“When will this insanity stop?” begs Richard Martinez, father of the perpetrator of America’s most recent Mass murder as he points to irresponsible politicians and the NRA.

It hurts deeply to see a father grieving and over the past week there will have been much grieving throughout the region, I’m no supporter of gun rights but I am reminded of a saying “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and I think we would be doing society an injustice to pass this particular spee off as merely a debate over the means of his destructive plan. Don’t get me wrong, the gun debate in America is surfacing time and time again, how many times have I seen news of murders across the pond, of people my age or younger being killed or killing? It’s a tough question to answer over there, but I feel this spree highlights social woes that resonate not just in America but the world over.

I’m referring to the treatment of women and the pressure on men. In this particular case I’ll admit, it could have been anyone attacked, he could have been rejected from work or college, sport or home and perhaps the same event would have occurred due to these rejections. But instead we see a boy of only 22 commit himself and others to oblivion because of perceived injustice, because he was a virgin, because others got what he wanted, because no amount of wealth could afford him the interest of women, at what point does that drive a person to commit such acts of violence?

Insanity?

Perhaps. Insanity sees people do many things, but insanity implies deviant thought, abnormal processing,abnormal social interaction, a fault in the brain. If we pass this killing off as the work of a madman, then we are ignoring every part of the trail he left behind, all whilst conveniently absolving ourselves of wrongdoing. Did the politicians or the NRA tell Roger to kill those people? no. Was his thinking insane? Absolutely not.

Don’t jump to attack me for saying that, Roger is an extreme example, an example of how the pressures of our society mould the thinking of men and women. Since when did we say It was okay for women to be viewed as objects for sex? When did we say that it’s a matter of manhood to have had sex or to have as many women as possible? We never said these things, but no matter how innocent, we certainly enact them. It’s not Roger’s fault he grew into a world with such pervasive attitudes towards women, it’s not his fault he felt worthless as a result of rejection, we act the same way towards homeless people, unsuccessful people are ostracised. Women are seem as another goal, what do you rate her? is she hot? don’t get with the ugly one, It’s your reputation on the line. His thinking isn’t insane then, if we all follow the same view of men and women, his reaction is certainly insane, it’s horrific and tragic, but by our culture we cannot call his view of women insane.

Why? Because children in school yards look for girls and boyfriends for status,because we acquiesce norms of how gender binary in society should be, because women across the world are abused and harassed for the pleasure of the perpetrator, is that not sadism? Committed by men who would defend their daughters and vet her boyfriends, committed by friends and family, these acts are not abstract machinations by anonymous entities, they are by those around us, by the people in the street or the club, are we innately sadists? I think not, and as such we cannot excuse our actions, only find and burn the roots.

When Roger pulled that trigger, he wanted nothing more than to unleash his suffering into those around him, to those who withheld from him, those whom he considered as a “spoiled, stuck up, blonde slut.” They deserved abuse and a bullet for nothing more than not conceding to his claim upon them, to what extent does that thinking led to that tragedy match the sexual assault of a woman? they are there, why not take them?

I’ve found recently that my life has been relatively sheltered from these abuses, I didn’t think anyone I knew would be capable of assaulting a woman, that anyone would even want to, but I’ve been shown otherwise, I’ve had friends come tell me that they’ve just been groped,I’ve experienced it myself. I’ve been opened to a world where the abuse does affect everyone, the stories sicken me. I’m glad for the campaign #YesEveryWoman and I’m glad to see people. both male and female, coming out with stories of abuse, to teach the world to be better, but without thinking of the causes of these problems, without first accepting our own guilt as passive actors, we can’t change anything. If widespread sexual assault isn’t a sign enough for a change in perception, I hope this killing spree will be.

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