More White, upscale young men are targeting innocent victims totally removed from their often-privileged worlds.
On July 23rd, a 59-year old man, John Russell Houser, entered a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, went on a shooting spree that claimed the lives of two women. A week earlier, July 16, a 24-year old man, Mohammod Youssef Abdulazeez, went on a 30-minute shooting spree at two military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee that left six people—including himself—dead. Later, that same day, a Colorado jury found James Holmes, a 27-year old former doctoral student, guilty of the 2012 murders of 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora. As the nation attempts to comprehend the most recent senseless tragedy, many of us are still reeling from the horrifically shocking murders of nine African-American church members in Charleston, South Carolina, by Dylann Storm Roof, a 21-year old misfit and high school dropout.
A few years earlier in 2011, Jared Loughner, a 24-year old Tucson, Arizona drifter shot former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head, killed six others and wounded 12 more. In 2013, the nation was horrified by the murder of dozens of elementary school children in Newtown, Connecticut by 20-year old social loner and recluse Adam Lanza, who took his own life. Last year, Elliot Rodgers, a 21-year old college student, went on a shooting spree in Isla Vista, California taking the lives of six others before claiming his own. As we know all too well, there have been numerous other mass shootings by young men.
One of the more galling aspects of these atrocities is that these men had a number of similar traits. The primary commonality being the fact that each of these men were diagnosed, or later were found to have been suffering from an intense level of anger, paranoia, mental illness and resentment of their environments and the larger world surrounding them. Moreover, all of these men were consumed by various disturbing vices and personal demons and were known to be loners. Roof, Loughner and Houser frequently perused and commented on radical right wing websites and rabidly consumed the vehemently acerbic and venomous propaganda touted by these racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic and often homophobic and sexist organizations. Houser had tea party affiliations. Moreover, all three were confirmed white supremacists.
Lanza was described as a socially awkward kid (as are many young people and adults for that matter). Interestingly, and admittedly baffling to many people was the fact that certain segments of the mainstream media depicted Lanza as a “nice” kid. Rodgers was the biracial (white and Asian) son of a Hollywood executive, who like Loughner, Roof and Houser, had an affinity for visiting and posting inflammatory commentary on white supremacist websites. Rodgers posted a manifesto online that reflected his feeling that his sense of entitlement and advantages—family wealth, social class, supposedly being half-white, etc.—had failed to help him succeed with women. He eventually concluded that he had been cheated by life and someone had to pay for it.
Despite initially having second thoughts about his sadistic and evil plan, Roof informed his victims that the reason he was terminating their lives was due to the “fact” that black folks were taking over everything; this ranged from black men supposedly cornering the market on white women to blacks displacing white Americans in pretty much all aspects of society. It was clear that this misguided and demented man was so consumed by his irrational mindset and delusional goal of starting a race war that he could not accept the undeniable reality that by all quality-of-life measures—economic, educational, health, personal wealth, etc.—white Americans far surpass black and all other non-white Americans in every vital category.
To be sure, there are young men of all races and ethnicities who are angry, dysfunctional, as well as a danger to themselves and the larger society around them. Mohammod Youssef Abdulazeez is one such example. That being said, it appears that a disproportionate percentage of young, male mass murderers are likely to be white. More recently, they have been white, upscale young men. In addition, these young Caucasian men tend to lash out and target others who are largely innocent or totally removed from their white, male, often-privileged worlds. They are often the victims of their own private demons and personal failures. A disproportionate percentage of these killers have adopted the mentality that a society once rigged in their favor has been hijacked by multiculturalism, political correctness, affirmative action, gays and lesbians, radical leftists, feminists and recent immigrants of color.
They view themselves as victims who are under ever-growing siege from the forces of “the other” and this fact accounts for their blatant and vile retrograde attitudes. Before executing their heinous actions, their views and feelings largely had been kept contained within the deep, dark private recesses of their anguished minds, but men such as these increasingly are expressing themselves in violent and ugly ways from posting unabashed comments on social media to, in a growing number of cases, outright violence and murder. It is truly an alarming and disturbing state of affairs.
One thing is for certain, male violence among teenage and early adult men is an ongoing and growing epidemic that we as a society must make an effort to recognize and do all in our power to address. Ignoring it could very well jeopardize the health, safety and well-being of many young men across social, racial and economic lines as well as our nation in general.
Unedited Photo: Flickr/Adriano Agulló