Nikolas Cruz mass shooter: The recurring theme of the displaced white male enraged with his diminished status, his sudden emasculation and the nullification of his identity and what he believes he is entitled to.
In the days after the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school, which claimed the lives of 17 individuals while injuring another 15, at the hands of alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz, questions have been raised as to why yet another mass shooting was perpetrated at the hands of a white male?
Which is to wonder what is it about being a white male in America that creates degrees of unease, disconnect, and a desire to lash out when one finds themselves unable to win the affections of loved ones, assimilate in society, hold their economic own or simply attain (retain) a kind of expected social status that ought to reinforce their sense of masculinity and identity.
In almost all cases, the emasculation of the white male, his sense of diminished status and alienation are ripe circumstances that enrages him after coming to believe the myth of cultural appropriation, ‘that the world is for his taking’. Until it suddenly is not.
Noted a 2017 Newsweek article, ‘James Holmes, for example, had failed out of his PhD program when he opened fire in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Dylann Roof was unemployed when he gunned down nine people at the end of a prayer service in a Charteston, South Carolina church.’
‘There’s a feeling of entitlement that white men have that black men don’t,’ criminologist James Alan Fox told The Washington Post in 2012. ‘They often complain that their job was taken by blacks or Mexicans or Jews. They feel that a well-paid job is their birthright. It’s a blow to their psyche when they lose that. . . . If you’re a member of a group that hasn’t historically experienced unemployment, there’s a far greater stigma to [losing a job] than those who have.’
Told Brookings Institution senior fellow Darrell West via Xinhua following the November, 2017, church mass shooting at the hands of Devin Patrick Kelley, ‘There is a crisis of white males in the United States’,
Adding, ‘Those in the working class are feeling under siege and economically have not done well. Many live in areas that are not thriving, and this generates a lot of anger and resentment. If they are not doing well, they look for targets for their resentment and take it out on other people.’
White male mass shootings: a high correlation.
With few exceptions most of the mass shootings in the US are perpetrated by white males, from Parkland, Oakland, Las Vegas or Sutherland Springs. The reality runs counter to the narrative and hysteria that mass shootings are the domain of Islamic extremists (although there have been many instances), black men (who tend to predominantly usually shoot each other).
Absent from the above cluster are females, with only three mass shootings since 1982 perpetrated by women, despite women constituting 50% of the population and 50% of the victims. Which is to ponder, why is it that women, (white or black or any other race) don’t orchestrate mass shootings and to what degree is that related to the fact that women by nature are nurturing, more prone to inflicting domestic violence, when they do resort to violence as opposed to greater society.
A regard of any front page of a tabloid or a billboard poster will show that American society almost always reveres successful white men (of course there are token examples of adulation of black males too, but they too are often sequestered to that of entertainers and or sportsmen).
From titans of business, accomplished entertainers, former reality stars who become presidents, or industrious lawyers, financiers, these men command the respect of their peers and their particular communities. They seldom bare contempt, rage or antipathy towards their lot or peers, that though doesn’t excuse some of them exercising sexual harassment or behaving capriciously with their ability to hire or fire, or keep others below them in line.
White male mass shooters: Disconnected, marginalized, disempowered and emasculated.
Increasingly there are many white males in today’s America struggling with the disconnect of their actual day to day existence and what they believe is owed to them, are entitled to and their distrust and apprehension of a subset of society which they believe has robbed them of their dominion, status and masculinity. A masculinity which is so often ramped up by with the association of guns and violence and contempt and deep distrust of others.
Many of these men, living in malaise, economic peril, relegated, marginalized, so often turn to domestic abuse, alcoholism, substance abuse as a panacea for failing to live up to their own version of success and assimilation within their particular strata of society.
And then there those men who feel compelled to resort to toxic palpable forms of violence, which the AK-47 rifle, the arsenal of choice represents, their rage insurmountable, reminded over and over that they are worth zero, less than zero in fact. Reminded by the media that as a white male in America, he is the aggressor, the root cause of racism, sexual predator, repressor of women, enabler of homophobia, exploitation.
Their seething rage finally finds a commanding outlet, one that ensures that they too will also rise to eternal meaningfulness (even in dastardly acts) and the rebuke and vilification of a world that dared reject and displace them.
Nikolas Cruz mass shooter: In search of a robbed sense of self and the vacuum of race and violence.
By the time Nikolas Cruz pumped out his AK-47 rifle on Wednesday, he had been relegated to a ‘gig’ at a dead end dollar store, homeless (he was living with friends after his mother passed away in November- who appears to have been the one stable force in his life).
Cruz had also been rejected by a love interest at school, had allegedly taken to abusing her along with her new boyfriend (who one imagines he felt threatened and emasculated by- a theme echoed by Santa Barbara shooter, Elliot Rodger who voiced that one of his reasons of shooting, pointing to his hatred of women and his disbelief despite his father’s wealth couldn’t still land the babes he believed he was entitled to).
By the time he was expelled, Cruz was the token symbol of misfit, ridicule and consistent trouble maker who found himself seeking solace and empowerment by hurting animals, other children and the threat of power and dominance by his new ever accumulating arsenal of weapons which he documented on his Instagram account, which he happily shared with others.
Another factor to consider, while it remains debatable to what extent Cruz extended political sympathies to one Florida white nationalist militia group, Republic of Florida, which revels in the notion of the supremacy of white males, the exclusion of non whites, distrust of feminism and homosexuals. Themes that have resounded with many seemingly disempowered white males in the South who are struggling with the new global capitalist realities and economic displacement that has caused many young white men in the US, who are no longer the adulated breadwinners that their fathers were back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
Nevertheless, the white nationalist group appealed to Cruz, he had gone on shooting training runs and felt a kind of connection with other white men. Except these white men found cohesion and acceptance in each other, where as Cruz at the end of the day was still the misfit, the odd man out, who needed to go one beyond just going off on ‘training firing runs.’
That said, it bears worth mentioning that according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, more than 100 people have been killed or injured by perpetrators influenced by the alt-right since 2014. Again the theme of re iterating the displacement of white males in their perceived rightful place in society which suddenly said they were expendable.
And that there might lie a resolution of the drama and violence most of us are seeing too often in America. Whether we enact gun control (this author is inclined to believe the less incidence of guns in circulation begets less violent forms of deaths), mental health awareness (as if that were the only way to move forward) without failing to also realize the economic and social displacement that so many white males are acutely feeling and their sense of helplessness and the avarice of a capitalistic system that will spit any of us of out, especially those of us from lower economic social strata unable to find the resources and state of mind to calm down, take a deep breath and believe in the mantra that the American dream can also exist for them too….