Thursday, August 6, 2009

Reflections on the Sodini Shooting

I've been linking to Chris Potter's short blog post because I admire it, learned things from it, found it thought-provoking, etc.

So none of this is criticism when I say I felt a disconnect between this portion near its beginning:

Mostly though, I don't want to quote from the site because it seems that's just what its author wants us to do. The bottom of the Web page urges visitors to "Copy this to usenet/newsgroups where my voice will speak forever!" Yeah, no thanks, dipshit.

And its conclusion:

There is some kind of madness in this culture that I don't have a name for. But it seems to be getting worse.

I recognize the syllogism here: he was a murderous dipshit; he wanted us to do something; we won't give him the satisfaction. I just want to point out that that's an unproductive instinct in light of the fact that this is most definitely going to happen again -- many times, in many places, and frequently near or even in our own backyards. You'll notice there was no "How could something like this happen here?" sentiment going around this time; I think we are all starting to absorb that of course it happens here. Here is a terrifying place.

Has it always been this way? Is it like this everywhere on the planet? Is it getting worse, here? Are there reasons? I'd like to figure these things out.

Please don't tell me that by doing so I'd be making excuses for the perpetrator and "blaming society". Mr. George Sodini had a screw loose, and that screw was called 'humanity'. If he were alive I would be in favor of his being punished to the fullest extent of both karma and the law.

But he's not evil anymore, he's just dead.

I'd like to figure out how he came to be in such acute, furious pain for so long. I'd like to figure out how it was that he never sought out or received sufficient -- or seemingly, any -- help, professional or otherwise. I'd like to figure out at what point life's frustrations become so overpowering that some people lash out with weapons of medium destruction. I'd like to know if there's anything we should know or teach or develop or research in order to reverse what does feel like a trend.

So in a way I'm right glad Sandini left behind his Web site, and that Richard Poplawski left behind his comments and sketchy friends, and that Theodore Kaczynski left behind his manifesto. As twisted and unforgivable as these people were, it's clear they were driven internally to tell us something. Of course we shouldn't accept their words at face value, but I hope civilization swallows its pride and reads more deeply into these things -- and far beyond only the most salacious, easily-dismissible or explainable tidbits.

Within hours of the recent shooting, some people were out there saying that for them, this was about easy access to firearms. For others, this was about misogyny and/or racism in our society. For all of us it's largely about feeling awful for this new slew of victims and their loved ones.

There's nothing wrong with those take-aways at all. For me, this is mostly about problems with contemporary American culture, and about its attitudes towards mental health problems and mental health care. Sorry if that offends anyone.


  1. He was bullied by women...or so he says...(recently in papers, young on young girl bulling)

    Politically incorrect, I know....

    ...for sake of argument, 'what if it was a woman attacking men'?

    As it is, there are no apologists...

    ...if it was a women "shooter" at a mens could very well be 'justified homicide'.

    Or, so...the aplogists would say 24/7.

  2. I have to agree, he was mentally ill. How do end up from the blog we saw to rewind 9-10 years and find this?

  3. Y’all know that there have been battles here and elsewhere over gun control. I am going to invoke the notion of the Kantian categorical imperative: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” for the purposes of my comment.

    I think that the damage done by Sodini and Poplawski could have been limited by common sense gun control laws. I think that assault weapons should be outlawed for civilian ownership, and lawmakers should act such that if gun makers come up with alternative designs to get around the laws they should be banned too. I think that high capacity magazine semi-automatic pistols should be outlawed as well. That would leave gun owners with the alternatives of owning hunting rifles, shotguns and revolvers. All those types of guns would be perfectly adequate for any reasonable expectation of home defense or hunting or target shooting. People might still go crazy and try to shoot a bunch of people, but maybe they couldn’t fire fifty rounds in under a minute. The streets would be safer as well, as drug dealers couldn’t spray the houses of their rivals with bullets. The police could go back to carrying the less mechanically complicated revolvers. I can’t believe that even considering the potential evil of an American Dictatorship (George W. Bush is just waiting for his chance) the founding fathers wanted us to have highly lethal weapons that we can use on each other.

    I think there is a problem concerning violence against women, but I think Sodini was an aberration, period. I don’t know what parts of his internet writings were available to the public and when, but it appears in general he concealed his insanity. I don’t see how this could have been prevented.

  4. I can’t believe that even considering the potential evil of an American Dictatorship (George W. Bush is just waiting for his chance) the founding fathers wanted us to have highly lethal weapons that we can use on each other.

    Uh, yes they did Ed. They wanted an armed society, and they got it. While there will always be mentally ill people with guns the facts are that if a person wants a gun, any gun, they can get it.

    Let me flip the coin and ask, what if one of those women were armed, and could have fired back. It's an option, but it did not happen. With your scheme of limiting people to pea shooters, what can you do against a threat like that?

  5. Hey Anon 11:37pm, if the shooter has a pea shooter, so too could the potential victim. I didn't say anything about being able to carry guns, just limiting their absurd firepower.

  6. Oh lord!

    Two huge elephants in the room here.


    While Sodini was certainly a racist by his own words he did not go looking for a room full of African Americans to kill.

    While Sodini certainly did not seem to have male friends and expressed jealousy of other males (though almost always in the context of their ability to get laid) he did not go looking for a room full of men -- or even a room full of men and women -- to kill.

    In Sodini's head women were "hoes." Worse still: "hoes" who would not have sex with him. He went looking for a room full of women -- all women. He found one. And he tried to murder them all. He even wrote: "Why do this?? To young girls?"

    That's reality.


    I'm hearing so called experts on TV talking about the problem of "people" being isolated. I'm hearing discussions of "peoples" access to guns. I see here someone asking "what if it was a woman attacking men," etc.

    Here's a reality check: if you could somehow stop men from murdering others you would stop 90% of all murders.

    So talking about what the problem is with "people" killing is like me saying that I want to lose weight but let's not get into what I eat or how much I exercise -- you know, basically unproductive -- and ignoring a huge piece of the puzzle.

    And before some heads explode here, I'm not saying all men are murders or violent or would-be murders or are one step away from being violent.

    But, if we want to really cut down on murder than we need to figure out why men murder. And, guys, this would be to your benefit because while men overwhelmingly are the ones to commit violent crimes, they are also far more likely to be the victims of violent crimes.

    P.S. Where exactly would women wearing gym clothes pack a gun? Do they maybe hold it in their hands while exercising? This is just silly.

  7. Ed, your restrictions will limit rate of fire by a small amount, but could increase the damage of each shot. I'm alway a bit baffled when people argue that hunters can keep their shotguns and we'll just ban the really deadly weapons. Have you ever fired a 12 gauge at a junked car?

    Assault weapons, by which I take you to mean a semi-auto rifle with 'military' styling, differ from hunting rifles largely because they usually have bigger magazines. The hunting rifles aren't slower to fire (most are also semi-auto), you just have to reload more often.

    (In the abstract, I support the restriction on magazine capacity. However, the rest of the 'moderate' gun control position just seems a bit off. So, I always assume that the 'assault weapons' ban is basically an excuse to get a foot in the door toward the real big ban and not an actual policy goal.)

  8. Well then Ed, What is your thought on an "acceptable" amount of firepower.

  9. Maria - I don't have a problem with what you write, but I think this gets directly to my allusion about culture. Typically when men try to get together and figure themselves out as men, they are soundly ridiculed for whatever it is they are attempting. Sometimes they are even chided for excluding women in the process. There are Women's Studies courses at most universities but I fail to recall anything so frivolous and as a Men's Studies seminar. Ergo, the body of knowledge about men's issues is not huge.

    And then of course there is the stigma that comes with a man admitting he needs help at all. Men are outright expected (by men and women) to be able to achieve ludicrous amounts wealth, status, accomplishments, and yes sexual conquest in a way that women are not. Why, I even read on another blog around here that white men are guaranteed at birth a life equal to or greater than that of a local television news personality. Can you imagine how frustrating it is to fail to live up to your birthright? I mean, in today's America for the most part it is considered a wonderful surprise if a woman achieves great wealth and individual power -- surely too much of a surprise -- but if a man FAILS to achieve a sort of unrealistic sitcom / car commercial / fairytale level of conquest then something is wrong with him.

    Some of this is natural and unavoidable. The world is a jungle and not for everybody. But do you know how women have unrealistic and unhealthy body expectations because of images flooding magazines and the rest of pop culture? I think something similar, and maybe more insidious, is going on with men and status.

  10. On the plus side, we can pee practically anywhere.

  11. Yeah, try that on Carson St. these days, where we really need to. Thanks a lot, Mr. Kraus!

  12. Dude, you're doing it wrong. Go to an alley behind Carson Street.

  13. There are camera's in the alleys

  14. MH, I have never fired a 12 gauge at a junked car, so I guess I am unqualified to comment.

    Actually, my understanding is you are really not supposed to discharge firearms in the City (which is where I live) except at a target range and perhaps in your house at an intruder. But perhaps I am unaware of some laws.

    I understand the concept of unintended consequences (for example the Hope and Lifetime Learning credits and the rate of increase in college tuition since they came into effect). But using that as an excuse to do nothing is fairly criminal as well. Yes, people can and probably would buy 44 or 357 magnums if semi automatic pistols were banned. I think that if some nut is firing randomly into a crowd that I am in, my chances are improved if he has to reload at the sixth shot. Even if he has a speed loader or two or three I am still better off than if he has a spare magazine or two or three. And I think that would be true for anyone and everyone else as well.

    But I am sure that your arguments will carry the day, and nothing will happen. Or maybe the federal concealed carry law will pass Congress and more violence will be forced on us.

    After all, apparently the founding fathers wanted us to be an armed society, with weapons they never conceived of.

  15. "After all, apparently the founding fathers wanted us to be an armed society, with weapons they never conceived of."

    They never conceived of the internet either, but the first amendment still applies. And, for the record, I do not recommend shooting at junked cars in the city (or peeing in the alley unless you really need to).

  16. There are Women's Studies courses at most universities but I fail to recall anything so frivolous and as a Men's Studies seminar. Ergo, the body of knowledge about men's issues is not huge.

    I believe their called history courses. (rim shot)

    Seriously, I agree with much of what you wrote. Sexism hurts all because it sets up impossible, arbitrary and unrealistic standards. A "real man" must be strong physically and emotionally and financially successful. A "real woman" must be caring and giving and make babies. Her societal value relies primarily in her physical attractiveness.

    An extreme portion of men who feel they cannot live up to these standards tend to turn their frustrations outward and commit mass shootings, bombings and serial killings. An extreme portion of women tend to turn their frustrations inward and cut themselves, starve themselves and kill themselves. An even smaller percentage kill others -- those others tending to be family members.

    Women are constantly objectified. Their bodies and faces used to sell everything from toothpaste to cars. They are valued as eye candy. Even when they are "10s" they are airbrushed to death on the covers of magazines. They are reduced to little more than genitalia in porn.

    Sodini saw them all as "hoes" that he had some sort of god give right to f---. They clearly were not individuals to him. He even went to pick up artist school (where women are -- if possible -- even further objectified) to learn how to trick them into bed.

    I do believe it is a bit of dodge to frame this primarily as a mental health problem.

    If Sodini had shot up a room containing only African Americans and then wrote "Why do this?? To blacks?" And further ranted on and on about African Americans (mostly calling them by the n-word) and occasionally also saying some sexist stuff would we be so quick to simply make an "allusion about culture" and not talk about racism? To write something like, "Within hours of the recent shooting, some people were out there saying that for them, this was about easy access to firearms. For others, this was about misogyny and/or racism in our society."

    It isn't about misogyny for me, It IS about misogyny. It certainly was for Sodini.

    I'm glad that you decided to get into the cultural stuff in the comments because I can't imagine you not doing so if he targeted blacks or gays instead of women.

    We don't dismiss whites who lynched blacks as just being mentally ill. We talk about race. We need to do the same when women are targeted and at the very least talk about misogyny.

  17. MH et al on the side of the 2nd amendment,
    How many times does senseless violence perpetrated with firearms have to occur before it's no longer worth it? 10 more people dead? 100? 1000? Would it be acceptable for an infinite number of these efficient killings to happen, just so long as we didn't restrict gun ownership any more than we do now?

    These violent crimes would not be so easy to commit and inflict death and injury on as many people if we had more gun control laws.

    So how bad would it have to get? How much violence is acceptable for us all to put up with, be subjected to, for the sake of the country's right to bear arms?

  18. Maria - Well, the guy clearly hated women. Enough to target them. That's plain. I guess I'm more accustomed to thinking of "mysoginy" playing out in terms of rudeness, not violence. If anyone got the impression I feel dismissive of what this has to say about mysoginy in our society, I'm not trying to be, I just don't sense it's sufficient.

    (I guess part of what I fear is that the next time I tell a "dumb blonde" joke or engage in some gentle battle-of-the-sexes teasing, I'll be accused of not only mysoginy but of perpetuating murder. Guess I'll have to think through that.)

    The other thing that doesn't add up to me in terms of flat-out mysoginy is, while he called women "hoes" and was obsessed with sleeping with them, he also seemed to crave their approval. He valued so much when they called him "nice". It's almost like he liked them, and they didn't like him back sufficiently so he hated them. And then, because he was ill, he sought to do them harm.

    (I wish I had made it to the vigil the other night so I could think through this stuff more but I was working.)

  19. Bravo, Bram's comment: Aug. 7, 12:03 pm!

  20. "So how bad would it have to get?"

    We're coming at this from opposite directions. The more violence there is, the more I want the right to bear arms. Violence is pretty much a good indication that people aren't following the law and I fail to see why somebody who won't follow the 'no murder' law will follow the 'no guns' law. I don't see anyway to make a meaningful restriction in the availablity of guns without both gun control and destroying the protection against unreasonable search and seizure. They certainly couldn't stop them at the border even if they could magically make all of the current stock go away.

  21. Bram, he hated being called nice. That was a dirty word to him, and that was the "kiss of death" label that was further emphasized by the whacko instructor who was teaching him to further objectify women, young women at that.

    He was insane, but it was not that simple. He was a misogynist, and he also knew he was insane as his internet searches conveyed. He kept looking up terms for his emotional disconnection from people in general, but ultimately punished specifically women only. He knew something was wrong.

  22. Bram,

    You can read Heather Arnet's remarks from yesterday here.

    As far as Sodini liking women, he seems to only like them in terms of having sex with a sufficiently young and attractive woman -- not the same thing in my book.

    And, as the meaning of misogyny is "hatred of women" if Sodini isn't a misogynist, I'd hate to meet a real one!

    (I guess part of what I fear is that the next time I tell a "dumb blonde" joke or engage in some gentle battle-of-the-sexes teasing, I'll be accused of not only mysoginy but of perpetuating murder. Guess I'll have to think through that.)

    Well, I certainly wouldn't want your calling a guy who's goal was to kill as many women as possible a misogynist to interfere with your perceived abitility and comfort level in telling dumb blonde jokes. That certainly would be far too high a price! /snark

  23. Understanding that we're snarking now, but I just want to make clear that yes, I agree he was a misogynist. I'm not arguing that point. I'm just not sure what we're all supposed to do with that. We could condemn misogyny, but misgynists wouldn't really care. At least the mental health route leads us toward something productive.

    I think of it like this: if you're ill, you could be set off by misogyny, racism, paranoia, road rage -- a million different things. But it really doesn't matter what it was that upset you, because it's the illness that's the problem.

  24. So then members of the KKK are simply mentally ill and we shouldn't really worry about or bother to discuss the whole racist aspect?

  25. Maybe the misogyny is the problem. Maybe the clues he got from our culture about objectifying women drove him to hate them and kill them.

  26. “The problem since the beginning of time”… is women adore men fighting for their affection...preservation.

    Pussy is Gold! And, stupid men buy into farce.

    The prison population is littered with kids raised by single moms...Maria. Same percentage as you use to define men as killers…

    Convicts are without dads...because biased Family Division Court rules in favor of women…
    Belief is based in religion…not history.

    Prisons are example of women gone wrong …not shackled men...

    Women carry children for nine months with abort carry kids for lifetime.
    And, without feminine appreciation.

    Sigmund Freud muttered once “women are from the dark side”….

    ..exploiters’ of men, and have ruined ‘the world since the beginning of time.’

  27. I swear that I didn't write the above to prove my point.


    Yes, I agree it's really hard to be a man, however it's a lot harder to be a woman shot to death or in critcal status in the hospital because of a man.

    Do you really want to argue that point?

  28. I think I'll leave crazytown now.

  29. I guess you'll leave without argument...

    What I would expect from perpetual victim without conviction based in fact...

  30. Alright, as I was engaging in this bloggerly back-and-forth during work (unforgivable, I know) a young female coworker noticed the steam coming out of my ears and asked what was the matter. Now I know it's the easiest thing in the world to assume I'm making all this up -- inventing a female sock-puppet to voice my own argument -- but I swear this really happened more or less verbatim. I told her I was arguing with someone.

    S: "What's it about?"

    B: "Well, a blogger friend of mine thinks the shooting in Collier the other day was all about misogyny, whereas I..."

    S: "What's misogyny?"

    B: "Hatred of women."

    S: "Um, no. It's about that guy being a sick freak."

    B: "That's what I said. But she thinks I'm downplaying misogyny and 'the cues he got from our culture of objectifying women'."

    S: "Please. The guy hated women because they rejected him for thirty years. That's ... that's totally reasonable. What's not reasonable is killing them, and that's where his being sick comes in."

    B: "Thank you!"

    S: "Besides, I'm sure all those girls rejected him because he's a creeper, so that just gets back to the same thing."

    B: "Hey, you just started your own blog, right? Have you ever seen '2 Political Junkies'?"

    Now, as to your 'point' about how being a woman who's been shot is worse than being an American male today: that's true, sure, but I have no idea what that point is supposed to illustrate or contradict. But apparently there is a dogma under construction.

  31. "Now I know it's the easiest thing in the world to assume I'm making all this up..."

    I'd always assumed that "Bram" was the pseud of group of Nobel Prize winners who were trying to boost the Pittsburgh media in concert with PittGirl.

  32. MH@5:15 Aug 7:
    I know it's impossible to eliminate guns, I just want to make it harder. Sodini blogged that he wanted to try weed but didn't know anyone he could get weed from, so how would he have known who to get the long clips from?

    I want it to take people as much time, money, and effort as possible to get their hands on illegal weapons to give them fewer opportunities to actually obtain them and give law enforcement more opportunities to prevent tragedies such as these. More opportunities to separate innocent gun purchases (what is an "innocent" use of an AK-47 anyway?) that you espouse from purchases that have the intent to hurt large numbers of people behind them.

    Poplawski wanted to buy more guns, but was deterred by a forty dollar fee per gun to have guns ordered online to be transferred through a licensed dealer. I call that a (small) victory for gun control.

    And as Maria pointed out above, how would more guns in this case have prevented this tragedy? Who takes guns to their aerobics class?

  33. I will stick my nose back in here and say that I understand the argument that because there are so many guns out there now, the only way to get rid of them is to create a police state, and have a literal civil war. So ... congratulations, gun rights advocates. You can keep your guns, buy more, carry them, whatever. At the cost of all the rest of our lives, in your crossfire. By the way, as you defend yourself, I hope you don't shoot your own daughter or wife or whomever. And read up on the laws of Pennsylvania. Because I want anyone defending themselves with a gun outside their home to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

  34. That 68' Ford was totally coming at me.

    I'm not making the gun-nut civil war argument. Just pointing out that nobody has ever stopped a thriving black market from popping up for any small, high-value good. The shooter couldn't buy weed doesn't prove anything except that it is hard for a middle-age guy who works at a law firm to find a dealer. Middle-aged guys with white collar jobs commit a trivial percentage of the murders. If something is available on the black market, criminals will have an easier time getting a gun than anybody else. Which doesn't seem like it would solve anybody's problem.

    (And I should look-up PA gun laws, because I have no idea what they are specifically.)

  35. Alright: The Gun-Control dimension.

    The idea that less legislated gun control could have prevented Collier or made Collier less likely I think we can't even take seriously. Ha, ha. It is to laugh.

    The idea that MORE gun control laws could have prevented it is not such a given, though. This was a desperate guy: if he wanted four assault weapons badly enough, he could get them. I think the only thing that could have prevented that is BROAD gun control laws, far more than the common-sense measures such as to crack down on negligence and pursue the black market more efficiently, but a real attempt to REDUCE THE WHOLESALE AVAILABILITY AND ENCOUNTER-ABILITY OF GUNS IN THIS COUNTRY by making the sale illegal by all but the federal and state governments, and even then only to law enforcement units and certain approved organized community groups aka militias. That would prevent a significant amount of violence and terror.

    So you know what? If you want to go that route, repeal the 2nd Amendment. We've repealed amendments before, so what if this one is in the "Bill of Rights". Gotta respect the Bill of Rights, but when something is dated its dated. Let's go through the decades-long process and be done with it before "arms" get any more wicked and terrible.

  36. Hunters may use longbows, or join a militia.

  37. Hunters, at least in this state, are already fairly limited in terms of firepower. If they don't already use a bow, deer hunters have to use shotguns with slugs/buckshot, as opposed to the rifles they would use out west. (Note: I'm not opposed to this in the least. Even the rural areas in PA are densely populated.)

  38. Ed said.... Because I want anyone defending themselves with a gun outside their home to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    And why is that? Why can't I protect myself outside of mt home? There is nothing illegal about that.

    If you want to be a sitting duck go right ahead - but don't get in the way of my ability to protect my family wherever they my be.

  39. Well, I may be wrong about the law, but I believe Pennsylvania has a duty to retreat clause, meaning if you can run away rather than shoot someone, you are supposed to do that. This does not apply in your home, and perhaps in your vehicle.

    But go ahead, open on anyone who looks at you sideways, anywhere.

    MH, still think that you are not making the “gun-nut civil war argument”? Just like health care, the extremists block any sensible controls until the situation gets out of control, and then the extremists scream that everyone wants to keep the status quo, that government is trying to control our lives.

  40. The HUDDLER is PRO-LIFE, PRO-GUN, and PRO-LABOR for the record.

    If this sicko didn't have access to firearms, he would have killed these women or other women one way or the other. Perhaps not in a mass execution, but where there is a will there is a way.

    The history of the world indicates that individuals who have issues with women have become serial killers before. Examples that come to mind, include Ted Bundy, the Boston stangler, Jack the Ripper, the son of sam killer. The list goes on and on. These date back hundreds of years. This is NOT a new issue, that just started happening. The firepower issue is valid. Do private citizens need clips that hold 17 bullets? But what would prevent one from carrying 3 "six shooters" with the same results?

    This A$$hole had a major sexual disfunction. The HUDDLER must wonder, did the mass availability of pornography on the internet make this guy think that all women are hoes? (to use his word) and all women are out having sex with EVERYONE except him ? How does a persons mind get to this point?

    Just because this a$$hole has a gun and took the easy way, doesn't mean that he would not have killed. In fact, this malcontent would have killed women one way or another. Over and over until he was caught or until he killed himself.

    This was a sick man, and we live in a sick world. Just like we teach our children to be aware of strangers, we have to be aware of our surroundings at all times. Pay attention to that individual that is out of place, and report it to the police.

    Have a plan, an egress, to escape. How often do you know where the nearest emergency exits are? Know your surroundings, and pay attention in places you are not familiar with.

    It just may save your life one day. This tragedy has reached almost every part of our society. The HUDDLER enjoyed a pint more than once with Betsy Gannon, and the HUDDLER's own mother had tears in her eyes when seeing this on the news, and the HUDDLER's brother had a friend's sister get shot, (although she survived and is recovering). Pittsburgh is a small town, everyone knows everyone it seems. This tragedy has hurt us as a community and as a nation. We need to support the victims families, the survivors, and each other.

    Would the world be a better place without guns? The HUDDLER doesn't know... But as long as there are crazies invading homes, raping women, carjacking, and so on, the HUDDLER will be packing heat whenever it is safe and reasonable to do so.

    Do we need more morals in our society to prevent our own demise?

  41. Yes, Ed - There is a duty to retreat. However, when it's 2 on 1 or you can show that you can't get away safely you can use deadly force if you or another person are threatened. And no jury would convict me on that around here anyways. Your position that it does not apply in your home or vehicle is wrong as well. I suggest that you actually read the laws of this great Commonwealth. perhaps it would open your eyes.

    This guy does not have a legal gun. He does not care about gun laws. However, with your scheme of peashooters and cops with 3" 38's. the world will be a much more dangerous place beacuse guess what - these guys don't follow the laws! And that's a fact jack.

  42. If a woman had committed this crime, coverage would have been different. Read on..


    May 30th, 2007 by Glenn Sacks, MA for Fathers & Families

    Gilberta Estrada hung her four small daughters, three of whom died--and it's her ex-boyfriend's fault?! For example, Christian author Jocelyn Andersen just issued the press release "Victim of Domestic Violence Hangs Self and Four Daughters" through Christian Newswire in which they claim:

    "Domestic Violence is a destroyer. It is believed that Gilberta Estrada hanged herself-after hanging her four young daughters first. A police investigation hopes to confirm the tragic facts of this case. An already confirmed fact is that Estrada was a victim of domestic violence. The Associated Press reports that she had previously obtained a restraining order against the father of one or more of her children. Can we rule out the possibility that domestic violence, or the threat of continued domestic violence, was a contributing factor to the depression Estrada was reported to be experiencing and the decision to end her life and the lives of her children?"

    Even if Estrada were a victim of domestic violence, it wouldn't come within a mile of excusing or explaining her horrendous crime. But it is in no way an "already confirmed fact that Estrada was a victim of domestic violence." Estrada got a temporary restraining order against her ex-boyfriend Gregorio Frayre Rodriguez. While to outsiders this may sound impressive, it is, in fact, absolutely meaningless.

    According to Elaine Epstein, former president of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, restraining orders are doled out "like candy" to “virtually all who apply," and that "in virtually all cases, no notice, meaningful hearing, or impartial weighing of evidence is to be had."

    Restraining orders are generally done ex parte, without the accused's knowledge and with no opportunity afforded for him to defend himself. When an order is issued, the man is booted out of his own home and can even be jailed if he tries to contact his own children. Despite these grave effects, many courts grant restraining orders to practically any woman who applies. Research shows that these orders often do not even involve an allegation of violence. Usually all that’s needed is a claim that the person to be restrained “acted in a way that scared me” or was “verbally abusive”—what’s known as “shout at your spouse, lose your house.”


    Resentment of women is far greater than we acknowledge, it seldom however, rises to the level seen at L.A. Fitness.

    Men are blamed for all that is wrong with society and the Judical System enables women to use liberal laws against them.

    Women need to do a better job of raising their sons after throwing out their fathers.


    Given the Courts propensity for punishing Fathers we can assume Mothers enjoy benefits of rasing kids.



    This result has been found in numerous studies. The National Fatherhood Initiative’s Father Facts, edited in 2002 by Wade Horn and Tom Sylvester, is the best one-stop shopping place for this kind of evidence. Of the many studies reviewed there, a representative one was reported in the Journal of Marriage and the Family in May 1996
    . Researchers Chris Couglin and Samuel Vuchinich found that being in stepparent or single-parent households more than doubled the risk of delinquency by age 14. Similarly, a massive 1993 analysis of the underclass by M. Anne Hill and June O’Neill, published by Baruch College’s Center for the Study of Business and Government, found that the likelihood that a young male will engage in criminal activity increases substantially if he is raised without a father.

    These studies, like most in this area, attempted to control for other, confounding factors that might be correlated with living in a single-parent household. If single mothers have less money than married mothers, then perhaps poverty is the fundamental problem for their children. But even taking this possibility into account, the research still shows that boys who grew up outside of intact marriages were, on average, more likely than other boys to end up in jail.

    Another set of studies found that the kids who are actually in the juvenile justice system disproportionately come from disrupted families. The Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services, in a 1994 report entitled “Family Status of Delinquents in Juvenile Correctional Facilities in Wisconsin,” found that only 13 percent came from families in which the biological mother and father were married to each other. By contrast, 33 percent had parents who were either divorced or separated, and 44 percent had parents who had never married. The 1987 Survey of Youth in Custody, published by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, found that 70 percent of youth in state reform institutions across the U.S. had grown up in single- or no-parent situations.


    I don't know, I'm just saying...

    ...that it is not simply men killing because they like to.

    Women play a part in this human tragedy and not just as victims.

  44. Ed, how is the situation out of control. Except for certain areas and certain sub-populations, there is very little gun violence. I grew-up in the rural Midwest. Every male from 13 on up had a gun and murders were much rarer than death through farm accidents (and well below car wrecks). And, geographically, the areas with more gun control are not less violent. Now, I know the quick answer to that. Local gun laws are too easy to circumvent by bringing in guns from next door. And it is basically right. My point is that any gun control effective enough to actually stop an appreciable number of criminals from getting guns would have to be enforced very broadly. I don't see how it could be done without infringing on the 4th Amendment nearly as much as it infringes on the 2nd. I don't buy that the sacrifice would be born only by gun owners. Life would become like the airport, except with better food and cheaper coffee.

    Consider that the semi-automatic* pistol is technology that is over a century old and is smaller and lighter than a brick. Countries with no manufacturing base still make AK-47s. You can't provide appreciable control against something that easy to make. All you can do is disarm the more honest/less dangerous people.

    * That is the term you used above. It is usually called an 'automatic' pistol. However, semi-auto is less confusing as you pull the trigger once for each shot, as with a semi-auto rifle.

  45. i think he was a sick human being.

    yes, he was ALL of those things he's been called but if he had not been mentally ill, he would have been just another annoying creepy sort that people somehow instinctively shied away from.

    i'm amazed he kept his sick twisted thoughts hidden from so many, but then again-

    he really didn't. in hindsight, many many people saw little bits of his true self.

    the people at that dating class- bet they noticed something "off" about him.

    i have a feeling that there are some people that worked with him that don't want to admit they thought him a little spooky,
    now that he did what he did.

    he targeted women. he targeted women when he was looking to get laid too. he wanted them 20 years or more younger.

    why? i think that wasn't so much physical attraction as much as it was the need to control.

    he would have been quite surprised at the independence of younger ladies.

    i think he needed to show off as well,

    so to me- he never viewed women as human beings, more like objects- like the furniture in his house that he was showing off in the video.

    i think he was a sociopath and incapable of really interacting with people. he was all show, trying to act normal as he imagined normal to be but his normal was all sterotypes, male and female.

    my two cents.

  46. I didn't read all responses, so apologies if I'm duplicating. I agree with Maria's initial post, and want to comment on Bram's response: "here are Women's Studies courses at most universities but I fail to recall anything so frivolous and as a Men's Studies seminar."

    There is actually a burgeoning field of masculinity studies ( or masculinities), often under the umbrella term Gender Studies. I took a masculinities course at Pitt recently, and it was excellent. One of the angles of most feminist theory is that sexism is bad for ALL genders, men and women alike. Gender stereotypes make everyone suffer. Men should NOT be ridiculed for sitting down to figure out how men operate, nor should women be excluded from the process (people outside a group often see things in different ways than those within. it's mutually beneficial; I wish there were more men who identified themselves as feminists). I'm a feminist for sure, and I think the traditional power dynamics between men and women are still slanted heavily against women; but I also just as strongly believe that we need to open up new ways of being and thinking and being perceived for men and boys in our culture.

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