—Yesterday, a 28-year old man walked into a DC pizza parlor filled with families and children armed with an AR-15 rifle, a .38 caliber handgun, and a shotgun, and discharged his weapon, terrifying patrons and children.
He did this because he read a false news report about the pizza parlor. He believed that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex-trafficking ring in the back of the pizza place.
Read that again.
He believed Hillary Clinton was running a child sex-trafficking ring in the back of a pizza place. He came armed with an assault rifle to star as the hero in his own, fictional story. He instilled terror and trauma in real people instead.
Today, a lot of people are saying “This is what happens with the spread of misinformation and fake news! This is what happens!”
Yes. It is. This is what happens.
This is also what happens when men are raised in an environment that simultaneously demands that “real men are strong,” and this is incompatible with “real men don’t show emotions.” This is what happens when men are raised in an environment that presumes inherent superiority of masculinity over femininity. This is what happens when guns are easy to come by. This is what happens when education fails America. This is what happens when feelings are prioritized over facts. This is what happens when a young man is radicalized on the internet. (We’ve been trying to tell you this for years. This is Gamergate. This is Elliot Rodgers. This is Red Pill. A young man believing that Hillary Clinton could run a child sex-trafficking ring is not all that different from a young man believing that feminism is a global conspiracy and a hate movement designed to emasculate men. Both rely on willful belief of the patently false).
I’m far more afraid of an angry white man with a gun than I am of some distant threat of terrorism. (Incidentally, this fear, in our “post-truth” world, is based on credible fact-based evidence).
Stop the spread of fake news.
Teach men to value, respect, and listen to women. (And then make that sentence intersectional, and teach others what that means).
Make it harder to buy a gun. (Perhaps make it about as hard to buy a gun as it is to obtain birth control?)
Stop the radicalization of young men on the internet.
Hillary Clinton didn’t run a sex-trafficking ring out of a pizza place. But a lot of men in this country believed that she could have. And that’s the real problem that we’re up against, folks.