The man had a handgun permit

Extra excitement at the Columbus, Indiana Wal-Mart last Saturday.

Police say a gunshot wounded a woman inside a central Indiana Wal-Mart store after a man’s handgun fell from his pants and fired.

Columbus police Lt. Matt Myers says the 26-year-old woman was treated for an upper arm wound by medics at the store but declined to go to a hospital.

Myers says a 56-year-old man told officers that his handgun was in a holster when it fell from his waistband. One bullet hit the woman who was pushing a shopping cart with her newborn son inside.

Myers says officers confirmed the man had a handgun permit and he wasn’t arrested.

And that’s the end of the story.

The guy had a permit, and he wasn’t arrested – even though he dropped his gun in a popular discount store; even though the gun fired and injured a woman; even though the woman injured had a newborn baby with her. All fine, because he had a permit.

Something not quite right here.

The same battles over ideological purity

Christine Scheller reports at the Huffington Post’s Religion section on Women in Secularism…from the pov of someone not very keen on secularism.

When women leave moderate forms of religion, are their stories less interesting or was it a coincidence that all but one of the deconversion narratives I heard at the Women in Secularism III conference May 17 in Alexandria, Virginia, involved women leaving fundamentalist versions of faith? Because I’m a Christian, and I would leave those too.

So, she’s hinting, there should have been more about “moderate” forms of religion. [Read more...]

Movies powerfully condition what we desire and feel we deserve

Ann Hornaday responded to the Rogen-Apatow outrage, again at the Washington Post blog.

I was surprised Monday morning to discover that an essay I’d written over the weekend – about the YouTube video posted by Elliot Rodger, who took six lives and his own in Isla Vista, Calif., on Friday – had earned the wrath of filmmaker Judd Apatow and his frequent collaborator, actor Seth Rogen. (Rogen turned down a request from The Post to film a video segment in response to the original column.)

As un-fun as it is to be slammed by famous people, I could understand Apatow and Rogen’s dismay. Why would a movie reviewer even weigh in on the Isla Vista tragedy in the first place? It happened that Rodger taped a somewhat rambling, 6-minute rant, during which he explained that a combination of social and sexual rejection, loneliness and chronic feelings of unfairness contributed to the murders he was about to commit.

The video was startlingly well-produced – featuring rich lighting, careful staging and a classic California backdrop of palm trees. That, combined with the fact that Rodger himself grew up surrounded by the film industry, led me to write about how Hollywood movies – specifically wish-fulfillment fantasies and revenge-driven vigilante thrillers – might have informed an unstable young man’s ideas about what his college years and life in general were supposed to look like. Movies aren’t accurate reflections of real life, as I wrote in the essay. But there’s no doubt they powerfully condition what we desire and feel we deserve from it.

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Not all directors of frat-boy movies

Among the NotAllMen crowd are those persecuted neglected deprived dudes Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow, who are furious that a movie critic – a woman – suggested that frat boy movies might have effects on some boys’ ideation about women. By a funny and startling coincidence, Rogen and Apatow specialize in frat-boy movies.

Actor Seth Rogen has taken issue with a suggestion, published in The Washington Post, that his films — most recently the frat-boy comedy “Neighbors” — contributed to Elliott Rodger’s bloody rampage in Isla Vista, Calif., on Friday.

Rogen was responding to film critic Ann Hornaday’s column, in which she wrote:

as important as it is to understand Rodger’s actions within the context of the mental illness he clearly suffered, it’s just as clear that his delusions were inflated, if not created, by the entertainment industry he grew up in.

“How dare you imply that me getting girls in movies caused a lunatic to go on a rampage,” Rogen tweeted to Hornaday. He added: “I find your article horribly insulting and misinformed.”

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Not the faintest vestige of honour

Navi Pillay, the UN human rights High Commissioner, commented today on the murder of Farzana Parveen.

“I am deeply shocked by the death of Farzana Parveen, who, as in the case of so many other women in Pakistan, was brutally murdered by members of her own family simply because she married a man of her own choice,” said High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

“I do not even wish to use the phrase ‘honour killing’: there is not the faintest vestige of honour in killing a woman in this way,” she added in a news release, which also noted that Pakistan has one of the highest rates of violence against women globally.

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If you seriously want to contend that Elliot Rodger wasn’t motivated by hatred of women

A Facebook friend, Brian Murtagh, has a public post expressing fury at the “oh it wasn’t hatred of women” trope. It’s good to see such posts (and I’m seeing a lot of them), because this trope is truly disquieting and despair-inducing. I quote him with permission.

Look, if you seriously want to contend that Elliot Rodger wasn’t motivated by hatred of women, I don’t want you to unfriend me. I want you to explain your reasoning in a comment to this post.

I will then eviscerate your arguments, mock and castigate you thoroughly, then *I* will unfriend *you* – unless you convince me. Go on, give it your best fucking shot.

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If it’s good enough for Juvenal

Oh goody, Soraya Chemaly and David Futrelle were on an NPR talk show – On Point – today to talk about Rodger and misogyny. Before I listen, how about a quick look at the comments…

uh oh.

Perhaps Americans have grown too unaccustomed to reading various plays by Aristophanes or certain epigrams by Martial or certain satires by Juvenal, or certain poems by Villon or certain stories by Machiavelli, or certain aphorisms by Schopenhauer or certain stories by Maupassant . . . . perhaps if we had not become so keen to shield our eyes from what vexes or discomfits, we would today be well-equipped to consider familiar themes upon their recurrence.
Perhaps we’ve cultivated overmuch our taste for only the palatable.
Or perhaps contemporary utopian feminism may not be telling us anything wholly true (or actually realistic) about either women or men.

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His message of hope and love

Hard to believe but apparently not a hoax – “Joe the Plumber” says your dead kids don’t trump my rights.

Adam Weinstein at Gawker has the details.

Continuing his tradition of providing answers to questions no one fucking asked him, Joe decided to post an open letter to the families of victims killed in Elliot Rodger’s murder-suicide rampage over the weekend. Just the victims who were shot, though; not the ones who were stabbed.

His message of hope and love: Stay the fuck away from my guns.

I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But:

As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.

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More deep concern

From the Daily Beast this time. Emily Shire writes that #YesAllWomen is a good thing BUT it is not a perfect thing. Worryworry.

#YesAllWomen has led to an outpouring of simultaneously enlightening and disturbing examples of common-day occurrences of female harassment in theworkplace and world of dating. These, in turn, have inspired a number of men to tweet out their support and recognition of the dangers and double standards that misogyny has wrought.

However, #YesAllWomen also transformed a highly disturbed, socially isolated college student into a figure somehow worthy of legitimate discourse about the serious issues of misogyny. While it is inspiring to see positive conscious-raising tweets about the female experience come out of a national tragedy, there is also something dangerous about taking a deranged 22-year-old at his words. We don’t know what exactly drove Rodger to violence, and we can’t conclude that misogyny over mental illness or social rejection was the root cause.

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