Malcolm Gladwell, Lord Thinkpiece of Thynkpease Manor, has written the thinkiest of all the thinkpieces about mass shootings committed by young men:
But what if the way to explain the school-shooting epidemic is to go back and use the Granovetterian model—to think of it as a slow-motion, ever-evolving riot, in which each new participant's action makes sense in reaction to and in combination with those who came before?What if?! Well, I can tell you one answer to that question: If that model is indeed the way to explain the school-shooting epidemic, it necessitates viewing these shootings as among the "situations in which people did things for social reasons that went against everything they believed as individuals," which in turn requires, like so many thinkpieces before it, ignoring that most of these shooters have very strong beliefs that women are a sex class who owe men sex on demand.
I have read piece after piece after piece written by men searching for explanations and advancing theories and proposing solutions, all of them flatly refusing to even mention that the allegedly elusive thread between most of these shootings is toxic masculinity. Which is not elusive at all. Because the shooters themselves reveal this motive. And then other men refuse to listen.
And why is it that so many men refuse to listen to shooter after shooter say, in manifestos or interviews with police or evidence left behind in online footprints, that they are fueled by a vengeful rage against women who do not conform to their will? Is it because these men share, to some degree, these rageful men's entitlement to women's bodies, and thus cannot imagine that it's cause to start shooting? Is it because they think, "Yeah, well, every young guy feels that rage of unfulfilled entitlement to women," recalling their own feelings of entitlement and dismissing out of hand that it could be the reason another man picks up a gun and opens fire?
How else can they be so indifferent to this manifestly obvious, to this admitted, rationale that it does not register to them? That it merits nary a mention in their thinkpieces?
Is this why the shooters become, in their musings, "boys" rather than men? Misguided youth who just need some love? Is this why men who write thinkpieces so unfailingly relate to and sympathize with shooters, in a way women rarely do?
Gladwell's piece concludes thus:
In the day of Eric Harris, we could try to console ourselves with the thought that there was nothing we could do, that no law or intervention or restrictions on guns could make a difference in the face of someone so evil. But the riot has now engulfed the boys who were once content to play with chemistry sets in the basement. The problem is not that there is an endless supply of deeply disturbed young men who are willing to contemplate horrific acts. It's worse. It's that young men no longer need to be deeply disturbed to contemplate horrific acts.The riot has engulfed "the boys" who are no longer deeply disturbed.
What a privilege to be able to view men who murder because they are not getting what they feel they are entitled as regular old dudes caught up in a slow-moving frenzy. What a terrifying thought for me, and I'm guessing not a few other women, that a murderous hatred of women doesn't seem disturbed to the thinkpiece writing men.