Ms. Magazine published an article by Donna Decker on how we should not be surprised that a white (in truth, half white) male went on a killing spree in Santa Barbara. Ms. Decker feels that this story will repeat itself if we do not talk about violent men and what makes them that way.
I won’t argue the fact that men make up the majority of perpetrators of violent crime. However, it is deceitful to act as if it is women who are the majority of their victims, nor were they a majority of the Santa Barbara murders. It is further disingenuous to discount the overwhelming number of young men who are murdered simply because they were murdered by members of their own gender, instead of the opposite gender, though this is the argument put forth regularly by feminists.
The claims Ms. Decker makes about femicide (the murder of women because they are women, though it has also been broadly defined as any murder of a woman) paint a dire picture indeed:
“In the U.S., femicide is the second leading cause of death for women 20-24, and the leading cause of death for African American women ages 15-24.”
Death by Homicide
In fact, this is not actually the case. There are no specific stats kept on acts of “femicide”, but homicide (which would include femicides, as it includes all murders regardless of whether the victim’s gender was the perpetrator’s motive or not) is actually the 4th leading cause of death for all women, aged 20-24, in the United States, accounting for 360 murders in 2010 (accidental death is first, with 1,920 deaths). The leading cause of death for black women aged 15-24 was also not homicide either, it was the same as for all women; accidental death. Homicide was the second leading cause of death for black women aged 15-24 with 268 deaths.
The causes for male deaths in the same age brackets are similarly ranked. The leading cause is accidental death for men 15-24, while the second cause of death is homicide. However, for black men aged 15-24, murder is the #1 cause of death. For that matter, in the U.S., murder is the #1 cause of death for black men aged 15-34! Surely, thanks to their male privilege, even though it is their #1 cause of death, black men’s overall numbers must be lower than the 268 black women who were murdered in 2010.
Shockingly, black men’s male privilege doesn’t seem to have protected them to any further degree than black women with their lack of privilege. In 2010, 991 black men aged 15-19 were murdered, 1,557 aged 20-24, and if we add in the 25-34 bracket, in which 2,132 black men were murdered, that brings the total to 4,680 black men murdered between the ages of 15-34, compared to black women’s death toll of 537 for the same age range. That is almost 9 times the number of males who died compared to those black women who lacked their male “privilege”. As a matter of fact, the number of women who died by murder in 2010, of all races, from age 1-44 (the only age ranges where homicide was one of the top 10 causes of death for women), was 4,278. That’s still over 400 less murders than black males aged 15-34 alone.
That must be because they are black, and thus lack privilege though, as it is only white males who are privileged. Of course, if that is the case, is there really such a thing as male privilege if it only applies to males of one colour? I mentioned above that homicide actually ranked as the 4th highest cause of death for all women aged 20-24, with a count of 360. Let’s see how it stacks up with the white privileged women compared to the doubly privileged white males.
In 2010, white women, despite their white privilege, were murdered in numbers reasonably comparable to their black sisters. There were 120 white females aged 15-19 who died by homicide (ranked 4th), 205 for ages 20-24 (4th), 385 for 25-34 (3rd), and 383 for women aged 33-44 (8th). That is a total of 1,093 white women aged 15-44 who were murdered in 2010; the total for black women aged 15-44 was 714. Ms. Decker feels that these numbers are why women are so frightened of men, and that we need to have a deeper conversation about men’s violence because of the harm it is doing to women.
One would assume that carrying the dual-privilege card of white and male (which usually comes along with heterosexual cis-gendered privilege), that the number of murders of this demographic should be the lowest of all. However, In 2010, there were 547 homicides of white men aged 15-19 (3rd most common cause of death), 852 for ages 20-24 (3rd), 1,335 for ages 25-34 (5th), and 893 for white men aged 35-44 (6th). This is a total of 3,627 white male homicides in 2010 for the age range of 15-44.
A quick recap of homicides in the U.S. in 2010 (age range 15-44 years old):
- All men = 9,519 (page 20)
- Black men = 5,591 (page 34)
- White men = 3,627 (page 27)
- All women = 1,890 (page 22)
- White women = 1,093 (page 29)
- Black women = 714 (page 37)
(Click to enlarge)
I agree with Donna Decker when she says “let the talking begin”, but I don’t agree with what she thinks we should be talking about, or who should be doing the talking. Before we get into that, there are some other stats I’d like to delve into from the same report.
The six victims in the Santa Barbara killings, whom Ms. Decker seems to have lost sight of. From the top left: Christopher Michaels-Martinez, Veronika Weiss, Katie Cooper, Cheng-Yuan Hong, George Chen, Weihan Wang.
Death by Suicide
Ms. Decker lists off some instances where men have gone on killing sprees and targeted women specifically. Although her article was in relation to the recent Santa Barbara murders, I do not think Elliot Rodger belongs on this list. While Elliot Rodger expressed a particular hatred towards women, he had a great loathing for all of humanity. While he expressed a deeply misogynistic hatred for women, his 141 page manifesto and YouTube videos exhibit contempt for all males as well, whom he saw as beneath him. Of the people he murdered, 4 were men, 2 were women. Though his intended main target was a sorority house, he did not feel that men deserved to live either. He could not understand why women did not want him, but would date these douchebags who were beneath him.
What Elliot did have in common with three of the four cases that Ms. Decker highlighted (Marc Lepine, George Sodini, and Charles Roberts), was that his murderous rampage ended with his own suicide. I feel that many of these sprees are a grandiose suicide attempt. The ultimate intent of these sprees is an attempt to exit this world in such a way that will either punish those who the killers feel have wronged them, such as the maliciously misguided and misogynistic murder sprees of women detailed here; to gain perpetual infamy through a killing spree of random people and then committing suicide; or either of the above in the hopes that the end result will be suicide-by-cop for their criminal actions.
Many of these sprees are more about a disdain for all human life and an attempt to make a big impact in order to leave a mark on society before they complete their suicide. However, many m
en who choose to take their own life, to quote T.S. Eliot, go out “not with a bang, but a whimper”. Yes, misogyny is something that should be tackled and addressed, but we need to also discuss the concept of misandry, the hatred of men, particularly this internalized misandry which leaves men feeling unworthy of their own lives, let alone the lives of their fellow men. Far more men die by suicide than people die by the mass murderers on killing sprees which Ms. Decker highlights. Since we already took a comparison look at the homicide rates of men and women, let’s look at suicide rates, broken down by race and gender, which is also a conversation we are currently not having.
For starters, in 2010, those with the least societal privilege (according to feminist standards of privilege), black women, accounted for 240 deaths by suicide between the ages of 15-44. Blacks who had the privilege of being male, aged 15-44, were almost five times as likely to commit suicide as black women, with 1,185 deaths by suicide. Women aged 15-44, who lacked the privilege of being male but had the privilege of being white, more than doubled the suicide rate of black men with a total of 2,972 reported suicides. Those who carried the societal privilege of being both white and male, aged 15-44, almost quadrupled the number of suicides completed by their white sisters with a staggering 11,592 deaths by suicide. In fact, the rate of suicide for those privileged to be white men was over two and a half times greater than all 3 of the other demographics combined!
A quick recap of suicides in the U.S. in 2010 (age range 15-44 years old):
- All men = 13,447 (page 20)
- White men = 11,592 (page 27)
- All women = 3,457 (page 22)
- White women = 2,972 (page 29)
- Black men = 1,185 (page 34)
- Black women = 240 (page 37)
(Click to Enlarge)
Not the Conversation You Think We Need
“It takes balls to talk about the things that frighten us. Women do it all the time, because the things that frighten them are, frankly, men. Now how about if men take a deep breath and listen for a moment to their wives and daughters and mothers and aunts and girlfriends, who are telling them that being angry is OK, but acting it out with hatred against half the population of the world is not. It is old news, pathetic and soul destroying.
Let the talking begin.”
As is the problem with many feminists, Ms. Decker feels men shouldn’t be having this conversation. She feels they should take a deep break and just listen. Ms. Decker clearly does not know how conversation works. A conversation involves an exchange of ideas, a discussion between two or more parties, not merely a unilateral doling out of advice from women to men.
Ms. Decker says it takes balls to speak of the things that frighten us, and that women do it all the time. My fear is that those of us who actually do have balls are not discussing these things. This recent killing spree in Santa Barbara involved someone who isolated himself in videogames. Elliott Rodger’s manifesto speaks of a man who had few conversations and fewer friends. A man who was mentally unstable and who felt the entire world was beneath him. He did not have hatred for half the population of the world; he had hatred for the whole world.
No, we should not take a deep breath and simply listen to the women in our lives. We should collectively take a breath and allow each other room to talk in a manner that is more than just a one-way communication. We need to teach people to have respect for everyone, not just women. Also, to ignore women’s role in raising these types of men is to do women a disservice. You are assuming that the wives, daughters, mothers and aunts that men have in their lives are incapable of also being a negative factor who contribute to the small minority of men who commit these atrocious acts. Perhaps it is the other men in their lives that can provide the needed conversation these men should be listening to; their sons, brothers, uncles, and fathers. It takes a village to raise a child, and I have yet to visit a city, town, or a village that does not have women contributing to the raising and influencing of men, or men in the raising of women.
You are right that we need a conversation, but are you willing to allow men the space to have it? The stats within this article show that men are murdered at five times the rate at which women are murdered. Men commit suicide at seven times the rate women are murdered. Men kill themselves more than they kill each other, and far more than they kill women. If anyone should fear men, it is men. It is not women we need to teach men to be gentle towards, it is men themselves.
Telling men to do nothing but listen to women is precisely the kind of conversation we do not need, nor is it a conversation at all, but it is precisely what we are being told to do. Those who keep telling us we should be listening to them when we try to have those conversations ourselves, are not nearly as polite about it as Ms. Decker.
Yes, Ms. Decker, let the talking begin, but let us all talk, as members of the same shared society.
“Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long”
-T.S. Eliott, The Hollow Men
***All stats are from the CDC
***The FBI has statistics that break down the murders by gender of the offender. Looking at their statistics change the rates in my article a bit. Men would now only be twice as likely to be murdered by men than women are (though almost 3 times as likely to be murdered by a woman as women are). This would not change the risk of men killing themselves at 7 times the rate at which women are murdered by men.