Saturday, May 24, 2014


Another day, another gun rampage in the USA, this time in Santa Barbara, CA leaving 7 dead including Elliot Rodger, the alleged perp ( I refuse to post or to link to Rodger's creepy video).

Aside from the usual issues of firearms access and violence addiction, it strikes me that all of these mass gun killers are men.  Women take just as much of a beating from the world as men (and maybe more), and yet it never seems to occur to the double X chromosome part of the population to lash out or to act out in such a violent and extreme fashion (women attempt suicide more often than men, though men more often go through with it).  A strikingly large number of these killers are affluent white boys like Elliot Rodger who randomly murdered people from his expensive black BMW yesterday.   Among the many rich young white dudes shooting their way into (usually posthumous) fame are the the 2 kids who shot up Columbine high school; the Aurora movie theater murderer James Eagan Holmes who was the son of academic and medical professionals;  Kip Kinkel who killed his affluent professional parents as well as 2 other people at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon; Adam Lanza left his large and comfortable home in Connecticut to kill over a score of little kids in an elementary school after killing his mother; Jared Lee Loughner who killed 6 people and wounded a Congressional representative in Tuscon came from a relatively comfortable suburban background.  Despite the press reports which later turn out not to be true, none of these boys, while definitely loners, appeared to be victims of bullying.  A lot of them like the Columbine boys, like Kinkel, like Holmes, appear to have had loving parents and stable families.  Even the Virginia Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho who was not white and whose parents were small business owners, seemed to have come from a very loving family deeply concerned about him.  All of these guys appear to be straight.  Girls and virginity frequently appear as a central preoccupation of the perps (as in the case with Rodgers and with Seung-Hui Cho).

  I'm not sure what these little demographic details mean, but they are striking and seem counter to the usual narratives about crime and violence in the USA.


The death toll from yesterday's rampage in Santa Barbara is now 10.  Rodgers stabbed his 3 room mates to death before his Beemer driven shooting spree.

I sometimes think what the Marquis de Sade said about nature is also true for Americans; we yearn in all our pores for bloodshed.


According to the WaPo, the 7 dead number from yesterday includes the killer and the 3 dead room mates.


JCF said...

While all these shooters are mentally ill, mental illness itself always occurs in a social context (have you ever seen those lists of particular mental illnesses in particular cultures? I recall those of the Japanese being entertainingly *ahem* mind-boggling. Things like "paranoia your internal organs are consuming each other" and such-like. Many of them sexual.)

In U.S. culture, mental illness among adolescent males takes on a homophobic cast of being a "punk": being weak, being made into a bottom (sexual and otherwise). Being disrespected (slightly different cast among the white&affluent vs the non-white/non-affluent). At any rate, in this culture, for an insecure male, there becomes a greater fear of NOT exercising violence, than doing so. "At least they won't call me a punk!" (or fag) "I'll show them [who disrespected me]!"

Because the narrative is so pervasive, such insecure males don't actually have to have been bullied---the implied threat is there all the time anyway.

This concludes my 5c psycho-babble rant. RIP, Elliot, and your victims. Enough w/ the (ineffectively) untreated mental illness! And ENOUGH w/ the "gun violence will solve my problems" narrative, and those *cough* NRA and political sycophants *cough* who enable it!

it's margaret said...

"it never seems to occur to the double X chromosome part of the population to lash out or to act out in such a violent and extreme fashion"....

No... perhaps not. But men don't go in to hormonal cascades that result in killing their own babies, either....

I suppose that's a crude comparison... but there we are. What we must do is de-stigmatize mental illness. All shapes, sorts and forms of it.