I wonder where he got those of ideas of masculine entitlement?


Minnesota had its own local tragedy recently: a man walked up to a child at the Mall of America, and abruptly and intentionally threw them off a 3rd floor balcony. The child is currently in critical condition at a local hospital. Beyond the act itself, what’s horrifying is the attacker’s reason.

“He said he planned to kill an adult, because they usually stand near the balcony, but he chose the Victim instead,” the complaint said.

Aranda told investigators he had been going to the Bloomington mall for several years “and had made efforts to talk to women in the Mall, but had been rejected, and the rejection caused him to lash out and to be aggressive.”

He had been pestering women and been rejected, so he marched off and decided to murder a random innocent. He felt justified in killing someone because women spurned his creepy ass.

Now there’s a sense of entitlement. I am a man, therefore women owe me sex. If they don’t give it me, I can vent my frustration by murdering people. If I am caught, I can give that as my explanation and expect officials to sympathize.

Comments

  1. cartomancer says

    I wonder whether focusing on the entitlement angle to the exclusion of all else is overlooking an aspect of the problem here.

    It seems to me that there is a second, just as worrying, element to the thinking of this man. The idea that a spectacular public murder is an appropriate, cathartic and justified response to personal inner frustrations. I don’t think that stems from a sense of entitlement. I think that’s another issue entirely, and one which is not as often or as well addressed.

    The epidemic of mass shootings in the US seem cut from the same cloth. There is something about the culture of the US (very particularly, but not exclusively I would guess) over the last 30 years that has created a popular narrative of the suppressed individual frustrated at society who commits acts of gross antisocial notoriety as a protest against it. Not acts of collaboration, not acts of agitation to reform, not attempts to find others to share their loneliness or help them cope or even attempts to escape – acts of brutal, uncooperative, self-centred rage.

    Now, in my fluffy Marxist brain there are all sorts of thoughts here about alienation and lack of class consciousness and lack of investment in the idea of the common good. A scholar of modern media might point to literary and cinematic and video game narratives where lone heroes go up against the society that spurned them – I note that Ayn Rand is widely read in the US, where almost nobody has heard of her trashy oeuvre anywhere else. But whatever the causes, there is something in the cultural zeitgeist that leads perfectly ordinary frustrated men to contemplating such acts.

  2. Dauphni says

    @cartomancer

    Isn’t thinking someone else’s life is yours to take not also a form of entitlement?

  3. consciousness razor says

    Him saying something about being rejected somehow doesn’t really tell us all that much about the causes of his behavior. People aren’t reliable narrators. They’re not generally good at analyzing or diagnosing themselves. Nullius in verba is a pretty decent motto.
    And we already know there is a lot more in his background (from the same Star Tribune article):

    Aranda, who has roots in the Chicago area, has a felony conviction for first-degree property damage as well as a long string of misdemeanor arrests and convictions. He also has had arrests in Illinois, including on charges of assault and theft. The disposition of those cases is not clear from Illinois state records.
    In a previous Minnesota criminal case, Aranda told police that “he has some anger issues” after being arrested for allegedly smashing computers at a Minneapolis public library, according to court records.
    In 2015, he was arrested at the Mall of America after a police officer saw him throwing items from the mall’s upper level. Aranda was ordered to stay away from the mall for a year, but he ignored the order. He was arrested at the mall weeks later for aggressively panhandling and harassing two women and for throwing drinking glasses at diners in a mall restaurant.

  4. says

    Yeah, he’s a mess of a human being.

    However, the disturbing thing isn’t that he concocted an excuse, accurate or not. It’s that he seemed to think this particular excuse, that he’d been dismissed by women, was just and would earn him a bit of sympathy.

  5. microraptor says

    I think the number of people who accept that excuse as valid are the real disturbing thing, just like what happened after the Virginia Tech and Umpqua Community College shootings.

  6. cartomancer says

    Dauphni, #3,

    I’m not sure that’s how this plays out in the heads of these people. It seems more likely that they commit the murders because they are transgressive acts that will upset others, not because they feel entitled to commit them. If he genuinely felt that other people’s lives were his to do with as he wished then he wouldn’t be trying to excuse what he did – he’d be baffled that other people have a problem with it in the first place. Indeed, it’s precisely because they feel they’re not entitled to kill others that they try to do so – as two fingers up to the society that governs who is entitled to do what.

  7. says

    This is about sociopathy not entitlement. Because of their abusive upbringing sociopaths are disturbed and impulsive. He was conditioned to try to solve any problem with violence. Female sociopaths can do similar things.

  8. Chabneruk says

    An unforgivable crime, stemming from despicable motivation. It is sad to read this and even sadder to read the mother’s first reaction, being in shock and all: “Pray for my son!” On top on this unbelievable crime, a mother is indoctrinated so much that she does not scream “Help my son” or “Save my son” but “Pray for my son!”

    I am shocked on so many levels right now.

  9. chrislawson says

    Michael Fullerton: you can suspect but you can’t assume a diagnosis of Anti-Social Personality Disorder (the psychiatric term for sociopathy) based on a brief news report before the man has even had a psychiatric assessment; the cause of APSD is not as simple as being abused as a child (although that is a strong risk factor); APSD does not mean being conditioned to use violence to solve problems; and having APSD does not exclude the possibility of entitlement.

  10. says

    @Michael Fullerton:

    This is about sociopathy not entitlement.

    a. You think sociopaths don’t feel an unearned or exaggerated sense of entitlement?
    b. “Sociopathy” is arguably (though not certainly*) not a mental illness. Personality disorders are disorders of the personality, and the personality, in psychology, is defined as observable tendencies in choice making.
    c. Sociopaths are not universally violent. Violence isn’t in the definition and the vast majority of those who fit the definition are no more violent than the average member of their society of the same age and gender. Acts of violence, then, can’t be explained by sociopathy alone. While appeals to an explanation relying on entitlement alone would also be wrong, in your statement you’re not just saying sociopathy is involved, you’re asserting that other things are NOT involved. This is contradicted by what we know about violence and sociopathy.

    Female sociopaths can do similar things.

    d. While they certainly can, both in the sense that nothing’s stopping them and in the sense that you can find at least 2 female sociopaths in the world who have been violent at one point or another – thus justifying the plural, violence is nonetheless relentlessly gendered among groups of sociopaths and groups of non-sociopaths alike. Sociopathy doesn’t explain that. Sociopathy can’t explain that. Moreover, nothing about menstruating or producing sperm explains that. Currently the best scientific explanations for this skewed distribution of violence depends on gender roles & gendered socialization.

    …d(1) so why are you bringing up biological sex instead of gender? and
    …d(2) even if you could get your terminology right, why would, “But what about the women sociopaths?” be an apposite question?

    e. just in case you didn’t pay attention to chrislawson, you might want to go back to #11 and reread the bits about over reliance on childhood victimization for your etiological just-so story and for the distinction between sociopathy and being conditioned to employ violence.

    +++++++++++++++++++++
    *You’ll find professionals that debate this, of course, because they debate the very category “illness” itself. Though it’s important to acknowledge that originally the entire point of having “personality disorders” was to have categories to place people that have a habit of choosing things that are bad – either for themselves, for society, or for both. Having such categories that can be held consistent across time allows for research on both etiology and treatment, which are useful things. After all, the whole motivation for originally bothering to have these categories at all was because we thought these choice-making tendencies suck. Studying them so as to eventually have fewer people making those choices is thus defined as a good thing.

  11. snuffcurry says

    But whatever the causes, there is something in the cultural zeitgeist that leads perfectly ordinary frustrated men to contemplating such acts.

    Sure, only in the US do men do this.

  12. wzrd1 says

    I would like to remind folks of other victims, victims rarely thought about. The first responders.
    Trust me, it weighs heavily on them, terribly so at times.

    Some years ago, one of my junior medics arrived for duty terribly tardy, reported as absent and we were unable to contact him to ascertain his excuse. Not that command was accepting excuses, as a zero tolerance policy had just come into force and absences not approved well in advance would not be tolerated.
    So, I had him report to my office, to both counsel him for nearly missing motor movement and to hear his excuse.
    His skin tone was pale, worryingly so, his gaze fixed in the distance, he spoke in a monotone, nearly robotically. He recite his activities prior to arrival. He’s volunteer EMS in the area and heard a call for EMS assistance at a single vehicle crash, which was on the way and only slightly off of his usual route to the unit, so he figured he might be a bit late, but we would (and we always did) excuse mild tardiness, due to public service.
    He arrived first on scene to find a hysterical woman, with a badly wrecked car and some moderate injuries that were overall non-life threatening. Trivial to stabilize, save for one serious problem. Her infant’s head was in the middle of the intersection, ejected through the straps of the car seat, striking the windshield and the force decapitating the infant.
    Oh shit, I’ve got a severe stress reaction that requires immediate evacuation for treatment. I had one of my NCO’s keep him in my office and engaged in any way that isn’t stressful, while I went upstairs to personnel, accessed his personnel file and found his EMS manager’s phone number. A quick call, my assessment of his mental condition and need for immediate treatment was related. He concurred and asked if I could get him transportation to his home, so that he could transport him to the psychiatric emergency personnel that their organization retains just for that purpose.
    I drove him myself.
    Had he attended training, I have no doubt that we’d have had a major mental breakdown and treatment is time critical to get him out of the terrific mental loop that is building.
    Yeah, got some shit from my commander and his commander, then I explained the situation, which was reported all the way up to Division and the two star himself excused him from duty until he was assessed by his treating professional fit for duty.
    Amazingly, he was fit for duty within a month.

    Some years later, another of my medics started having difficulties, those appeared more organic and potentially dangerous. He had, at one point, made a gesture like he had his old sniper system (he was a former sniper in Korea), rotated back to the US, he decided to become a medic. That, plus when he was certain no one was about, he’d actually have arguments with people who were not present and even slapped himself. Eventually, he was discharged for medical reasons.
    His life spiraled out of control, lost his civilian job and was caught sneaking into the unit, to camp out in the locker room.
    Command wanted to have him trespassed from the unit and I explained, “You don’t do that to fellow veterans, god damn it! I’ll take care of it personally”.
    Collected him and his property and drove him to the VA hospital, who happily admitted him for inpatient treatment.

    All of that is military doctrine, which is rarely followed by short sighted commanders or for the latter, a matter of honor, helping a fellow veteran out, I’d do the same for a civilian, but have to use a different facility. One far less equipped for mental health care emergencies and likely to trespass someone with a major mental health emergency onto a Baltimore bus stop in 41 degree weather, wearing a hospital gown. Yes, that actually happened.
    My units were held to doctrine, reminding commanders that the government will not be thankful for spending millions to treat mental disability that could’ve been cleared up with a day or two of treatment.

    Mental health isn’t something one can pigeonhole into a neat box, it’s complex and wide ranging in scales and spectrum, disease states and normal states, whatever normal really is.
    I know a handful of evaluation question sets, enough to know probable malingering vs advance in protocol algorithm to “Professional Now”.
    And I know how to take care of my teams.

  13. nomadiq says

    Being spurned by women in my youth made me a better person. Some people go another way.

  14. says

    Cartomancer, I appreciate your expanded view of this story. While, I do agree that he thought his reasoning would garner sympathy, there is more to understand about why and where he chose this act.

    People are very much a product of their environments, and we have to examine those environments.

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