When Miriam Carey died in a hail of bullets after leading Capitol police on a car chase from the White House to the Capitol last Thursday, the incident seemed to make no sense. Why had Carey done what she did? She had no weapons on her. She seemed to have no political motive. There seemed to be no real plan to her “attack” on the White House security perimeter. There was a baby in the car with her.
As reporters began to look into her story they discovered that Carey had been suffering from serious mental illness and that her ill-fated trip to Washington DC may have been driven by delusions about Obama. One of her sisters told ABC News that Carey had been diagnosed with “postpartum depression with psychosis” after the birth of her child about a year ago.
Her delusions seem to have centered around Obama. According to CBS:
Law enforcement sources confirmed to Orr Friday that Miriam Carey, 34, a licensed dental hygienist of Stamford, Conn., told police in December that she was a prophet, that President Obama would place the city of Stamford under a “lockdown” and that he had her and her residence under electronic surveillance.
While the details of Carey’s illness or illnesses remain unclear, what was clear,and quickly, was that Carey had been a deeply troubled woman who may have had only a tenuous grip on reality during the frenzied car chase that ended with her death.
But Men’s Rights videoblogger Stefan Molyneux isn’t having any of it. His explanation for the events in Washington last Thursday? A spontaneous outburst of “rank female evil.”
In a video titled “No Excuses for Female Evil!” Molyneux complains that the media “rushed in to defend, to explain and to strip the woman’s body of any moral responsibility for dragging a child into basically a suicidal death-by-cop situation.”
So, in other words, a woman, for no reason other than pure “female evil,” decided to attack the White House with her car and put her child in jeopardy in the subsequent car chase. As he puts it:
It may be hard for you to process just how evil this is because there’s so much propaganda shielding women from actually having any moral responsiblity.
Molyneux then compares her to James Holmes, the young man who marched into a movie theater in Aurora Colorado, armed to the teeth and wearing body armor, and deliberately murdered 12 people in cold blood before being taken down by police. Molyneaux asks us to imagine if Holmes had gone into the theater with “a baby in a little backpack. … would we not find that even more appalling?”
He asks a similar question about Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber.
So I guess the implication is that she was somehow worse than these two monsters?
Molyneux handwaves away the talk of postpartum depression — he somehow fails to notice that Carey was apparently diagnosed with the rarer and more severe condition of postpartum psychosis — as a “hormones made me do it” excuse.
“What happened to women being morally responsible for what they do?” he asks incredulously.
It seems a strange question to ask about a woman who in fact died in a hail of bullets at the hands of the police who were chasing her. Clearly, they considered her responsible for her actions, and she was confronted, and chased, and killed because of them.
When someone commits a crime, we judge them in part based on what they do, but we also judge them in part on their state of mind at the time.
Carey is being treated differently than Holmes and McVeigh in the media not because of her gender but because her actions, her motivations, and her state of mind all seem to have been dramatically different from the two male mass killers.
Holmes and McVeigh committed crimes that were carefully and methodically planned; both intended to kill as many innocent victims as possible. While McVeigh was obviously troubled, he doesn’t seem to have been seriously out of touch with reality. And while Holmes’ lawyers argue that he was in the midst of a psychotic episode at the time, it’s hard to reconcile this argument with the months of planning and preparation that seem to have preceded the shooting rampage.
Carey, by contrast, didn’t kill anyone and didn’t have any weapons. There’s no evidence that she planned anything in advance, or that she had much of a plan at all; she seems to have simply driven down to Washington and up to the entrance of the White House. All of this is consistent with someone in the midst of a psychotic break.
It’s not an issue of gender. Clearly someone who is not in touch with reality is not morally culpable for their actions in the same way the rest of us are.
But Molyneux isn’t really interested in making fine moral distinctions. He is more interested in using Carey’s case as an excuse to rant about the evil that is woman.
The evil that women are capable of and the evil that women do — not all women — but the evil that women do is generally invisible to society which is why there’s so much violence in society.
Uh, come again?
Molyneux then trots out the standard Men’s Rights argument that women are responsible for adult male violence because women commit more child abuse than men. Of course, this is because women are more likely to be the ones taking care of the children and thus in a position to abuse the children. Men who are never around children are not likely to abuse them, just as people who don’t live in France are unlikely to commit a lot of crimes in France.
Molyneux purports to be flabbergasted by this sort of argument, and suggests that it’s similar to arguing that men beat up their wives “because wives are so innately annoying, of course they’re going to beat them up, because they spend time around them, and so it’s the wives’ fault for being annoying.”
Never mind that no one is suggesting that children are to blame for being abused, simply that people who are not in physical proximity to children aren’t able to abuse them.
At this point Molyneux seems to be overwhelmed by his feelings about all of this, and collapses in a heap of mixed metaphors:
See, men have moral responsibility but we have to build these little shimmering cathedrals around the sensitivities of these little dandilions called women who just float around without any responsibility just being pushed and buffeted around by hormones and society and patriarchy and oh my God.
I stopped taking notes at this point as he babbled on and on.
Here’s his terrible video, in case you want to watch the whole thing: