Connecting the Dots on White Male Violence

It intrigues me when I read different news stories in separate news outlets that seem to be related to one another—except that no one notices. Such a connection happened this week in stories attempting to explain white male violence and mass public shootings.

White Male Violence and Mass Killings

mass public shooters, gender demographics, white male violenceWe know that a majority of mass killings are conducted by white men. One of the important motivations—expressed verbally during the Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, VA, is that “others” will replace them.

These men fear that Central-American immigrants, blacks, and Jews will take their places by overrunning the country and turning white males into a minority. The El Paso shooter’s manifesto echoed those words. White birth rates have dropped, while immigrants with brown skins and high birth rates are flooding into the country. White middle-class death rates have increased.

A solution for that problem would be to increase white birth rates but there’s a problem. These angry young men also hate women. And you need women if you want to increase the birth rate.

The Falling White Birth Rate

The birth rate for all of the United States fell in 2018 for the fourth year in a row. The number of people born in this country is at its lowest level in 32 years. This number, reported by the National Center for Health Statistics, covers all births in the United States, not just white births. But it’s easy to see where white men might start worrying that not enough new generations are being born to maintain the white dominance they want.

annual population growth, ethnicity, minority majority, falling birth rateThe report also shows that the 2018 total fertility rate, which estimates the number of children born over a woman’s lifetime, also fell to a record low of 1,728 births per 1,000 women.

While the numbers themselves might be frightening to some, came up with some pretty good reasons why the birth drought might be happening—and they have nothing to do with immigration or cultural dominance.

In “Everyone’s Missing the Obvious About the Declining U.S. Birth Rate,” author Amanda O lists seven reasons why women are having fewer babies that have far more to do with economics than with immigration.

The Rising White Male Death Rate

Meanwhile, the mortality rate for white Americans is rising and the least-educated Americans are suffering the most. Middle-aged white Americans are dying younger than previous generations for the first time in decades. This, despite positive life expectancy trends in other segments of the U.S. population. That means the white middle class is dying faster than college-educated white Americans.

Midlife mortality in the US, middle-age mortality rate, deaths of despair

The research, conducted by Princeton University’s Anne Case and Angus Deaton, highlighted the links between economic struggles, suicides, and overdoses of alcohol and drugs. Case and Deaton attribute this increase to a “toxic cocktail” of factors that create a “cumulative disadvantage” for white people ages 45 to 54, especially those with less education than a college degree.

The study authors call these “deaths of despair,” as those affected find their life prospects declining. The life they expected to have relative to their fathers and grandfathers—job, marriage, family, steady wages, home ownership—just isn’t happening for them. And making everything worse from their perspective is that white mortality exceeded black, non-Hispanic mortality, for the first time somewhere around 2008. Middle-class men once consoled themselves that their life, if not great, was better than that of their black neighbors. They can no longer do so.

Middle-age men, while not immune to mass murder, are less likely to act on their urges than young males. After all, young men have nothing to lose, cannot often see the consequences of their actions, and have energy to burn. But middle-aged men do provide a vision of where life is likely to go for the disaffected.

White Male Misogyny

toxic masculinity, misogyny, white male violenceWhen you’re a young man planning to murder random people in a public place, who do you blame?  A lot of culprits present themselves but the one that emerges often is hatred of women.

The Guardian published an excellent article by Laurie Penny on “Mass shootings show why we must stop pandering to white male fragility.”  In it, Ms. Penny notes that,

Of 95 mass shootings carried out in the US between 1982 and 2017, 92 of the perpetrators were male, and 57% of mass-shooting perpetrators from 2009 to 2015 included a spouse, former spouse or other family member among the victims.”

She goes on to detail four mass murderers who had harassment, abuse and domestic violence on their records. And this was published in June of 2018. We have become aware of the incel movement—angry young men who believe they are involuntarily celibate because women have denied them sexual relations. These holders of white male privilege are incensed because they believe that women owe them sex, even if it’s forced.

Avoiding Personal Responsibility

It does not seem to occur to these men that they might change their appearance. They could improve their behavior, their hygiene, or their social skills to attract women and thus gain voluntary sexual gratification. Nope. It’s all the women’s fault and the un-socialized young men will use guns, lots of guns to make the world feel their anger.

Ms. Penny calls wounded male pride and sexual entitlement, “the theme that connects the “incel” movement with Islamic State, the refrain that runs from 1930s Berlin to Washington in 2018.”

Connecting the Dots

It doesn’t take a genius to connect these dots. Wounded male pride. Sexual entitlement. Anger at women. It all boils up not from masculine strength but from male fragility.

Connecting the dots, white male violence, misogynyWe know that women internalize their anger while men externalize theirs. Angry women blame themselves while men throw a plate of spaghetti at the wall. (Well, women also don’t do that because we know who is going to have to clean up the spaghetti and wash the wall.) Women commit suicide and men commit murder.

So, we don’t have to expend all this angst, news time and media ink to understand why men who hate women lash out. It’s not their fault (nothing ever is) so they will kill lots of people to demonstrate the power of their rage. In the process, they kill women who just won’t do as they’re told, dress the way they’re supposed to, act subservient, or provide sex. The El Paso gunman targeted his younger sister.

Transient Infamy

None of that will change the demographic trends that frighten them. No amount of white male violence and bloodshed will bring back middle-class jobs, make giving birth safer and cheaper, create more white babies, or make women have sex with losers.

What it will do is make young men feel momentarily important, powerful, dominant, and infamous. That seems to provide enough incentive to motivate the next round of mass murderers.

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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

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