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.