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Why the Men’s Rights Movement needs to stop making excuses for violence

The aftermath of a gunman's rampage at an Arkansas courthouse

In June, a man named Thomas Ball took his own life – literally lighting himself ablaze – outside of a Keane, New Hampshire courthouse. He left behind a manifesto protesting his treatment by the family court.

But Ball wanted to do more than protest what he felt were injustices against men. He hoped to inspire other men to take the law into their own hands; in his words “we need to start burning down police stations and courthouses.”

He wasn’t speaking figuratively: he was talking about real violence.

[T]he dirty deeds are being carried out by our local police, prosecutors and judges. …  Collaborators who are no different than the Vichy of France or the Quislings of Norway during the Second World War. … And they need to be held accountable. So burn them out. …

Ball went on to offer specific advice on how to construct the most effective Molotov cocktails to lob at courthouses and police stations.

Nor did he seem overly concerned that people would be killed:

There will be some casualties in this war. Some killed, some wounded, some captured. Some of them will be theirs. Some of the casualties will be ours. …

I only managed to get the main door of the Cheshire County Courthouse in Keene, NH. I would appreciate it if some of you boys would finish the job for me.

Ball has been treated as a martyr by many Men’s Right’s Activists online; his manifesto – including those parts that explicitly call for terrorism – has been reposted on a number of MRA sites.

Why am I bringing up Ball? This is why:

On Tuesday, an Arkansas man reportedly entered the office of the judge that had presided over his divorce and custody hearings, and opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle. Amazingly, no one died as a result of his rampage, aside from the gunman himself, James Ray Palmer, who was taken down by police in a gun battle outside the courthouse, according to news accounts. The judge, fortunately, was not there, and the gunman’s rifle apparently jammed.  Before heading to the courthouse, authorities say, Palmer set his own home on fire with timed incendiary devices.

Was Palmer inspired directly by Ball’s manifesto? We don’t know. The judge in this case was by no means the first to be targeted by a man angry at the outcome of his divorce or custody case.  Judges were receiving death threats – and in some cases actually being murdered – long before there was such a thing as the Men’s Rights movement online.

But talk of violence is common on Men’s Rights sites. Opponents of the Men’s Rights movement are denounced as “collaborators,” while others talk plainly about fighting a “war” against feminism. Angry Harry, a British MRA revered by many of his ideological compatriots on this side of the pond, has offered an explicit apologia for violence against family court judges.

Even if Palmer himself was not directly influenced by the MRM online—as of yet, we don’t know —  it is only a matter of time until some unbalanced person steeped in the violent rhetoric of the MRM online decides to “finish the job” started by Thomas Ball. It is only a matter of time until those espousing such rhetoric have real blood on their hands.

If the MRM truly aspires to be a real civil rights movement, rather than a reactionary hate sect more redolent of the KKK than of MLK, moderate MRAs need to step up and speak out against the bullies and the would-be warriors. They need to stop canonizing violent-minded men like Ball. They need to make clear that violent rhetoric – not to mention specific threats or calls to terrorism – have no place in the movement.

Do I expect this to happen? No. I think instead we will get more excuses, more evasions, more apologias for violence — and more threatening talk.

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Rutee Katreya
10 years ago

[quote]I didn’t say how it cast feminist in a negative light,(the abuse denial on feminists sites is negative behavior though) I was using the example to highlight the stupidity of asking me to find a men’s movement site that doesn’t accept violence and setting that as a standard of evidence[/quote]
Ah, but here’s the catch then; we don’t use that as the standard for non-violent. We accept the police, and will accept as non-violent any MRA who feels that while the state may possess the right to violence, they personally do not, in any form, nor does the rest of the MRM. You’re claiming our standard is much higher, when it is not.

No feminist site passes the manboobz test, its just another silly argument that hasn’t be thought through by the person making it.

Of course it doesn’t. Feminist sites are neither MRAs nor accepted by the MRA movement. But most feminist sites would pass a regendered version of the manboobz test, easily.

Catalogue
10 years ago

David

Find me a feminist that says

“we shouldn’t be canonizing the suffragettes because they advocated terrorism, and terrorism is wrong.”

And I will comply with your request, it won’t be hard for me because most mra’s know he had mental problems, understand the system that drove him to do what he did but don’t agree with terrorism.

hellkell
hellkell
10 years ago

Murderous thoughts towards Andy Warhol, what? Nah, even at his most trite, I didn’t want him dead.

Catalogue
10 years ago

“Of course it doesn’t. Feminist sites are neither MRAs nor accepted by the MRA movement. But most feminist sites would pass a regendered version of the manboobz test, easily.”

Equity feminist and ifeminist are accepted by the mra movement and any feminists that are supportive, and all feminist sites fail the manboobz test, there is not one that can pass it.

Kollege Messerschmitt
10 years ago

Find me a feminist that says

“we shouldn’t be canonizing the suffragettes because they advocated terrorism, and terrorism is wrong.”

Uhm, what terrorism?
Vandalism is not terrorism, for your information.

hellkell
hellkell
10 years ago

Catalog: bored now.

Get a new schtick, this one is tired. Be coherent and make a point; show us a non-violent, non-woman hating MRA site, or go home.

Rutee Katreya
10 years ago

No, feminists really can’t, because we’re not MRAs, and self identifying as MRA is a critical qualifier for the manboobz challenge.

I am perfectly fine with this. We had a troll offer up his own Manboobz challenge for feminists; met within 15 replies, despite making even more pronouncements.

Catalogue
10 years ago

“Find me a feminist that says

“we shouldn’t be canonizing the suffragettes because they advocated terrorism, and terrorism is wrong.”

Uhm, what terrorism?
Vandalism is not terrorism, for your information.”

Blowing up courthouses is the same sort of vandalism. Destruction of state property in the name of civil rights, no loss of life. There are other feminist terrorists too, the ones that co-opted the egalitarian shelters movement used terror tactics and another group call the Angry Brigade were genuine terrorists.

Catalogue
10 years ago

“Uhm, what terrorism?
Vandalism is not terrorism, for your information.”

LOOK EVERYONE ALL FEMINISTS ARE VANDALS! (thats me doing what you guys do)

Molly Ren
10 years ago

“How about this, you show me you don’t have murderous thoughts towards kill Andy Warhole.”

… you do know Andy Warhol is *already* dead, right?

I know, it shocked me too. We can share a drink and cry about how modern art has sucked since then together, okay?

Catalogue
10 years ago

Helkel

“Get a new schtick, this one is tired. Be coherent and make a point; show us a non-violent, non-woman hating MRA site, or go home.”

So me a non-violent non, man hating feminist site, and I will happily show you a non woman hating men’s movement site but I cannot guarantee non-violent, most people support state violence against criminals, guns and cages and such.

Rutee Katreya
10 years ago

Blowing up courthouses is the same sort of vandalism.

If there are no people in them, this is possible; depending on how it’s done, it could also be used as a show of force, however. Similarly, nobody was *harmed* in most of the colonial demonstrations. But they were threatened with harm, and many fled to avoid being lynched.

You do know the guy in the OP shot up a courthouse with people in it, right? He just happened not to have killed anyone, despite actually wounding people. That’s not necessarily terrorism, because it’s not clear what his goal was, but it isn’t equivalent to property damage either.

There are other feminist terrorists too,

No, because you need a first group to compare them to. The correct diction is “There are feminist terrorists too”, as you haven’t substantiated your claim that the suffragettes were terrorists.

the ones that co-opted the egalitarian shelters movement used terror tactics and another group call the Angry Brigade were genuine terrorists.

Death threats for a political cause? Yes indeed, they would be terrorists. They’re awful, and shouldn’t exist at all.

They’re also not popular with the feminist movement though, so it’s *STILL* different from the MRM, where you guys seem perfectly happy to take or excuse shooters like Breivik.

Kollege Messerschmitt
10 years ago

Catalogue,
because asking nicely worked so well when women were trying to get the right to vote, right?

Seriously, are you comparing a guy who attempted to kill the people who were involved in the divorce and custody hearings (which, by the way, took place because he was a danger to his kids and his wife) to oppressed people trying to get the right to be treated equally through means of property damage?

Rutee Katreya
10 years ago

I’m 100% fine with vandalism as a tactic in advancing a political cause. But it’s true, I suspect most of the suffragette movement was comprised of people who didn’t mind class or racial oppression. Some weren’t, and these few should be celebrated all the more.

But not really meaningfully opposing kyriarchy isn’t the same as terrorism, else nearly every human being would be a terrorist.

Catalogue
10 years ago

Kollege

I am pointing to widespread canonizing of terrorists by the feminist movement and also the wide spread defense and denial of female on male violence as evidence that the OP is hypocritical and poorly thought out.

I’m also pointing out that its dishonest to pretend that every one that sympathizes with T. Ball agrees with his call to terrorism or that because some statistically irrelevant minority of hardliners do, that all men’s rights people do. I know that, you know that, the fallacy is just a mechanism used to slander all men’s rights people, men’s rights issues. The less nuanced mens rights people do it too “all feminists are x because Solanas” or some such.

And the general point I’m making is the hypocritical and dishonest nature of this blog, I can come here at anytime time and point to gaping flaws and double standards that the regulars can’t see themselves.

Trollin'MRAs
Trollin'MRAs
10 years ago

First time browsing the Manboobz comments after a vay-cay, and I see all these posts by a new BoobzTroll! YAY!

Catalogue, you are such a cute little attention-ho, I hope you stick around because you are truly terrible at what you do. Suffragettes? Sure, they weren’t perfect, but since we’re talking about ancient history now, you could make similar statements about the founding fathers.

OH, but they’re off limits according to the dummies on reddit’s /mr
http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/kig1o/i_dont_post_manboobz_to_this_reddit_but_you_guys/

Hypocrites much?

PS: where’s the link to a Ball-repudiating MRA site bruh? Something like that shouldn’t be so hard to find.

Catalogue
10 years ago

“Seriously, are you comparing a guy who attempted to kill the people who were involved in the divorce and custody hearings (which, by the way, took place because he was a danger to his kids and his wife) to oppressed people trying to get the right to be treated equally through means of property damage?”

No he was not an organised terrorist, just one loose cannon guy fighting against state oppression and probably a high conflict personality using the courts as a weapon. He is not an mra. MRAs are opposed the systematic inequalities that drove the happening. If anything the mens movement is working to stop violent retribution by lone nuts and those opposing reform are working to provoke it.

cynickal
cynickal
10 years ago

So me a non-violent non, man hating feminist site, and I will happily show you a non woman hating men’s movement site but I cannot guarantee non-violent, most people support state violence against criminals, guns and cages and such.

cynickal
cynickal
10 years ago

If anything the mens movement is working to stop violent retribution by lone nuts and those opposing reform are working to provoke it.

You mean by the overwhelming up-votes the calls to and for violence get? How’s that working for you?

Rutee Katreya
10 years ago

MRAs are opposed the systematic inequalities that drove the happening.

Wow, that’s novel, you don’t usually admit to protecting abusers.

and those opposing reform are working to provoke it.

And there you are again, excusing the violence.

I am pointing to widespread canonizing of terrorists by the feminist movement

Stamping your feet and asserting that this is true isn’t going to turn the suffragettes into terrorists, nor will it find you evidence that the Angry Brigade has widespread support.

I can come here at anytime time and point to gaping flaws and double standards that the regulars can’t see themselves.

Like when you tried to do this for ‘non-violent’? OH ho ho ho ho ho ho ho.

. I know that, you know that, the fallacy is just a mechanism used to slander all men’s rights people, men’s rights issues.

It is in the absence of MRAs specifically repudiating that violence, yeah. It’s also far too common; that you’re even stamping your feet about being asked to find a nonviolent MRA isn’t a good sign for you.

Bostonian
10 years ago

The MRM is not known as the abuser’s lobby for nothing. The man talked about in this post was an abuser and a threat to his family. The MRM would have him have been able to kill them with impunity.

Kollege Messerschmitt
10 years ago

I’m 100% fine with vandalism as a tactic in advancing a political cause. But it’s true, I suspect most of the suffragette movement was comprised of people who didn’t mind class or racial oppression. Some weren’t, and these few should be celebrated all the more.

That is a good point. IIRC, First Wave Feminism was mostly about white, cis, straight and middle class women. It was far from perfect, indeed. But as has been said, that was a long time ago, and feminism has changed a lot.

It is interesting that Catalogue has to go this far back in history to show that feminists are totes as prone to violence as the MRM.

Catalogue
10 years ago

I see I’m being kafka trapped into the role of pro-violence abuser advocate.

I can say that I understand why people take to the streets in Libya, or how the courts system can drive a person to breaking point.

But that doesn’t mean that I am violent, or that the entire men’s movement is violent. Every argument here, is based on fallacies, slander and accusations of abuse.

None of you can make a strong argument against men’s rights, or me. You remind me so much of the hardline anti feminists on the spearhead, you cannot see the errors in your thinking or generalizations.

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