Feminists have made quite the spectacle of Elliot Rodger’s murder spree. They have used it as a piece of propaganda, and done so in an atypically successful fashion. Yes, there has been much push-back, and the broader culture is not buying the feminist argument hook, line, and sinker. Yet feminists have managed to overtake the discussion in social media and on news networks like MSNBC.
This has prompted dozens of articles bashing men and the men’s rights movement, and plenty of self-congratulatory backslapping from feminists. Many of the articles are the same: men’s rights activists made Elliot Rodger hate and murder women (and some other people), men feel entitled to women’s body, society is oppressive against women, men prey on women constantly, only feminism is the answer, and so on. I normally would not comment on such nonsense, yet sense it has flooded the internet to such a degree I feel compelled to address at it. One article stood out.
Salon featured a piece by Rebecca Solnit. She wrote:
It was a key match in the World Cup of Ideas. The teams vied furiously for the ball. The all-star feminist team tried repeatedly to kick it through the goalposts marked Widespread Social Problems, while the opposing team, staffed by the mainstream media and mainstream dudes, was intent on getting it into the usual net called Isolated Event. To keep the ball out of his net, the mainstream’s goalie shouted “mental illness” again and again. That “ball,” of course, was the meaning of the massacre of students in Isla Vista, California, by one of their peers.
All weekend the struggle to define his acts raged. Voices in the mainstream insisted he was mentally ill, as though that settled it, as though the world were divided into two countries called Sane and Crazy that share neither border crossings nor a culture. Mental illness is, however, more often a matter of degree, not kind, and a great many people who suffer it are gentle and compassionate. And by many measures, including injustice, insatiable greed, and ecological destruction, madness, like meanness, is central to our society, not simply at its edges.
[…] The murderer at Isla Vista was also repeatedly called “aberrant,” as if to emphasize that he was nothing like the rest of us. But other versions of such violence are all around us, most notably in the pandemic of hate toward and violence against women.
In the end, this struggle over the meaning of one man’s killing spree may prove to be a watershed moment in the history of feminism, which always has been and still is in a struggle to name and define, to speak and be heard. “The battle of the story” the Center for Story-Based Strategy calls it, because you win or lose your struggle in large part through the language and narrative you use.
I agree with Solnit that “the meaning of one man’s killing spree may prove to be a watershed moment in the history of feminism.” It revealed feminists to be shallow opportunists willing hijack people’s deaths to bash half the human population. Six people died. Four of them were men. Three of them were viciously stabbed to death. The killer specifically stated in his manifesto that he intended to kill two of them — his roommates — because he did not like them.
Feminists glossed over those men’s deaths in favor of turning this into an example of violence against women. This is despite that the majority of people killed by the killer were male, despite that the majority of victims of random violence are male, and despite that violence in general but against women specifically has fallen every year in the United States for nearly two decades.
Feminists also revealed the pathological fear our society places on women. The vast majority of women are not victims of violence. However, our society teaches women to fear men, and feminists reinforce that idea by adding pathology to these phantom men. Now the men are not random devils to be avoided. No, now they are oppressors bent on keeping women down, and they are everywhere. Just like agents in the Matrix, any and every man and boy could be one of them.
This is ridiculous, paranoid misandry. What makes it worse is that lost in this feminist “discussion” are the victims. We are not talking about the six lives lost. We are not talking about how their murders could have been prevented. The person who killed them was mentally unstable. He had been for several years. There is no reason he should have been able to buy a gun, let alone seven. There is no reason why his instability should have been missed.
Those two factors — mental health issues and the ease of buying a gun — always crop up in these massacres. This is why they happen. Not because of men. Not because of “toxic masculinity.” These are all red herrings. These massacres happen (albeit rarely) because people who snap have easy access to dangerous weapons.
And to illustrate this point, keep in mind that Japan, India, and China have far more “misogynistic” cultures yet do not have anywhere near the level of general violence, let alone violence against women, the United States does. This is not about “misogyny.” It is about mental health.
It is unfortunate, however, that feminists are too blinded by playing the victim to see that.