Friday, August 14, 2009

Why Men Go For Guns, or the George Sodini Massacre...heard of it?

Probably, because I've heard of it, and I'm generally the last to know about current events now that I'm in med school (and never watch TV). I learned about the attack, which happened a few weeks ago now, via Dan Savage's current "Savage Love" column. Go read it. So what exactly happened?

Dude had been rejected by lots of women. Worked out at a fitness club in Pittsburgh and thus was in a position to see a lot of fit, 'objectively attractive' (if such a thing can be said to exist, and it can't) women, in tight workout clothes, panting and sweating and...well, deal is, a fair number of people have said (without realizing exactly how much like the Taliban they sound) that the poor guy just couldn't help himself. To be sexually rejected and at the same time surrounded by those sweating, gyrating, nubile gym tarts...seriously, isn't a woman in bike shorts and a sports bra just asking to get shot in the face? (HEAVY, HEAVY SARCASM ALERT). Oh, they say they're just trying to get to their target heart rates, but I think we all know they're just wanton temptresses in Spandex (not that the occasional woman in my yoga class hasn't gotten my heart pounding a little faster than the asanas alone, but damn...). Sodini hadn't had sex in almost twenty years (he put this on his website, in an angry, neanderthal 'journal' that detailed his plans). Maybe because people intuited what a creepy-ass person he was. So he walks into the fitness club, into an aerobics class, and kills three women and injures nine others. That'll teach 'em. Then he kills himself, which is sad but probably just as well.

All these shootings...the Virginia Tech, Columbine, Paducah, the Amish school shooting in 2006 (where, again, the shooter specifically targeted females, though in this case they were little girls--all prepubescent--and the shooter additionally brought restraint devices and lubricant with him, which he seems not to have used before finally killing himself)...people talk about the epidemic of 'school shootings' or 'senseless violence' and what never gets said is that THE. SHOOTERS. ARE. MALE. Granted, they are all also quite mentally ill, but you'd think in a country that claims to want to know "the reason for this violence," someone would have looked for a pattern and found the smoking guns, so to speak, that are testosterone and societal imprinting. Sondini was raised, as a white male in America, to feel entitled--perhaps most especially, through the influence of sources ranging from advertising to the book "How To Date Young Women: For Men Over 35" (it was found on a table at his house), to the woman and sex of his dreams--and he didn't get it. In a society where greiving, or 'settling,' or acknowledging the primary fucked-upedness of the paradigm is impossible, the response most readily available for men is rage, and unchecked/unsublimated rage leads to aggression, as any armchair psychologist (me, for example) can tell you. So Sodini, while obviously a bastard, is also a symptom of a sickness that preys on the Western male, and finds its most heinous and vicious expression in attacks like these on the unsuspecting and powerless (see also wife-beating and child abuse, but those unfortunately don't make headlines).

This isn't to say that women don't rage, but for most, conditioning (and the fundamental LACK of entitlement that most women are inculcated with--yes, I ended with a preposition, deal with it) leads them to direct rage and aggression inwards rather than out. So while school shootings and such aren't so much female territory (which again isn't to say that they couldn't be), self-mutilation, depression, self hatred--particularly directed at the body--and eating disorders are how the ladies act things out.

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