As America comes to terms with a monstrous shooting in Charleston that has left nine churchgoers dead, bewildered members of the public are seeking rationality in apparently wanton and inscrutable crimes.
We may never know quite what drives some people to kill. But it seems that in young Dylann Storm Roof, we have further evidence of a trend that should worry us all. I’m talking about his dependence on prescription drugs: suboxone, to be precise.
Roof is just the latest in a long line of young men who have committed appalling crimes after a lifetime on psychotropic drugs. If you don’t believe me, consider some of the most notorious young male shooters in American history.
Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza? Lexapro and Celexa. Red-headed Aurora killer James Holmes? Clonazepam and sertraline. Virginia Tech mass murderer Seung-Hui Cho? Prozac. Charles Whitman, the “Texas Tower Sniper”? Dexedrine. Columbine executioners Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold? Zoloft and Luvox.
You get the idea. These young men were all on prescribed medication. Feminism helped to get them there. In particular, female teachers who either dislike men or are completely ignorant of healthy behaviour norms for boys are creating a generation of emotionally stunted, drugged up young men.
Millions of young American men are prescribed powerful drugs after being diagnosed with the phantom condition “ADHD,” better known as a mixture of natural boisterousness and poor parental discipline. The mere fact of being male has become pathologised.
When they get into their teens and early twenties, they graduate onto drugs like Zoloft and Prozac, drugs that can produce a powerfully dissociative effect in the mind, muddying the distinctions between reality and fantasy. All this, because boys are now treated as though they are defective girls.
I once clumsily wrote that video games helped to “shape the fantasies” of Isla Vista gunman Elliot Rodgers. I intended not to incriminate video games in his spiral into madness and murder but rather to point out that young men who lose grip on the real world often retreat into imaginary ones, which can then have a stylistic effect, if you like, on their crimes.
After a year of reading the research on what America is doing to its men, and interviewing hundreds of young men in preparation for my book on the GamerGate controversy, I have come to believe that in most cases it’s not games, or movies, or “misogyny,” or “racism” that drives young men to kill. It is the increasing sense of isolation and disorientation young boys feel in a world that now feels architected against them.
Dylann Roof’s actions are unlikely to have been primarily motivated by race, even though he may have identified as a white supremacist. For one thing, half his Facebook friends were black. Similarly, Elliot Rodgers wasn’t a misogynist in any meaningful sense of the word. What these terrible crimes express more clearly is a crisis in masculinity – a crisis brought about by the way we treat boys in schools.
Men, in particular introverts, and especially highly intelligent introverts who sit near the top of the autistic spectrum, are routinely ridiculed in society, cast out as “manbabies” and “privileged oppressors.” The lived experience of such men is precisely the opposite of privilege: they are punished for being boys at school, branded “creeps” or, worse, rapists for showing sexual interest at college, and after all that – assuming they even graduate – they are discriminated against in job applications.
If “Dylann” “Storm” “Roof” deserves ridicule for anything, it’s his ridiculous name and that 1990s lesbian pudding-bowl haircut, not the fact that he is a man struggling to find his place in an increasingly feminised culture. What was his mother thinking?
Namby-pamby culture in schools is partly to blame for the current crisis in manhood. Teachers, who are overwhelmingly female, freak out at boyish things like play-fighting, cops and robbers and even playing “finger guns.” At best, this is silly over-policing of natural male exuberance. At worst, it is holding boys to feminine standards of behaviour. It’s not hard to understand why some boys, after enduring this for a decade, finally snap in a tragic violent outburst.
By suppressing male behaviours in school and whacking boys on psychotropic medication, we create a perfect storm almost guaranteed to produce broken young men who want to lash out at a world they feel has hurt them. After all, the outlook for young men these days is desperately bleak, which explains why so many of them are giving up on relationships and even sex and retreating into pornography and video games. I call it the “sexodus.”
Medication like Paxil, which Donald Schell was taking when he killed himself and three other people, is society’s answer to its deep discomfort with traditional masculinity. Our authorities don’t know how to stop men behaving like men, so they drug boys into submission.(A jury ruled that the drug company that makes Paxil was partly responsible for Schell’s meltdown.) It is a sadistic and high-risk strategy. And it isn’t working.
Feminists like to bang on about “toxic masculinity” in wake of atrocities like Charleston. But it’s not masculinity that’s toxic: it’s the chemicals we’re pumping into our young men’s bloodstreams, frying their brains and turning them into washed-out addicts and dissociative lunatics who go out and murder anyone they can easily victimise, particularly girls. As ever, it’s women that feminism hurts the most.
And it’s going to get worse before it gets better – unless we stop drugging our young men and allow boys to be boys.