Saturday, February 17, 2018

David Neiwert on "toxic masculnity" and school shootings

Dave Neiwert of the SPLC spoke to The Real News' Aaron Maté "toixc masculinity" in relations to cases like the accused Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz. (Cruz' surname is an adopted one. He has an Anglo family background, not Latino.) Guns, Toxic Masculinity, and the Alt-Right 02/16/2018:

The transcript is available here.

Dave guesses that Cruz was likely involved in far-right networks in some significant way, online and maybe elsewhere. But he cautions about the claim of the far-right "Republic of Florida" (if it really is a "group") that they had trained Cruz:
The reports of him being part of a white supremacist militia are dubious, at best. The people who are claiming he was part of their militia is an outfit that's there in Florida, it's 430 miles away from where this guy was, and the guy who's making these claims is someone that the SPLC previously had dealings with where he was actually calling the SPLC up and trying to get on their hate list because he wanted to have that validation. And the guy actually wound up in a county jail when the SPLC went down to talk to him. So, they've never actually put him on their hate list because the guy, it's not really a real organization and as far as we can tell, they were actually just trying to troll the ADL and the media by making this report.

However, I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out that this young man had some kind of very far-right orientation, ideologically this is very often very much part of the package that we're seeing with these kinds of cases. It's very much woven into the whole thread of or fabric of toxic masculinity that we're dealing with nationally. And it's really, it's not just in these shooting incidents that we're having to deal with it. [my emphasis]
And he addresses the lop-sided, politically motivated attention that Muslim terrorists get in comparison to rightwing versions, the latter being actually far more common in the US:
Well I actually do think they take it fairly seriously, but there ... First is really two major observations here, one is that if this young man had been named Abdul and was talking about Jihad, the FBI would have been on this guy like smell on poop. But, and that's part of the real problem. I put together a database on domestic terrorism that we published in Reveal News last year that pointed out, essentially established very clearly, that actual domestic terrorism in this country happens primarily at the hands of right-wing extremists. By about a two to one rate.

And yet, our resources and investigative resources, the judicial punishments and sort of prosecutions that happen to right-wing extremists is very much minimal compared to what happens to Islamist radicals. So, there's really a huge disparity there. [my emphasis]
But he's also not ready to jump on the bandwagon of trashing the FBI for not responding more vigorously to the specific tip they had received about Cruz:
The flip side is, that I will say, there, the FBI has a really horrible phenomenon on its hands right now because this is actually happening at such a massive level that it's really hard to discern, you know this kind of intelligence is flowing into them at such a constant rate, this guy was going to be one of probably thousands of similar reports that they were receiving about similar threats. I mean, it's really become a tide and they're having, I think they're having a tough time sorting out which ones are real and which ones are not.

There's a lot of, a lot of this is taking place on the internet, a lot of it's through 4Chan or social media, and these places where people can really kind of go crazy because of the anonymity of the web affords them that luxury. And it's, so I don't know that the FBI could have done a whole lot. They certainly should have been on this guy, but he is one of literally hundreds of thousands. [my emphasis]

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