As many of you know, there was a shooting at UCSB last Friday night. The killer stabbed his three roommates to death and then went on a rampage killing three more people. Their names were George Chen, Cheng Yuan Hong, Weihan Wang, Veronika Weiss, Katherine Breanne Cooper, and Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez. Thirteen additional people were injured; eight by gunfire and four from being struck by the killer’s vehicle.
He was a college student at a party school who wasn’t getting laid and he turned to men’s rights activists and pick-up artists to air out his frustrations. Now let’s be real for a second: I’m sure lots of us have experienced a time when we weren’t as awesomely successful in love as we would like to be — it’s a natural human experience. The problem, however, with MRAs and PUAs is that they turn this natural human experience into something that cruel women are purposely withholding from men to everyone’s detriment. While any beginning statistics student will tell you that correlation (mass murder and involvement with MRAs) does not imply causation (the MRAs made him do it), the link is disturbing. The killer explained his motivations in a chilling YouTube video, [Name]’s Retribution, in addition to a 137-page manifesto. In his style, rationale, and vocabulary he directly referenced the arguments espoused by Men’s Rights groups. This includes phrases like “true alpha male,” “If I can’t have you [hot sorority women], I’ll destroy you,” “I deserve it [sex with hot women] more than them [men for whom he perceived these women rejecting him],” and claiming to be “the supreme gentleman.”
In case you can’t see what the problems with this are, let me spell them out for you:
- Destruction is not the answer to a woman not wanting to be with you. Ever.
- No one deserves sex. Sex is not a thing you get magically entitled to because you are a man or because of some arbitrary qualities you possess.
- Claiming to be the supreme gentleman and then committing mass murder essentially takes Nice Guy™ to its most horrifying, extreme conclusion.
The responses from the PUA community don’t help their case one bit. Devoted DDPerson and badass YouTuber, Paul Roth, has an amazing response video that articulates lots of my feelings about the attacks way better than I can. It’s super worth watching the nine-minute video. Go ahead, I’ll wait:
Need more spelling out? OllieGarkey over at Daily Kos goes much more in depth into the incident’s connection with MRAs and PUAs, including rebuttals to common excuses brought up by the internet at large.
What’s equally confounding to me is that if the killer were a Muslim student rather than a white American, this wouldn’t be up for debate — headlines across the country would blare “TERRORIST GOES ON RAMPAGE AGAINST WOMEN” and news anchors would tut-tut over how cruel and backward all Muslims are about women. Need a basis for comparison? A pregnant woman was stoned to death by her family in front of a Pakistani courthouse yesterday because she married a man against their wishes. Instead of talking about how “insane” and dysfunctional their family must be, news coverage discusses how this is a common pattern among conservative Pakistanis when a woman goes against her family’s wishes. Let me be clear: honor killings are an unspeakably awful form of violence against women. But where is the moral outrage at the 3+ women murdered every single day by their husbands or boyfriends in the US? Why aren’t we getting riled up over what was clearly an attack motivated by misogynist extremism?
When the perpetrator is a young, white man, the story completely changes. What a deranged lunatic, they say. How could an individual do something like this? they question. Why was no one there to help him? Why couldn’t we stop him? We can’t admit there’s a poisonous ideology at play because the killer is an archetype we know so well: lonely, isolated loser-nerd who has no luck with the ladies. We know people like him. We can empathize with him. Admitting he subscribed to such virulent misogyny means we have to admit there’s a problem. We have to admit that #yesallwomen experience misogyny, ranging from casual sexism to legislative attacks, to outright violence and murder. We have to admit that women face violence whether they refuse sex or whether they choose to freely engage in sex, as Dr. Jill McDevitt so eloquently demonstrates.
The only way we can hope to end violence against women is if we start admitting when some thing is violence against women. Otherwise, we’re forced to stare blankly at one another while we live out headlines from the Onion claiming there’s “no way to prevent this,” (says the only nation where this regularly happens).
 I will not mention the killer’s name at any point in this post. I do not intend to give more notoriety to people like him. As an additional content note, several of the posts I link to do, in fact, mention him by name and link to his various posts and writings.