As you may already know, Ball burned himself to death outside a New Hampshire courthouse. In a lengthy manifesto he wrote shortly before killing himself, he portrayed his suicide as a protest against a corrupt family court system, and went on to argue that MRAs should quite literally assemble some Molotov cocktails and “start burning down police stations and courthouses.” (You can read the whole manifesto here.) Despite his calls for violence many MRAs have hailed him as an MRA martyr.
Marcotte, in her comment here, suggested that there might have been other, more personal reasons for his suicide – namely, the desire to hurt his ex-wife:
I’ll point out that setting yourself on fire is an extremely effective tool if your goal is to make your ex-wife’s life a living hell, and if your anger at losing control over her overwhelms all other desires. Which is common enough with abusers, who will ruin their own lives and their own shit and turn their children against them in an effort to hurt the woman they’ve fixated on.
Marcotte has now responded to this, er, “criticism” with an excellent post on Pandagon. As she points out, correctly,
suicide and threats of suicide are common tactics used by abusers to hurt their victims. Abusers dramatically self-destruct all the time in their desperation to control and hurt the objects of their obsession. There was just recently a big story about this, in fact: Jason Valdez of Utah, who had a long criminal record that included domestic violence, held a woman hostage in a hotel room for 16 hours and kept updates about the situation on Facebook. He eventually committed suicide.
The notion that suicide can be a hostile, aggressive act designed to hurt other people is hardly a controversial one, whether the person committing suicide is male or female. Threats of suicide are often used to manipulate other people; suicide itself can be an act of revenge.
Marcotte goes on:
Apparently, I’m supposed to pretend that suicide isn’t a disruptive, selfish act in many cases (especially when the suicide victim commits it in a public and destructive way), and that people who do it, while yes victims of their own mental health problems, are also thinking that they’re going to make everyone pay for not indulging them. In fact, not only is this true in Ball’s case, but he spelled it out in his suicide note. The “make the bastards suffer” theme of his note is the reason that wingnuts are supporting him.
But you don’t have to take her word for it. Read Ball’s entire manifesto, to the end, and ask yourself if this man is an appropriate “martyr” for any political movement.