Sunday, 25 May 2014

Psycho Single Redux

What has happened in Santa Barbara California is horrible, and I feel terrible for the victims, their families and friends.

I suppose the first thing to say is that shootings by Single men motivated by frustration that they can't get girlfriends are rare. The last one I wrote about was the Health Club Shooter. And although the manosphere drips with bile, of course, I have very rarely been attacked online by bitter Single men. The only one I remember was Catholic and had decided I was a massive crypto-feminist man-hater, or something like that.

That said, the next time a somewhat bitter Single man tells me that the problem with women today is that we feel so ENTITLED, I may direct their attention to the latest Psycho Single. (I never name serial killers, and I wish nobody else did. That would remove one of their motives. The latest Psycho Single quite obviously planned out his posthumous fame.) Psycho Single felt so entitled, he described himself as the perfect guy. And, mixed-race himself, he went mad with envy and spite when he saw a dark-hued man with a pale-skinned woman.

Psycho Single read the manosphere, which sometimes encouraged him in his mingled desire for and hatred for women, but sometimes tried to slap him upside the head. Psycho Single was under the impression that since his looks, rich daddy and fancy car weren't enough, he would somehow have to make millions of dollars to get female attention. I wonder WHERE he got THIS idea.

I will not be put off with "he was just crazy" because I don't believe there is any such thing as "just crazy". Mental illness may interfere with freedom to make ethical choices, but it is not a free pass to hurt people. Anyway, if Psycho Single were that crazy, the phalanx of shrinks his parents hired would have caught it. And I'm assuming he would not have been legally able to purchase guns. Meanwhile, the vast majority of mentally ill people are not violent. As I myself was a virgin at 22, I feel perfectly sanguine about describing Psycho Single as not only a cold-blooded murderer but an outrageously selfish, self-obsessed whiner. Lots of people are virgins at 22, you jerk.

I am a relatively cynical married lady of 39++ who lives in Europe, and so although I myself am a practicing Catholic, I at first wondered why this rich youth did not just drive his fancy car to Santa Barbara's highest class version of the House of the Rising Sun. But my question was answered when I read that he did not want another female psychotherapist when his first moved away because paying a woman to listen to him "felt like prostitution." What unmitigated crap. What Psycho Single wanted was a woman who would listen to him for free, and sleep with him for free, and tell him he was marvelous for free. Paying professionals for help was not what he deserved.

There is also the irony that he looked down on prostitution but was quite okay with watching scenes of, and documentaries about, torture and then killing his roommates and random strangers. But I digress. This was not about sex but about wanting attention. Lots of attention. Lots and lots and lots of attention. And he thought girls OWED him attention because he was handsome (he thought) and had a rich father.

My guess is that there have always been men like this. The whole disgusting idea of doit de signeur comes to mind. Also coming to mind, as we have been talking about St. Maria Goretti recently, is the fact that Maria's mother was working for her attacker's father. Some boys just grow up thinking that they are better than others and therefore deserve more free stuff. And if they really don't get that women are people, people rather like themselves, they are going to see women (young, beautiful women, anyway) as free stuff they deserve, that the world owes them.

St. Maria's attacker was called Alessandro Serenelli, whom I do name, as Maria forgave him and after he got out of prison, he spent the rest of his life as a servant to the Capuchins. He wrote a testimony before he died. Here it is. Note my emphasis.

"I'm nearly 80 years old. I'm about to depart.

"Looking back at my past, I can see that in my early youth, I chose a bad path which led me to ruin myself.

"My behavior was influenced by print, mass-media and bad examples which are followed by the majority of young people without even thinking. And I did the same. I was not worried.

"There were a lot of generous and devoted people who surrounded me, but I paid no attention to them because a violent force blinded me and pushed me toward a wrong way of life.

"When I was 20 years-old, I committed a crime of passion. Now, that memory represents something horrible for me. Maria Goretti, now a Saint, was my good Angel, sent to me through Providence to guide and save me. I still have impressed upon my heart her words of rebuke and of pardon. She prayed for me, she interceded for her murderer. Thirty years of prison followed.

"If I had been of age, I would have spent all my life in prison. I accepted to be condemned because it was my own fault.

"Little Maria was really my light, my protectress; with her help, I behaved well during the 27 years of prison and tried to live honestly when I was again accepted among the members of society. The Brothers of St. Francis, Capuchins from Marche, welcomed me with angelic charity into their monastery as a brother, not as a servant. I've been living with their community for 24 years, and now I am serenely waiting to witness the vision of God, to hug my loved ones again, and to be next to my Guardian Angel and her dear mother, Assunta.

"I hope this letter that I wrote can teach others the happy lesson of avoiding evil and of always following the right path, like little children. I feel that religion with its precepts is not something we can live without, but rather it is the real comfort, the real strength in life and the only safe way in every circumstance, even the most painful ones of life."

Signature, Alessandro Serenelli


Anonymous for this post said...

All I want to say, as someone who struggles with mental illness, and who has friends and family members who struggle with mental illness of all kinds, is THANK YOU for refusing to perpetuate the myth that most mentally ill individuals are violent. There is so much stigma attached to mental illness, and if society fears us, it's going to be even harder for us to get help.

Anonymous said...

Dear Auntie,

Thank you for this post. You said what needed to be said, and as an old (though unfortunately recently distant, to my eternal regret - I hope I will see her again in the bosom of Abraham when the Lord appoints my time) friend of one of Psycho Single's victims, I am in complete agreement, except for his insanity. Legally, I would thing he would have been not guilty by reason of insanity under the M'Naghten Rules, though morally he may well have been culpable (also, unfortunately in California, the richest often get away with breaching the laws ordinary people believe themselves bound to - and Psycho Single was certainly very wealthy).

In any case, it is a case of being so self entitled that he thought that shooting up a residential neighborhood would somehow prove he was some sort of dime-store Nietzsche.

My friend from her Facebook profile had been planning on visiting her parents for the long weekend (Memorial Day here in the States). At first when she hadn't called to tell them of her departure, they thought she had fallen asleep, they got more frantic when they heard of a shooting through the grapevine. It wasn't until the police told them that they found out what had happened to her - shot by That Man as she was leaving the house, likely getting some things before setting off home.

The sheer hubris of That Man, and his overweening sense of entitlement is... let us just say It left my parents' parish priest fuming, and he is hardly the sort of man to be given to fits of anger. Yes, one of the girls was a fellow Catholic. They are still discussing requiems and burials (because who expects a young woman to need a burial plot in a Catholic cemetery) - a rather sombre start to the holidays, certainly.

To conclude, please pray for the souls of the faithful departed, especially Ms. Cooper.

A friend of a victim (also anonymous for this one).

Seraphic said...

I am very,very sorry for your loss. I have been reading Psycho Single's manifesto, and as it is so coherent and self-aware--he knows for example that he has always been full of envy--that so far I have a hard time believing he was insane. It may be a useful document, not only for criminologists, but for parents, teachers and priests. It could have been called "Confessions of a 21st Century Soul". Astonishingly, one can trace his character development.

Woodbine said...

Thanks so much for writing about this. I find this mass shooting even more disturbing than most, probably because the killer was specifically targeting young women (i.e. me, my friends, my classmates, etc). It's chilling and far too personal.

I'm glad that you're addressing it here, because after reading a few article full of the creepy details, I need some discussion.

Anonymous, that's so incredibly horrible. I hope that you have some good support around you in this awful time.

Gregaria said...

Thank you for writing about this, Seraphic. Anonymous, I am incredibly sorry for your loss.

The first thing I thought was "he's mentally ill," but either way, mentally ill or not, he is entirely to blame. I feel absolutely terrible for his parents, who probably hoped this day would never come.

Part of me even feels sorry for him, but then I realize that those feelings play right into his trap. My rescuing instinct kicked in big time as I listened to him, but I backtracked quickly. It's a hard thing to say, but I don't think he could have been rescued. I don't think there's anything anyone could have done. The worst possible thing would have been for a woman to take pity on him and become his slave... because that's probably what he would have wanted. I do wonder if that would have helped anyway. Once he got one woman, he would have wanted another, and another.

Seraphic said...

I don't feel sorry for him. He had amble opportunity to realize what a privileged life he lived, with his relatives supporting him, giving him fancy holidays and money to live on, plus jaw-dropping experiences like red carpet film premieres. Again and again, he chooses to cry, to hate, to envy. In the end he planned to kill his own little brother, out of fear that his little brother will get the successful life he wants. Psycho Single became envy personified.

Sheila said...

There are plenty of psycho, entitled men who DO get girlfriends .... and then kill those girlfriends. When that happens, there are always people around to say "See, women always pick jerks and it's THEIR FAULT they got killed." But if they avoid a man like that, because in some cases the signs are obvious, they can say "See, he was crushed by not being accepted by women, so it's WOMEN's fault!"

Much as I would like to believe everyone can be saved by love, his choices would probably have been the same if life had treated him differently. He could have had a girlfriend, or a string of girlfriends, and abused them because they didn't love him *enough,* or because he was envious that they looked at another man, or because they insisted on having pesky wishes and desires of their own. Or he could have gotten REALLY lucky and be one of those psychopathic rich guys who really do seem to get away with everything .... and he would have behaved badly in that situation too. Someone who is that fixated on the unfairness of life is ALWAYS going to find something to blame on others.

And as for the horrible, horrible injustice of being a virgin at 22 .... I too was a virgin at 22. There are any number of people older than him who have never had a romantic relationship at all. I'm sure he knew this. The problem was that he thought he *deserved* not to be one of those people because he was so "magnificent."

Hm, victim complex, narcissism, belief that everyone is beneath him .... I wonder why the girls passed up such a catch!

Mari said...

I'm not sorry for him. I also don't think he'd be considered insane had he lived, not if he could write a coherent manifesto like that. He wasn't ill, he was evil. Thank you for not mentioning his name, it deserves to be forgotten by all except the ones who loved him. It's a sick society that gives evil people fame, then blames it on an illness that8 gives them a pass when it comes to moral culpability.

Seraphic said...

Hear, hear.