Trying to disown the Monster we feed.
I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld
As you all must know by now, last Friday Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree. His first victims were his housemates; Cheng Yuan Hong, George Chen, and Weihan Wang. Afterwards he headed to the Alpha Phi sorority, where he was unable to get inside, possibly saving several women inside. Outside, he killed Veronika Weiss and Katherine Cooper. From there he went on a drive-by rampage, killing Christopher Michaels-Martinez. After it was all done, seven people were dead, including the shooter, and thirteen injured. And as with cases like this the immediate question is ‘why’?
He explained his reasoning in a vlog and a 140 page manifesto. It was because women wouldn’t have sex with to him. But if this is so, then why out of his six victims, four where men. Maybe the total female deaths might have been a lot higher if he’d been able to get into the sorority, but he started his rampage with his three male housemates.
Unlike most cases of mass shootings, where we are left with thousands of unanswered questions, this is a case where we have an open profile of who he was. His social media traffic, YouTube profile, and a ‘Manifesto’ give a pretty clear image of who he was and what his complaints were. And as much as we would love to think that someone messed up along the way, in hopes to stop the next one or to have someone to blame, the way the world works today, there is no way to have stopped him. Why?
Because we see him out there every day, and we keep feeding his monster.
He blamed his inferiority complex on his mother’s attempts to instill some humility on him. He blamed his failure with women on his father never teaching him how to talk to girls. He blamed his lack of confidence on PUA (Pick-Up Artist) Coaches failing him. He blamed his loneliness on women who couldn’t see what a great guy he was. He blamed his unhappiness on life being Unfair.
And through it all, he had the support and cheers of disgruntled guys on Men’s Rights sites and Pick-Up Artist online communities he frequented. And as most social sites run off to delete Rodger’s virtual footprint, the reality of the online immortality comes into play. All his rants about how he felt wronged by women and the replies of men who cheered him on and fed his ego will never go away. We can still find his trolling against men who, in his mind, didn’t deserve women’s attentions. His rants against non-white men who got together with white women were even more violent. The irony here is that he is half Asian.
His arrogant self-centered mentality is alive and well, being fed with every claim of “not all men” and every complaint about women’s privilege. His tactic of drowning everyone else’s problems by screaming his own as loud as possible is alive and kicking even as you read this.
He, like so many out there, was busy trying to blame everyone else, his arrogance fueled by the Pick-Up artist community and the Men’s Rights Movement, that now tries desperately to delete his profile history. The one thing he, like so many in these circles, refused to acknowledge was the possibility that the problem was him failing to take some accountability for his happiness, his actions, and his life. He desperately wanted to validate his manhood with money, power, or fame by whatever means possible, because that would translate to respect.
For him, sex was a validation of this respect, as is repeated over and over by the PUA community. So a woman not willing to sleep with him was a personal insult. And when all attempts to get that elusive ‘respect’ failed, he got guns. If he was feared, then he would be respected. Every time he was frustrated or things didn’t go his way, he took it out on the firing range. Sounds familiar?
As a man, you have to take the time to look into the metaphoric mirror. Sometimes you’ll be exposed to the greatness of man, grow proud of what you are, and we all get to give each other hi-fives and go grab a beer around the manly campfire. Other times you won’t like what you see, realizing just how broken some things are and how much work you have to put into fixing them.
Or you could just rationalize the faults and find excuses for them, blame everyone else, rant about them online, and we all get to give each other virtual hi-fives and go troll the feminist hashtags to celebrate.
This #NotallMen mentality has become the counter culture of becoming a better man and yet Men’s Rights Movements refuse to see the damage it is causing. These men will blame feminism, women, and society in general for the failings and sufferings of all men. These men are connected by a brotherhood forged in suffering and a common hatred to anyone not agreeing with them. And let’s not kid ourselves, it is hate speech. They have no problem with grouping women into one group and expecting accountability from each of them.
Yet that mentality ends when you call them out to hold each other accountable for the actions of their brothers. At that moment they become an individual, removing any responsibility as they are not even responsible for their own actions. Again, sounds familiar?
We see men blaming anyone who is not a man (aka women) for the problems men face. I am in no way saying that men don’t have problems. We do have problems within society, of equality, and gender specific. Ironically, our greatest allies in this fight are the modern feminists, who understand full well how promoting gender equality is exactly that, gender equality. We see women policing each other’s comments and promoting men’s issues. Most of the activists I have met within the “Better Men Movements” actively fighting for men’s rights, are actually women!
Yet if we are more than willing to expect them to police themselves, we have to do the same. If we expect women and society to recognize where they have wronged us, we have to be willing to look into that same mirror and see what we DO wrong, what we have to change. Instead we prefer to act like little boys hiding behind their mothers’ skirts after having done something wrong, in this case that skirt is blaming feminism, women, and society in general.
“If you think you’re man enough to do something; be man enough to deal with the consequences.” I can still hear those words echoing in my head. That was the most important lessons my mother taught me about being an adult. This was usually brought up every time I did something stupid as a boy, yet wasn’t willing to accept the punishment that came with it. It meant owning up to my mistakes; to others and, more importantly, to myself. It means I have to work hard for whatever I want in life, and understanding that life is not fair. It’s a simple concept, yet one that is rarely used. Guys are too busy denying their mistakes, justifying their actions, or blaming someone else.
As long as we keep playing “devil’s advocate” instead of calling out injustice, we keep feeding the monster. As long as we replace self-confidence with being feared, we keep feeding the monster. As long as we equate power and respect with controlling others, we feed the monster. And as long as we don’t realize just how much these self-centered petty men hurt our cause as men, we feed the monster.
And we will have another ‘Elliot Rodger’ to disown.