The man suspected of murdering three Baton Rouge police officers in what’s being called an “ambush” shooting earlier today has been identified as a 29-year-old ex-Marine named Gavin Long.
On the internet, Long was better known as Cosmo Setepenra, a self-described “freedom strategist, mental game coach, nutritionist, author and spiritual advisor” who expressed his peculiar worldview at length in a number of YouTube videos, in blog posts and in several self-published books with titles like “The Cosmo Way: A W(H)olistic Guide for the Total Transformation of Melanated People Vol.2 The Ascension (Volume 2).”
“Cosmo,” who was killed by police in the shootout this morning, seems to have dabbled in an assortment of ideologies, many of them fringe. In a video posted earlier this month that looks in hindsight like an announcement of today’s shooting rampage, he declared himself both a former Christian and a former Nation of Islam member. Police say he carried a membership card for a black “sovereign citizen” organization. He was a regular poster on conspiracy websites and a member of a group that claimed to fight against the imaginary evil of “gangstalking,” as well as “Remote Brain experimentation, Remote Neural Monitoring of an entire Humans Body” and “Patented Voice-to-(Human)-Skull (the forceful 24/7 of projected noise to a citizen’s head).”
While it will take some time to untangle his paranoid, often delusional, worldview, a few things are pretty clear. He had a deep animus towards police, and was angered by recent police shootings of unarmed black men. In a Tweet, he hailed Dallas police shooter Micah Johnson as “one of us!” and declared that “my religion is justice.”
He was also a raging misogynist, a self-proclaimed “alpha male” and “alpha preneur” who believed that men need to keep women “in check.”
In a blog post/podcast in June, he declared:
The Man is the leader, he has to take responsibility for keeping his woman in check at all times. Dont get a woman if you cant keep her in check. …
Alpha Males Dont Leave A Bitch Un-Checked!
He then listed the names of a number of celebrity athletes who, in his mind, illustrated the dangers of allowing “bitches” to remain “un-checked.”
Ray Rice, Terrel Owens, Ben Rothlesburger, Ray McDonald, Lamar Odom, etc etc etc They let their woman get them into some shit and it cost them Millions. Well Its because they didnt have their woman in check.
Ray Rice, as you probably recall, was caught on a surveillance camera knocking out his fiancee with a blow to the head. Ben Rothlesburger has been accused more than once of sexual assault. Ray McDonald has been charged with “rape by intoxication … domestic violence, felony false imprisonment, child endangerment, and violating a court order.”
But in Cosmo’s mind, the real crime of these men was insufficient bitch-checking.
Yea Ray Rice woman swung on him first, but my thing is that…Do you think that’s the first time that she did that? Im sure she displayed signs of un-Checkability before. Because if a bitch is swinging on you, then you know she been out of line before. Violence against a Man is a clear sign that you simping. There is no worst violation than to be assaulted by your woman.
In another blog post, Cosmo urged men to “be territorial” with “their” women. “Sometimes you might need to invade her independence,” he explained.
Why bring any of this up? Gavin Long/Cosmo Setepenra didn’t target women; he targeted cops, and the three cops he shot dead were men, two white and one black.
I bring it up because there are deep links between traditional “macho” masculinity and violence. But it isn’t just the most macho men who turn to violence to “check their women” or assert their dominance over other men. Men who are anxious about their masculinity are also more likely to resort to violence. As Salem State University professor Felix Amato notes in a recent study, “men’s fear of femininity” can lead to an assortment of “maladaptive and restrictive behaviors” including violence.
The sort of hypermasculinity that “Cosmo” preached on his blog — in which even the brutal woman-abuser Ray Rice is deemed insufficiently macho — looks a lot like a fantasy dreamed up by someone deeply anxious about their own masculinity. That also seems to describe the hypermacho “Red Pill” lifestyle preached daily on the Red Pill subreddit and on sites like Roosh V’s Return of Kings.
In many cases, the victims of this anxious hypermasculinity are women and children. Indeed, murder-suicides — in which a man guns down his girlfriend or wife or ex-wife and sometimes her children before killing himself — are so common they rarely make it beyond the local news, though the body count from such crimes (to be crass about it) is far higher than the body count from domestic terrorism.
Several weeks ago, a Las Vegas man murdered his wife, chasing her down and shooting her in the parking lot of a Walgreens; he returned to their apartment, where he shot and killed their three children and then himself. None of the networks cut away from their programming to go live to the scene of the crime. Trump didn’t Tweet about it; Obama didn’t make a statement. Outside of a handful of stories (on Raw Story, the Inquisitr and the Daily Mail), the only coverage this horrendous crime got was in the Las Vegas media.
Terrorism makes the headlines. But domestic violence, much of it driven by macho entitlement and/or anxious masculinity, causes more deaths and more damage to our society. If we want to fight violence, we need to start talking about this.