Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I think we should stop giving these mass murderers exactly what they want

Matt Walsh writes:

I won’t put his picture on here or link to his stupid YouTube videos. I won’t give you excerpts from his “manifesto” or tell you about his boring, predictable biography.

It doesn’t matter, anyway. You’ve seen it everywhere by now. This man-child wanted to be famous, and now he is. He wanted to captivate the nation with his tedious, pitiful ramblings, and how he has. He wanted to be sexually desired, and his rampage has even accomplished that. He killed six people just to get attention, and the media is happy to oblige. What evidence do you have that he wanted to be famous, or that he killed "just to get attention"? From what I've read, it seems he was driven more by a thirst for revenge.

Indeed, whenever some depraved narcissist tries to elevate his lonely, meandering existence to mythological status, all he has to do is record a couple of videos and then go out and slaughter a few innocent civilians. Every time, the message we send is clear: OK. We will give you exactly what you wanted. We will plaster your face all over the news and our Facebook pages. We will talk about you incessantly for weeks. Your name will be known, while your victims remain nameless.

Why do we find evil so incredibly fascinating, when, in truth, it is one-dimensional and mundane? It wreaks havoc and causes great tragedy, but that does not make it some sort of cinematic, awe-inspiring thing.  But it does wonders for your stats when you blog about it.

But I suppose it’s useless to complain about it. Humanity has always seen something intriguing and mysterious in the banality of evil. That’s how it lures you in. That’s how it catches you, converts you, empties you out and turns you into nothing. And when you finally implode and disintegrate, everyone will stare slack-jawed and riveted. Your nothingness will seem so damned interesting to us.

So I will try not to contribute to The Coward’s legend you say, after writing 5 paragraphs about him as I make just a few points in light of his murder spree in Santa Barbara:

First, if you immediately attempt to use the mass killing of innocent people to score ideological points, you are demonstrating many of the same characteristics as the mass murderer himself. You are displaying the same kind of detachment, selfishness, callousness, manipulativeness, and lack of compassion, integrity, and empathy that ultimately drives people to do these terrible things.

There you have it, folks. Trying to understand the broader societal dynamics that contribute to mass killings (something that is far from a human universal), in an effort to prevent future killings, puts you on the same level as the people who actually commit the killings.

Matt, I know you have never been one for understanding, education, and research, but seesh, is that not a bit extreme?

You might be interested to know that one of the victims' fathers has said, "I don’t care about your sympathy. I don’t give a s--- that you feel sorry for me." And what does he want? What does he go on to discuss (still in the immediate aftermath of the shooting)? Gun control!

At any rate, Matt, despite what you say above, I do not doubt that you will take advantage of the opportunity to "immediately attempt to use the mass killing of innocent people to score ideological points" if it means you can say nasty things about feminists and argue against gun control. Ideology away!

Calm down. Get a grip. Go away. The bodies aren’t even in the ground yet. Shut up with your inane hash tags and your sickening, smarmy “See? I told ya so!” victory laps. It’s gross. It’s disturbing. People are dead and you’re coming up with cute Twitter slogans? Have we all completely lost our minds?

Yes, now is the time to be thoughtful, reflective, and post inflammatory rants on our blog sites. (Gotta pay the bills!)

It’s true that The Coward apparently hated women. He also hated men, his family, himself, and all of humanity granted, I haven't read many stories about this so there are plenty of things I could have missed... but are you sure he hated his family and all of humanity? Do you have evidence to back that statement up?. He lamented his lack of sexual experience in a series of YouTube videos and said he wanted to kill women to exact vengeance upon them for not sleeping with him. Ultimately, he murdered three women, three men, and himself.

That’s all it took for the liberal feminists to pounce. They trotted out their #YesAllWomen hashtag and declared The Coward to be a “symptom” of a larger issue. He’s an example of something all women have experienced, they say. See? SEE? LOOK AT US. FORGET THE VICTIMS. ALL OF OUR FEMINIST TALKING POINTS ARE VINDICATED!

HOW DARE THEY THINK ABOUT LARGER ISSUES!  Clearly the most productive and helpful thing to do is... well, 1) Write an angry blog post about all the poopy-pants people you disagree with; and 2) Cry a lot and do nothing to make our society better.

See, once again, maybe this is a case where your particular social position entails a certain limitation to the type of knowledge you have (though you could easily overcome that limitation by being empathetic and learning from the experiences of others, and all that stuff you hate so much). Maybe so many women are saying this is a symptom of a larger issue because they have heard the exact same statements that the killer made uttered by other men time and time again. Maybe they haven't been in a mass shooting, but maybe it is scary when someone they have rejected starts stalking them or harassing them. Or maybe they don't like being dressed down by guys whenever they decide they don't want to go on any more dates with them. Maybe it is hurtful to be called a "bitch" when they try to be honest about the fact that they're not interested.

And maybe, Matt, you, in your eagerness to show everyone how terrible feminists are, are forgetting all the victims of a type of violence that occurs with regular frequency but does not usually generate the same types of headlines as mass shootings. In fact, it is these same ideas (that women "owe" men something; that men are entitled to women and their bodies; that women are not people with their own thoughts, feelings, attractions, and preferences, but merely objects of male desire) that fuel violence against women at such a startlingly high rate. Are these victims not important? Do they not count?

They said he’s nothing but a product of a misogynistic culture. “Misogyny kills,” they said. Not “evil kills,” or “hate kills,” or “this particular individual kills” — just misogyny. Well, if you actually looked at the stats, you might understand.

The deranged psycho in California can’t just be a deranged psycho in California. He has to be a point. An example. A case study. A platform. We can’t weep for the lost and grieve with their families like you would be doing, if there weren't so many darn feminists to get so angry about! — we have to argue about the War on Women, as if this lunatic somehow exemplifies and illustrates the universal misogynistic feelings of all men everywhere.

I have to wonder whether the Eternal Victims who’ve used this tragedy to advance their feminist agenda ACTUALLY think that most or all or many men share even one shred of one crumb of one iota of this maniac’s views about women.  If you actually took a second to listen to what they are saying, then you would hear that their concern stems from the fact that, as I have already mentioned, they do hear the exact same statements made by other men on a regular basis, and the fact that sexual assault and harassment occurs at an alarming rate. Do they hate men so much sigghhhhh.... [legitimate concerns enter into Matt's distortion mill of a brain and come out as "they hate men" or they think it "exemplifies and illustrates the universal misogynistic feelings of all men everywhere] that they’ve convinced themselves we’re all one step away from murdering sorority sisters, or are they callously pretending they believe it because it makes for great propaganda (and it gives them something to do on a lazy Memorial Day weekend)?  And Matt: do you really believe that feminists hate all men or are conniving, would-be-world-dominators? Or are you callously writing these things in your blog because it makes for great click-generating propaganda and a good source of revenue on a lazy holiday weekend?

Sadly, I think the latter might be closer to the truth.

Most appallingly, I saw dozens of women on Twitter using this event as an opportunity to complain about the ‘sexism’ they’ve personally suffered we can all agree, it is so much more noble to use this event as an opportunity to complain about feminists (while making money! Weee!)   — like allegedly (women are notorious liars) not getting paid as much as their male coworkers, or being criticized for their skimpy attire. Suddenly, fashion and salary issues are put in the same category as cold-blooded murder. Truly, the narcissism and tone deafness of many in our society never ceases to amaze me. And Matt, are you not aware of all the sexual violence that occurs on a regular basis, or do you not put it in the same category as cold-blooded murder? Truly, your narcissism and tone deafness never ceases to amaze me.

A woman told me today that the point is this: he’s an awful man, and “awful men cause harm to all women at some point.”

Alright, sure, but I think this is a better way of putting it: awful people cause harm to all people at some point. This story no more ‘says something’ about men, than Andrea Yates or Aileen Wuornos or Jodi Arias say something about women. One lone mass killer doesn’t prove anything about a man’s nature anymore than your neighbor’s cheating wife proves something about a woman’s nature.

Besides, for every act of violence and cowardice a man perpetrates, a dozen men commit acts of courage and kindness. But you’ll notice that those men never get thrown on stage for examination. Liberal feminists never give them credit evidence?, or point to their virtues evidence?, or turn their valor into encouraging and supportive hash tags. If anything, they’ll find a reason to turn even the heroes into villains evidence?. It’s this propensity — this constant, relentless, soul-sucking cynicism — that will forever make the purity of their motives appear, at best, dubious.

Yes, Matt. There is no better way to respond to an act of hate than by saying lots of really hateful things about an entire group of people.

Second, and in the same vein: this has nothing to do with gun control.  And now follows a quick summary of every tired, clichéd argument against gun control. At least it really is quick.

The Coward killed three people with a gun and three with a knife. He shot several more, and injured several others with his vehicle. If this proves anything, it proves that murderous people will use any tool at their disposal to carry out their violent fantasies.

He left ten crime scenes in his wake, and committed dozens of crimes in the process. None of these laws prevented the massacre, because laws can do very little in the face of men who care not for the law nor their own safety.

Third, let’s not allow all of the talk about sexism, gun control and mental illness to distract from one simple fact: this man chose to do what he did. Selfishness lies at the root of his crime, just as it lies at the root of all evil.

I know I’ve referred to him as a “psycho” and a “maniac,” but please understand those words to be reflections of my modest vocabulary, not literal descriptions of the killer’s mental state.

He was not delusional. He understood what he was doing. He knew it was wrong, which is why he made efforts to conceal his plans. This was a coldly calculated mission to slaughter innocent people and gain worldwide fame. Nothing about its planning or execution leads me to believe that he should be let off the hook by these assumptions that he was somehow too “ill” to comprehend his own actions.

It makes us feel better to reject the existence of evil and consider all maliciousness and brutality to be mere symptoms of mental diseases. This way, tragic events like these become easier to manage, easier to understand, and easier to cure.

Matt Superhero Psychologist doesn't need research or knowledge of any kind to accurately know everyone's mental states!

But the truth is more difficult. The truth is that, sometimes, perfectly sane and rational people do terribly violent and sickening things.

Now, I suppose all evil is, in some ways, insane. It’s insane because it’s self-destructive, and to destroy one’s self is about the most unnatural thing one can do. Yet this insanity is self-imposed. We dive in, and sink gradually into it. We can choose to swim back to the surface at anytime. It is of our own accord that we plunge deeper and deeper.

So I don’t think this guy was insane in the sense of being the victim of some unfortunate psychological phenomenon. I think he was a rational human being committing evil acts because he chose to commit evil acts.

For the record, I do think there are prevalent attitudes and beliefs in our culture that contribute to fueling situations like this. We are a godless, materialistic, death-obsessed society, and there’s no doubt that hatred and fear will grow more rapidly in such an environment. But that does not make The Coward a “product” of anything. Not of society, not of misogyny, not of mental illness, nor video games, nor Hollywood. He is (was) a human being, and humans are dynamic, powerful creatures with free will and the ability to choose right over wrong. We are not products. We are not puppets. We’ve done what we’ve done because that is the path we have chosen.

This individual chose his path.

That’s his story — the story of The Coward and his cowardly crime.

And I think that’s all that needs to be said about him.

So, there's nothing we can do about this because it is caused by evil people. Well, maybe our godless society is somewhat responsible (damn you, feminists!). But no, not really.

___________________________________________

Recap of Matt Walsh argument:

Matt says we shouldn't give the killer more attention, and proceeds to write a blog post that contains many more paragraphs devoted to the killer than to the victims. He briefly mentions something about weeping and crying for the victims, but seems to be much more upset about what feminists are doing. He says we should not use the incident to further ideological agendas, and spends a vast majority of the post complaining about feminists and gun control laws - and, I don't doubt (though I'm not brave enough to look this time), spurring his followers to do the same in the comment section.

Many women heard the words spoken and written by the killer and recognized them as the words uttered by so many other men who have committed acts of violence and harassment against them. They sought to bring attention to this issue, which continues to produce many female victims. Matt, under the pretense of showing concern for victims, ironically tells the people who have been or are more likely than him to be victims of sexual violence that their efforts are "inane," "sickening, smarmy," and "gross." He berates them for their "narcissism and tone deafness" (oh, irony), their "relentless, soul-sucking cynicism," and their dubious motives.

But feminists should also thank Matt for so clearly demonstrating the hateful attitudes that women have to put up with on a regular basis.

If Matt really felt that the killer should not receive any attention and that the tragedy should not be used as an ideological platform, then Matt would not have written about it. At all.

Let's not kid ourselves. Matt's more interested in making money off of hate.

5 comments:

  1. The thing is, Matt had me in the first paragraph or two. We shouldn't give this guy attention, we shouldn't plaster his face everywhere. Then he goes into trashing #YesAllWomen which is full of women telling experiences about how they get scared, how they've been told the things the killer was saying, how it IS a problem. When almost every woman I told about the hashtag, they immediately agreed or had a story. It's not a liberal feminist thing, it's a culture thing.

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  2. Thanks for your comments Philip. I think it's a difficult and interesting question, how we should treat these stories. Many people, including Matt, rightfully wonder why we are so fascinated by evil. However, it is not just the news media; movies and tv shows often focus on criminals - individual psychopaths or organized crime, for example. There are a lot of interlinking cultural factors that work together to make mass killings possible, even in the absence of news media giving the shooters a lot of attention. Which is precisely why I think a little bit of reflection about these cultural factors - even it means giving some attention to the killers in the process - is ultimately necessary. But more importantly, THANK YOU Philip for taking an interest in women's experiences and listening to their stories. I think you make a great point that "it's not a liberal feminist thing, it's a culture thing." That is why I am so frustrated by the way Matt Walsh uses labels like "Liberal Feminist" and "Secular Progressive" and all the various other combinations. I try to be careful how I use labels like "conservative" on this blog. The whole array of human ideological diversity and the complexity of our experiences make such labels totally inadequate to understand most things.

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  3. I'm not even sure I can grasp the end of Matt's argument as it skitters down the rabbit hole. He accuses feminists of taking a specific act and diluting it to something wider about men's attitudes towards women and sex, but then he oversimplifies it even more, to kindergarten-level "It was a bad person doing a bad thing, and all bad things are equal so no one should them ever". And for what? So he can get in a big eye roll of "Uhh feminists amirite?" If we're not allowed to get mad at a mass murder motivated explicitly by misogyny, when are we allowed to get mad If a feminist killed a bunch of people would Walsh crawl out of the woodwork to say "Just a nutty individual, nothing to see here, move along"? Oh, and the classic attempt to turn his argument for dismissal around on his opponents; "Gee, I guess I just have too much respect for the victims. Excuse me for caring" he didn't even get their basic facts right Rodger actually killed 4 men, 2 women, not 3 men, 3 women. For the record, this woman cares just as much about the innocent male victims of this misogynist killer as the innocent female victims.

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  4. "If a feminist killed a bunch of people would Walsh crawl out of the woodwork to say "Just a nutty individual, nothing to see here, move along"? " - haha, no, he would connect it to the "broader issue" of abortion and say, "See, feminists are violent killers." As to the numbers of men vs women... that white supremacist who shot up the Jewish Community Center in Kansas ended up killing 3 Christians and 0 Jews... think about how ridiculous it would be for someone to start ranting, "It's true that this guy hated Jews, but he also hated all of humanity. He killed 3 Christians and zero Jews. It's so gross that Jews are using this event to talk about the 'anti-Semitism' they have experienced. Do the Eternal Victims who've used this tragedy to advance their Jewish Agenda really believe that most gentiles want to kill them? They just need to calm down and get a grip." (Yeah, I pretty much just took his statements and changed "women" to "Jews" and "misogyny" to "anti-Semitism.")

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  5. Yes, because women sharing stories of rape, sexual abuse and harassment as a result of men who think like this is far less appropriate than writing an immature blog labeling them all as feminists, blaming them, and laughing off their stories as irrelevant. Clearly, instead of starting a hash tag that provides a platform for starting a national dialog, shedding some light on just how WIDE SPREAD the problem is, and at the very least lets women share stories and SUPPORT each other; the correct move would have been to write divisive, angry blog-vomit that does nothing but piss people off. Oh, Matt, your wisdom never ceases to amaze me. And for the record, after seeing the picture Matt has painted of his "god fearing" country, I'll take the godless one. Especially if it means he's already been taken to hell and no longer resides here.

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