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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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Catalogue
10 years ago

“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.”

The mrm has no history of organised violence or terrorism. Feminism does, And there are feminist terror groups active in south america as we speak, so I don’t have to go back in time at all.

David, have you been listening to AVFM?

There have been a number of anti violence segments, there was one after Thomas Ball.

And can you ask your peanut gallery to stop suggesting that the mens movement is pro violence, you know that’s an out right lie.

Kollege Messerschmitt
10 years ago

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.

It’s state oppression that his wife was able to divorce him and to get custody because he was dangerous? I guess if she stayed with him and he harmed the kids or her, the manosphere would have argued that it was totally her fault for staying with an abusive guy, and she probably provoked him anyway.

It was his decision to harm others.

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.

Ah, there we have the accusations of “provoking” these guys into going on a spree.
If the MRM wants to prevent those things from happening, maybe not using violent rhetoric or making excuses for the likes of Ball, Palmer and Breivik would be a good idea. Unless your idea of prevention means to take away all the rights from women and other groups that the MRAs don’t agree with.

Rutee Katreya
10 years ago

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

Dude, you can’t claim this guy as someone the MRM should protect without it. The dude in the OP was a violent abuser. For fuck’s sake, even before his wife initiated the divorce he said he was going to hunt people. You’re not kafka trapped into anything; an abuser could just be someone you shouldn’t protect.

None of you can make a strong argument against men’s rights,

That men should have rights and that they shouldn’t be marginalized? You’re right, I can’t, and I won’t even try, because I have no reason to. They shouldn’t be marginalized, and men should have rights.

But I can argue that men are the privileged class, that they receive benefits due to their gender, and that they aren’t substantively held down in almost any way on the grounds of their gender alone*. Further, I can say that unlike men, women *ARE* held back substantively on nothing more than their gender. I can also say, with complete accuracy, that ultimately the ‘father’s rights’ movement is completely bullshit, because the central tenet of their cause isn’t true. Women don’t actually win the majority of custody cases where men contest that custody. I can argue against the men’s.rights movement, because it claims a thousand contradictory things, almost all if not all hostile to women, such as pretty much every argument ever offered on the wage gap (From its nonexistence, to its existence but not due to gender, to ‘it exists, but it’s only because women don’t negotiate as well’, to ‘It exists but the stuck up bitches deserve it), to the idea that women are the privileged class (Orwell would be proud).

But I can’t argue that men shouldn’t have rights; only that you already do have them. Because you do. Your movement has a theoretical cause it can still work towards; there are some issues that do affect men still, such as male rape survivors and their very different raw deal from female rape survivors, or the idea that men can’t be caretakers. But that’d be a very different movement from the parody of a civil rights movement you currently have now, because it would mean acknowledging that men are the privileged class, and that collectively your problems really aren’t as bad as the marginalized classes’.

*I would never suggest that men don’t face discrimination at all. That would be grossly stupid and trivially easy to prove as inaccurate. But the discrimination men face almost never has or will come from being a man. It comes from not being cis, or being poor, or being non-white, or disabled, or gay, or any of a number of other things. Within these categories, women will still suffer disproportionately more.

Catalogue
10 years ago

“Unless your idea of prevention means to take away all the rights from women and other groups that the MRAs don’t agree with.”

Equality is not the zero sum game you think it is. If legal discrimination in and civil rights in the system is fixed to reflect something more humane for men, it is not talking away rights for women, unless you believe that an unequal system is a women’s right.

Catalogue
10 years ago

Rutee

You argue about male privilege, and repeat arguments and theories developed by privileged white feminist women, that are blind to their own privilege, but you would be arguing from a blind side.

Bostonian
Bostonian
10 years ago

And you are, indeed, defending someone who wanted to kill his family. The MRM has been very consistent about the desire to return to the days when a man had that absolute right.
Killing your family is not a civil right.

zombie rotten mcdonald
10 years ago

No he was not an organised terrorist, just one loose cannon guy fighting against state

wait wait, did I call the ‘loose cannon’ defense?

How many points is that?

Kollege Messerschmitt
10 years ago

Equality is not the zero sum game you think it is. If legal discrimination in and civil rights in the system is fixed to reflect something more humane for men, it is not talking away rights for women, unless you believe that an unequal system is a women’s right.

Where exactly do you see the inequality in this case, though? Palmer was violent and abusive towards his wife and children, so his wife filed a divorce and got full custody.

If this was somehow so unfair that it provoked Palmer into going on a killing spree, how should the judge have handled this case then, in your opinion?

Do you really not see how it’s problematic that you keep on defending his actions?

zombie rotten mcdonald
10 years ago

(show) me a non-violent non, man hating feminist site,

Manboobz. You may have heard of it.

Rutee Katreya
10 years ago

You argue about male privilege, and repeat arguments and theories developed by privileged white feminist women, that are blind to their own privilege

Some feminists are blind to middle class, or white, or cis, or hetero, or able-bodied privilege, yes. That your movement just recently learned the word kyriarchy doesn’t change that men are the privileged class. What is the privilege of being a woman, exactly? Being treated worse by hospitals, which class symptoms of problems not directly connected to uteri first by how those symptoms manifest in men?

What about family court privileges, those nonexistent things that don’t even help when men contest divorces? Is it the ‘privilege’ of not being drafted, a privilege which is now shared by men in almost every developed country right now? About the only privilege I’ve ever seen substantiated is that men receive stronger sentences in criminal courts, by roughly 10% Somehow, I don’t see that making up for the rest. Unless you’re Japanese, then you can at least claim that you can still be drafted and be accurate about it.

but you would be arguing from a blind side.

This is just an incoherent clause entirely. You’re good at that.

Pecunium
10 years ago

Catalogue: And I was conflating two things that are the same.

A group of small group of RL social rejects here and another group of RL social rejects on MGTOW that use the same fallacious argument and double standards against each others groups.

No, you were not. You were saying the feminist movement ought to be rending it garments and bewailing the actions of a single person years ago, instead of the present paeans to violence of MRAs in the present.

You specifically said the violent rhetoric of the MRM is an infentesimal number (a few, out of tens of thousands), who are acting in the Here and Now. Then you mention the acts of one person (out of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of feminists) and say they are equal.

If you think those are the same, well really stupid seems the answer.

Another fallacious argument, the whole culture here is based on intellectual dishonesty. You cannot find an individual that does not accept violence in one for or another, barring perhaps a Buddhist, not to mind a website.

Bullshit. No one has said there is no one in any movement who isn’t espousing violence (we purged one from Manboobz… I’d have to say I’d prefer to disemvowel their comments, so that we can point to what we won’t allow, but that’s Dave’s call). We are asking you to prove your argument.

Put your money where your mouth is. Show the all the vast majority of MRAs who are against violence. Who, before they needed to deflect people from thinking the things they said were what they meant, were saying, “WTF Dudes, violence isn’t the answer.

Should be trivial right? Because the violent types are rare exceptions to the rule, right?

Right.

Pecunium
10 years ago

Oh, wait. I see Catalogue’s trick. He’s built a “paradox”, it’s not the argument he started with (that having been shot down).

Better, he’s got an operational definition which is impossible to find.

He can’t lose, and can pretend it’s because we are dishonest.

A quick icing of words like, “fallacious” and one is golden. The case is unassailable, because it’s failure is built in. It’s better than NWO’s conspiracy theories, because it has the veneer of reason, like an aquarium on an HDTV, so long as you don’t really look at it, it looks moderately believable..

Catalogue
10 years ago

“And you are, indeed, defending someone who wanted to kill his family”

No I’m not, I will retort by making some real claims, feminists defended a woman who killed her five children, support “batter woman’s defense” and female rapists, child abuse and domestic abusers by hiding them with convoluted stats.

“The MRM has been very consistent about the desire to return to the days when a man had that absolute right.”

This is out right lie, and a projection.Feminists actively support legislation that allows a woman to kill her husband in cold blood and escape a murder charge, and you cant provide one shared of evidence to back up your claim about us. Again, you are little but liars here, as demented and toxic as the worst of them on the Spearhead.

“Killing your family is not a civil right”

As I’ve said, feminism is the movement that protects family murderers, that’s on record where as you are just slandering me for want of a logical argument. No one in the mens movement has suggested that killing your family is a civil right. Again, you are little but liars and slanderers here, using the worst misandrist stereotypes and as demented and toxic as the worst of them on the Spearhead

zombie rotten mcdonald
10 years ago

so now the argument has devolved to “Nuh uh! YOU are!”

Catalogue
10 years ago

Pecumium, you didnt understand what I was saying.

I was saying that expecting all feminists to take responsibility for VS, is even more ridiculous than expecting all MRAs to take responsibility for Norway etc and that the only people that make those sort of argument are the hardliner anti-feminist on the spearhead and MGTOW and their hardline anti-mens rights counterparts here on manboobz.

Catalogue
10 years ago

“so now the argument has devolved to “Nuh uh! YOU are!””

No its devolved into an unsupportable MRAs what the right to kill their family charge and that was countered by a supportable charge that feminism protects family abusers and murderers. Manboobz peeps tend to argue like that.

katz
10 years ago

“And you are, indeed, defending someone who wanted to kill his family”

No I’m not, I will retort by making some real claims, feminists defended a woman who killed her five children, support “batter woman’s defense” and female rapists, child abuse and domestic abusers by hiding them with convoluted stats.

Dude.

Even if feminists did that, it doesn’t mean you’re not doing it.

Like it doesn’t work to say “I’m not wearing a hat because you’re wearing a hat!”

Catalogue
10 years ago

EDIT

No, its devolved into an unsupportable MRAs want the right to kill their family charge and that was countered by a more credible and supportable charge that feminism protects family abusers and murderers.

katz
10 years ago

No, its devolved into an unsupportable MRAs want the right to kill their family charge and that was countered by a more credible and supportable charge that feminism protects family abusers and murderers.

In other words, “Nuh uh! YOU are!”

Pecunium
10 years ago

Catalogue: 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.

So you decided to 1: Lie about what was asked, and 2: redefine it (in that lie) so as to be impossible, so you could 3: invert the lie by saying it was perpetrated by us.

No one said, “find an MRA site that doesn’t condone violence”.

I said, that, since you aver the number of violence advocating (not tolerating, advocating) MRAs is so small a part of “10s of 1000s’ as to make mentioning them a slander on all the rest, that you ought to be able to find all the non-violent MRAs you were telling us about.

You were free to define non-violent in any way you saw fit, and compare the examples you then brought forth, against the ones we’ve been talking about.

This, you called fallacious.

You’ve been doubling down on the lies, expecting men movement sites to be totally opposed to violence is a silly ,double standard to set, because no one said totally opposed to violence.

We said not actively encouraging it.

Catalogue
10 years ago

“Where exactly do you see the inequality in this case, though? Palmer was violent and abusive towards his wife and children, so his wife filed a divorce and got full custody.

If this was somehow so unfair that it provoked Palmer into going on a killing spree, how should the judge have handled this case then, in your opinion?

Do you really not see how it’s problematic that you keep on defending his actions?”

I don’t even know who plamer is, this is the first I’ve heard of him. Its obviously wrong and hes obviously deranged, its also toxic to take him and use him to oppose mens rights and slander the mens movement.

Pecunium
10 years ago

Catalogue: (show) me a non-violent non, man hating feminist site

zombie: Manboobz. You may have heard of it.

But zombie… you forget the MRA definition of man-hating.

Does not agree with the entire MRA agenda = man hating. Man Boobz makes fun of some MRAs, QED Manboobz is a man hating site.

Catalogue
10 years ago

Pecunium

You can split hairs and call me a liar till the cows come home, but If you go back and check the context, you will see where you are misunderstanding.

Kollege Messerschmitt
10 years ago

I was saying that expecting all feminists to take responsibility for VS, is even more ridiculous than expecting all MRAs to take responsibility for Norway etc and that the only people that make those sort of argument are the hardliner anti-feminist on the spearhead and MGTOW and their hardline anti-mens rights counterparts here on manboobz.

How come then that comments on the spearhead that are endorsing, or even calling for, violence against women get numerous upvotes, while such comments (regarding both anti-women and anti-men violence) get criticised and/or deleted here on manboobz, and many other feminist spaces?

MRA’s aren’t so much asked to take responsibility for guys like Breivik, but to refrain from defending their actions and making excuses for them.

zombie rotten mcdonald
10 years ago

But zombie… you forget the MRA definition of man-hating.

I know.

I plead guilty to troll-baiting.

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