Yet another young white male goes on a mass shooting rampage. All of these perps are young, white and male. All of them seem more than a little off, they exhibit violent fantasies, terrible attitudes towards women and other people. The loner thing is a red herring. The pandemic has made loners out of all of us. Making friends in a post-internet world, let alone one that shut down is no easy task. So how do we identify these men before they blow and destroy lives, causing immense loss and suffering? If we are not going to be allowed to get rid of the guns, how do we protect ourselves from these men?
It is a problem of extreme privilege combined with a lack of success. These white men are taught by society that they are owed everything in life, after all they won that golden ticket of being white and a man. They are owed women having sex with them, they are owed relationships, friendships, acceptance, money and success. When these weedy little losers realize in their early twenties and late teens that despite the promise of their privilege that they have had whispered in their ears since the day they were born, that they somehow managed to fuck it up, to be inferior, to be a loser. That voice must ring in their heads “But this is not how it is meant to be for me!” And then, presumably, they start to get angry: Angry at themselves, angry at a world that is not giving up the goods, angry at those who have what they want. The anger grows, boils in their white male bodies, and then it cannot be contained any longer. They explode.
These shootings are a white supremacy problem, they are a patriarchy problem, and if we cannot fix the gun problem, we have to fix those issues in order to defuse these dangerous men.
I don’t believe we can fix the gun problem. Guns are too entrenched in society here, in my opinion, for it to be realistic to get rid of them all, there would also be a huge fight-back against the Government trying to ‘take their guns away’, and whilst it is my opinion that doing so is the right and logical thing to do, the reality would potentially spark more trouble than it would solve. It terrifies me that America could be pitched into a conflict with itself over this issue. Perhaps it would be possible to ban semi and fully auto weapons, but locating and destroying these seems like a Sisyphean task.
Even stepping into this topic feels like walking into no man’s land, but there is a question I want people to ask themselves, and it is somewhat disingenuous of me to ask it because I know the answer, and I suspect everyone else does too, even if some people will refuse to give the absolutely honest answer that is immediately obvious:
Why did the cops fire 90 bullets at a 23 year old Layland Walker, hitting him 60 times, when he clearly had nothing in his hand, and manage to take the 22 year old Highland Park murderer (I refuse to give him publicity by using his name) alive? Both male. Both in their early twenties. The Highland Park murderer had just killed at least 6 and injured over 20, firing at children as well as adults. All the cops had on Jayland was the uncertain suspicion that he may have fired a bullet out of his car window but I see absolutely no evidence of that. The light from his window could have been anything. A gun and shell casing were conveniently found on Jayland’s passenger seat, and not on him when he rightly fled in fear of his life. After all Jayland was not wrong that the police were a danger to him. Jayland was right in his assessment and fleeing was a normal reaction of a person in fear. So why is unarmed and black Jayland dead, and the white armed Highland Park shooter taken alive? You all know why. The Highland Park shooter was taken alive because he is white, and Jayland is not alive because he was not. This is the root cause of all this tragedy. White privilege. After all, Jayland was a young man, and being male was not enough to save him. These are the conversations our society needs to have if we are to identify and prevent these mass murders.
The Highland Park Shooter’s white privilege saved his mass murdering pale self. He is sitting safely in a jail cell. He will talk to his mother and father again. He will eat meals and find moments of happiness, none of which he deserves. All the little Highland-Park-Shooters-To-Be, all those inadequate white males who feel like the world owes them sex and success and that they have been cheated out of their birthright, watch him get the twisted publicity and all the TV specials and the attention they crave. They see that he finally is a man who is being talked about and has shot his way to some kind of notoriety and murderous success, going from nobody internet ‘rapper’ with bad facial tats (probably) falsely advertising that he had killed 4 people by the tally on his forehead to one of the dark and evil pantheon of mass murderers.
Since the Highland Park Shooter could not have conventional success because of his status as a weedy little loser with no social skills and had nothing he was good at except hatred and feeling entitled, no brain power, no future and definitely no woman ever looking his way, this, their diseased tiny brains reason, was the best that he could do, and man, do they want some of that. This is the problem we are facing: disenfranchised young white, straight men, with all the privilege and entitlement in the world, who are being groomed to believe that the world owes them everything, having infantile and lethal temper tantrums when they realize in early adulthood that despite having that leg up, that boost, that privilege they are not going to have the money, success, relationships or friendships they have been taught to believe are their birthright. Male privilege causes these feelings of being owed something, when added to the white privilege and the failure it is a potent mix of a sick sense of entitlement and humiliation.
I have watched white boys reject my brown skinned son joining in with their games and friendships. His friends are all other black and brown boys, none of these young teen boys show signs of feeling as if the world owes them anything. I sometimes overhear talk amid some online game play of fear, of lack of hope but mostly it is just a group of boys talking about nothing at all. Quiet friendship. One picks up the other: “steel sharpens steel, bro!” they declare in earnest. They talk about what they want to build, not what they are owed. They talk about working out and getting fit and building muscle. They talk more than I thought possible, about food, which seems to be a main obsession. These young men are the definition of wholesome.
To be frank, they are all very sweet kids hoping to work towards a future that they hope to be allowed to enjoy. These are the conversations that folk need to have with their sons – conversations about building a life, about working for it, not about it all just falling into their laps. Make the best you that you can be, should be what young men are taught in schools. Not everyone can have the muscle of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, nor the business acumen of an Elon Musk. Not every man can be as talented as Kendrick, or as athletic as Shohei Ohtani, but as long as they are taught that they have to work for things they want, and they are not due shit in life, then perhaps we can start to fix the danger of inadequate young straight white males.
Tom McDonald, a white rapper whose entire schtick is that he is a ‘Straight White Male’ with facial tats and strange hair, who feels hard done by because he thinks that being a straight white male causes him to lack privilege, not have it, in a classic misogynistic DARVO tactic of reversing the offender and the victim, has made an entire career out of bitching about his victimhood as a straight white man. Of course, the other inadequate straight white males adore him. He is their hero. He made money, he has a following, he is offensive in the extreme, even to the point of using blackface and putting out videos where his appearance jars with his extreme right views and he says the most outrageous things. This man needs to be mocked. I am all for free speech, but we need to start dismantling this damaging narrative and pulling the poison thorn out of society.
Of course even saying this is not safe for me. Calling these privileged white men out on their privilege is a danger sport, despite my white privilege, that I try every day to own and not use. I will just sit here and wait for the backlash that I expect to come as soon as I press publish, after all, these entitled and privileged men will never give up their unfair advantages, or even admit that it exists, because it does not benefit them to do so. Society is going to have to be brave, to have these uncomfortable conversations if we want to fix anything. We need a two pronged attack against the problem – we need to try and get the politicians to deal with the guns, even if I have given up thinking that any of them can do any good at all, and we also need to deal with the root causes that make these young straight white males commit these crimes. Society is at breaking point with the stress of these shootings. White supremacy and the Patriarchy needs to deal with its monsters before their twisted privilege and ideology kills more people and ruins more lives.
Society don’t owe you shit, boys. Time to wake up and smell the coffee. If you don’t work for it, if you don’t have the talent, if you don’t have the dedication to make something of yourself, then it is not going to fall into your laps, and all the temper tantrums in the world will never make any of you anything but losers in the first degree.
A beautifully written and well-reasoned essay about a serious problem in America. Though I was born white and male, my parents had their share of problems, not least of which was my father’s alcoholism, which led to financial insecurity. I therefore had to work for everything I got, as neither of my parents, who divorced when I was 14, had any money.
I was also gay, and though I didn’t come out until the age of 20, it nevertheless set me apart from most of the straight jock types in school, and I was often taunted and teased. So I understand the kinds of emotional scars those traumas can leave on one’s psyche. After high school I blossomed and never looked back, though I’ve had my share of anger issues over the years. Thankfully, I’m virulently anti-gun.
Hello, Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It is very much appreciated. I have had my writing absolutely trashed recently and it has left me feeling terrible, so before I say anything else, I want to thank you.
I too was teased and taunted for being gay (I don’t know how much of my work you read, but I am a white lesbian with a mixed race child). It really does leave very deep wounds, especially the shame and the name calling. I am glad you made it past that anger. I will ponder on those other issues you mention and perhaps try and write something halfway intelligent on the subject. Guns are evil. I wish I had some answers.
Thank you again, your pal, ~D