I really do not want to write this.
I really feel I need to.
Another mass shooter who was “involuntary celibate,” a pedantic way of saying that he did not have sex, but wanted to, unlike those who choose celibacy for spiritual or religious reasons or for mental, physical and emotional health. Celibacy as a choice has a lot to recommend it.
So amid the usual rhetoric from the usual chatterers about gun control, race, gender, misogyny and online misogyny, might I suggest another reason?
We are in a culture that values physical attractiveness, in other words people seeing you and wanting to have sex with you above all else. We are in a culture where the worth of a man is too often rated by his ability to have sex with multiple women, the women he chooses and the woman other heterosexual men find attractive.
As a culture, we tell many men that they are not as good as other men because women do not want them as much as they want other men. This thinking is flawed. There have been awesome men, men who found cures for diseases, invented things that made our world better and created great works of art, who were not exactly chick magnets. We have men of low character, who have contributed nothing to this world, who have women fighting over them. There is no correlation between a man’s character, talent or contribution to society and women being attracted to him, just like there is no correlation between race or ethnicity and moral goodness and just like there are good poor people and evil rich people.
The pickup artist subculture, a by-now well-known community in which self-styled “pickup gurus” make fortunes on seminars, DVDs book and I don’t know what else on the connection between self-esteem and sexual success, as much if not more than it does sex drive. In other words, heterosexual men want to feel good about themselves as much if not more than they want to have sex with women.
Men (of all races, in case you are the kind of person who needs this spelled out for you) at the low end of the socioeconomic scale pride themselves and regain a sense of self-esteem and their own masculinity via sexual conquests. Men who are good at making money and nothing else garner envy through the well-known phenomenon of trophy wives.
I will cut to the chase here. We tell many men, many young men, that they do not have value and do not have a right to self-esteem because they are not attractive to women. They see a world around them where everyone else seems to be having more sex, having more fun and having more self-esteem than this culture will allow them to have.
To state the obvious, none of this is an excuse or any kind of a justification for killing other people. To again state the obvious, most of these young men do not become mass shooters.
But some do. And I wish we as a society could reach them before they become so twisted in hate and rage.