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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Archive for the day “December 17, 2012”

Are Mass Shootings a Result of Male Resentment?

A massive projection-extravaganza has started as a result of Sandy Hook mass murder. Traumatic moments often allow people to expel what bothers them by projecting it on others. Here is a brilliant example of such a projection:

Until the 1980s, when semi-random spree murders “inexplicably” became the province of young white men, there was no need for young white men to resort to this kind of thing. Whatever happened in society, they would be the winners. These days, it’s still not the worst thing to be a white male — not by a long shot — but it’s not nearly as cushy as it used to be. Women’s rights have grown by leaps and bounds in the last 30 years. Marriage has become more advantageous to women than men since no-fault divorce and custody policy favoring women have become the norm.

The author of this text seems completely oblivious to his own anti-women resentment. He believes that women’s rights turn men into losers and make men’s lives less cushy. It doesn’t even begin to occur to him that liberation from oppressive gender norms favors both women and men and that the easy dissolution of miserable marriages is good for all of the participants, irrespective of their gender. The existence of men who work for, promote and welcome women’s rights escapes his notice.

Of course, this author realizes that hating women is not a nice sentiment. This is why he disavows it by projecting it onto other men. As usually happens in cases of projection, however, his own writing betrays him and demonstrates that the male resentment he so passionately denounces is his own.

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Was Adam Lanza Mentally Ill?

Melissa at Shakesville* verbalized something that has been bothering me about the way the Newtown shooting is being discussed:

What other discussion there has been on the topic of Doing Something has largely centered around “mental illness,” a vague term that public commentators are broadly applying to everything from depression to developmental disabilities to personality disorders to the neuroatypical spectrum. The inexactitude of the language is complemented by the pretense that access to comprehensive mental healthcare will somehow “solve” this problem, eliding key realities of some psychological disabilities.

I’m also getting fed up with seeing endless posts and articles that diagnoze Lanza in absentia with some unidentified “mental disease.” Unless you are not only a psychiatrist but Lanza’s psychiatrist who treated him in person, it is not your place to decide that he was ill. I know it’s easy to allay the anxiety produced by something as horrible as this mass shooting by convincing yourself that the criminal must have been “crazy” but this is an attitude of an ostrich that hides its head in the sand.

Only too often complex realities get dismissed and concealed from view by attaching some meaningless diagnosis to them, a diagnosis that explains absolutely nothing. More and more non-existent “disorders” crop up and the particularly brainless folks embrace them with glee.

What we know for sure about Adam Lanza is that he is a mass murderer. Tragically, murderers exist. They make a decision to kill people for whatever reason. But not every bad choice has to be a product of an illness.

* Other than this quote, the linked post is really bad. Don’t read it if you are impressionable and get traumatized by the “men are the root of all evil” mentality.

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