

          I read and like some of PZ Meyers’s work, but that seems to me like a big, overstuffed straw man right there. He starts out with that, and then follows up with a whole crowd of straw men. Who is saying that “violations of conventional mores” are prima facie evidence of mental illness? He doesn’t really cite anybody, just (if you follow his link back to his piece of the day before) some religious people and even “some atheists.” And “doing acts that harm people” is pretty vague and meaningless, because it includes completely inadvertent, accidental harm someone might cause, but I would agree that wanting to do things to harm people would qualify as, maybe not “prima facie evidence,” but at least an indicator of mental illness.

        4. tigtog
          tigtog June 1, 2014 at 4:51 pm | *

          PZ expands the thought in the post, but I can see it might need more context than that, as it’s part of an ongoing response to both the latest killings and previous acts of violence committed by extremists of various types. If one has the time to read several dozen Threads Of Doom with thousands of comments each, one will see multiple iterations of the arguments PZ Myers is mentioning in that post.

          I would agree that wanting to do things to harm people would qualify as, maybe not “prima facie evidence,” but at least an indicator of mental illness.

          Does that include religious and political terrorists? Because most people don’t want to let those people “get away” with claiming mental illness. What about the Ku Klux Klan and other racist terrorists? If not, why not?

        5. PM
          PM June 1, 2014 at 2:19 pm |

          You are right, tigtog. It was not my intention to play armchair psychologist. I apologize for the error. I had read the earlier reports that Rodger had been diagnosed with Asperger’s, which have since been refuted. Combining that with Rodger’s statement that he had seen a psychiatrist and was prescribed Risperidone, I came to the conclusion that the Risperidone prescription followed the diagnosis. It seems like…questionable psychiatric practice to prescribe a medication without a diagnosis, but that’s not my field.

          The whole thing was my response to EG’s post that “If he had been seeing a psychiatrist, he would most likely have been on medication, and for that, he would have had a diagnosed illness.” I had been unclear on the difference between a “syndrome” and an “illness,” so thank you, tigtog, for correcting me.

          I don’t post here often, so I will clarify that I don’t think mentally ill or non-neurotypical individuals are dangerous, or that we can say, “Ah, Asperger’s! THAT’S why he did it!” From his manifesto I gather that Rodger was a misogynist, a misanthrope, a racist, a classist, and had a sense of entitlement that goes beyond that which even the most privileged members of our society generally hold. I think that was enough to make him a murderer, and that most of the discussion about his mental health or cognitive development status are just ways to shift the blame to an easy target.

        6. bookshopcat
          bookshopcat June 1, 2014 at 4:05 pm |

          jfc can we PLEASE STOP with this “autism-spectrum conditions are mental illnesses that contribute to spree shootings” shit? Seriously, what’s next, saying that everyone who sees a therapist must be mentally ill? That mentally ill people are more likely to be violent? Oh, wait…

          Look, if you’re really “kind of puzzled” as to why people aren’t talking about this nasty little murderer’s totally non-existent Asperger’s diagnosis as if it’s A) a mental illness and B) a factor in his decision to murder six people, that’s a clear sign that you need to back waaay off and educate yourself. It’s hard to make meaningful contributions when your mouth is full of foot.

          Sincerely,

          an autistic guy who’s been in therapy for years and is damn tired of seeing pig-ignorant hypotheses about autism and mental illnesses get trotted out every time this sort of thing happens

        7. EG
          EG June 1, 2014 at 5:27 pm |

          I would agree that wanting to do things to harm people would qualify as, maybe not “prima facie evidence,” but at least an indicator of mental illness.

          Does that include today when I had the urge to ram the stroller I was pushing into the slow-moving crowds blocking my way today? Or sadists involved in consensual S&M? Or yesterday when I heroically refrained from smacking the young people engaging in inane conversation at the top of their lungs while the subway sat in the tunnel? Or people who join the army during wartime? What about when my little sister stuck her hand in my face and told me to talk to the hand, and I slapped her hand away?

          Or can we admit that people want to and do commit violent acts for a variety of reasons, and that I already asked on the previous thread for any stats anybody had on rates of violence in people with mental illness as opposed to those in the general non-mentally ill population, and the only response was from a study whose results were inconclusive at best?

        8. Tim
          Tim June 1, 2014 at 7:40 pm |

          Does that include religious and political terrorists?

          Yes.

          What about the Ku Klux Klan and other racist terrorists?

          Yes.

          I’m not entirely sure what you mean here by “getting away” with claiming mental illness. If you mean escape accountability or punishment for killing or injuring people or damaging property in having actually carried out a terrorist act, then no, I don’t want them to get away with that either. I don’t think that in general, with some notable exceptions mostly for rich, we’ll-connected people, that the legal system lets people get away with much because of mental illness.

        9. tigtog
          tigtog June 1, 2014 at 8:21 pm | *

          I’m not entirely sure what you mean here by “getting away” with claiming mental illness.

          I mean that in cases of religious/political/racist terrorism, especially that committed by anyone who is non-white, many people have been known to become extremely angry at the idea that mental illness was a meaningful contributing factor for the perpetrator’s religious/political/racist bigotry and extremism, because they see it as a “cop-out” in terms of the true motivations: it’s the rhetorical dodge that is perceived as “getting away” with moving the goalposts. However, the same demographic seems only too happy to make that rhetorical dodge (the default leap to mental illness as the primary explanation) when the perpetrator(s) appears to be white/wealthy.

        10. EG
          EG June 1, 2014 at 7:56 pm |

          Look, that’s absurd. Did Germany in the ’30s and ’40s just happen to have strangely high concentration of the mentally ill? How about the US prior to 1865? Mississippi in the 1950s and 60s? And then what? People just got better? Or maybe cruelty and violence are part of the normal, sane human psyche that can be invoked under certain circumstances.

      4. Tim
        Tim June 1, 2014 at 11:42 am |

        I will admit that my experience base is mostly middle class, urban people in the upper Midwest, so you may be right about the attitudes of other groups.

        I have a longish comment in moderation about the mental health issue, but it basically is about what exactly what we mean when we say “mental illness.” I know that “define what you mean by X” is often an assholish way to derail, silence, bully, etc., in a conversation, but that is not what I am trying to do. It really seems like different people have widely diverging things in mind here. I don’t myself have a good definition in mind, so I’m more asking what it is?

        1. EG
          EG June 1, 2014 at 5:35 pm |

          I take a conservative attitude toward defining mental illness–is it an illness recognized by mental health professionals? Does it cause the person with the condition suffering beyond that necessary in life? Does it cause significant trouble in regular life functions? Does it manifest in physiological ways as well?

          But basically, if the answer to the first question is “no,” then it’s going to need some incredibly persuasive arguments to get me to accept it. Being an asshole checks off boxes two and three, but being an asshole is not a mental illness (the two aren’t mutually exclusive, of course).

        2. trees
          trees June 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm |

          @Tim

          I really don’t get it; what’s your endgame? Whether or not this is a mental health issue, we still have to tackle the misogyny and racism. Does it make much difference if Rodger can be placed in some DSM-V category? Most folks with mental health issues, by whatever definition, don’t write manifestos and go on killing sprees.

        3. Tim
          Tim June 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm |

          @trees

          I know I said I would quit, but I don’t want to be rude if someone asks a direct question.

          First, let me be clear that in regard to people who are mentally ill (diagnosed or not), have an autism spectrum disorder, or who are developmentally or learning disabled, or any other such category, I don’t think that all of them, or most of them, or even that many of them, are likely to be, or become, violent. I’m pretty sure I haven’t said that, but if I’ve given that impression, I’m very sorry and it is not what I meant. Any expressions of the general form, “we’ve got to find all the schizophrenics and lock them up to stop all this violence” are stupid and deplorable. Some people do this out of ignorance; others, like the NRA contingent, may be ignorant but are also using it deliberately as a deflection from gun control issues. And others are using it as deflection from misogyny.

          As for my endgame, I wasn’t really thinking of this in terms of having any endgame. I totally agree that misogyny is the main issue with these murders. I have some different thoughts on how and why Elliot Rodger was so misogynistic than the ones I have heard being discussed, but that is way too complicated to go into here and beside the point. I just started talking about mental health because it seems important too. Misogyny is the most important thing here, but it always seems to me like events and situations are never about just one thing. But I probably make things to complicated.

        4. trees
          trees June 2, 2014 at 3:16 pm |

          I just started talking about mental health because it seems important too. Misogyny is the most important thing here, but it always seems to me like events and situations are never about just one thing. But I probably make things to complicated.

          I agree that the case is likely multifaceted and complicated, but at this point, it seems inappropriate to conjecture on the mental health aspects since we have no actual confirmed evidence that this is even a factor. Also, mental illness is the go-to explanation whenever a wealthy white-identified man commits an usually odious crime.

    2. SkyTracer
      SkyTracer June 1, 2014 at 4:55 am |

      Did you not read anything about this? Or do you just want to blame everything misogyny?

      Do you have something interesting to say about mental health issues, or did you comment just to ask rhetorical questions?

      1. TimmyTwinkles
        TimmyTwinkles June 2, 2014 at 3:50 pm |

        This, the mental health “issue” in the context of mass shootings is a deplorable dodge the NRA’s lobbyists came up with to shift the focus away from guns and gun control. That it contributes to a stigma that hurts real people means nothing to them. There are no realistic, doable, or even proposed solutions regarding mental health and guns. Solutions are not the point for professional lobbyists like Wayne LaPierre. Tim, you don’t seem like a bad guy, but in this case you’re doing nothing but carrying water for the NRA.

  10. voehman
    voehman May 31, 2014 at 10:46 pm |

    This is really good content! I’ve just recently discovered your blog and I really like they way you expressed this subject. I’ve been advocating this kind of thought but in regard to terrorism, where it is quite bad. But terrorism in the western world is almost non existent (if you don’t regard this kind of crime as terrorism). Gender equality, the other sector where this comes up, is a huge problem all over the globe. The subtle jargon is why we have this social attitude of frowning at the word feminism, when it really presents what most of us think. I can’t put a finger on why, but I love to say that I’m a feminist, but it feels like I’m putting my chin out and expecting a blow back every time I do. Most people I’ve talked to about things like this don’t notice them. “Subtleties” like calling Breivik a mentally ill misguided idiot. He is without a doubt a full blown terrorist. What he did is the definition of terrorism. Yet, when a swede utters the word “terrorist” I think most of us automatically collects the images from the lone dark skinned man who blew himself up in Stockholm not too long ago, rather than the blond nazi mass murder monster Breivik that acted at our neighbors, Olso.

  11. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve June 1, 2014 at 6:13 pm |

    I would agree that wanting to do things to harm people would qualify as, maybe not “prima facie evidence,” but at least an indicator of mental illness.

    Does that include religious and political terrorists? Because most people don’t want to let those people “get away” with claiming mental illness. What about the Ku Klux Klan and other racist terrorists? If not, why not?

    I suppose the person who makes the above statement would argue that KKK guy and terrorist guy are doing what they do to affect political change (ethnically cleansing.) I happen to think killing to ethnically cleanse your neighborhood doesn’t show any more or less sanity than just killing people because you hate humanity in general. (Which, to refer to the comment made by the child upthread, by the way, is called misanthropy, not ‘misandry’)

  12. Donna L
    Donna L June 3, 2014 at 1:40 am |

    A rather lengthy facebook post by one of Rodger’s high school teachers:

    https://www.facebook.com/bentriderdeb/posts/10152469152947767

    1. tigtog
      tigtog June 3, 2014 at 6:15 pm | *

      Thanks for posting that, Donna. It confirms some of what I’d already thought about how more complex this story is than just a “disturbed” boy who didn’t get the treatment he needed. He was shy and anti-social in a reserved rather than an overt way. His family and therapists found a progressive school community where people tried to reach out to him over and over again, and he persistently declined interaction politely. Who knows what he was thinking inside when he was behaving this way at school, but that behaviour certainly wasn’t indicative of a person with violent propensities.

      I’m not surprised that his teacher feels a sense of loss of the potential she once saw in a shy, sensitive and talented student, and grief/guilt for not being able to help him become better socialised even though I can’t see what else she could have done.

  13. Mk
    Mk June 4, 2014 at 9:42 pm |

    the head of a giraffe against a bright blue sky: its mouth is pursed sideways

    ::: Waaah! I wanna talk about how a woman who has been known in popular culture as the epitome of a man-hater for nearly 50 years for her acts of violence isn’t being called a misandrist on this thread!!!! That’s not derailing that’s @#!%#@*&^)&*&%NO CARRIER… :::

    [Moderator note - ORIGINAL COMMENT CONTENT HAS BEEN FLUFFINATED]

  14. Alice
    Alice June 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm |

    Two things I’ve wondered about this are
    1)When are we going to accept that sometimes pre-emptive restrictions on individuals are necessary for public safety? At this point, it’s a case of ‘we can’t limit someone’s freedom of action until they actually DO something violent/criminal’ so even if the police had seen the videos/read the ‘manifesto’ and believed he was dangerous, there wouldn’t have been a damn thing they could have done about it.

    2) How much does/did the hyper-idealization of love/sex have to do with the assurance of entitlement to the attention/affection/bodies of women? Another poster said we’ve begun to think of love/sex as a magical cure-all, “like unicorn blood”: it’ll fulfill you, define you for yourself, provide an antidote for anything that ails you, and turn your life into a never-ending whirl of adventure and romance. Possibly it’s just been my recent experience, but I seem to meet more and more people who think of love as an entitlement, and express varying degrees of frustration that being attracted to someone in and of itself doesn’t obligate them to be attracted in return and that ‘someone’ isn’t seeing to it that their life turns into the rom-com they deserve.
    I apologize if I put it clumsily, but it’s a view that makes me nervous: ime it’s not that far a step from “I want this” to “You’d better give me this or else”.

    1. EG
      EG June 7, 2014 at 7:21 pm |

      Well, that’s not entirely true. If Rodger’s shrink had indeed felt that he was an imminent danger to himself and/or others, he/she could have taken steps. Those steps are difficult to take for good reason, and in practice, it is not generally speaking monied, white, misogynist men who bear the brunt of limitations on individual freedom. When people start getting arrested for what they say or write or film, or because the powers that be think they look like they’re going to do something bad, you can bet good money that young black men will get hit hardest, for one thing, and anti-capitalist writers etc., for another (cf McCarthyism).

      I disagree that it’s not a big step from “I want this” to “You’d better give me this or else.” As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, people deprived of actual necessities in the US, things like food and health-care and homes, do not tend to go on entitlement rampages like this. Women want romantic love quite powerfully, and tend not to go on rampages like this.

  15. Zach
    Zach June 8, 2014 at 7:30 pm |

    Okay, I agree with quite a bit of what you’re saying. Violence (or, more specifically, aggressive force) is always wrong – very few people disagree with this. I also agree that this man did what he did because he hates women – he makes that clear.

    However, what I see you, and many other feminists doing, is taking a few specific cases of terrible things happening and then drawing the conclusion that our culture supports these actions. I highly disagree with singling out a few demented people and concluding that they show our entire culture is flawed.

    No matter how good our society is, there will always be evil people who take actions like this. Outliers like this can never be eliminated, there will always be at least one person who acts out on a crazy view.

    So then, when you find a case of someone doing this, why is it suddenly an issue of Women vs. Society? I would argue this is more of a case of Society vs. Criminals. I don’t see a lot of support of this person from men.
    ————————–
    Another similar example to the case – publishing a manifesto, going on a killing spree – is the cop killer, Christopher Dorner (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Dorner), who published a manifesto about how much he hates cops, then killed a bunch of random people (not even cops).

    When this story happened, I did not see people writing about how we have a culture of murder and we’re entitled to kill cops. I saw more about how everyone was trying to shoot this guy for being an evil bastard.

    Yes, I know it’s not the same: one is targeted via gender, one via what job they have. There are similarities, though.
    ——————
    If you’ll disregard my example before for the reason I stated, here are some examples that are completely not treated the same. How about Valerie Solanas. If you don’t know, she tries to assassinate a man for just being a man. And she has a manifesto, which includes things like: “To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine.”

    Yes, this is an example of one woman attempting violence against a man for being a man, but you certainly can find more. And I don’t, (as some “men’s rights” groups say) claim that violence against men means that there is a cultural problem with women.
    ——————–
    You can find examples of crazy people who do terrible things for ANY cause. I don’t believe it’s proper to draw conclusions about what society supports based on what criminals do. There’s a reason why these people are criminals. Our society does not support them, we send them to jail.

    Women are not necessarily more likely to be victims of crime than men by the way: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1635092
    Women are far more likely to be raped than men, but did you know that 77% of murder victims are male? But, I would not draw from that that we have a culture that supports murder of males (See: “rape culture”) for the simple reason that murderers do not represent society’s values – shown how they are sent to jail. In the same way I would say rapists don’t represent men’s values as they are hated by the majority of men.

  16. Digger
    Digger June 12, 2014 at 3:43 am |

    4 men and two women were killed. Common sense would argue against framing it as a women’s safety issue. There was much hatred towards women in his manifesto. But also much hatred towards men, three of whom were specific targets.

    You have a very strong worldview and anything that you can explain through misogyny you do. But others have different axes to grind. The mental health angle has a very strong case, as anyone who has read his manifesto would know. I don’t agree with the case, but you shouldn’t dismiss it out of hand. I’ve even seen someone use it on his crusade against overindulgent parents.

    Just a cursory glance at media coverage of Rodgers shows the inaccuracy of your “everything but misogyny” complaint. For instance, On Point did an entire show on it. Your complaint isn’t really “anything but,” it’s “anything else.”

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