xenologer: (human monsters)
I stumbled across this interesting article that focuses on students firing on their own schools, but which might be generalizable to some extent to other instances of "suicide by mass murder." It's only fifteen pages long, but it's worth a read.

There is something wrong with our culture, and while the proliferation of guns determines the expression of it, the problem with our culture needs to be addressed for itself.

Suicide by mass murder: Masculinity, aggrieved entitlement, and rampage school shootings
In this theoretical essay, we examine school shootings that culminate in the suicide of the assailant(s). We do so to elucidate how the culture of hegemonic masculinity available to young American men encourages the use of violence to avenge a perceived challenge to their masculine identity. When these attacks to one’s masculine identity affect someone to the point of suicidal ideation, committing mass murder can be an instrumental way to achieve a sense of power; and framing one’s suicide with violence and aggression may serve to make it appear a more potent act.

Date: 2012-12-16 06:13 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] elf
elf: Many Americans have all the virtues of civilized people (American virtues)
Very interesting article.

"That such decidedly disturbed young men managed to fool everyone who ever came into contact with them as they glided under the radar of every parent, teacher, administrator and guidance counsellor offers a seemingly unintentional indictment of our entire school system and mental health system..."

Yeah, funny how a white guy in a wealthy neighborhood can be *on the verge of mass murder* and not register as dangerous to the local authorities, but a black guy in Oakland is dangerous because he's moving fast away from police.

"For many men, humiliation must be avenged, or you cease to be a man. Aggrieved entitlement is a gendered emotion, a fusion of that humiliating loss of manhood and the moral obligation and entitlement to get it back. And its gender is masculine."

This, I think, needs a LOT more attention. This is another aspect of what shapes rape culture: the notion that "real men" MUST avenge any wrongs done to them. Whether they focus on the "wrongs" of high-school teasing and bullying (which can indeed be vicious) or "that bitch turned me down," the outcome is often the same: lashing out against anyone who reminds the subject of his supposed abusers.

"If young men who are surrounded by messages telling them that real men are strong, tough, and violent, and that they do not back down to threats, then using lethal violence to prove one’s masculinity is not only expected, it supports those very values."

And before anyone starts pointing fingers at video games, the article nicely mentions that this is the basic plot of every Western movie ever made. The "don't get mad, get even" trope is endemic in our culture.

"It was not because they were deviants, but rather because they were over-conformists to a particular normative construction of masculinity, a construction that defines violence as a legitimate
response to a perceived humiliation."

This, too, needs a lot of attention. These weren't "freaks acting out;" those turn to drugs or weird gaming or other solitary or geeky ventures. These were "people who were told they were freaks, trying to be normal." Normal guys HIT BACK.

"We believe that further study of rampage school shootings will need to include access to firepower, an explosive young man who is utterly marginalised, humiliated, and drenched in what he feels is righteous rage – as well as an environment that sees such treatment
of its weakest and most marginalised as justified, as ‘reasonable’."

Yeah. Although I think "access to firepower" is something of a red herring. With less access to guns, there'd be less shootings... but, I believe, more bombings. We'd get less "going down in a blaze of glory" stunts and more secret bombings. (Most of which would be discovered, and the perpetrators arrested instead of killed. Loss of life would be smaller, but so would the number who escape being caught.)

For all the babble after Columbine about anti-bullying rules, I've never seen a public school that actually had a policy of preventing bullying; most of them had a weird effect of treating people who reported bullying as potential future threat. Never seen one that worked to protect the marginalized from harassment and humiliation by the popular students. Certainly never seen one that encouraged boys to express feelings of fear and helplessness so they could get over them.

Date: 2012-12-17 01:38 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] charlycrash.livejournal.com
I think it's impossible to remove the ideal of conventional aggressive/coercive/violent masculinity from the picture of spree killings. For one thing, IMS there's been sixty-odd spree killings in the US in the last couple of decades, only one of which has been committed by a woman. My view of US culture is from a distance, but it seems to be in love with masculinity - aggressive, dominant, violent masculinity - in a way that's less of a factor in other countries.

It's just.. so weird to me that people look at problems like bullying and rape and even war and don't see that vast shadow hanging over it as they're scratching their heads over what causes it. Perhaps my perspective is biased, but it seems pretty much self-evident to me that that's the cause and bringing up men not to Take No Shit From Anyone and Assert Yourself and be the big brave hero who blows away all the bad guys, but instead to be compassionate and worry about the feelings of others and value conscientiousness and compromise is one of the best things we could do to improve society.

April 2016

171819 20212223

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 21st, 2017 03:47 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios