What Makes White, Middle Class Men Kill?

I, like many others, was shocked to hear this morning about the mass killing in Aurora, Colorado at a suburban movie theater at the hands of med student James Holmes. Having recently moved form Colorado to Oregon, it tapped into old feelings, recalling back when the Columbine High School killings took place. My wife, Amy, was a youth minister at the time, and one of the girls who had previously been a part of her group had helped the killers buy their guns.

Then there was the attack at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. And now this. It got me thinking about what all of the killers have in common, and for that matter, what they seem to have in common with many of the mass murderers at the focus of such tragic stories. I found this excerpt from David Lohr, a writer known for his interviews and write-ups about notorious criminals:

Typical mass murderers are usually conservative, middle-aged, white males from relatively stable, lower-to-middle-class backgrounds. These individuals usually aspire to more than they can achieve, and when they see their ambitions thwarted, they blame others for their failures. They feel exclusion and develop an irrational, and eventually, homicidal hatred of anyone they consider a hindrance to their own aspirations. Quite often, they choose to die in an eruption of violence directed at these perceived oppressors.

There are three common types of mass murderers: family annihilators, paramilitary enthusiasts, and disgruntled workers. Social areas of dysfunction, such as unemployment, loneliness, a family breakup, or an argument with a supervisor, can trigger their deadly rage.

Though much of what Lohr says makes sense, it still doesn’t explain, for me at least, why so many white, middle-class men seem to be the perpetrators of

these particular crimes. What’s more, I’ve found it difficult to track down any research seeking an answer to this question. It may be out there, but I’ve had a hard time finding it. We have all kinds of theories about inner city violence, gang murders and the like, but what about these “lone wolf” killers, many of whom have no prior record of criminal behavior at all?

But based on my own amateur research, here are some things that may contribute to this curious and disturbing pattern.


Propaganda: 
Often times, mass murderers have collections of literature from “hate groups” such as white supremacy organizations, separatist groups and other politically extreme networks. Though these groups are generally wary of ordering adherents to exact violence on others, the foundational hatred, militaristic aggression and ideological zealotry are a caustic admixture that can lead to such inevitably deadly outcomes.

Role Models: Consider the profiles of the most notorious mass killers in history – Hitler, Stalin, John Wayne Gacy, Lucky Luciano, Jim Jones, Charles Manson…all white men (European descent). In selecting role models, we tend to look for a bit of ourselves in the people we look up to. Granted, these are stomach-turning role models, but like it or not, some people do look at them as such. So in a sense, it’s a pattern because history has established precedent.

Isolation: It would be hard to plan a mass killing spree in a more communal living space; such planning requires a fair degree of isolation. Generally, people from middle income families can afford to have their own apartment, or at least their own room that is closed off from others. And consider that suburban life is, in many ways, constructed upon the value of privacy while being surrounded by thousands of people. We can go from our home to our car in the garage to our office and back again without having much, if any, contact with anyone else. This kind of privacy can be fertile ground for unchecked aberrant behavior.

Access: Combine extreme isolation with being inculcated with extreme propaganda, a litany of murderous role models with a healthy disposable income and
lots of free time, and you have someone who can frequent gun shows, pawn shops and the like to collect supplies. These things are expensive, and to be able to buy up so much of it without raising any eyebrows, you have to have access to a good deal of disposable income. Plus, they don’t look “suspicious,” according to the profiles we maintain for what a terrorist is supposed to look like.


Shock and Awe: If someone is a paranoid narcissist with a victim mentality and a longing to be noticed, they’ll likely go to extremes to get the reaction from society they seek. And although there is this time-tested pattern of white males as mass killers, we still hold up the middle class white male as the archetype of normalcy in the United States, particularly in suburban culture. So for one who is intent on personal and societal destruction, blowing up such archetypes serves their end as well.


No Hope:
 In a way, it seems absurd  to suggest that middle class suburban white men are more susceptible to hopelessness, despair and depression than others. But for those in an oppressive, violent environment, the source of distress is fairly evident. But if you live in an environment where you’re supposed to be happy and content about your life, and yet you’re not, who is to blame? Such internalized hatred can turn into internalized violence which, then, can be expressed outwardly.

So what is our collective responsibility in all of this? We are charged with recognizing and addressing the systemic and individual brokenness all around us. Who do you know that seems isolated, hopeless or in despair? Who among us is at risk of falling through the cracks, their pain and sickness going unnoticed until it’s too late?

This isn’t to say that anyone in these circumstances is at risk for such violent outbursts. Hardly. But aren’t the conditions themselves in which this type of personality germinates, and the pain that accompanies it, cause enough for attention, concern and action?

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. He he has a memoir on faith, family and parenting called PregMANcy: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.

Christian Blogs for Patheos, Huffington Post, Sojourners and others.

For more information about Christian, visit www.christianpiatt.com, or find him on Twitter (www.twitter.com/christianpiatt) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/christianpiattauthor).

Comments

  1. Alberich says:

    “Role Models: Consider the profiles of the most notorious mass killers in history – Hitler, Stalin, John Wayne Gacy, Lucky Luciano, Jim Jones, Charles Manson…all white men (European descent).”
    Here you are just picking the ones who fit to your hypothesis. What about Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, Théoneste Bagosora, or one of the other African mass murderers? Seriously just compare Lucky Luciano to Pol Pot.
    “No Hope:….”
    This criterion seems often useless, as for many mass murderers it is not clear why they should have no hope, this will give you false negatives when applied. On the other a almost all people with very little hope, like terminal cancer and little to no family or friends, live their lives quite decently.

  2. Peter Houlihan says:

    There’s so much wrong with this. Mass killing is hardly restricted to white people or europeans. And if we’re going to be including dictators why not mention Pol Pot and Mao? The list is a little cherry picked to say the least.

    • People of all nationalities kill, obviously, but that is not the point of this article. People of minority populations are often subjected by cruel treatment by the majorities so it is easy to see why some would lash out. What the author is trying to do is determine why privileged, white majority men are killing when they in theory not have any reason to.

      • Silent,

        I understand the point, but as a result the author is in effect dehumanizing white men. White men are human, just like everyone else. Some humans become mass murderers. To say that some white men should not become mass murderers suggests that white men are somehow not human.

      • Because not every individual white male’s privilege actually benefits him a whole lot? It didn’t save a shitload of them getting sent to vietnam in the draft, doesn’t save them from their house taken after they lose their job n can’t support a family, doesn’t save them from mental illness.

        See the problem people often make is focusing on their white, middle class privilege, they focus so much that it seems near impossible for so many people to understand WHITE MIDDLE CLASS MEN FEEL PAIN TOO. I think it’s part of the whole “You’re rich, why should you be depressed” mentality but mental illness doesn’t discriminate.

        If anything white middle class men probably can go unbothered longer by the police, have access to resources to get weapons, etc.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        If that’s not the point of the article then it shouldn’t be titled “What makes white, middle class, men kill.”

        Also: “people of minority populations are often subjected by cruel treatment by the majorities so it is easy to see why some would lash out.” denies the reality that members of ethnic minorities are also human beings that can become mentally ill and kill people for no reason too.

        The answer to the question the article poses is exactly the same answer to the question “Why do black, working class men kill.”

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        “People of all nationalities kill, obviously, but that is not the point of this article.”

        doesn’t sit very well with,

        ” Consider the profiles of the most notorious mass killers in history – Hitler, Stalin, John Wayne Gacy, Lucky Luciano, Jim Jones, Charles Manson…all white men (European descent)”

      • TheN his examples are still lousy. Charles Manson was the son ofa teenage mother and grew up in an orphanage. John Wayne Gacy was beaten and molested. Jim Jones and Lucky Luciano grew up in relative poverty. None could be said to have been privileged.

        As for Hitler and Stalin, Mao is responsible for more deaths tan either of them.

      • Minorities? Pol Pot and Mao Zedong? Mao Zedong was a member of the largest ethnic majority on earth. Maybe your undergraduate Third Worldism is not as reliable a heuristic as you imagine.

      • Lillian Porter says:

        I came across this article, on the day that kindergartners and their teachers were massacred, by a 20 yr old in New Town, CT. I had been curious to find out what percentage of these killings occur in the U.S.
        When I first came to the U.S. I worked in a neuro ICU and a neuro rehab unit where I took care of several gunshot victims. I had come from London, where I had worked in its largest hospital and never saw anyone hurt by a gun, nor did I know any one who possessed one. Not even UK police officers wore guns. Then, TV crime shows and violent movies took off with a vengeance.
        Later, when I worked in a prison, a jail and a psychiatric hospital, I was cautioned to be careful of suicide victims because “a suicidal person is also homicidal”. While doing health assessments in these facilities, I had more than one African American laugh, when I asked them if they were, or ever had been, suicidal. When asked about the laughter, one young man told me “black people don’t do that”. Of the two completed suicides that occurred (which were both in the jail) both were young white men. Community life is more established in the black community and the historical reasons are clear. White children seem to be left to their own resources a lot more, without sympathetic adults at hands.
        Fifty five years ago, in London, I was a lonely girl child whose elderly male parent sometimes worked 72 hours a week. However, we spent all our spare time together traveling, discussing things we heard on the radio and discussing the books we were reading. I could have gone to any number of neighbors if I was scared or needed help. In fact those neighbors usually knew right away if I did. In our corner grocery store when I was about ten, the owner saw me turn pale, asked me if I was OK, said something about Asian Flu, locked up her store and walked me home, commiserating with me when I stopped to throw up. There is not that sense of security for today’s young people. They spend their alone time trying to distract themselves from panic and sadness. Behavioral changes are necessary, from the adults down, in every home and institution, to make children feel safe and cherished again.

        • “White children seem to be left to their own resources a lot more, without sympathetic adults at hands.”
          There is probably a lot of power in this alone.

          “Behavioral changes are necessary, from the adults down, in every home and institution, to make children feel safe and cherished again.”
          As an adult male with no kids of my own, I don’t feel safe or cherished around kids. I know of many adult males who are nervous around kids these days because of pedo-hysteria and the misandrous views against adult men around kids. I’d love to be able to just hug n play with my cousins and feel safe n secure in it, but I feel nervous and stay away where I can over fear of what others will think of me. I think adult males in particular are far more likely to avoid interacting with kids at times. I look at women my age and how they interact with kids and I am a bit jealous of it, they don’t have the same level of suspicion aimed at them.

          This is an issue that needs to be addressed to bring back the community to our kids because currently so many parents are deathly afraid of their kids around strangers, especially males. Too many fears of kids being kidnapped n abused by the stranger means many kids won’t get that community that other cultures probably have. I haven’t really interacted with any unknown kid in years, not even a smile, I’ve had kids say hi and I might say hi back but feel awkward and try to leave that situation. I realize it’s extremely cold of me to do so and goes against my nature but there is risk in interacting with other’s kids. Way too many stories of fathers at the playground with their kids even being interrogated about why they are there, how do you build a community when up to 50% of the population are seen with suspicion?

    • spidaman3 says:

      You have to keep in mind that his sample also only includes people from the 20th century until now.

  3. The Wet One says:

    Meh.

    Who cares?

  4. J P McMahon says:

    This article is preposterous. Neither David Chu, nor George Hassan were white, middle class men. Neither was Beltway Sniper John Muhhamed. As Peter pointed out, throwing Hitler and Stalin in with this bunch without mentioning Mao, Pol Pot, and let’s throw in Idi Amin and the Mexican drug gangs too, as role models, is ridiculous. There is stuff going on in Central Africa and in some favela right at this very moment that make our problems here look like pretty small potatoes, there just aren’t any TV cameras around. What do most of these massacre killers have in common? I’ll answer that with another question. Where is the study or book about the wives and girlfriends of these people? Could it be that one doesn’t exist because there aren’t any, or at least they were one of those killed in the mayhem? That might be a good subject for the GMP to talk about.

  5. Ross Steinborn says:

    See the book Sex, violence and crime: Foucault and the man question.

    • I was hoping to see a reference of Foucault’s work. Also Durkheim’s work on suicide applies VERY well to this discussion… one of my favorite books on Sociology applies all four of Durkheim’s suicide classifications to the Columbine shooting.

    • catsmeow says:

      Thanks for that suggestion–knew there was a reason I needed to take a look at the comments section. Just the kind of resource I was seeking on a similar research hunt. As for the article itself: more factors figure in than race, gender, class identity rendered so simplistically. It may make for a provocative hook as a title, but the issues run far deeper. The writer needs to dig deeper before making conclusions. Then again, our society needs to dig deeper as a collective to understand and ultimately prevent these sorts of tragedies.

      • J P McMahon says:

        cats, I hate to break this to you, but there is no “collective”. We are a country of 300 million individuals. Think about it. What is the most “collective” thing that we do as a society? Watching the (bad word)ing Super Bowl! I think it is groovy that you folks are getting into the theory of the whole thing. But guess who probably has more than a passing familiarity with some of the theory you are talking about? Someone working on a PhD in neuroscience and psychiatry perhaps? Unless we move to a society where people are constantly monitored and controlled by the government, really bad things like this are going to happen occasionally, just like lightning strikes. The “collective” can’t stop drive by shootings, drug addiction, or 50,000 people killed in car accidents every year. What makes you think they can stop this?

        • catsmeow says:

          We can ask questions and yes, as a society we ARE a collective, like it or not. We have a collective responsibility, regardless of our race, gender, or class to work towards making our public spaces safe for everyone. At the end of the day, that should be a collective goal, should it not? And if not, would you prefer chaos and anarchy?

          • J P McMahon says:

            Cat, I certainly don’t prefer chaos and anarchy. What I prefer is that people take individual responsibility for themselves and their own behavior, and that they follow the laws of the land.
            Believe me, I am the first, and often the only person you will see in public calling out line jumpers, telling a stranger I don’t like the way he is treating his woman, giving litterers grief, helping a drunk get to a safe place whether they want to go there or not, telling a loud cell talker in a theater to shut up, trying to defuse or break up a fight, or telling parents to get control of their children. It is amazing how often I am told to mind my own business by the “collective”.
            You are also assuming that a safe public space means the same thing to every person, which it doesn’t. What if I considered a safe public space one in which there was no one wearing sporting apparel, doo rags, and baggy pants? What if I consider a safe place one in which everyone had to go through an invasive and humiliating search of their person? What if I considered a safe place one in which every other person had a concealed carry handgun? What if I considered a safe place one that was constantly monitored by video? What if I considered a safe public place one in which protesters weren’t camping illegally? What if I was someone like Plaxico Burress, and wondered why anyone would go to a club or party where you didn’t have to carry a weapon? There is no “collective” agreement at what the line is between safety, and inconvenience, and excess control by the government, let alone paying for all that.

            • J P, while I disagree with you in a lot of regards it sounds like, I appreciate the questions you’re asking. Putting aside the question of payment for the time being, I’d like to talk about the “collective.”

              While I agree that almost everyone has a different idea of what perfection looks like within their own spheres, I hope that we can agree that there are basic elements that govern satisfaction and happiness for most people. Occasionally there will be exceptions to these general rules (and there are differences across cultures as well, for instance, in some cultures you’re not considered a man until you’ve killed someone from a neighboring tribe), in general in OUR culture there are basic rules everyone can agree on.

              What are these basic rules? I can’t give a full list, but I’d assume not being shot while watching a movie is up there. So now I wonder, why did this person violate this basic societal norm? Furthermore, why is this one, specific societal norm so frequently used as a dramatic statement? Because really, that seems to me to be a major reason why people care about a middle class white guy shooting up a theater more than an inter city gang fight.

              The two areas the author discussed that I feel most comfortable supporting are the ideas of isolation and hopelessness.

              A primary concern of my discipline is the cause of and effects of a by nature isolated culture. Historically and prehistorically speaking, humans have been at least somewhat collectivist by nature – living in extended family groups, having frequent contact with neighbors and community members, and having social norms and values constantly reinforced by that contact. In many tribal communities, excommunication is a punishment feared worse than death. Unsurprisingly, to my understanding these communities have much lower serious violent crime rates than does our own. I accept that the value we all pay lip service to in this country is individualism, but it seems to me that it’s possible that we’re more likely to see some members lose their sense of empathy when their connections with the community at large are tenuous at best. This shooter, for instance, was described as totally withdrawn and isolated.

              The other area, hopelessness, also seems to make a lot of sense in this case. This shooter was playing “the game” at the top of his field. He was working on scholarship to get a PhD in Neuroscience. He was, and had always, excelled academically, which is how our society measures success at that stage in life. And, by the promises of our society, people who are in the top 1% should get rewarded for their merits beyond the wildest dreams of the “common man.” What we actually see when we examine the elite as a body, however, is a very different picture. Feelings of isolation, mistrust, stress, and a general lack of contentedness are higher by far in the upper class than they are in the middle class. So, is it so hard to believe that if someone were to play quite literally perfectly by society’s rules, go through unique hardships, and achieve success most others can only dream of, only to realize that the reward at the end of the tunnel isn’t what they thought it would be, does it really surprise anyone that they might in turn commit the one act that signifies both their lack of regard for their own selves and an absolute rejection of society’s core collective values?

              I feel like I need a disclaimer. I’m not trying to attack anyone or anything by saying this. I’m simply trying to understand this guy and get some feedback from others about my thoughts, because I believe that a good man radically empathizes with others. Regardless of how repulsive the act or situation may be, if we can only step out of our own shoes and try to see it through someone else’s eyes we may find out unsettling truths about ourselves and an unprecedented compassion for whichever “others” we deal with in day to day life. Empathy, to me, is at the core of what this project is all about.

              A great example and summation of this view of empathy is on TED talks titled “A Radical Experiment in Empathy.” I’d highly suggest people who take the concept of this site to heart take a moment to at least watch and think about it.

            • Andrew, I suggest you set down your sociology books for a little while and pick up some anthropology and history books. Traditional or tribal societies look very nice in theory, but in practice they are horrible ways to live when compared to our modern society, particularly if you are a woman. In traditional societies, generally men do religion, hunting and fishing, politics, and military activities. They are the possessors of all the history, and make all of the political decisions. Women do ALL of the other work and are essentially chattel. If the genealogy of the tribe is traced through women, it is simply because they are not sure of who is banging who. And traditional societies don’t have high crime rates, simply because to have crimes, you have to have laws which don’t exist in pre-literate societies. They just have traditions, but if there is a question on how that tradition should be interpreted, it all comes down to the baddest dude in the tribe, the chief or whatever he is called. Still not convinced? Rwanda, 1996. Most tribal names mean “the people”. What does that say about people outside of that tribe? Not human. I don’t think that people in our modern society are prefect, and I certainly don’t think they are perfectable. Not shooting a gun in a theater is already a “rule” in our society, and I don’t know anyone who thinks that rule should be changed. In this case, someone thought “outside of the box” in a really bad way, and I dearly hope they pay for it.

            • J P McMahon says:

              Should have posted under J P M.

            • Dude, I wasn’t talking about that. I was talking about the community focused nature of humanity for the vast majority of our existence as a species and the efficacy of social control mechanisms within that context. Enough with the straw man argument.

              I’m pretty sure that customs against murder of tribe members are present in most tribal societies.

              So am I right in thinking that empathy is not a part of what being a good man means to you and that you don’t think that learning more about why this happened could have potential value in limiting future events?

              And I appreciate your suggestion to pull my head out of my Sociology books. I think I’ll politely decline. Because, you see, understanding the world around me to the best of my ability and trying to walk in another person’s shoes is kind of my defining life mission. To that end I study history, cultural anthropology, social work, and a few different schools of psychology and religious theory as well.

              If you define being a good man as “one who makes people you find unacceptable pay” then I wish you the best in your endeavors. I, however, think that this event offers some greater insight than simply “he screwed up, now send him to the chopping block.” Because, you know, this sort of thing kinda happens all the time. Might be nice to examine why.

            • J P McMahon says:

              Andrew, I have nothing against empathy, as far as that goes. I consciously try to treat everyone I meet with dignity and politeness, until the rare occasion that they show that they are undeserving of that treatment. I am also conscious of the fact that I can never understand how some people think and feel. I was watching an unedited video from some of the rebels in Damascus the other day. Artillery shells were hitting a neighborhood, seemingly at random, and all the men off camera were screaming Allah Akbar over and over again while their town got blown to hell. I have no clue what is going on in someone’s head that would do that, and I’ve been a soldier! I read a lot of history, and visit historical sites, but I really can’t put myself into the head of someone that lived in the 19th century, because their world view and experiences are so different from my own. And honestly, how would a minority person feel if I told them “I know exactly how you feel.” if they were upset about an issue that involved race. I don’t know how they feel. I’ll take it a step further and say that I have no idea how a woman’s mind works, and the more experience I have with them, the less I seem to understand. Also, you can also not underestimate the number of liars and con men in this world, which is why people have to be judged by their behavior, and not on what they say, or you think they feel. And I DID examine why I think this maniac did what he did a couple of times on this thread. But let’s say he gets on medication and lucidly explains his motives. You are going to base some kind of policy on what HE has to say? Empathy has it limits.

            • J P, while I disagree with you in a lot of regards it sounds like, I appreciate the questions you’re asking. Putting aside the question of payment for the time being, I’d like to talk about the “collective.”

              While I agree that almost everyone has a different idea of what perfection looks like within their own spheres, I hope that we can agree that there are basic elements that govern satisfaction and happiness for most people. Occasionally there will be exceptions to these general rules and there are differences across cultures, but in general in OUR culture there are some basic rules everyone can agree on.

              What are these basic rules? I can’t give a full list, but I’d assume not being shot while watching a movie is up there. So now I wonder, why did this person violate this basic social norm? Furthermore, why is this one, specific societal norm so frequently used as a dramatic statement? Because really, that seems to me to be a major reason why people care about a middle class white guy shooting up a theater, office, or school more than an inter city gang fight.

              The two areas the author discussed that I feel most comfortable supporting are the ideas of isolation and hopelessness.

              A primary concern of my discipline is the cause of and effects of a by nature isolated culture. Historically and prehistorically speaking, humans have been at least somewhat collectivist by nature – living in extended family groups, having frequent contact with neighbors and community members, and having social norms and values constantly reinforced by that contact. In many tribal communities, excommunication is a punishment feared worse than death. Unsurprisingly, to my understanding these communities have much lower serious violent crime rates than does our own.One core value most of us pay lip service to in this country is individualism, but it seems to me that it’s possible we’re more likely to see some members lose their sense of empathy when their connections with the community at large are tenuous at best.

              The other area, hopelessness, also seems to make a lot of sense in this case. This shooter was playing “the game” at the top of his field. He was working on scholarship to get a PhD in Neuroscience. He was, and had always, excelled academically, which is how our society measures success at that stage in life. And, by the promises of our society, people who are in the top 1% should get rewarded for their merits beyond the wildest dreams of the “common man.” What we actually see when we examine the elite as a body, however, is a very different picture. A general lack of contentedness occurs at higher rates in the upper class than it does in the middle class. So, if someone were to play perfectly by society’s rules, go through unique hardships, and achieve success most others can only dream of, only to realize that the reward at the end of the tunnel isn’t what they thought it would be, does it really surprise anyone that they might in turn commit the one act that signifies both their lack of regard for their own selves and an absolute rejection of society’s core collective values?

              I feel like I need a disclaimer. I’m not trying to attack anyone or anything by saying this. I’m simply trying to understand this guy and get some feedback from others about my thoughts, because I believe that a good man radically empathizes with others. Regardless of how repulsive the act or situation may be, if we can only step out of our own shoes and try to see it through someone else’s eyes we may find out unsettling truths about ourselves and an unprecedented compassion for the “others” we meet in daily life. Empathy, to me, is at the core of what this project is all about.

            • double posted, please delete one.

        • JPM writes:
          “Unless we move to a society where people are constantly monitored and controlled by the government, really bad things like this are going to happen occasionally, just like lightning strikes.”

          Your analogy makes it sound unavoidable. That’s probably not true in every case.

          You can put up lightning rods to protect buildings and take other precautions. We can most likely also avoid a lot of this by improving the mental health of men.

          The simple fact is that despite the narrative being that women are much more prone to depression, men account for 80% of all successful suicides. These men typically go past the “calling for help” suicide where they swallow a bottle of pills and then call a friend to tell them what they did and use a permanent method like shooting themselves in the head.

          Asking why so many men feel so helpless and hopeless would not only save the men who self-harm, but most likely avert some of these disasters.

  6. NWOslave says:

    The answer to, “What makes white, middle class men kill?” Or any man or woman of any race is tolerance. We’re a hedonistic nation of self-pleasure seekers. We tolerate every immorality of sexuality and celebrate our tolerance. Each year we try to outdo the previous year. We combine sex and violence; first we tolerate it on the fringes and then we celebrate our fifty shades of gray mentality. And then we once again celebrate our tolerance. Our entire morality revolves around tolerance because it’s all we have left.

    Tolerance for any hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical or electrical device is how far it can deviate from the norm before it ceases to function. The same goes for society. Every empire that’s fallen has followed the same path. They all become hedonistic pleasure seekers indulging in every form of lust, Egypt, Rome, Greece, Persia, and Ming. In the end, they too celebrated their one morality, tolerance. History is a wheel that repeats itself. Read their history and see what their writing were like in the end.

  7. NWO I’ll try to avoid personal attacks, but I have to say that the ideals your espousing are very specific to the conservative Western culture and, by and large, are not supported by social scientists anywhere.

    The one exception to the rule would be political think tanks, who employ people specifically to develop and spread said ideologies in order to maintain the status quo.

    What you’re describing is “anomie” – a relative “lack of common morality” (very simplistic definition). This has become a very culturally popular idea, but the development and application of this idea is simply a part of a much, much larger framework. To apply it as a standalone concept is reductionist at best, even if it is culturally popular.

    • NWOslave says:

      I do appreciate your restraint in avoiding personal attacks in your condescending reply. Dealing with the uneducated masses can be quite tiresome. Perhaps you might clarify a few points in your reply?

      1) If these ideals I’m espousing are very specific to the conservative Western culture that would by definition make the non-western world far more liberal. Would you care to explain how you could to this conclusion?
      2) If political think tanks are spreading ideologies and the prevailing ideology is tolerance, it is the social scientists that reside in these think tanks. You maintain this is the exception to the rule while in actuality it is the rule.

      While I’m sure social scientists in higher academia congratulate themselves while uttering catch phrases about the greater good of tolerance, morality as a standalone concept being reductionism and correlation doesn’t equal causation. Little comfort comes from circular theories based on circular theories based on theories of tolerance. College used to be a place to express new ideas and free thought, now it’s a place to be indoctrinated into cultural Marxism. What did you major in?

      • We’re a hedonistic nation of self-pleasure seekers. We tolerate every immorality of sexuality and celebrate our tolerance.– NWOslave

        So where do we draw the line? If this is truly the issue, what is the solution? Shove all those pesky gays back into the closet? Force transgendered people to live a lie their entire lives? Put those uppity women back in the kitchen?

        Your stance appears to be: USA is sexually immoral, therefore USA is violent. The USA has been involved in violent conflict around the world nearly continuously since its inception. This has not changed as the US has become more tolerant. Violent crime has been consistently decreasing nearly without exception, as the US has become more tolerant. Other nations are far more tolerant than the US, and have much less violence– see Scandinavian countries.

        I agree that we need to draw a line about tolerance, as Bill Maher said: “Don’t get so tolerant that you tolerate intolerance.”

        Also, for whatever it has to do with anything, I am a Culinary Arts & Computer Science major…

        • NWOslave says:

          You and Andrew simply confirm the insatiable need to celebrate tolerance, the last moral, if you can call it that, of a decayed society. The only tolerance you find unacceptable is tolerating a differing opinion. The reason you hate anyone with any moral compass is because it’s a constant reminder of your lack of morality. If everyone devolves down to the lowest common denominator, no one has to feel bad about being immoral.

          • You never answered my questions… where do you draw the line on what is tolerable? What gives you, personally, the right to be the final arbiter of what is tolerable and label me immoral? And how do you back up your assertion that sexual tolerance is to blame for this problem of white men committing atrocities? You are advocating intolerance of sexual behavior that you disagree with, and giving blanket statements about tolerance, especially sexual tolerance equating to immorality.

            There are plenty of examples of tolerating sexual behavior being immoral: Penn State tolerating Sandusky is immoral. The Catholic church tolerating abusive priests is immoral. The military tolerating the presence of rapists in the ranks is immoral. Tolerating the humiliation and/or beating of children in the name of religion is immoral.

            I tolerate you calling me immoral without personally attacking you, I think you shouldn’t be silenced, I think you shouldn’t be marginalized or oppressed based on your beliefs or opinions. If you could produce evidence, facts, and theories that could be independently verified, your arguments could sway me into changing my mind.

          • 1. I meant the conservative movement within Western culture. Although America’s “center” is considered pretty far right compared to the rest of Western culture, that’s neither here nor there. “The Decline of Western Civilization” by Emmanuel Wallerstein focused on this, I believe, but there are several studies in Sociology, Cultural Anthropology, and Political Science relating to this.

            2. You’re assuming that the prevailing idea is tolerance. That’s not what I meant at all. What I was saying is that the global (Western) elite want the focus to be on hot button issues like tolerance instead of things like:
            “What creates this acceptance of violence in our culture?”
            “Why are violent outbursts like this so frequently associated with the military (ex-military personnel or in proximity to military bases)?”
            And lastly, “Why does one incident a year or so where several people get killed capture the popular imagination more than thousands of murders in poor, frequently minority communities? And why do terrible things seem to happen more frequently to the poor than the rich?”

            The problem is that the answers to those sorts of questions may have a much more impact on the powers that be, so it becomes very important to keep not just the focus but the way people frame their questions and dialogue slanted a certain way. Because the entire way of life of a very powerful but small group of people is based on an individually less powerful but much, much larger group of people staying divided and focused on things that, in the big scheme of things, don’t particularly matter to the small group’s wallets.

            And believe it or not, that had very little to do with Marxism. Of course, since Marx was one of the three founding fathers of the discipline, almost everything can be thought of as having something to do with his work, but what I’m discussing is a much more nuanced concept. I was pulling from C. Wright Mills’ “sociological imagination.” It’s an interesting idea, might be worth looking into.

            Whether you believe it or not, “tolerance” isn’t something I care about very much. I think that the focus on tolerating sexual deviance on a personal level is a smoke-and-mirrors game. The powers that be want to keep the masses focused on the powerless, not the powerful, so they push policies that will keep the vast majority of Americans looking at each other and not at the harmful social and environmental impacts our way of life creates. What people do in their bedrooms is not my problem. My friends coming back from profit-motivated wars and shooting holes in their walls because they hear voices (PTSD) IS my problem, and, more importantly, it relates directly to what makes these acts of brutality so predictable within this demographic in our society. If you like, I’ll point you towards a couple books that deal with this exactly – just post on here that you’d like them and I’ll go hunt back up the titles and authors.

            And I certainly do tolerate your opinion. I don’t accept it as my own, but having studied the perspective your opinion comes from in a general sense and reading to you personally, I can see how it might be attractive. I still think it’s incorrect and generally dangerous, but I can see the appeal.

            Finally, my degree is in Sociology, and my school’s Sociology program focused pretty heavily on social theory.

          • Also, what’s wrong with Marx? I’d suggest reading the Communist Manifesto when you get time… He’s given a bad name, but if you actually read what he wrote instead of listening to the propaganda, you’ll probably notice that true Marxist communism is not at all what it’s portrayed to be, and the countries that tried to implement it completely ignored the ideological roots. It was used as an imposed excuse to take power rather than a fundamental binding ideology on a community level.

            • J P McMahon says:

              Andrew, Why is it every time I see a society that hangs pictures of Marx around it is a totalitarian state, with no personal freedom, bodies stacked like cord wood, and a horrible standard of living? “…the countries that tried to implement (Marxism)completely ignored the ideological roots.” EVERY SINGLE TIME. Ignoring those ideological roots and ending up with a heinous shitshow of a government seems to be an non-theoretical, actual, scientifically provable element of putting Marxism into practice, at least when three dimensional humans are involved. It doesn’t work because everybody, EVERYBODY cares about their self interests first in this world. It’s called human nature. For a political leader to say that all they care about is the greater good, is for them to lie. And every group of people, I don’t care if it’s 3 kids on a swing set, is going to have a leader.

            • Marx gave an interview towards the end of his life where he said that he was no Marxist. But while equating Stalin with Communism is somewhat understandable, it is also ridiculous.

              Lenin and Stalin had a thorough falling out when Stalin was rude to Lenin’s wife. Lenin, Trotsky, and other prominent people who were involved in the Russian Revolution were among the first that Stalin had murdered. This, to me, indicates a rather sizable difference of opinion between Stalin and the others on how the country should have been governed. Since basically all Marxist societies have been based around Russia and its revolution, is it any surprise that they turned out similarly? I’m guessing that if Stalin had lost out, and if Russia hadn’t had to fight a series of incursions of other nations attempting to overturn the revolution, things might have turned out very differently.

              I don’t think pure Marxism is the ideal, any more than Randian capitalism is ideal. There needs to be elements of both, and I firmly believe that the US has gone way too far to the right.

            • J P McMahon says:

              Adam, Thanks for your reply. So tens of million of innocent people got killed by communist states because Stalin did not get along with Krupskaya Lenin? Lenin was killed by a stroke, not assassination, but not before he started the Cheka and the Red Terror. The Soviet Union had to fight foreign incursions yes, when they weren’t crushing internal dissent and unsuccessfully invading Poland in 1920. Read about how Trotsky crushed the anarchist revolt at Kronstadt. So what you’re telling me is that Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Mihn, Castro, Kim Il-sung, and the various monsters that ran the Warsaw Pact nations were much more deeply steeped in Marxist philosophy than you or I will ever be, flew red flags of communism and waved pictures of Marx, called themselves “communists”, advocated communism as a historical certainty, and yet THEY WEREN’T COMMUNISTS? How many seconds do you think you would have lived if you had told one of them that personally? Theoretically communism is supposed to work. But if pigs had wings… You are romanticisizing a system that was about as close to mass evil as it gets on this planet. Randian capitalism has never caused the forced starvation of millions of peasants, like in China and Russia, simply because they were in the way of creating the make believe “New Communist Man”.

            • J P, you got it exactly right. They weren’t communists. That much is clear if you read the end of the Communist Manifesto or grasp the central tenants of Marxism. Marxist communism is fundamentally a grassroots level, bottom up approach to reorganization of government. Communism as it has been historically practiced is a top down system meant to protect and further the power of the elite. The name is the same, but the way it worked is exactly what Marx had a problem with in his time.

              And Capitalism has never caused the forced starvation of millions of peasants? Tell that to every second and third world country on the face of the planet. No exceptions.

              In any case, back to the matter at hand, if humans are, by nature, individualistic, then why does mass murder not make sense? There is a great deal to be gained by killing people for the purposes of acquisition, but seeing how Holmes never took stuff from anyone he murdered or tried to get away (he let himself get arrested knowing full well that he was facing the death penalty), it looks like this act we’re supposed to be discussing is directly contradictory to your understanding of human nature. It seems to me that we’re incontrovertibly looking at a suicide by cop, atypical as it may be. Would you care to explain how this fits in with your perspective?

            • J P McMahon says:

              Andrew, a couple of things. First, there is no example, not one, of a system that called itself “Communist” that didn’t end up as a complete disaster with a totalitarian government. The whole idea of a “grassroots” anything is complete hogwash. People always have leaders, even if they are hidden behind the curtain. The proletariat will always have the “vanguard” who will turn into the planners and executioners, once they kill a few of each other off. Always. Every single time. It’s provable. And capitalism caused the forced starvation of millions of peasants? Those Marines kicking sacks of grain out of their helicopters into the drought stricken Sahel again, and again, and again, since before you and I were born was just an illusion? I await even one example where capitalism has caused millions of peasants to starve. Just one. As far as Holmes goes, he is an individual, not a theoretical construct. Personally, I think his posting on that sex site “Will you write to me in prison?” explains it all, but that is just me, and I’m an individual too.

            • Gentlemen allow me to state emphatically that both communism and lez affair capitalism are both complete hogwash. This is a socialistic country with ample safety net programs and cooperate subsidies to placate the masses from revolting. We settle disagreements through engaging each other in debate. Our conflict arenas are courts rooms, congress and voting booths. We the people means We the victorious. Wether  it’s the NRA or the ACLU. It’s always a good day to fight.

  8. The reason why the media focuses on this story is because it attacks white middle America where they least expect it….The modern suburban movie multiplex is no longer a safe hangout….

  9. I have wondered the answer to this question for some time. If you exclude, for the moment, those with political power (Hitler, etc) and focus on the shooters and bombers, there is a pretty clear pattern with the middle class Caucasian male. As with all mental disorders, the cause of psychopathy at this level boils down to a combination of genetic and environmental liabilities. Caucasian is genetic; middle class can offer some environmental influence. It is possible that the genetic lottery, mixed with the influences offered in middle class society, can, in rare instances, produce a monster.

  10. Peter von Maidenberg says:

    “Typical mass murderers are usually conservative…”

    I’m torn. OT1H, that’s potentially stereotyping. OTOH, I see many of my tropes about conservatives overlapping those about mass killers: themes of weapon fetish, domination, rebellion by force, and the dehumanization and vanquishment of the Other.

  11. It’s curious that there is no mention of pharmaceutical prescription drugs used to alter mood and stress.
    The documentary “Generation Rx” is the only coverage I have seen that identified the shooters at Columbine as prescribed and using said drugs at the time of the shooting. In fact this information is conveniently left out so as not to harm drug sales. Of course the fact that middle class white men are likely spending more on these drugs than comparable minorities would be a contributor. And lets not also forget such wonderful white role models as Truman who dropped the bomb to send a message. Or a host of American Presidents that bomb their way into the natural resources of other nations. Yea it must be the middle class white guy. Of course vilifying and stigmatizing him further won’t contribute to the very isolation that you define as a contributor. Hmmmm.

    • There are of course millions of people who have used these drugs with no ill effects.

      • So……there are no bad drugs? Have drugs ever been recalled yes or no? If medical drugs have been released to the public that caused harm, then why should we believe this hasn’t also happened in the case of mood-altering drugs?

        • Because frankly it falls into a lot of stereotyping and stigmatizing of people who have to take those drugs, and in fact discouraging those who truly need them from seeking them out.

          Insulin can kill if administered improperly, but we dont condemn it.

  12. Two of the people you have listed here Manson and Jones, may have never killed anyone. It might be more legitimate to ask why stupid middle class druggies carry out murder on behalf of nutcases. The culpability in these two cases does not reside with your murderous model. Let’s not forget the little people who actually do the killing.

  13. A lack of love.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This is a comment by John D on the post “What Makes White, Middle Class Men Kill?“ [...]

  2. [...] same article states, “As for demographics, the mass murderer is typically a white male.” And this brings us to our next [...]

  3. [...] people who perpetrate rampage killings is a white male, a loner, has a college degree or some college, from a relatively stable background and from an [...]

  4. [...] makes no logical sense. As for the profiling in these cases, typically the mass murderer is usually a white male, a loner with a college degree or some technical training, relatively born and raise from a stable [...]

Speak Your Mind

*