#NotAllMen are Mass Murderers

Following the horrific mass murder by Elliot Rodgers in Isla Vista, California, and his rant of hatred toward women, discussion erupted about how most mass murderers were male, and therefore the “issue” wasn’t guns, or mental illness, but gender.  This had been raised before, but gained little traction. Because of the express misogyny this time, and the connection was easier to see, it was different.

A discussion on twitter ensued, where some people who are otherwise deeply concerned with such issues as civil rights but who had turned into censors because men were mass murderers.  The discussion ended quickly, when the idea that correlation does not prove causation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, was wholly unfamiliar. When logical fallacies become the basis for a discussion, it’s time for me to leave.*

But my friend from the north, Nino Pribetic, was far more kindly inclined toward the issue. His basic premise was that he stood firmly against violence toward women and misogyny.  What he sought was a better, deeper understanding of what misogyny meant to women.  So he asked, and was attacked for his effort.


Apparently, within the tiny niche of paranoid delusional narcissists, Amanda Levitt is a big fish. She is inundated by stupid men seeking her genius and approval. Few people either know or care about her, but that merely proves the patriarchy.

Some of us watched this scenario play out with bemusement.  We knew there was nothing Nino could do, no depth of obsequiousness,** to which he could journey, that would serve to avoid the passive aggressive rage.

The shame is that the question raised by my earlier discussion, about why most mass murderers are men, remained unanswered.  I have a working thesis, that males tend to manifest their emotions by physical actions as a result of socialization.  We want to fix problems rather than discuss our feelings about them.

When a man suffers from mental illness, as did Elliot Rodgers, which he attributes to women (in contrast with, say, instructions from a dog, like David Berkowitz), he does the unthinkable and commits mass murder.

Does this make it a gender problem or a mental illness problem, or both?  If one’s view is dictated by the need to characterize the world in terms of gender, then it’s the former. If not, then it’s the latter.  Is it fair to connect gender to the heinous act?  Yes, but it’s not useful.  Males aren’t going to disappear from the species any time soon, and most females wouldn’t want it that way even if we could.

Are all men potential mass murderers?  Maybe not quite, but we’re all rapists, and deserve to be loathed and feared. Both genders suffer from their own forms of mental illness.  There is a foundational problem that needs to be put out in the open: normal men do not commit mass murder, or rape, or sexual assault. We are polite, respectful and concerned for women, and all people regardless of gender.

At the same time, we remain men and do not apologize for who we are or the things we like to do.  We like cars and bacon. We do not want to discuss shoes. We play sports, and do not care about the height of hemlines.  But most of all, we reject the notion that we should be more like women.

The compulsion of some men, the #notallmen meme folks, to try to appease those women who want to vilify men, is a waste of time and misguided. Not only won’t it work, but normal men have no need to be anything they aren’t. We do not harm others, and the attempt to blame Elliot Rodgers’ murders on his gender is unavailing.  And if women disagree, so what?

* Walter Katz says that I’ve taken his twit (which he tells me is a “tweet,” as if Twitter is called Tweeter) out of context and against his rules of internet etiquette. I invited him to leave a comment, but he declined because he prefers to twit, and is quite a serial twitter I might add, and will not be bullied into commenting. But I offered.

You should feel free to search his twitter time line to locate his twits on the subject if you want to learn what he says I did wrong. Had he commented, his points would be here, where anyone who wanted could read them, but I defer to his choice of social media. Even if it is fleeting and limits deep thoughts to 140 characters. For some, that is enough. For others, it’s too much.

**  [Edit] In retrospect, what at first appeared to be obsequiousness may have been exaggerated civility in the hope of deflecting the anti-male backlash and obtaining a serious response, recognizing that any sort of negative reaction to Levitt’s inappropriate responses would have merely fed the “all men are misogynists” meme upon which such people rely to lash back at anything perceived to be a challenge to their beliefs.

21 thoughts on “#NotAllMen are Mass Murderers

  1. RKTlaw

    It is usually unsuccessful to engage someone who, like Ms. Levitt, self-describes as a “scholar”. Being scholarly takes up a great bit of time and you can never hope to match their scholarliness.

  2. Kathleen Casey

    Her snipe is so uncalled for. Some women are just pills and they’re that way to just about everyone. She’s one of them it looks like.

    1. SHG Post author

      Attitudes like hers are, of themselves, inconsequential. The internet has no lack of self-important crazies. But what disturbs me more is the effort to be civil toward her, despite her retorts. If someone behaves like an asshole, they get treated like an asshole, regardless of gender.

      1. Kathleen Casey

        I know that’s what you’re saying, “…do not apologize… .” Treat a bully like a bully is right. They are cowards inside and they back down.

        My point about women is that some are threatened by alpha males. They can’t seem to let them be. It’s comical but pathetic too.

  3. Mike C

    Someone like Amanda is the reason why I don’t waste much time in a social media argument. Not just because she’s scary to deal with, it is just that she deserves to be ignored. I don’t care what she calls herself, I can definitely come up with a name for her just by seeing how she reacts to other members of the social media community. Going back to the main topic, I believe that the issue revolves around the mental illness of a person. Coincidentally, he has bitterness towards women and that attributed to the mass murder.

  4. Brett Middleton

    We do not harm others, and the attempt to blame Elliot Rodgers’ murders on his gender is unavailing. And if women disagree, so what?

    The “what” is that associating fears with a particular gender is likely as socially destructive as associating them with a particular race. It’s much harder to say “so what?” and shrug it off when women are ready to circle the wagons and call 911 the moment a male appears to be approaching them, a child, a school, etc How do you shrug off the hand of the cop who just wants to check on whether you have murder, rape, kidnapping, or child molesting on your mind, based on a phone call about the presence of a suspicious male? Saying “so what?” to that cop is not likely to turn out well. When men have to avoid innocent behaviors that may be misconstrued by warped minds, when men have to limit public involvement with their own children, when “driving while male” is becoming a thing, when male children need to spend their formative years in a psychodrug haze lest they behave like boys, then we have more than a simple disagreement.

    1. Kathleen Casey

      Yeah. Hostile women should not have children but you can’t stop them and for the most part the neuroses emerge out when the relationship hits the skids. Sometimes they create factions under the same roof in intact long-term marriages. That I surmise is a problem as old as history.

      Defending against orders of protection and representing children in custody/visitation cases gets aggravating but I think of it as my contribution toward world peace.

      Boy does the venom escalate when I dig in my heels esp. to protect a father/child relationship when there are no adverse fitness factors. Usually the dad was in a position to warn about an alienation problem sometimes not knowing what to call it. But I could have smelled it anyway. Every case was settled with a stipulated visitation schedule.

      I don’t attend Family Court anymore, and never did divorces, but a practitioner still in the game has told me recently the attitude problems in relationships seem to be getting worse. Amanda’s attitude may be an example of that selfishness and obstinancy. I have had a couple fathers who were bad, but it is usually the mothers abusing their power because they are usually the primary caretakers. So the kids are another weapon. Notwithstanding that they don’t ask for a family breakdown.

      This all relates to Amanda somehow. Rodgers’ hatred and frustration collapsed into mental illness. But I hope she doesn’t destroy anyone mentally, and emotionally.

      Close to home we have The Pill as an in-law and we learned to avoid her and ignore her after the initial puzzlement. But it lessened contact with my brother. Over 30 years now but it had to be. What she would say about her boss was awful, and untrue, that I knew because I worked there one summer. He and I talked in recent years and he said “she was aggressive.” And unionized, so what can you do. He had eventually transferred her to a figurative outpost for most of the weekdays. A small example of how anyone can be a target.

      Their daughter turned out nice though. She glows! And she’s aware of the problem because she and I discussed it once.

  5. Fubar

    Partial translation from a petrified oak leaf recently discovered in a cave near Cumae.

    When high dudgeon from feminist insulted,
    In mother of stupid’s resulted:
    She snipes rapey, then quit her,
    Lest by own rapier wit you’re
    T’ last ding dong of dumb catapulted.

    1. SHG Post author

      I fully expect Barleycorn to feel diminished by this display of sensitivity, and post more videos of Dead Kennedys. I don’t know if I can take it.

  6. katherine bennett

    Thank you SO much for this write-up. I thought I was alone in thinking that the focus on the killer’s misogynistic view is a SHAMEFUL exploitation of a tragedy. YES, a terrible climate of misogyny exists. however, the shooter in this case was a nutjob who’s insanity made him gravitate toward misogyny. To say that this shooting was the logical conclusion of the INTENSE CLIMATE of misogyny is just a shameful exploitation of these tragic events by people who should be fighting misogyny for the sake of fighting misogyny. Last year, Michael Dorner went on a killing spree because of his experiences with racism in the LAPD. Is there a climate of racism that should be fought for ending racism’s sake? yes. But NO ONE should have been saying “see? the climate of racism is obviously so bad that its drives the victims of racism to kill…” because what Dorner did was wrong and he only acting out on that racism the way he did because he was CRAZY!!!. The Colorado movie theater shooter shot up innocent people dressed like the Joker. Are movies too violent and should be examined for the sake of examining what that kind of violence promotes? Yes. But no one should say “see? This kind of thing MAKES people kill”. Yes, movies are violent but that shooter was CRAZY. Same with the Boston Bomber, the DC Sniper, and the 9/11 attackers. No matter WHAT the political or religious climate was to them, they acted on and interpreted it in a way that only CRAZY people would. ~~~~~~~~~~~I think everyone should STOP reading into these people’s “motives” were and focus on the victims and or the everyday, less-extreme manifestations and consequences of these climates in our everyday society . ~~~~~~~~ It doesn’t matter WHAT philosophy these other shooters subscribed to. They were insane and extreme about them~~~~~~~~~~~ Nothing anyone could have done could have stopped this guy nor will it stop the next shooter from adopting whatever beliefs they are going to adopt and interpreting them and acting on them in a CRAZY way~~~~~~~~~~~~~The news has a responsibility to keep people like these OUT of the spotlight so that no agreived nutjob can bank on the fact that he will make the news if he kills a bunch of people. when these types of shootings happen, these people’s names and motives should be kept within the knowledge of law enforcement ONLY, for investigative and prosecutorial purposes, NOT for the public’s GHOULISH curiosity and co-opting of issues and beliefs. Posting and reading his manifesto? Sick and uninformative. Endlessly broadcasting his pictures and videos? Even more sick and even more uninformative. It does nothing to “inform” the public and prevent extremists from doing extreme things. He was CRAZY in type of way. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Publicizing them only gives them the GLORY they were so desperately seeking. This is why the Virginia Tech shooter SENT his manifesto to CNN and the news media first! They know whats up. We should stop entertaining their attention seeking behavior and our own morbid curiousity and couch-side analysis ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Also, when these types of killings happen, if the media is SO bent on releasing details of the tragedy, then the only details that are released should be about the lives and heroism and good-nature of the victims. In this current shooting, more than 3 people risked their lives in ACTIVE gunfire to help get other victims to safety. During the movie theater shooter, so many victims helped one another. During the Newtown shooting, a teacher died trying to protect her students. During the boston bombing, so many people stayed for triage instead of fleeing. And so many patrons who fled the resturants they were in during the bombing came BACK weeks later to PAY THEIR BILL. How come we don’t know they’re names or focus on them? Extremely extremely violent and bad people are a rare fact of life but there are alot more good people out there too that we should focus on. AND we should continue to fight misogyny, bigotry, religious intolerence, imperialiism, etc for their OWN sake…..not because some nutjob co-opted them and did something that soooooooo many others who are within the same climate DONT end up doing.

    Also as a female person, I am offended by the concept that “ALL women” subscribe to any one set of beliefs are are all subjected to any set common circumstances. Let alone all men. I understand “male privelage” and DO believe it exists and I DO know that women, on average, have a somewhat different experience in the world than most men. However, this current hashtag and the ideas behind it are raising the rhetoric to such a shrill and exaggerated and exclusionary degree that it runs the risk of illegitamizing the very REAL claims about the nature of misogyny and misandry and patriarchy.

  7. EH

    “Scott Greenfield ‏@ScottGreenfield May 25
    @walterwkatz @mirriam71 Correlation doesn’t prove causation. Basic logic fail.”

    Correlation doesn’t “prove causation,” much less what the actual causation was. Even if it’s true that “men are more likely to be mass murderers,” that doesn’t lead to “…because men are evil.”

    Nor does statistical significance equate to clinical significance: as a practical matter, “Out of the 62 mass murders which happened over the past 30 years, 61 were men,” that doesn’t tell you anything about the roughly 300 million OTHER people in the US–150 million men–that managed to avoid going on a mass murder spree at any time in those 30 years.

    But raising correlative evidence as weight of evidence is not a logical fail; it’s pretty standard statistics. If two variables are heavily correlated the chances increase that they are related in causation. It is far from conclusive but referring to it as a logical fail is wrong.

    1. SHG Post author

      This is a well-known logical fallacy, in Latin known as post hoc ergo propter hoc. You have now proven that your education failed you, having revealed to the world that you somehow failed to learn this in school. You should demand a refund.

      1. EH

        You’re applying that statement to the wrong situation.

        In real life, we cannot usually “prove” anything; that is generally limited to the theoretical arena. We can only decide how likely something is… and then we come to a conclusion that the likelihood meets some arbitrary cutoff of reliability.

        We cannot logically prove that there are no unicorns, because we do not have sufficient evidence to prove a negative; it remains a theoretical possibility. Nor can we “prove” that atomic power is not actually produced by minuscule gremlins from another star, rather than fission. But we can reasonably assert that there are no unicorns, and that fission exists, because the best evidence available supports that conclusion. Logic does not demand a different assertion.

        Correlations are evidence just like anything else. They can be comparatively weak evidence, to be sure (ice cream does not cause sunburns, even though ice cream consumption is strongly correlated with sunburn incidence.) But they are still evidence–and some correlations are stronger than others.

        Based on the fairly high correlation between gender and certain types of violence, across large populations and across long time periods, we can reasonably assert that there is a relationship. That is a sensible assertion based on the data we have. More to the point, it is a MORE sensible assertion than the reverse.

        That says nothing about what the relationship is, or what causes it, or whether it is genetic/social/unconscious/intentional/etc. Maybe “people in power commit violence;” maybe women would be equally (or more) violent if they were in power. Maybe “the mentally unstable commit violence;” maybe men are more/less likely to be unstable, and/or are more/less likely to get appropriate help. But based on what we know now, it seems LIKELY (not guaranteed) that there is some link, however tenuous, between gender and violence.

        1. SHG Post author

          No dispute with any of this, but with your lack of familiarity with the logical fallacy that correlation proves causation. They are what they are, and don’t need your (or my) approval. This was a logical fallacy, and yet your are still arguing about it. Even statisticians recognize this, whether you do or not. Please don’t murder any more words. It won’t change anything.

          And how’s that refund coming?

  8. Ann Schlee

    Here is some information on the different ways that men and women express anger.

    Women and men generally differ in how frequently they engage in other-and self-directed physical violence and may show distinct emotional risk factors for engagement in these high-impact behaviors. To inform this area, we investigated gender differences in the relationship of emotional tendencies (i.e., anger, hostility, and anhedonic depression) that may represent risk for other-directed (i.e., physical fighting, attacking others unprovoked) and self-directed violence (i.e., self-injury, suicide attempts).

    [Ed. Note: Link deleted per rules.]

    When I first set foot on a psychiatric unit as a medical student, I noticed that most of the patients were depressed women. This made no sense to me, so I asked a psych nurse, “Where are all the men?” and he answered, “All the women are here; all the men are in jail. Women turn their anger inward and it becomes depression. Men turn their anger outward, into violence; they get in trouble with the law and end up in jail.” Anger and sadness are related, which sets the scene for the New Feminine Brain’s challenge with mood, depression, anger, and irritability.

    [Ed. Note: same.]

    1. Chris Ryan

      while we can have a long philosophical conversation on the first half of your comment, I think the second half is merely anecdotal evidence of nothing. For giggles I interrupted my wife’s dictations and asked her about her experiences in pysch wards and she told me 60-40 men to women. I think the nurse’s explanation is simply his mindset searching for a way to explain a statistical anomaly.

      as to Brent’s earlier comments, I have to agree whole heartedly as I have experienced more then my share of this being a stay at home dad who quit a career to play with my kids. I heard the news on this shooting and was expecting another round of blame the gun owners and was shocked (and more then a little saddened) to see the antimale sentiment.

      1. SHG Post author

        Since I deleted the links in her comment per my rules, I feel responsible for any confusion. Her points were well-sourced with sound legitimate bases, but even so, other’s experience can (and often does) differ. I doubt she meant it as an absolute, but rather to provided some illumination as to the bases for general observations.

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