Leftist Clementine Ford knows exactly where to lay blame for the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School murders: privileged, hyper-masculinised white males.
Why, in the face of such a horrifying event, is it accurate to say that boys are broken? After all, boys are also victimised by gun violence. Parents lose their sons, children lose their fathers, people lose their male partners – boys and men do not escape the violence that guns reap.
The loss of their lives is no less a tragedy just because it is other men who are more likely to be responsible for the taking of them. It isn’t a feminist conspiracy to state this. It’s simply statistically true to say that boys and men – and in particular, white boys and men – make up the vast majority of perpetrators of gun violence and mass shootings.
So what is it about white men in particular that makes them more likely than any other group to perpetrate a gun massacre?
But contrary to popular opinion (driven as it is by the perpetual desire to exceptionalise the violent behaviour of white men and find excuses for it), mental illness is not the leading cause of this violence.
Between 2009 and 2015, just over half of all mass shootings in America included a spouse, former spouse or other family member among the victims. During that same period, it was found 16 per cent of all shooters had been previously charged with domestic violence. More so than mental illness, it seems that being a white man with a history of violence towards women and children (and the resulting sense of entitlement and domination) is more likely to turn you into a mass shooter.
So what is it about white men in particular that makes them more likely than any other group to perpetrate a gun massacre? As forensic psychologist Dr. J. Reid Meloy said in 2015, “What’s become clear over the past 30 years of research is that there’s virtually always a personal grievance that will start a person on a pathway to mass murder.”
The “personal grievance” seemingly held by the kinds of white men who decide to release their anger by killing people (or who cheer this behaviour on the sidelines, and respond to it by telling women to be nicer to men, to date them, to “give them a chance”, to sleep with them, to validate them. And who in turn characterise anything that involves women rejecting this manipulation as being “cancer”) almost always seems to be rooted in the perpetrator’s inability to measure up to what he recognises as powerful, respected masculinity.
And a vast generalisation:
Conservatives argue that boys are being somehow denied their “rightful” position as leaders in a world that becomes increasingly emasculated by feminism and social justice. But the real problem is there are people still steadfastly conditioning boys to believe that their masculinity alone is worthy of certain kinds of rewards. It seems for some of them, nothing restores the perceived loss of power like the feeling of a gun in their hand.
Rather than make vague accusations, Ford should name those who “steadfastly” condition “boys to believe that their masculinity alone is worthy of certain kinds of rewards.”
The shooting in Florida marked the year’s 41st mass shooting, equating to roughly six a week since the start of the year. Since then, there have been three more.
Yet the Mother Jones mass shooting database lists not 41 but two mass shootings so far in 2018.