Sunday, May 25, 2014

Santa Barbara Massacre: Gun ownership an issue but Capitalism the cause

Seven people including the killer are dead after a mass killing in Santa Barbara, California this weekend. This one is specifically aimed at women. In the various videos and manifestos he left behind he calls the coming killings his "retribution”. He writes about his life of "loneliness, rejection and unfilled desires" specifically blaming women for not welcoming his advances. His reasoning is textbook misogynistic anti-women propaganda of the vicious right wing anti-women group, the Men’s Rights Activists.

Also in his manifesto he writes: "You girls have never been attracted to me. I will punish you all for it. I'm going to enter the hottest sorority house of USCB and I will slaughter every single spoilt, stuck up, blonde slut that I see inside there. All those girls that I have desired so much, they would've all rejected me and looked on me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them. I'll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one. The true, alpha male. Yes...After I have annihilated every single girl in the sorority house I will take to the streets of Isla Vista and slay every single person I see there. All those popular kids who live such lives of hedonistic pleasure..." 

According to his Facebook page, this killer is the son of “Hunger Games” assistant director Peter Rodger and grew up in wealthy Calabasas, California. He lived a more privileged life than many college students, driving luxury cars and flying first class. He was a member of an anti-pick up artist forum called PUA Hate, a breeding ground for angry males who have tried and failed to use pickup artist techniques to get women and have felt ripped off as a result. This disturbing thread shows other commentators discussing Rodger’s shooting spree.

In the video above that many of you have probably seen he talks of the  “brutes” they’re interested in instead of him, “the perfect gentleman.” His final video is horrific but it is worth watching as it does show a not all-together uncommon point of view held by some men who think women owe them sex, love, their bodies and their lives.

So many of these deranged young men are form the middle and upper middle class.  He is also a spoiled individual.  He is what most working class men would call a pretty boy.  It was obviously not his looks that might have kept Sorority women at bay or his money.  He attacked his own class primarily. This was “his” milieu he waged war on so there’s a class orientation to it.

And while misogyny is undoubtedly deeply ingrained in him, so is his hatred for “humanity” as he puts it. He is a product of US society.  In no other industrialized capitalist society do we experience this sort of mass murder on an almost daily basis. 

Alienation and psychological damage is the result of the ideology pushed in US society that the individual is responsible for everything that happens to him or her.  It’s all out there if you only work hard. You’re in control of your own destiny. When the reality hits, when events beyond one’s control casts one down in to the pit, then self-blame, despair, anger at others and extreme alienation follows. This all takes place in a society that tells us 24 hours a day what we should buy, own and wear. If we don’t have it all, we only have ourselves to blame. This kid had it all, but he lost his humanity, that’s what capitalism does. It is an inhumane system.

But I can guarantee that the 1%’s mass media will not make the way society is organized, the capitalist system, the issue.  Their media will now focus on the issue of gun control and the liberals, particularly the rich one’s but also well meaning people will take this argument up.  But we must not allow the inevitable discussion about gun control in general, or the obvious need for sensible restrictions to obscure the fact that the cause of this behavior is the extreme alienation of the individual in US society.  After all, those that advocate more guns and the right to carry them openly have a point; he could have been stopped early on.  But this isn’t the answer either; it doesn't deal with the cause. The violent nature of US society is also seen in its foreign policy.  Its response to the events in the Ukraine, more firepower, warships in to the Black Sea, troops in Poland, missile defense (offense) has roots in the same mentality, more weapons and bigger ones.

Most American workers, patriotic or not, would agree with one thing, in this country if you have no money you’re worthless.  You’re a failure. The flag waving when they send our youth to fight the corporation’s wars is noticeably absent when they return damaged.  You’re as likely to see a psychologically damaged veteran in jail, or homeless as in a hospital or care center.  As one veteran described it one time, after running over an Iraqi child in his Humvee as a matter of policy, he was supposed to come back to the US and head on down to the mall with the wife and kids as if nothing happened.

The liberal politicians will clamor for more gun control as well as they preside over savage attacks on worker’s living standards.  The same politicians that cry crocodile tears for the massacred as Obama did after Newtown did nothing as whole families were thrown out of their homes. The same politicians that spy on us, that have more than two million people in prison, that cut health care and aid to the poor, that refuse to allocate the massive wealth we have in society toward social needs, these same people will be calling for gun control in the interests of public safety. Yet if my memory serves me right, I think Canada has more guns per capita than the US and we see much less of what we witnessed Friday there.  But Canadian society has less alienation, it is more human friendly.  They have that communist institution a national health system there for example.

We can argue all we like about the number of guns in US society and the pros and cons of that.  The reality is that there are some 400 million of them out there. Having said that, this does not mean guns should be handed out like candy. It is completely unacceptable that people like this young man and other mentally deranged individuals can possess weapons of this nature. We have to deal with this.

Workers must rely on the organized working class to defend our right to own a gun not the NRA that is dominated by the ruling class and the gun manufacturers.  We should not welcome the same politicians that think nothing of taking away our privacy, our jobs and our livelihoods taking away our right to own a firearm. No worker should belong to the NRA any more than we should belong to the Chamber of Commerce, another organization that is against our self-interest.

We all want a peaceful existence but capitalism is not a peaceful system, it is a violent and oppressive one; it makes us ill. Let the kind of social system we live in dominate this debate. Let discussions about society and how it is organized, who owns the wealth and who creates it, how it is distributed and used, let let this be the topic of debate as to why madness becomes the norm and how we can change it.

Afternote: I just watched one of the victim's fathers on the Internet.  As a father I feel for him. It is every parents' worst nightmare, losing one's child. I cannot bare the thought of it happening to me and hope I am spared it.  But were this parent to have condemned society and it's warped values; greed, competition, selfishness and individualism, the rapacious pursuit of profits and called for a re-evaluation of our society and how we must change it, his remarks would not be so popular with the owners of the mass media and would have received very limited coverage. Had he condemned and blamed the mass media, Hollywood and capitalism as much as simply the prevalence of guns, we would have to search harder for his remarks. This would have been the case without a doubt were he to have talked of system change and the collective ownership and control of the resources of society, from education to the mass media.  The prevalence of guns is a problem.  That an insane person can easily get them is a problem.  But the bigger problem and the real cause of this madness is society and those that govern it. "When will this insanity" stop, the father says.  The truth is that it will not stop until we change society, until we take control of society from the unelected clique that run it.


Richard Mellor said...

I was thinking more about this guy . Imagine not knowing that your son belongs to the nasty groups this guy did. What does it say about his family life? There us no way I would not know such a thing about my kids and mine is a grown man. I can't help feeling that the parent here belved his responsibility as a father was a good college, an expensive car, flying first class etc. his my opinion is one if the root causes of the problem we see here . The substitution of crass materialism for parenthood, for kindness, love and security.

Sean said...

Thank you Richard for this very very good article. Sean