On Wednesday afternoon, according to reports, a man named Scott Dekraai walked into a salon in Seal Beach California and opened fire, killing eight people, including his ex-wife Michelle Fournier, his evident target. The two, who shared custody of their son, had been entangled in an acrimonious custody dispute. (Dekraai wanted to reduce his ex’s access.) Fournier had told friends she feared her ex would try to kill her.
It’s not, unfortunately, uncommon for angry or jealous exes to harass, stalk and in many cases actually kill the objects of their obsession. Usually the killer is a man, and the victim a woman, but women kill too, and same sex couples are hardly immune from this kind of violence.
I’ve been following this story – it’s a heartbreaking one — though I hadn’t planned to write about it. There’s no indication, at least based on what we know so far, that Dekraai’s shootings were ideologically driven, that he was anything other than a deeply troubled man, bitterly angry that he had to share custody of his son with a woman he hated. There seemed to be no clear connections between this story and the misogynist ideologues I write about on this site.
But then they started making the connections themselves, offering apologias for Dekraai’s violence and twisting the facts of the case to fit their ideological agendas. TRIGGER WARNING: Many of the comments I quote below are some of the most vile and vicious I have ever found in more than a year of writing this blog.
On In Mala Fide, Ferdinand Bardamu didn’t let the facts get in the way of his perverse ideological spin on the case, titling his post on the subject “Anti-Male, Anti-Father Divorce Laws Drive Man to Commit Heinous Rage Shooting Against Ex-Wife” and blaming feminism for “poisoning the relationship between men and women” in America.
Bardamu’s argument, such as it is, is utterly at odds with the basic facts of the case. Dekraai and Fournier had shared custody of the boy they’d had together; Dekraai was not fighting to see his child — he was trying to further limit his ex’s access.
As a local Fox News affiliate noted:
Dekraai’s former attorney, Don Eisenberg, told CNS that the two had a “typical” divorce, which was finalized on Dec. 28, 2007.
“This was not a remarkable case. It was a stipulated judgment and the parties agreed on these details,” Eisenberg said.
Under the shared custody agreement, Dekraai had the boy each week from Thursday through the weekend, and the mother had him Monday through Wednesday, the attorney said.
“It was almost an exactly equal split,” Eisenberg said.
There’s not much beyond the headline to Bardamu’s post; the real action is in the comments — many of which openly advocate violence and explicitly endorse Dekraai’s murderous rampage.
One anonymous visitor left this chilling comment:
[E]nough of this type of offensive action might just start making women and their supporters* think twice, especially if they also become targets. (* Divorce attorneys, child services workers and counselors, family court judges, and other enabling cogs in the feminist legal system)
Self-immolating Thomas Ball may have made a point, but the fact remains that he didn’t strike a blow, even as he advocated it.
Someone calling himself Remorhaz expresses a similar sentiment:
The only way this or any offensive action will make a difference is if it starts affecting the judges and lawyers. King John did not sign the magna carta because he was a kindly just ruler, he did it with a sword on the back of his neck while watching a grinning man holding an axe who was busy trying on black hoods. In Mexico entire police forces quit because a few officers go missing. If that started happening then the law becomes meaningless as there is no one to enforce it. …
Essentially men need to tell feminism to shut the fuck up, give it a vigorous slap across the face thus reminding it who is the biological superior, then order it back into the kitchen/bedroom.
In a followup comment he railed against those who expressed disapproval of the shootings:
What options other than overt acts of physical violence are there for a man to deal with a shrew ex and corrupt family court system? To those who are horrified and surprised at this one question…. why? Isn’t the real question – “How come this isn’t a lot MORE common?”. And please avoid the “Well… nothing justifies killing blah blah blah” as we’ve all voted, supported, and tolerated governments who kill over parking tickets much less loss of children. And if keeping your children isn’t worthy of killing what is exactly?
- Raymond, meanwhile, directed his opprobrium at Dekraai’s ex-wife:
Hopefully one of the dead carcess was his wife. The son will be better off without any parents than to have been raised by a single mother who would have gotten her vindictive way. And to Scott, when you mess with a real man’s child, blood will be spilt. Most men will just lay down and be resigned to the state-enforced kidnapping and extortion plot, but some are made of tougher stuff and for you to whine about this dead ex-wife or that is inconsequential and no loss to humanity.
Presumably he will be pleased to learn that she was one of those killed.
Frank saw the dead as “collateral damage” in a just war; his only complaint was that Dakraai hadn’t gone after public officials.
This man went to war. He caused much collateral damage and casualties have piled. And the people whose first reaction is to cry “those poor, innocent people” are people who will never change anything. Death is the way of the world. Violence or the implicit threat of it is what causes change. Go ahead, make it clear that you don’t have it in you to destroy life. The enemy will breath a little easier, because you certainly aren’t going to make any changes.
That said, he should have gone after judges and legislators. There’s no justice like a dead “justice”.
Tweell hoped the shootings would frighten women out of challenging their husbands or ex-husbands in court:
Gandi [sic] and MLK got what they were after via non-violent means, but they were dealing with people of conscience, people who would think about the issues they espoused and not just kill them. Non-violence only works when your opponent has moral character. …
I submit that women … are much more likely to pay attention when they’re being threatened. If it becomes obvious that claiming child abuse during divorce, withholding visitation and other such actions could result in their death, then they might think twice about such behavior.
Meanwhile, on Reddit’s Men’s Rights subreddit, more moderate MRAs weighed in on the case. While no one explicitly defended the shooter’s actions, numerous posters said they understood the violence, and (completely ignoring the basic facts of the case) blamed it not on Dekraai but on a court system biased against men.
A poster calling himself TheRealPariah embraced Dekraai:
He is one of us. You cannot throw men struggling out simply because they do something you disagree with.
violent outburst[s] like this will continue to happen so long as ‘kidnapping by court’ and ‘sold into slavery by court’ (via CS & alimony) keeps happening. … fix the family court system and these murders wouldn’t happen.
Moderator AnnArchist – we’ve met him before – agreed, arguing that
To prevent this in the future the solution is clear: Mandate 50/50 custody without any child support as the default
Another r/mr regular, carchamp1, took it a bit further:
I don’t condone what he did. No sane person would. But, I understand it. … You steal someone’s kids with the help of our so-called “family” courts you’re a pig. You have it coming. Period.
I think it’s high time we put a spotlight on these kidnappers. They are NOT innocent people. They are the scum of the earth. I couldn’t care less about their “welfare”. I care about the millions of parents, mostly fathers, who’ve had their kids stolen from them AND their kids.
When I pointed out in the discussion there that Dekraai had hardly been denied access to his child, AnnArchist changed the subject, suggesting that it was Fournier’s accusations against Dekraai in court that had pushed him over the edge. In fact, both had made numerous allegations about one another in court; Dekraai accused his ex-wife of phone harassment; she complained that he was abusive, mentally unstable and had threatened to kill her. Obviously she was right to have worried.
But according to AnnArchist, Fournier was wrong to bring up his instability in court. As he put it: “Poking the bear is dangerous.”
When I pressed him on this, he responded:
If you really think someone is nuts, you probably don’t want to be the one to call them out in open court because if they don’t go to prison they might kill you. Its tough to do with kids involved, but if she thought he was capable of something like this, using it in a custody dispute would be considered by many to be risky.
Astonished, I asked him if he was really saying what it looked like he was saying, that if you think your ex is dangerous, and literally insane, you shouldn’t challenge them in court when they try to get sole custody of your kid? His reply:
I didn’t know what to say to this bizarre argument, so I stopped responding.
I don’t know what to say to any of this. It is beyond appalling.