It’s often hard to know when Salon.com is just trolling (that’s internet-speak for publishing an outrageous article just to get responses) or is being serious. Salon’s writers have claimed in the past that the 2013 government shutdown was racially motivated, and demanded that good liberal parents “sacrifice” their own children by keeping them in failing public schools.
But now it has taken the “white privilege” craze too far, and claims that last weekend’s tragedy in Santa Barbara was due to “white guy killer syndrome.”
“Can I go ahead and scream yet?” writes Salon’s Brittney Cooper. “It’s time for America to admit what it’s long resisted: White male privilege kills.”
Cooper continues, “Another young white guy has decided that his disillusionment with his life should become somebody else’s problem. On Saturday, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger (who, as many commenters have pointed out, had a white father and mother of Asian descent) went on a killing spree on the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara, murdering his three roommates, shooting women outside a sorority house, and hitting people with his car as he attempted to get away from police.”
Of course the incident was a tragedy. But she goes on to blame it on race and wealth and “privilege.”
“We cannot understand Elliot Rodger’s clear mental health issues and view of himself as the supremely forsaken victim here outside a context of racism, white supremacy and patriarchy,” she claims. “I’m also saying that white male privilege might be considered a mental health issue, because it allows these dudes to move through the world believing that their happiness, pleasure and well-being matters more than the death and suffering of others. This is madness.”
Of course it is. It’s also madness to blame “white male privilege,” and to take the focus off very real mental health issues.
The basic claim easily is disprovable with counter-examples. John Allen Muhammad, and his young protégé Lee Malvo, weren’t white and they weren’t privileged. Yes, they were male. How about Amy Bishop, the University of Alabama professor who killed three of her coworkers and wounded three others, in a shooting at a university faculty meeting?
The point here is that every country and every culture has had murderers and mass murderers.
Salon and Cooper do a disservice by trying to portray birth (birth as a white male) as a mental issue. That’s because there are real mental issues here, issues that weren’t addressed adequately by those involved in Rodger’s life.
As CBS News reports, “Sheriff’s deputies visited Rodger three weeks before the attack after his troublesome Internet posts had spurred relatives to contact a social worker, who contacted police. Rodger was able to convince the officers he was not a threat.”
Sheriff Bill Brown said on Saturday, “He was able to make a very convincing story that there was no problem, that he wasn’t going to hurt himself or anyone else.”
There were other visits in recent years that ended similarly.
The fact is that the system failed Elliot Rodger. Let’s talk about that.