I wrote this in the days following the Las Vegas Massacre. I did not publish it then because it was too raw. I had friends there. I also did not publish it after the Sutherland Church massacre or the other school shootings that have happened since. Now, we have yet another massacre and I cannot hold this back any longer. While not all mass shootings are carried out by white men, the vast majority are. I would argue that no matter the race, the ethos remains the same, that of an aggrieved man. This is not an article I would normally publish on this site. It is angry and it is political but I cannot help but speak out. These shootings will not stop until we look honestly at ourselves and our culture.
Another day, another massacre. Like so many other American tragedies, this one was neither for political cause nor for religious or ideological reasons. No, not really, though try as we might to disguise it as such. It was just another disaffected, angry white man, searching for his truth through the barrel of gun. Another angry white man who believed that his existence, his happiness, his ‘reason’ whatever that might be, was an end unto itself. Another angry white man imbued with the false moral imperative of his own incontrovertible heroism. Another angry white man possessing certitude of his reasoning paired with inculcate selfishness. It was not mental illness. It was not even gun access. Those are mere symptoms of a much broader problem. It was an angry white man. One among many.
We have bred a generation of angry white men here in America. Men, who despite being in power, despite controlling all aspects of civic life, feel aggrieved by the otherness of everyone else. Whether those others are women, of different races, religions, of simply of different geographic regions, makes no matter. He is right. We are wrong. His rightness is morally justified, and thus, so too are his actions.
It is a common theme across history, that of angry and aggrieved men lashing out. Unlike miscreants of yesteryear however, today’s angry man, particularly the angry white man, is completely unbounded by the constraints of social, cultural or political mores. The right to ugliness and violence, the right to believe untruths, indeed, to construct one’s own, independent truth detached from reality or meaning, is sanctioned, politically, economically, culturally. For the decades since Ayn Rand put pen to paper every teenage boy’s dream, to be rightfully master of his own universe, an ordained narcissism of sorts, has been the core principle of American life.
And we sanctioned it. Perhaps not overtly, but tacitly and gradually we commandeered the moral authority to pursue comfort above all else. What permits these massacres is not a matter of a warped mind per se, but of a warped culture laid bare. A culture where no heed is paid to the destruction of environment by corporate entities, so long as profits are derived. A culture where no heed is paid to the deaths of children and young adults by pharmaceuticals, where no heed is paid to the deaths of thousands in the 17 years of war, our state sponsored violence against other countries, or to police brutality on African American men, or to domestic violence or rape; where no heed is paid so long as ‘my’ profits, happiness, or goals remain unimpeded by the consequences of my actions. The bubble of my self-serving justifications must remain intact. And it can, but only in a culture that prizes ‘my’ happiness over all else.
In a culture of laundered, indeed, bleached hate, against the otherness of others, we can be free of fear and discomfort, so long as the ever-increasing, bifurcating and dissonant justifications of our own supremacy over all that is other or foreign holds fast. “It’s okay to dump toxic chemicals into the rivers and oceans, because it doesn’t affect me directly,” we think to ourselves. “It’s okay to ignore poverty and suffering of those people, because they are not ___” (fill in the blank). “It’s okay to turn our backs on refugees, my safety might be imperiled.” It’s okay to ignore, vilify, and therefore, discriminate against all that is other. With our boundless dominion, we neatly, eagerly, and completely place all that is uncomfortable or inconvenient into boxes of otherness; boxes devoid of humanity, and thus, unburdened by ethics or even reason. Like Russian nesting dolls, our worldview becomes smaller and smaller, until we are left with a dominion over no one and nothing. For the long simmering angry white male, the only truth that remains is his truth, meted through a barrel of a gun. It is his last bastion of control, the last barrier between him and the realization that he is utterly impotent. Bang.
Hi Dr. Marrs!
Recently, I purchased a book written by yourself and Dr. Lonsdale on thiamine deficiency. Clearly it was written for physicians but given my current state of health, i read it anyways. As a recent “victim” of Flagyl toxicity that was preceded with existing POTS issues, i’m megadosing thiamine with a little magnesium daily to see what kind of results i can achieve.
I’ve been pouring over the literature on hormonesmatter and have come across some interesting reads by yourself and Dr. Lonsdale.
Strangely, an abundance of misandry lies on this website and on your twitter account. All of the right buzzwords, “mansplaining” “angry white male” etc.
While your work intrigues me, i’m flabbergasted at an entire article written about white men. Do you consider this article helpful to others? Perhaps your projecting a bit? A profound neuroscientist said recently “if you get a person talking long enough, they will reveal their true colors”. This article shows you to be as hateful as those you point the finger at.
Of course, this must be my impotent rage manifesting on your website! This article is goofy at best. You should probably delete it.
Nicholas, I am happy you found the book and I hope it helps you to navigate your recovery. Flagyl toxicity is directly implicated in thiamine deficiency.
As to the abundance of misandry on the website and twitter account, I am afraid I disagree. I can understand why this particular post is troubling, it was troubling to write, to experience yet another shooting, and this one so close to home. I don’t typically write posts like this. In fact, I have never written anything like before or after. I considered not publishing it because it is so out of context for this site. In the end however, I thought I had to say something. To remain silent is akin to accepting this violence as somehow normal. It is not and should not be considered as such. As to the characterization that this was another ‘angry white male’, it was and statistically remains the pattern. Does this mean all white men fit this description, certainly not. There are many good men out there. I would argue that most men are good guys, and perhaps even the ones who end up performing these heinous acts of violence, somewhere deep down want to be good men, but lack the tools to do so and are even encouraged by toxic cultural trends that glorify this type of violence to do the opposite. We have a problem with some who think that their fear and anger towards others who are not like them justifies massacre, because really, this is what these shootings are. They are massacres. Ignoring this because it is uncomfortable does not make it not so. These are certainly not ‘happy’ or well adjusted individuals, who are satisfied with their lives. They are angry and aggrieved men, and by far, in this country, tend to be white. Their anger did not emerge as such in a vacuum, however. Collectively, as a culture we have produced these individuals. So, yes, this is troubling. Is it misandry? No, I don’t think so. I think it is something we have face together and work to correct.
This post isn’t about the vast majority of white men out there. It’s not about the good, loving, kind, generous, thoughtful men that should be, and are, appreciated.
It’s about the monsters. It’s about the white men who feel so aggrieved by people with different melanin levels that they join hate groups. It’s about the monsters who make vitriolic videos about raping women with an AK. It’s about the monsters who shoot and kill innocent people.
It’s also about our culture that created these monsters.
Maybe we should get a cultural gold star for creating a lot of good men. Great – we should take it. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t question the creation of the monsters.
If you’re reading this, it’s very unlikely that this post is about you, so, I highly recommend not taking it personally.
Thank you Lisa.
I don’t take it personally. I look at the big picture.
Have had considerable thought on this post- and a discourse about it in my zen class. Many many points are valid. Some soul searching has gone on. Im a compassionate white man. A student of evolution and human nature. Much of our lineage has deep flaws. It’s who WE are. Power that goes unchecked is the problem- always was and always will be. Not the color of anyone’s skin. We are all the exact same species. So we part company.
Thank you for posting.
The news on this kid, a foster kid whose foster parents had died, who abused animals, who was trained at a white supremacist hate site, who was obsessed with weapons, who was a Junior ROTC member, who abused his girlfriend, who was in a dead-end life, who was being treated for depression (not sure if he was on those deadly antidepressants), who had more than 39 contacts with local police at his house for domestic violence and other issues, who was being looked at by FBI for some Facebook postings, YouTube, and, yet, he got that AR-15 and magazines.
It’s about guns, and Trump did not mention that in his bizarre six minute address yesterday. This 19 year old stalked women . . . a precursor to mass shootings. Look at that POTUS, and how much has he paid out for stalking women, groping, hassling, and carrying on in extra-marital affairs.
Something else, we can’t look at the obscene amount of weapons — guns — in this country. On college campuses, concealed, stand your ground murderers getting off Scott free like Zimmerman and his murder of Trayvon Martin, all those extra-judicial murders of people of color by sworn peace officers? It is disgusting, and maybe all those out of balance hormones and enzymes and gut bacteria and vaccine and meds injuries, does all of that have something to do with these killings?
Here, today, another murderer with a gun gets off Scott Free:
In New York City, NYPD Police Sergeant Hugh Barry was acquitted Thursday on murder charges in the fatal shooting of African-American woman Deborah Danner in October of 2016. Danner had mental health issues including schizophrenia. Police say she was shot and killed in her own home in the Bronx after a neighbor called 911. When police arrived, they found Danner naked in her bedroom holding a pair of scissors. Sergeant Hugh Barry fatally shot her twice in the chest, saying he feared for his life after the 66-year-old Danner picked up a baseball bat. Barry has been sued twice in recent years for brutality; he was acquitted by Judge Robert Neary in a bench trial after he waived his right to a trial by a Bronx jury.
This guy, Florida shooter, is a racist, anti-Muslim, and yes, this shooting is both warped and political. He backs Trump, hates Blacks and Women, and that is ALL political, and how the mass ignorance Media talks about these home-grown terrorists.
Here, some of Jeffrey St. Claire’s comments today in Counterpunch:
And an article by a psychiatrist on the false analogy of mental illness and shooters:
And on Democracy Now:
FEBRUARY 16, 2018
by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
Americans have a remarkable tolerance for child slaughter, especially the mass murders of the children of others. This emotional indifference manifested itself vividly after the disclosure of the My Lai Massacre, when dozens of Vietnamese infants and children were killed by the men of Charlie Company, their tiny, butchered corpses stacked in ditches. After the trial of Lt. William Calley, more than 70 percent of Americans believed his sentence was too severe. Most objected to any trial at all. In the end, Calley served less than 4 years under house arrest for his role in the execution of more than 500 Vietnamese villagers.
Twenty-five years later, American attitudes toward child deaths had coarsened even harder. When it was revealed that US sanctions on Iraq had caused the deaths of more than 500,000 Iraqi children, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, icily argued that the deaths were “worth it” to advance US policy in the Middle East. Few Americans remonstrated against this official savagery done in their name.
Now the guns are being turned on America’s own children and the rivers of blood streaming out of US schools cause barely a ripple in our politics. If the Columbine shooting was a tragedy, what word do you use to describe the 436th school shooting since then?
Don’t look for an answer or even solace from any of our political leaders. All you’ll get is cant, hollow prayers and banal vituperations of the sort we’ve been hearing for two decades from the likes of Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi’s most restrictive gun control proposals wouldn’t have stopped any of the recent shootings. She plays politics with the blood of children as cynically as the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre. Both are adept at fundraising off the bodies of the dead.
Even the RussiaGaters seized the opportunity to turn Vladimir Putin into one of Nikolas Cruz’s co-conspirators. Democratic blowhard Eric Boehlert, formerly of Clinton defense team Media Matters, tweeted: “key Q: how much $$$$$ did @NRA accept from Russia in 2016?”
In these moments of national trauma, Donald Trump can be counted on to open his mouth only to change feet. This week his creaky mandibles got quite the workout. First, he was goaded into mumbling his generic opposition to wife-beating. Then only a day later he had to summon the energy to sputter out scripted condolences for the victims and families of the mass shooting at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
In the past, Trump has railed against what he—or Steve Bannon—called the “American carnage.” Of course, this week’s slaughter isn’t the kind of “carnage” that Trump was referring to, since it was committed by a MAGA-hat wearing teen from the suburbs, who was trained by a white supremacist group in the proper use of a military assault rifle. From an operational perspective, the only thing missing was the silencer hawked by Trump’s idiotic son, Donald Jr. Trump’s urban villains, naturally, use knives, brass knuckles and switchblades.
One might be tempted to cut Trump some slack. After all, his political options were constricted. He couldn’t possibly be expected to talk about the fact that this is the 239th school shooting since Sandy Hook. He couldn’t speak about the 438 people who have been shot in schools since Sandy Hook. Or the 138 people who have died in school shootings since Sandy Hook. Why? Because most of Trump’s hardcore base don’t believe the Sandy Hook massacre really happened. They believe it was a fake shooting staged by the gun cops of the Deep State. Next week, they will be saying the same thing about the Parkland slayings. The Trump presidency levitates on such dark fantasies. Better to keep the messaging simple.
So Trump could only say that the killings were the work of a teenager who was “mentally disturbed.” His bland, six minute homily deftly avoided the word “gun.” It couldn’t have slipped Trump’s mind that one of his first acts as president was to sign into a law a measure over-turning an Obama-era ban on the sale of guns to people with mental disabilities. Thus, instead of endorsing any measure to restrict the sale of guns to the insane, Trump called on his American subjects to become mental health snitches, to profile potential psychopaths and report suspicious “instances to authorities, again and again!” Can we start with the president? Do we dial 1-800-Deranged? Will Jeff Sessions pick up the line?
By most accounts, Nikolas Cruz was a troubled kid, who led a creepy life that was spiraling into acts of increasingly sadistic violence. Both of his adopted parents had died and Cruz was living a dead-end existence in a friend’s basement, while working a nothing job at the Dollar General store. He had apparently been treated for depression, but walked away from his therapy sessions. There’s no word yet on whether, like so many other shooters, he’d been fed anti-depressants. It’s when you come off the serotonin uplifters that the real trouble usually starts.
Society had turned its back on Cruz. He was one of the expendables, cut adrift by his school, which wasn’t equipped to deal with his deep psychological problems, to freefall without any safety net to catch him. But when he hit bottom, he returned with a vengeance to the very institution that had rejected him. Now we’re told to keep watch for others just like him. How many are out there, one bad experience from snapping and going full-auto at a mall or a schoolyard?
I try to summon some empathy for Nikolas Cruz, but can’t. Cruz tortured animals, threatened fellow students and openly bragged about his desire to kill people. This man should never have possessed even an pop gun, but on his minimum-wage job he was able to walk into a gun store and legally buy an AR-15 assault rifle and multiple magazines of ammunition. He made no effort to conceal his simmering animus or his arsenal of weapons. It’s all up on Youtube and Facebook.
Home grown terrorist. These people, youth up to 90 year olds, are bred through violence on TV, Sports, with POTUS, the society, video games, Hollywood, everything. Terrorists. Here, some good stuff on Democracy Now today:
Geraldine Thompson, a former Florida Democratic state senator. She represented the Orlando district where the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre took place:
Well, certainly there are evil people in our society, and there are mentally disturbed people in our society. And when you combine a mental instability and you combine evil with ready access to guns, that’s when it becomes lethal. So, I think we need to put the focus on what we do about restricting access to guns, when we know that there are elements in our society, when they have a weapon, go on a rampage and harm and kill other individuals.
After the Pulse nightclub shooting, I asked Governor Rick Scott if we could talk about a special session, convening a special session of the Florida Legislature, to talk about reform. And at that time, he said that the issue was ISIS, and it was not about guns, it was about ISIS. And so, my question was: Was Sandy Hook about ISIS? Was Charleston, South Carolina, about ISIS? We have home-grown terrorists in the United States of America. And certainly, while ISIS is a threat, we have got to also focus on what happens here in this country. And we saw in Oklahoma the bombing of the Federal Building there. That was a home-grown terrorist. –end quote —
The trauma, the daily trauma inflicted on people viewing these stories, and those survivors, and the communities. Doctors can ask parents if there’s a pool in the backyard, but not if there are guns in the family hope chest:
Thompson, again, quoted:
We called that law “Glocks versus docs.” And while a doctor can ask a patient if he or she has a swimming pool, to safeguard children who might be in the home, a doctor was prohibited from asking if that person had a gun. And certainly, doctors have to be able to provide counseling, to provide treatment, whatever is needed, in the context of what’s going on in that person’s life.
And Governor Rick Scott wanted to require people who receive food stamps or other public assistance to take drug tests. And that was also struck down by the court. So, he’s had a lot of positions that have been unconstitutional, and this is another example of that.
And he is not addressing at all, as he refused to address after the Pulse nightclub shooting, what are we going to do about restricting gun ownership and making sure that there is responsible gun ownership in the state of Florida and in the United States.
And I think that the states need to take back the power, because, to answer your question, we have seen nothing happen since the Pulse nightclub shooting here in Orlando. And that was the district that I represented. And you saw the trauma to the first responders, to the physicians, just as you see the trauma today. You have 17 people who were killed, but you have many more people who were traumatized, because teachers don’t sign up to go into war zones. They are not equipped to deal with the kind of weapon that was used in this massacre yesterday. And you have students who are traumatized. And we have counselors at schools, but those counselors are overburdened with paperwork with regard to standardized testing. They’ve got to keep a record of all of that, attendance. So they don’t really function in the sense that they can sit down and talk with students about what’s going on with them. And I know that, in many instances, there are counselors, special counselors, that are brought in with regard to how to handle grief and how to handle loss.
But this should not be a common occurrence in our country. And we see it happening—as you said, the number, just since 2018, is just unfathomable, that we should see this happening in this country because of inactivity, because of dysfunction on the part of Congress. –end quote —
And then this Trump calling these shootings the product of “mental illness” (not his words, because he uses words like “crazy” and “loony” and “whacked out”). Back to Democracy Now:
JOSH HORWITZ: Well, the reason is because we’re the only country, industrialized country, who allows easy access to AR-15s and associated weaponry.
I want to address, though, what Donald Trump said, the president said. And I think it’s very disingenuous and way too easy to just play sort of—say it’s something about mental illness. Most people with mental illness are never going to be violent. We need to look at the actual indicia of violence and stop stigmatizing people who are mentally ill, and start developing tools for law enforcement and parents and others, so when people are in a crisis, for whatever reason, and they have easy access to firearms, to get their guns, to get the guns out of their hands. It’s so easy just to sort of toss this into the mental health pile, but that is not going to stop violence. And the reason is because most people with mental illness aren’t going to be violent. But there are people who are stockpiling weapons, who are acting in a dangerous way. Those are the people we need to focus on, and not hide behind the trope of mental illness. We need to focus on the people who are acting dangerously. –end quote–
Excellent piece. Too many people do not really want to face these issues- who say “it’s too soon to talk about” after each incident, then later say “well, it was just one loner who was clearly mentally ill” as if that excuses it, or makes it something that has no solution. Thank you for your words!