It has been a long time, hasn’t it? And I’m sorry. I haven’t felt the inspiration to write. not even a request from my lovely young French friend to write about our journey together could get me to write.
But this recent mass-murder by some privileged rich white young man, and more importantly the reaction to his crimes, has driven me to action.
For those who don’t know, this young man who was the son of a movie director felt angry and frustrated by years of rejection, and in particular being a virgin at 22 murdered three of his flatmates then went out in his BMW SUV and killed six other people. He even made a video about how he was going to get revenge on everyone.
All the excuses started coming out. Everything except personal responsibility. And I reject them all, because I have lived them all. These people who point to one thing and say “That is why he did it” could do with understanding that I have faced them all.
The 22 year old virgin? I was 32. Yes it was tough. Yes it hurt. Yes I felt angry. But I still didn’t kill.
The rejection? Holy shit, I never really kissed anyone until I was 30. I was rejected almost my entire life. I remember crying unstoppably wondering why everybody hated me so. I really fancied some girls at school, and tried to be the nice and the cool guy. I thought I was. And I was angry that nobody loved me. Surely it couldn’t be me. And still I didn’t kill.
Being privileged? This son of a moderately wealthy father where we never really were left wanting for anything may not have the same degree of wealth as the son of a Hollywood movie director, but I was extremely privileged. I lived in my own white bread world.
Maybe there was something in his upbringing? Well, I was brought up in an environment where my mother was emotionally abused every single day. Where women were routinely objectified. Where I was swimming in racism and homophobia. Where it was perfectly acceptable that one of my brothers went out on a Saturday night to go gay-bashing.
Perhaps it was a mental illness. Well, I’ve got you there too. I’ve suffered from depression since I was in my mid-teens. I wasn’t treated for it until my mid- to late-twenties. I’ve been through periods of constant suicidal ideations. I’ve had regular “other” impulses too. For most of my life if I am honest.
And while we do not have the gun culture here in New Zealand that they do in the USA, I can still get a gun if I want to.
This might frighten some of you. But my point here is simple. Anyone who claims that any one of these things, or any combination of them, was “to blame” for these murders needs to think. If they truly were to blame, then I wouldn’t be here typing this now. They’re not. It is something else.
Maybe he would have committed these crimes regardless. Maybe not.
What is abundantly clear is that the socially ingrained attitude that women owe men attention in any way whatsoever is a massive contributing factor. That women are STILL regarded as somehow inferior. Rape culture, a culture of self, of entitlement – these things give rise to the institutional violence against …. well… anyone who isn’t a cis-het white male.
The #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter was just astounding. in part because of the incredible prevalence of stories of sexualised violence, but also because of the reactions from certain men. Men who tried to make the whole thing about them. Complaining about how they are automatically regarded as a “potential rapist” rather than asking why that is, what men have done that leads to such an expectation.
All these women tweeting about how they are abused or harrassed every single fucking day. And some pathetic dudebros complain about how the thread makes them feel generalised. Or how we should be focusing on bigger issues. Or how [laughs] its actually #NotAllMen.
The real irony is that they simply don’t understand how their response is so very much part of the problem.