Itâ€™s often hard to know when Salon.com is just trolling (thatâ€™s internet-speak for publishing an outrageous article just to get responses) or is being serious. Salonâ€™s writers have claimed in the past that the 2013 government shutdown was racially motivated, and demanded that good liberal parents â€śsacrificeâ€ť their own children by keeping them in failing public schools.
But now it has taken the â€śwhite privilegeâ€ť craze too far, and claims that last weekendâ€™s tragedy in Santa Barbara was due to â€śwhite guy killer syndrome.â€ť
â€śCan I go ahead and scream yet?â€ť writes Salonâ€™s Brittney Cooper. â€śItâ€™s time for America to admit what itâ€™s long resisted: White male privilege kills.â€ť
Cooper continues, â€śAnother young white guy has decided that his disillusionment with his life should become somebody elseâ€™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.â€ť
Of course the incident was a tragedy. But she goes on to blame it on race and wealth and â€śprivilege.â€ť
â€śWe cannot understand Elliot Rodgerâ€™s clear mental health issues and view of himself as the supremely forsaken victim here outside a context of racism, white supremacy and patriarchy,â€ť she claims. â€śIâ€™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.â€ť
Of course it is. Itâ€™s also madness to blame â€śwhite male privilege,â€ť 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 protĂ©gĂ© Lee Malvo, werenâ€™t white and they werenâ€™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. Thatâ€™s because there are real mental issues here, issues that werenâ€™t addressed adequately by those involved in Rodgerâ€™s life.
As CBS News reports, â€śSheriffâ€™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.â€ť
Sheriff Bill Brown said on Saturday, â€śHe was able to make a very convincing story that there was no problem, that he wasnâ€™t going to hurt himself or anyone else.â€ť
There were other visits in recent years that ended similarly.
The fact is that the system failed Elliot Rodger. Letâ€™s talk about that.