Sunday, May 20, 2018

Spurned Advances Provoked Texas School Shooting? My Take.

Spurned advances provoked Texas school shooting, victim's mother says

That's the recent Reuter's headline on the Santa Fe butchery.  The story itself has more:

Sadie Rodriguez, the mother of Shana Fisher, 16, told the newspaper that her daughter rejected four months of aggressive advances from accused shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, at the Santa Fe high school.
Fisher finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, the newspaper quoted her mother as writing in a private message to the Times.

“A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn’t like,” she said. “Shana being the first one.”
Rodriguez could not independently be reached for comment.
If true, it would be the second school shooting in recent months driven by such rejection.
In March, a 17-year-old Maryland high school student used his father’s gun to shoot and kill a female student with whom he had been in a recently ended relationship.

The bolds are mine.  And so is the ice-cold rage such careless writing provokes in me.  In fact, it drives me into writing this response:

Sure, the victim's mother might have said that it was her daughter's decision to "spurn" those aggressive advances that provoked the butcher.  But mass murder is not one of the many possible normal reactions to romantic rejection, and journalists writing should make that fact very clear.  Perhaps they could have phrased it differently?  Say, "inside the warped mind of the butcher, this rejection was interpreted as adequate cause for slaughtering ten people."*

My anger is partly because of the timing of this most recent massacre, so soon after the Canadian mass murder of many by an incel.  The debate which then ensued proposed, among other things, a redistribution of sex or enforced monogamy.** 

Neither of those could be achieved without taking agency away from women (in the first proposal) or from all people (in the second proposal).  And both proposals implicitly assume that the butchers carrying out mass murders are somehow representative of a large group of fairly sane young men not getting enough sex, that any young man might suddenly (and perhaps understandably) decide to decimate most everyone around them if they don't get the exact partners they believe they are entitled to.

Such proposals interpret extreme violence as a not-unexpected response to romantic or sexual rejection.  And that is truly disgusting.  So is the idea, clearly associated with both of those proposals, that to avoid extreme violence some women would have to be forced to have sex with very unbalanced and violent men, possibly at the cost of their own lives.

Given all this, I enjoyed this tweet, whether it's based on actual data or not:

I have written about the feelings of sexual entitlement before, in the context of the online incel movement, where involuntarily celibate men are furious that they are celibate, but even more furious that they are not getting the partners they regard themselves entitled to:  Only the most beautiful women, the women that Trump would rank ten out of ten would sate their endless wrath.

But now I wonder if this feeling of entitlement is something that is growing over time, perhaps because of those incel sites where it's interpreted as fair and just, but also perhaps because of the influence of online pornography.

In porn no woman ever says no (unless it's rape porn), and all the women shown are very sexually desirable. Young boys do not have mature enough brains to truly understand that what they watch is acting, that the actors are paid and that the plot is not intended to have much to do with real relationships and sex***.

It's not impossible that porn creates unrealistic expectations in teenage boys when it comes to sex and relationships, because women in porn do as they are told and are always willing (except in rape porn).   And neither is it impossible that in some young men and boys porn consumption increases those feelings of sexual entitlement and also the resulting rage when their needs are not automatically met.

*  As an aside, compare the above treatment with an earlier article about a girl who stabbed a boy with scissors in the leg after he lifted her dress up in the classroom.   That article clarifies that the boy didn't really mean it:
He said he was only playing and never exposed the victim, the police report said.
See how differently the idea of "provoking" someone can be stated?

**  See this post on the sex inequality proposal.  The enforced monogamy is (I bet you guessed) one of the great ideas of the conservative philosopher Jordan Peterson.   Note that both of these proposals really are about dividing women's bodies more equally.

***  I was surprised to learn this.  See this article for more.

Added later:  The Incel Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.