Brittney Cooper, in an article for Salon reprinted in AlterNet, takes a look at white male privilege behind this latest killing spree. White males expect to have certain privileges, in Rodger's case it was an expected access to pretty women, and when those privileges were denied his emotional core was devastated. This same response is what is behind the rollback in gains in women's rights and in gains by communities of color and the poor.
I’m not calling these guys [those rolling back rights] mass murderers. Of that I want to be clear. But I am saying that we cannot understand Elliot Rodger’s clear mental health issues and view of himself as the supremely forsaken victim here outside a context of racism, white supremacy and patriarchy. I’m also saying that white male privilege might be considered a mental health issue, because it allows these dudes to move through the world believing that their happiness, pleasure and well-being matters more than the death and suffering of others.Hmm, that bit about happiness and pleasure mattering over the suffering of others sounds a lot like what the 1% is doing to the rest of us. So let's have more discussions of white male privilege and its effects.
This is madness.
The other article is one Lisa Hickey wrote for The Good Men Project and Salon. She examined 70 mass murders in the last 32 years (wow!). Out of that number, one was by a woman.
Most mass shooters are in pain and they go to the place that caused that pain. Women tend not to be mass murderers (defined as more than four dead) because the source of pain and their victims are usually their children.
One source of pain for men is a threat to his financial security when something doesn't go right at work. His identity is tied to being a breadwinner. When he is fired or doesn't get the raise he takes a gun to the workplace. Hickey noted these types of shootings have gone down since 2003. Men don't take it personally when it happens to everyone.
Another source of pain is the transition from boy to man. In these cases the scene is a school and the specific trigger more vague. So how do we help men make this transition successfully? This might include helping them share feelings rather than "suck it up." Also, encourage non-conformity, encourage a wide range of friendships, and encourage helping others.
Another source of pain has to do with man as protector. The shooter is targeting the "bad guys" as in immigrants, other races, or gays. And then there is male privilege, where men believe they are entitled to women's bodies and are frustrated when denied.
A way to improve the situation in all these cases is to discuss them. We have a crisis in masculinity. We need to give men a way out.