What does it mean to be a man? A misinterpretation of this notion led to the unfortunate events in Santa Barbara less than two weeks ago when 22-year old Elliot Rodger targeted women in a rampage of revenge. Rodger killed six, and himself, as retribution to women for denying him what he believed he was entitled to as a man: sexual experiences.
In the last 33 years, 70 out of 71 mass murderers in the U.S. were men, many just like Elliot Rodger. So why do they do it?
Michael Crowder-Jones, a Male Academy advisor at Cabrillo High School, believes that young men retaliate the way they do because they have “an exaggerated sense of what it means to be a man based on the idea of guns and revenge.”
VoiceWaves asked young men at Long Beach high schools to shed some light on why these tragic events occur and why they believed most mass murders were perpetuated mostly by men. Is there something about the male experience that makes it easier for young men to turn campuses and movie theatres into killing fields? Below are their responses.
“Young men get caught in the vicious cycle of not living up to the ‘macho man’ way of being. This way of thinking causes men to think they are entitled to a certain level of respect or entitled to a certain lifestyle. ”- Eduardo Monroy, Cabrillo High School senior
“When societal pressures, personal miseries, or inconvenient truths engulf a male’s life, they tend to direct their pain on anything other themselves. Society and our American culture as a whole likes to push out an ideal lifestyle in order to market it back to us. When someone revolves their life around an unachievable ideal, they can often be let down and even feel betrayed by the culture they tried to emulate.”- David Estrada, Wilson High School senior
“In this [Santa Barabara] case, I believe that his chauvinistic characteristics made him believe he was unstoppable and women were to blame; that women are still minorities to society as they once were before the women’s movement.” –Marco Flores, Cabrillo High School senior
“I think males are typically the people who turn to these mass shootings because men usually don’t know how to deal with their emotions and the trauma that they’ve experienced. All that builds up until they finally can’t take it anymore, and they can snap. All those emotions that they have bottled up for years just turns into an action where their subconscious is turned off and turns into these mass killings.” –Eduardo Sanchez, Poly High School junior
“I believe that most mass shootings are perpetrated by men as a result of social and internal distress in those who find it harder to cope than others. It is often believed that men, in contrast to women, don’t have as much to deal with; this is what society has taught its people. Because men cannot express themselves openly, these outbreaks might ignite when they are around people that remind them of the pains they undergo and have to continue without telling anyone.”- Kevin Perez, Millikan High School junior