Texas Shooter Had History Of Harassing Girls Who Weren't Interested In Him. Imagine That.
On Saturday, the day following the mass murder of 10 students and teachers at Santa Fe High School, the LA Times reported that one of the victims was a girl the shooter had made advances on for the last four months, and who repeatedly rejected him.
Because of course.
One of Pagourtzis' classmates who died in the attack, Shana Fisher, "had 4 months of problems from this boy," her mother, Sadie Rodriguez, wrote in a private message to the Los Angeles Times on Facebook. "He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no."
Pagourtzis continued to get more aggressive, and she finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, Rodriguez said. "A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn't like," she wrote. "Shana being the first one." Rodriguez didn't say how she knew her daughter was the first victim.
I can't tell you how goddamned tired I am of writing this goddamned article.
As much as the gun humpers grasp at straws, trying to say that these shootings are the result of video games or gun-free zones, or not making underpaid teachers carry guns on them, or not having prayer in schools, or Ritalin, or, uh, doors -- there are two things that we know for sure predicate them. Access to guns and abusive, misogynistic or erotomaniacal issues with women.
This kid didn't go on a shooting spree because this girl rejected him. He was not heartbroken. He was the kind of person who would repeatedly make advances on a girl who was not interested in him, and that is a fucked up thing to do. Also a fucked up thing to do? Go on a shooting spree. Rather than being a cause or an inciting incident, this was an indicator.
The Golden State Killer did not go on a murder spree because a woman broke up with him. Alek Minassian and Dimitrios Pagourtzis did not kill people because women rejected them. Son of Sam would not have been prevented from murdering people had his neighbor simply not owned a dog. Things were wrong with these men to begin with.
Although it's flawed and there is significant debate as to its accuracy, the MacDonald triad links certain childhood behaviors to becoming homicidal later in life: cruelty to animals, bedwetting and fire starting. These aren't causes of homicidal behavior, they are indications. If you take pleasure in hurting an animal, you might just take pleasure in hurting a human being. If you keep "making advances" on a woman who has rejected you, for four months, you might have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to giving a shit about what anyone other than you wants. You might not see anyone but yourself as fully human.
No one would suggest that giving budding serial killers more animals to mutilate would make them less likely to kill people. But, unlike cruelty to animals or starting fires, demanding one's "rightful" affection from women regardless of what they want is a tendency our culture nurtures and normalizes. Women are things to be had, they are prizes at the end of the movie, they are objects to be evenly distributed among men regardless of what they want. And it's getting worse.
On Friday, the same day the shooting occurred, the New York Times published a profile of Dr. Jordan Peterson in which he explained that the way to keep these men from killing women was to push "enforced monogamy." For women to be more evenly distributed among men like Alek Minassian (and Dimitrios Pagourtzis) so that their homicidal tendencies might be curbed. The most particularly insidious thing about this is that it at no point took into account what women want. It did not occur or matter to him that maybe the same tendency that drove Minassian to murder is likely the same tendency that made him off-putting to women. By encouraging men to see women only as things to be had, as a means of reproduction to be seized by the sex-starved manletariat class, men like Peterson are encouraging men to see us as less than human, and when you see other people as less than human it is a hell of a lot easier to kill them.
Gun control is important -- and it's the most important factor here because if this kid didn't have access to his Daddy's guns (and Daddy should go to jail for that, by the way), he never would have been able to go on this shooting spree in the first place. But schools and parents need to be more aware of the fact that entitlement to women's attention and affection isn't cute at best and obnoxious at worst -- it's indicative of extreme narcissism and an inability to empathize with others. And those are things that make people dangerous.
It's possible and even likely that these men, these boys, would become killers regardless of whether or not they were rejected by women. But we certainly do not have to nurture the idea that they are entitled to not being rejected in the first place.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse