Whenever there’s a shooting of any kind, it’s important we at least try to determine a motive. Sometimes, we never get one, but when we do, we can start to peel apart the layers of psychosis to try and find something underlying, some pathology we can address that can possibly prevent these kinds of things from happening again.
In the aftermath of the shooting at the Westgate Mall in Glendale, AZ, that process has begun.
What’s disturbing is that this appears to be related to a group we’ve seen commit horrible acts before. According to authorities, the killer described himself as an incel.
In a court appearance on Thursday, prosecutors said 20-year-old [shooter’s name redacted] described himself to authorities as an incel, or involuntary celibate, who wanted to shoot at least 10 people.
In the Snapchat video, seen by BuzzFeed News, the man wearing a camouflaged face mask can be seen aiming and firing his weapon, including at one woman who appeared to be injured and lay on the ground next to a car.
In the exchange, the man can be heard telling the woman he was angry at society as she responded that she had nothing to do with that.
Incels are troubled individuals, to say the least.
Basically, they’re guys who can’t get girlfriends or, if they do, they end up with manipulative women who take every advantage of them and generally don’t get a physical relationship. That, in and of itself, isn’t enough to make someone an incel, though. No, to really be classified as an incel, you have to be furious over it.
Critics of incels argue that the group–they’re not organized but they do congregate in various parts of the internet–is mostly just mad at women for not giving them the sex they think they deserve.
Of course, most of these guys are people we would often classify as losers anyway. Many are jobless, have no college education, aren’t personable people, and generally have little to offer the opposite sex. As a result, they get angry at women in what often is real misogyny.
This can lead to violence.
Before this, one of the more prominent examples of incel violence was when an incel drove a van into a crowd in Toronto, Canada.
Interestingly, that attack killed 10 people, the exact same number that the Westgate shooter said he wanted to shoot. Of course, that could also be a coincidence, but a very interesting one.
Another example is the rampage shooting in Isla Vista, California back in 2014. Even the Parkland killer has been linked to the incel “community” by praising the Isla Vista killer.
It seems this is a group of individuals we would do well to take a long, hard look at and start working toward helping them deal with their frustration and maybe come to recognize that violence isn’t the way to deal with things. Of course, that’s difficult with a group of people who simply blame all their problems on other people, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.