Mental Illness as an Excuse?

by rocky013 on March 21, 2016 - 12:01am

Soraya Chemaly writes in her blog “Mass Killings in the US: Masculinity, Masculinity, Masculinity” about the disturbing details and facts about the recent mass shootings which are occurring in the United States. In the US, mass shootings that occur in schools definitively do not go unnoticed. It is reported that 10% of mass shootings occur in schools and by October of 2015, 45 school-based shootings had already taken place. Also, Melissa Jeltsen wrote, “The untold story about mass shootings in America is one of domestic violence.” Indeed, 70% of mass shootings occur in homes and are not really reported as much to the public because they are considered private matters.

It is quite worrying to see the amount of comments that were made online to praise the Oregon shooter for being part of a sort of “Beta Rebellion.” A beta is described in the blog as someone who is weak, is not as good-looking as the “Alpha-male,” and is not confident enough to approach girls. This description of a beta is very similar in Arthur Chu’s blog “Your Princess is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds,” in which he makes reference to the “male nerds” and how their issues with “getting girls” can cause them to react in extreme violence like a mass shooting. These shootings can be done in anger towards women for rejecting them previously for better-looking and more confident men, also described as “alpha males.” Many of these "beta" males or "male nerds" seem to believe that life can be treated like a video game and that everything will turn out perfect and go exactly as planned. Sadly, when these men find out that everything isn't perfect and even if they have good jobs and consider themselves gentlemen, not all women will fall for them and this can cause them to react violently.

Soraya Chemaly makes a great point in her blog that mental illness and gun laws are not entirely what is causing all these mass shootings but instead, as the sociologist Michael Kimmel said after the Sandy Hook shooting, "it is mental illness speaking with a voice that has a race and a gender." These comments were made in order to explain the "excuse" that media uses every time a young white man commits a mass shooting; in most cases the murderer is said to be mentally ill and not conscious of what he was doing. Following this, many argue over the gun laws in the US and if these young men should even be allowed to own these types of firearms. The point that people are missing is that society needs to change and young men should no longer turn to violence in order to take out their rage express their "manliness". When women are having problems, they get emotional but on the other side, if men are having issues it is very difficult for them to show emotion and this can slowly build up and become anger. These men surely consider their actions "manly" and as Michael Kimmel says, "White men... have a somewhat more grandiose purpose: they want to destroy the entire world in some cataclysmic, video-game, and action movie-inspired apocalypse. If I’m going to die, then so is everybody else, they seem to say..." Too many men learn from a young age that in order to truly become a man, one must use violence and must have control over women and this is exactly what needs to change in order for us to avoid other destructive mass shootings.  


Work Cited

Chu, Arthur. "Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds."The Daily Beast. May 27, 2014. Web. March 18, 2016.

Chemaly, Soraya. "Mass Killings in the US: Masculinity, Masculinity, Masculinity."Huffington Post. May 10, 2015. Web. March 18, 2016.


Great article rocky013! I really enjoyed how you explained how men psyche and how we should approach obstacles and issues with an opened mind instead of keeping to yourself. Personally, it's reflective of my life. Usually, when I’m faced with an issue, I keep it to myself. I believe that all men should approach things more emotionally.

What I believe that should have been touched upon during this article is the whole ordeal of the “man box”. As you said most of these mass killings are committed at school. Usually, school is the place where there is the blatant social hierarchy, where it's mostly the “cool kids” and whoever doesn’t conform to be “cool,” they are picked on. Being called a “faggot” or a “pussy” whenever they are doing something different. By saying these things, they are threatening their man box. These kids are also brought up to “be a man” or to “stop crying” so whenever they are faced with a problem they keep it to themselves. So when these kids can’t take it anymore they go out and “explode” and commit mass killings. This is a build up of emotional stress and a combination of things threatening their “man box”