by Maria Albano
Friday, 19
March 2021

Stop making excuses for men who kill women

Atlanta shooter Robert Aaron Long is not a 'sex addict' — he's a misogynist
by Maria Albano
Activists demonstrate outside Gold Spa following Tuesday night’s shooting. Credit: Getty

On Tuesday Robert Aaron Long was arrested and charged for shooting dead seven women and a man at the spas in the Atlanta suburbs. The explanation provided by one of the officials responsible for the investigation was chilling in its bluntness: “He was fed up, at the end of his rope. He had a bad day and this is what he did”. The only thing the officer didn’t do was casually shrug his shoulders.

Interviews with Long revealed that the alleged shooter had a ‘sex addiction’ and was ‘attempting to take out that temptation’ by targeting the ‘porn related industry’. According to the CNN, his addiction led him to spend hours watching porn and routinely visit the massage parlours for sex. But — lo and behold! — some of his former classmates remember him as the type of religious zealot who used to walk around school with the Bible in his hands.

How tired is this trope: a sex-obsessed man finds in piety a substitute for honest soul-searching, and tramples on women in the belief that this will rectify his own perversions. Parallels between the shooter’s words and biblical allegory will, without a doubt, not be lost on onlookers. The killed masseurs, mercenary sinners and inadvertent temptresses, are all Eve, responsible for the fall of the Adams of this world. But Long adds a twist, committing the ultimate act of self-deification.

Long is not the first young man with a God complex to inflict carnage as an attempt to purify himself of his frustrations: in 2014, Elliott Rodger killed six people and injured fourteen others — because, Rodger claimed, he was denied the sex he felt he was entitled to. Four years later, Alek Minassian was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. Like Rodger, Minassian’s self-image was that of a man who was unfairly starved of sex. If Long killed women because they offered an opportunity to be sexually active, however, Rodger and Missinian did so for the opposite reason. Whether available or unavailable, licentious or chaste, then, women are reduced to the collateral damage of a man’s ‘bad day’.

It is an awful disservice to the victims that the police should play the offender’s game by preferring to mention his addiction to porn and sex over pronouncing the obvious sentence of misogyny. (Harvey Weinstein claimed to be addicted to sex to mitigate his crimes against women too.)

The desire to depoliticise men’s murders of women in respect of the victims’ families is understandable. But let’s keep in mind that our long history of excusing men’s crimes has produced atrocity after atrocity. Ugly forms of male entitlement continue to flourish. Until they’re properly addressed, days like this are bound to happen again.

Join the discussion

  • I’m not sure these things are meant to “excuse” anything. There seems to be this idea among some that any attempt to understand or explain the thinking of people who do bad things amounts to an attempt to minimise, or excuse the behaviour.
    I suspect this comes out of an immature need to separate criminals from “normal” people and completely dehumanise them, which is usually a sign of a lack of self-understanding. These days accusations that motivation for crime comes from racism or misogyny or some other sort of “ism” seem to be understood as marking the individual as sub-human. I keep wondering when it’s going to be considered acceptable to send such people to gulags.

  • Yup, this is garbage.
    Actually it’s pretty wicked too. And stupid. Can’t decide whether more wicked than stupid. I hope for the latter, but fear it’s the former.
    Next week I’m sure the author will redress the balance with an equally unhinged piece on how Myra Hindley and Beverley Allit are in some way representative of all women.

  • I’m thinking maybe its time for a new Olympic sport ….. a race to the top of the victim hierarchy.

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