Remain Calm, Etc: Privilege and Entitlement
Posted May 29, 2014on:
Good Thursday, Widdershins. It has been yet another humdinger of a week for better and for bitter. We may yet actually leave Afghanistan, veterans may receive better care if we ever get out of committee meetings, and yet another mass murder has occurred. A young man named Elliott Rodgers shot and stabbed thirteen people (six fatally) in a fit of rage before becoming the final casualty of the spree. This 22-year-old, rather nice-looking young man left a 140 page manifesto redolent with despair and isolation as an explanation for his actions. Essentially, he has been unable to from a close association with any women, and was furious with women in general. I have heard that there may be a psychiatric history, and/or Asperger’s Syndrome, which is now included in the Autism Spectrum Disorders category.
Elliott does not appear to have been neglected. While his parents are divorced, his mother looks to have been attempting to follow-up with him. Earlier in the month, his mother became concerned enough to ask the Santa Barbara police to check in on her son – they complied, and said that he seemed just fine to them. Rodgers was under psychiatric care (although his compliance with his medicines may have been suboptimal), and in fact emailed a copy of the now-infamous manifesto to his therapist on Friday. Said therapist alerted Elliott’s mother, who called both the police and her ex-husband, but by then it was all over.
Where do I start? Elliott Rodgers looks like an attractive young man from a prosperous family. He seems to have been receiving medical care. Non-compliance with psych meds is not unusual, as the side effects are downright nasty. He drove a fine-looking BMW on his deadly rounds. I haven’t got a clue about his home life, but having divorced parents in no longer a rarity, and at least one parent appears to have been actively engaged in his life. I’m certain that there is a lot we don’t know yet, but the situation went downhill rapidly.
Much has been written about this man’s obsession with the Men’s Rights Movement. I can’t say that I knew very much about said movement before, but I can say that what I have read is downright appalling. I will hazard a guess that this “movement” exists as a backlash to feminism, and the comments range from just plain silly to the far corners of darkness. The MRM states that males are the dominant societal group, so therefore women’s bodies exist for their pleasure. Should any women object to this line of thinking, she deserves to be maltreated until she realizes how beholden she is to men. Some of the comments on these sites whiz right by anything that might be considered a boundary. For much of our history, men have enjoyed a privileged place in society, but their status brought with it quite a few expectations. Men were to work hard, support their wives and children, keep the yard trimmed and the house painted. Any man who bailed out on his family was considered to be a pariah, non-support of a minor child was shameful. Over the years, relationships evolved into partnerships, but some of these Neanderthals failed to get the memo. Nope, they are men. Women are sniveling, lying, miserable wretches who exists for a man’s pleasure, and God help any of them who sees it differently. Supporting these wretches either in the temporal or the spiritual sense is completely unnecessary. Is this not the most toxic combination of privilege and entitlement ever?
There’s so much wrong here that I don’t even know where to begin. Feelings of isolation are common through the teen years, and it sounds as though the customary things were done to try to get help for Elliott. I’ve read a lot of questions about why the police did not do more on their initial visit, but cops are not psychiatrists. Most states have a mandatory psych hold law in place, but the person in question must be exhibiting some sort of suspicious behavior in order to qualify. God knows, if people were taken out of their homes and tossed into psych facilities because their mother was concerned, college students would be stacked up like kindling. As for checking his room for weapons, we don’t encourage the police to do surprise room checks – something about the Fourth Amendment, although if Elliott’s fondness for the Second Amendment would have been discovered sooner, we might be looking at a very different outcome. Then again, do any of us want our personal, social, or medical history to become part of the public record or the local police force rifling through our stuff? Probably not – I am annoyed that someone might be reading my emails. As for the websites are concerned, those are covered by the First Amendment. Somehow, someway we have amended ourselves into the proverbial corner. Did thirteen innocent people lose their right to life because Elliott couldn’t find a girlfriend, because his rights superseded their rights, or a deadly combination of the two? Something is horribly amiss here, and it’s too awful to contemplate.
UPDATE: This morning, I read a wonderful article by self-described nerd Arthur Chu, who mansplains things to his brethren. Bless you, Arthur, and may your tribe increase. The woman who finds you will be fortunate indeed.
This is an open thread.
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