Reflections on political violence and its aftermath


Has there ever been a violent act that had a single cause? I doubt it.

Last Saturday night in Orlando, Omar Mateen took an automatic rifle into an LGBT nightclub, slaughtered 49 innocent people and left a similar number grievously wounded and maimed.  The next evening on Sky TV, presenter Mark Longhurst caused a storm by repeatedly insisting that the murders had nothing to do with the victims’ sexuality or the killers’ homophobia but was purely in the modern tradition of Islamist terrorism, and that this was not an attack on the LGBT community but on ‘humanity.’. One of his guests, the (gay) Guardian columnist Owen Jones walked off the set in disgust. The next morning the UK set about enthusiastically dividing itself into one or other camp. As the days have gone by, various other jigsaw pieces have emerged: Mateen had a history of abuse; his father is close to the Taleban; he was a closeted homosexual; come on everyone, pick your horse and flog it.

This morning the same country is reeling in shock at the brutal killing of Jo Cox, a member of parliament and much-admired champion of human rights, asylum and refuge and international development, not to mention mother to two small children. Initial reports suggested her killer had shouted ‘Britain first” during and after the fatal fracas, leading to the instant assumption that was an act of fascist terrorism inspired by the increasingly ugly and racist tone of the EU referendum campaign. Within a few hours a second explanatory narrative had emerged that insisted the alleged killer Thomas Mair had no interest in politics but was, surprise, surprise, a “loner with a history of mental health problems.”

Mair is alive and in custody, so presumably we will eventually get reasonably informative answers to these questions. I have no stomach for adding to the speculation beyond pointing out that ‘mental health problems’ is not any kind of an explanation for a violent act. Yes, there is a minuscule subset of psychiatric conditions which can cause people to behave violently under certain circumstances, and there are various so-called personality disorders which provide a convenient label for other seemingly irrational or destructive acts. From what little we know thus far, there is little to suggest Mair fell into either category.

The truth is I don’t know why Mair might have felt motivated to go to his MP’s surgery with a refurbished vintage pistol and a knife and right now, neither do you.

We have been here many a time before.

Was Richard Reid a disturbed delinquent, shuffling from prison to criminal lifestyle to cause to cause, desperate for validation or a religious fanatic radicalised by murderous hate preachers?

Was Elliot Rodger a rich young white man driven by rampant entitlement and violent misogyny or a deeply damaged, mentally ill, autistic victim of bullying, loneliness and isolation?

Was Michael Adebowale, one of the killers of Guardsman Lee Rigby an Islamist fundamentalist terrorist or a borderline schizophrenic on a narcissistic suicide mission?

Was Dylann Roof a violent white supremacist intent on murdering as many African-American people as he could or (again) a disturbed loner with a history of mental illness?

Was Paris bomber Ibrahim Abdeslam a devout Muslim intent on establishing a global caliphate or a jobless stoner drifting in search of an identity?

Was Aileen Wournos a cold-hearted serial killer or a terribly damaged victim of exploitation and male violence who finally cracked?

And so on and so on and so on.

If and when we are honest with ourselves, the answers to all of the questions above are yes to all of the above and much, much more and no to all of the above and much, much more. Human actions, particularly those with potentially profound, life-changing consequences, are never taken because of one reason. Even when we consciously decide to do something for specific and discrete reasons, our decisions are made within personalities that have been forged by an entire lifetime of influences. Deeds of deliberate and extreme violence often erupt out of a raging internal volcano of anger, frustration and bitterness which long predate the immediate trigger or conscious motivation for the act.

In a very astute post this week, written after Orlando but before Birstall, the blogger Carter wrote:

If I have learned anything about understanding anger it is that the first step in helping myself, and others, is understanding that anger is not a first order emotion; anger exists, and flourishes, because of something else we feel or have experienced.

Learning to say not ‘I feel angry’ but ‘I feel angry because…’ is essential.

I cannot complete that sentence for Omar Mateen. Beware anyone who tells you that they can. Responsibility for that could only have rested with Omar Mateen, and he is not going to complete the task.

We can never know how Mateen would have finished that sentence. It is likely we will never know how Thomas Mair would finish that sentence, because it is likely that even Thomas Mair doesn’t really know. So where does this leave us?

Personally, it leaves me with a claggy, gnawing disgust at the reactions to political violence on all sides. I am certainly not immune to the instinctive, kneejerk reaction that seeks to hold someone or something responsible for horrible crimes, and the more horrible the crime, the stronger the urge to extend that responsibility wider. A powerful bit of my soul wants to blame online neo-Nazis like Britain First or even Nigel Farage and the racism of the Leave campaign for the murder of Jo Cox.  The same bit of my soul wants to blame global geopolitics, fundamentalist religion and homophobic social mores for the murders in Orlando. I have realised this instinct is something I must resist.

Instead, I try to fall back on two truths. The first is that in every single case I have listed in this post, the killers who committed the crimes are entirely responsible for their own deeds. They cannot and should not be excused or mitigated far less justified. Thomas Mair killed Jo Cox because he wanted to kill Jo Cox.

The second truth is that every single one of us is the product of the society we create and tolerate. A society which tolerates or foments racist bigotry and hatred will, at its fringes, tolerate and foment racist violence. A society which tolerates or foments misogyny and homophobia will inevitably include misogynistic and homophobic violence. A society which considers civilian casualties to be a price worth paying as collateral damage in pursuit of political ends cannot be surprised when individuals take this to heart and put it into practice.

It is in the nature of political violence that the perpetrators want to make us complicit in their crimes, by noticing, by reacting, by debating, by responding. Of course we cannot just ignore crimes like these, nor can we simply ignore the politics in political murder. We can, however, resist the temptation to slip into pat solutions that do nothing to enlighten or explain, but merely bolster a pre-existing ideological position.

Comments

  1. Ad Verdiesen says

    what if the pseudological postmodern lies feminism and homosexuality represent violence, represent fakefun and feelgood terrorism represent gov’t-violence, how would your analysis be then?

  2. redpesto says

    The media response the the Orlando shootings reminded me of the tale of the blind men and the elephant: ‘Each one feels a different part, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk’ – except in reality each one feels a different part, and ‘concludes’ that’s the only part that matters, so the elephant is ‘really’ a wall or ‘tree branch’.

    I counted at least five ‘takes’ on Comment Is Free that demonstrated that Orlando was ‘really’ about, amongst other things, ‘domestic violence’ or ‘gun control’. Opinionators have gotta have opinions, I guess, which means they cannot resist ‘the temptation to slip into pat solutions that do nothing to enlighten or explain, but merely bolster a pre-existing ideological position’ because that’s what they get paid for. The same thing will happen with the death of Jo Cox. I recognise the feelings you have, and I also recognise that allowing those feelings to be more complex might be better than fitting it into a an agenda merely to say ‘I told you so’ or ‘I blame my pet hates.’

  3. says

    …slaughtered 49 innocent people…

    If six out of seven of the dead had been women, the blogosphere would have been awash with commentary noting this fact, interrogating it, theorizing about it.

    But six out of seven weren’t women. They were men. That’s an 86% male casualty rate. I haven’t seen a single news report or blog post acknowledge this fact.

  4. Ally Fogg says

    Indeed, Daran. And 90% were Hispanic, but that didn’t get much of a mention either.

  5. says

    If six out of seven of the dead had been women, the blogosphere would have been awash with commentary noting this fact, interrogating it, theorizing about it.

    But six out of seven weren’t women. They were men. That’s an 86% male casualty rate. I haven’t seen a single news report or blog post acknowledge this fact.

    But would it be if people thought that was the reason for the murders? The focus hasn’t been their sex or their race, but their orientation because that is what’s seen as the likely cause for them being a target.

    There were some people after Charleston who tried to make that about the victims being Christian, but it wasn’t the case. The focus was on them being African-American because that’s why they were murdered.

  6. Ally Fogg says

    Yep, that is the size of it Tabby.

    I think there is an interesting point in there somehow about the intersection of homosexuality and masculinity (ie homophobia takes significantly different forms when targeted at men or women) but this isn’t really the occasion for it.

  7. oneforthetreble says

    I think it’s been pretty shameful the speed in which various bandwagons have been latched onto this. I’ve just read Michael Whites article about the Stephen Timms stabbing and the tone was completely different and far more appropriate. Granted, Jo Cox sadly lost her life but both of the attackers intent was exactly the same.

  8. says

    But would it be if people thought that was the reason for the murders?

    That merely moves the question on one notch. Why, when the victims are overwhelmingly male, don’t people think this has anything to do with the reason for the murders? Do you doubt for a second that if six out of seven had been female, that people would have been silent on this issue? That nobody would have suggested a misogynistic motivation?

  9. says

    I think there is an interesting point in there somehow about the intersection of homosexuality and masculinity (ie homophobia takes significantly different forms when targeted at men or women)

    Indeed it does, but that wasn’t the point I was going for here. My point is about the disparity in the coverage.

    but this isn’t really the occasion for it.

    Then when is the occasion? Are we to wait until some moment when there are no atrocities killing men in overwhelming numbers?

  10. drken says

    When this sort of thing happens, there’s this tendency to oversimplify and say one thing and one thing only is responsible, so thanks Ally for pointing out that things can be very complicated.

    @Daran,
    If this was a female shooter with a history of association (or at least admiration) of violent Rad-Fem groups, opening fire at an all-mens club, or some other place you’d expect to be predominantly, if not exclusively male, then yes, it would be correct to theorize about how this could be a hate-crime against men. But, the facts as they presented themselves were that it was a Muslim man with a history of association/admiration of violent Islamic groups. So, the two reasons people came up with were 1) He targeted a group of Americans as we are the enemy of ISIL. 2) He targeted a gay bar because Islam punishes homosexuality with death. 3) both A and B. As it was Latino night, there was some theorizing about how anti-immigration sentiment played into it, but we have no idea if he even knew about that. Unless something comes up to suggest he was targeting men for some reason, such as the old “any man of fighting age is considered a military target” justification for killing civilians, there’s no reason to think he targeted men for being men.

  11. Marduk says

    I’ve seen no evidence that either was actually a political act. Mair its too early, Mateen it looks less and less likely with each batch of information released. Seems to have the profile of a school shooter more than anything. I think we should stop buying into his bullshit, his actions don’t deserve the dignity of this kind of effort, and stop talking about him actually, its just encouraging the next one.

  12. Lady Mondegreen says

    @Daran–If you honestly think the victims of the Orlando atrocity were targeted because they were men, then you should say so and argue your point (whether here or elsewhere is Ally’s call.) I’ve seen nothing to indicate Mateen hated men qua men.

    When murders are motivated at least in part by misogyny, feminists point out that, in fact, misogyny was a factor. The point isn’t “more women than men were killed in this massacre, boo hoo.” It’s “women were targeted by this man who held misogynist beliefs. These beliefs exist in the zeitgeist and can have murderous consequences.”

  13. StillGjenganger says

    @Lady Mondegreen 13
    It is pretty obvious that the Orlando shooting did not target men out of misandry (and yes, I am also tired of the ‘feminism envy’ that makes MRAs always look fo having the same things that the femnists have). But the comparison is a little more interesting if you loook in the other direction. How often do you know for sure that “murders are motivated at least in part by misogyny“? And might it happen that feminists sometimes take the misogyny aspect for granted and use it as an argument for their political aims, without actually proving that the specific criminal was motivated by hatred of women?

  14. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally
    Very good and necessary article. I just have a small quibble amid the agreement, about this:

    A society which tolerates or foments racist bigotry and hatred will, at its fringes, tolerate and foment racist violence. A society which tolerates or foments misogyny and homophobia will inevitably include misogynistic and homophobic violence..

    I would not disagree that, by and large, the stronger the social pressure against e.g. misogyny, the less openly misogunist violence you will get. But I would be careful about jumping to the conclusion that ‘(mildly) misogynist attitudes cause the violence’. How far would the increased social control reduce the amount of hatred in society? How far would it simply suppress the open expression? How far would it displace the violence onto other targets, less strongly protected or less easy to track? It is an open question whether, in a society more tolerant of homosexuality, Mateen would have killed the same people anyway, whether he would have chosen another target, or whether he would have stayed at home drinking tea.

  15. Ally Fogg says

    So Mair was in court this morning and when asked for his name replied “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain.”

    So I guess that kinda clears up the politics, Marduk.

    (But anyway, I’d argue that a crime with immediate and obvious political consequences is a political event, even if that wasn’t the conscious intention of the perpetrator)

  16. Ally Fogg says

    Gjenganger

    But I would be careful about jumping to the conclusion that ‘(mildly) misogynist attitudes cause the violence’.

    It is not a binary but a spectrum. The more you put in the more you’ll get out.

    How far would the increased social control reduce the amount of hatred in society? How far would it simply suppress the open expression?

    I don’t think social control is any kind of solution. It does nothing to reduce hatred.

    We reduce (identity-based) hatred in society by social consensus and social influence, which is entirely different.

    To understand the difference, it is the difference between the police and authorities arresting someone for saying something inappropriate, and all of us taking responsibility for policing the social interactions around us. The former is utterly ineffective and sometimes counterproductive in changing attitudes, the latter is highly effective.

  17. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally 17. A spectrum? OK.

    But I am, in all honesty, not quite clear about the difference between ‘socal control’, and ‘policing the social interactions around us’.

    My standard example is Scandinavian immigration policies. For a long time it was very much the official culture that ‘we’ were tolerant, ‘we’ welcomed people from different cultures, and anybody who talked against that or said that immigration was not a good thing was consiidered brutish, vulgar, and not someone who should open his mouth in public. As I analyse it, the pressure from people who felt that immigration was problematic, grew and grew, until the dam could not hold,and the cultural elites who disagreed had to concede these voices space in public discourse. In Sweden later than in Denmark, probably because Swedish culture is more respectful twards authority. Is that ‘social control’, or ‘social unfluence’ And whatever you call it, what would be your recipe for avoiding the anti-immigration shift in a society under stress and fast changing from completely homogenous to multicultural? If it is not simply making it too soially costly for people with teh wrong opinions to speak up in public?

  18. Marduk says

    16.
    We’ll see, I think these things tend to be both far more straightfoward and and far more complex than you allow for (which is to say, certainly not simple enough that you are going to crack it by writing a paragraph more than the next man… but most people who do these things do them because they seem like a good idea at the time and its this brute simplicity that people find so frightening it leads them to start sifting through causes). Mateen admired people who were famous for killing people for (varied and opposing) causes, he wanted to be like them.

    17.
    I don’t agree with the premise here, I think you’ve gone into auto-lefty mode without thinking about it. Its tempting because its the fitting tribute etc. etc. but I don’t really believe we do live in an especially hate-filled society. People don’t commit political crimes because the consensus is on their side.

    I think this is why it reads like you are advocating totalitarianism but don’t seem to realise how that could be read into what you are saying. Actually if society become markedly more liberally, we’d probably have to expect more desperate acts from people who really don’t like it. The only way it would work would be if people who disagree aren’t allowed to exist.

  19. Thil says

    there’s seven billion people on Earth and they all have somewhat random personalities. throw the dice that many times and you’re going to get some mass murderers, no matter how socially progressive your society is.

    I think these types of people who find something else to be mad about if the issues they kill for didn’t exist

  20. lorn says

    The common thread in most (all?) of these cases is that we have individuals living in this society, people with an array of problems and conflicts, but still fairly normal individuals facing rough times, like most of us do. The difference is that these people gave up, despaired, and, lacking any hope for anything better, decided to take it out on society while ending it for themselves.

    Sure, they all had specific targets for their rage: the federal building, coworkers, homosexuals. And most of them declared they were doing it for some higher cause, Islam, ISIS, the militia movement. Often it seems these late breaking pledges of loyalty are afterthoughts. With the association chosen to cause as much pain to the surrounding society as possible. But all that sounds more like after-the-fact excuses intended to add meaning to the emptiness of having lost all hope of it ever getting better.

    It seems increasingly clear to me that these people give up first. These attacks are largely elaborate exit strategies dressed up with a fill-in-the-blank target of opportunity, and a nod to a greater cause. These United States of America have lost the magic of optimism and opportunity. Suicides of previously middle class white people are way up. People are giving up. Some of them are giving up and leaving in th most spectacular way they can imagine.

  21. says

    But I am, in all honesty, not quite clear about the difference between ‘socal control’, and ‘policing the social interactions around us’.

    I understand Ally’s remark as advocating individual expression of disapproval directed at those around us who express hateful sentiments, as opposed to top-down action by those in power.

    The problem I see with this is that people tend to associate with like-minded people. People who oppose hatred won’t find much to police in their immediate social environment, while people surrounded by bigotry are likely to share it.

  22. says

    Lady Mondegreen:

    @Daran–If you honestly think the victims of the Orlando atrocity were targeted because they were men, then you should say so and argue your point (whether here or elsewhere is Ally’s call.)

    I don’t know. My points are 1. That six out of seven of those killed were male is a notable feature of this atrocity, 2. Why were six out of seven of those killed were male is a reasonable question to ask, and 3. That almost nobody seems to have noted this feature, or asked this question is itself notable and questionable.

    I don’t have an answer to question 2. As to point 3, I think it comes down to the zeitgeist you go on to talk about. Put simply, the violent victimisation of men is viewed as normal and expected. The victimisation of women is viewed as abnormal and pathological (There’s an epidemic of violence against women, dontcha know?) Thus we look to gender for an explanation for female victimisation, but not for male, even when it is a huge factor.

    I’ve seen nothing to indicate Mateen hated men qua men.

    The idea that there must be hatred of men manifested in some kind of platonic purity, uncontaminated by other motivations sets the bar too high, way higher than it is set when seeing misogyny in the violent victimisation of women.

    When murders are motivated at least in part by misogyny, feminists point out that, in fact, misogyny was a factor. The point isn’t “more women than men were killed in this massacre, boo hoo.”

    If that is intended to imply that my stance here amounts to “more men than women were killed, boo hoo”, then it is both a grossly offensive suggestion and a total misapprehension of my position.

    It’s “women were targeted by this man who held misogynist beliefs. These beliefs exist in the zeitgeist and can have murderous consequences.”

    To be honest, feminists sometimes find misogyny when there is very little evidence of it. For example, this post about the Charleston Church shooting concluding that “[t]he motivation for killing six women and three men at church … must have been that black women are disposable”. In fact, if the killer had chosen nine victims at random, the likelihood of the gender distribution being that skewed or worse is about 50% percent. In contrast, the odds against a random choice of victims resulting in 42 or more out of 49 being the same sex are about one in three million.

    More broadly I agree with you, Feminist very often do identify “beliefs” which “exist in the zeitgeist and can have murderous consequences” for women, and it is reasonable to classify those beliefs as misogynist. There are also beliefs which have murderous consequences for men. Whether and to what extent such beliefs were at play in Orlando, I don’t know, and neither do you. And we never will know, in respect of this or any other atrocity, if we don’t ask the question or even notice the gender-disparity.

  23. says

    Not sure what happened there. Most of my comment went AWOL. I meant to write

    It is pretty obvious that the Orlando shooting did not target men out of misandry

    How is that “obvious”? What’s your explanation for the gender disparity? If you have one, how do you know it is correct? If you don’t, how do you know for certain that misandry had nothing to do with it?

  24. says

    What’s your explanation for the gender disparity?

    Because it was a gay nightclub and more often the clientele are largely male (there’s a whole thing out there about disappearing lesbian bars).

    Homophobia is also largely centered on gay men. Lesbians suffer from it too, but all it takes is listening to a few minutes of homophobes to hear how fixated they are on gay men. The closest that comes to misandry is that they hate these men for not behaving the way they expect men to act. Homophobia tends to be more tied up with misogyny though.

    Transphobia, on the other hand, if you listen to all the arguments for bathroom bills those are all filled with serious misandry. If you listen to their arguments, men are monsters and predators who will stop at nothing to get their perverted hands on women and girls.

  25. StillGjenganger says

    @Daran 25
    If there is any evidence that he deliberately avoided killing women who were there, there might be something to discuss. What is obvious is that he specifically targeted a gay venue, so he clearly had a thng about gays (he seemed to have some kind of gay thing himself). For the rest, I think the lack of evidence really is enough. For comparison, what is the likelihood that Anders Bering Breivik had a specific hatred of the young (low), of socialists (high), of Norwegians (low).

  26. sonofrojblake says

    Coming in late, but…

    I counted at least five ‘takes’ on Comment Is Free that demonstrated that Orlando was ‘really’ about

    Domestic violence, homophobia, Islamism, racism and gun control are, I’m speculating, the five things.

    I’ve pointed out elsewhere that there are domestically violent racist homphobic theocrats in the UK, too. There are (see Mair), politically motivated violent nutters here, and in many other places.

    What distinguishes Orlando is not the homophobia or racism, the theological or political motivation, or the history of domestic violence. It’s the fact the perp exhibiting those traits was able to bimble out and buy assault weaponry.

    It is here that the attack on Jo Cox is actually legitimately instructive as a comparison. If Mateen had turned up to Pulse armed as Thomas Mair was, the two or three people he killed would have merited a top story in local news and a footnote in national. Here in the UK, I’d likely never have heard of it, just as I don’t know anything about the average 30 homicides-by-firearm that happened yesterday in the US, or the day before. It is only the mass nature of the attack that sets it apart, and mass attacks by a single attacker are only possible with efficient weaponry.

  27. 123454321 says

    Daran, I don’t think he specifically targeted men because they were men. Look at it this way: he may have specifically avoided targeting women?
    I think Thil nails the sad state of the world and its people in #20

  28. Marduk says

    A more legitimate example of gender bias in these things was the Elliot Rodger case. There was a narrative surrounding it, not ill-founded given the moron wrote a manifesto, but what he actually did wasn’t well reported at the time and isn’t in popular consciousness well remembered now.

    If you ask anyone or read nearly any comment piece, Rodger was a misogynist who killed two women and tried to shoot and run over more.

    The three men he stabbed to death and one he killed with a gun? Nobody remembers or cares to mention them. This has not been without consequence because the families of the men who were stabbed have taken action against the police force who it seems were also affected by the media narrative and considered them (and their families) second-class victims.

    It was for sure a misogynistic hate crime, just see if you can find anyone who remembers he killed more men than women.

    This is actually one of the reasons why I resent even inquiring into the politics of people who do these things, it feels like giving them something they don’t deserve and with Rodger it seems like he actually had the media playing along with him by retrospectively conforming his acts to match his manifesto. I mean, does he deserve that victims get ignored to maintain the ideological lines of his argument?

  29. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    The thing is, Breivik didn’t kill any Muslims, he killed people *because* of his twisted ideology, not because they were his readily identified victims. Same with the pathetic Mr Rodger.

  30. Marduk says

    31.

    I don’t disagree, i’m just saying nobody remembers those people, not even the investigating police force it turns out.

    I have no idea what Mair is supposed to have to do with the EU referendum but hark to the Blairites who feel this now gives them cover to condemn the politics of Tony Benn and Barabara Castle (how inconvenient) as hate-filled and a cause of this outrage. I’m voting Remain but seriously, its about membership of a trade-bloc which is hammering Southern Europe because Goldman Sachs tells them to, don’t turn this into something more noble than it is.

    Speaking of how these acts are always an expression of dark political undercurrents, to the nearest dozen, how many CIF think pieces do you think there will be about how the political views leading to this need to be censored and how they are evidently the calling-card of a sick society in need of muscular reform?
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/20/donald-trump-assassination-attempt-las-vegas-rally

  31. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    Well, actually, I think the fact that a UK citizen who appears to be homeless can procure firearms training is a comment on the state of gun control in America.

    Re the EU, it acts as a bulwark against the worst excesses of the right-wing in the UK. That’s reason enough to vote remain, but there are plenty of opthers

  32. says

    It was for sure a misogynistic hate crime, just see if you can find anyone who remembers he killed more men than women.

    Marduk, I’m a feminist who remembers this fact. Considering how many people tried to wave away his manifesto to pretend that he wasn’t motivated by misogyny, I don’t know many people who don’t remember that.

  33. Marduk says

    33.

    A lot of member states would suggest its exporting Thatcherism to places previously free from it.
    I think its far too long term to characterise the EU and for that matter the British government as anything much in particular.

    Truth is that its a good deal for Britain, a terrible deal for most member states. But they have shown they are prepared to suffer and sacrifice their children’s futures so, more fool them.. How this has ever been represented as a left wing thing escapes all rational understanding. People point at Farrage and say he is for an exit, apparently George Osborn being reduced to making apocalyptic threats against the poorest in society isn’t worth noting. Most be that he loves social justice that much eh.

  34. Marduk says

    34.

    Before it was deleted I’d direct you to Brute Reason here on FTB for a good example.
    I’m not entirely imagining this.

  35. Luther Blissett says

    Ally, you and your readers might be interested in the following links;

    http://rxisk.org/antidepressants-and-violence-the-numbers/

    http://rxisk.org/how-do-ssris-and-other-medications-cause-violence-and-why-dont-people-spot-the-connection/

    http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001875 (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Violent Crime: A Cohort Study)

    There is evidence that in some people, antidepressants can cause violent ideas and actions. If this is true in people with whom it is out of character, what about the more boderline cases of people who are already angry and or have violent thoughts?

    Why isn’t more done to study and determine the facts?

  36. says

    Carnation @31:

    The thing is, Breivik didn’t kill any Muslims

    Please stop just pulling crap out of your arse. At least seven of Breivik’s victims were muslims.

  37. Lucy says

    Ally Fogg, March 11th:
    “For the record, the only UK research to have investigated women’s motives in intimate partner homicides found that a fewer of a quarter of (female-on-male, domestic violence) offenders cited self-defence as their motive. Most killed out of anger or jealousy.”

    Lucy, March 19th:
    “Anger isn’t a motive, it’s a consequence of a motive. “

    Ally Fogg, June 17th:
    In a very astute post this week, written after Orlando but before Birstall, the blogger Carter wrote:

    “If I have learned anything about understanding anger it is that the first step in helping myself, and others, is understanding that anger is not a first order emotion; anger exists, and flourishes, because of something else we feel or have experienced.
    Learning to say not ‘I feel angry’ but ‘I feel angry because…’ is essential.”

  38. Lucy says

    Of course the crucial factor is that they were both male. As has been every single US spree shooter and would-be assassin and 95% of its killers annually.

    The same pattern is starkly apparent in every political camp, in every single country in every single historical record and every city reduced to rubble in the world and every trillion dollar defence budget. Leading one to reasonably conclude something more than culture, politics and loners are at play.

    The fact that there is no Prevent Strategy for this, no “we’ll never surrender our freedoms” to this, might lead one reasonably to the conclusion that testosterone is the real Elephant in The Room.

  39. Carnation says

    @ Tamen

    Lol, you’re a charmer, aren’t you?

    Why is it MRAs revert to the scatological so often? Weird.

  40. says

    Call me what you like, it doesn’t change the fact that you tried to pass off a falsehood as a fact. A falsehood I curiously enough previously only have seen from conspiracy theorists of the islamophobic bent who desperately didn’t want Breivik to be seen as one of them.

    The youths Breivik killed who were Muslims were real people with families who doesn’t deserve that someone on the Internet erases their loss.

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