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Male rage, aggrieved entitlement, and Andreas Lubitz

Andreas Lubitz: Becoming less of a mystery?
Andreas Lubitz: Becoming less of a mystery?

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We still don’t know for sure what led Andreas Lubitz to (allegedly) crash Germanwings Flight 9525 into a mountain in the French Alps, but some of the information that’s coming out today strongly suggests that Lubitz may indeed have been motivated by a toxic mixture of entitlement and rage.

The most revealing information, assuming it’s accurate, comes from an ex-girlfriend who gave an interview to the German newspaper Bild about her time with Lubitz, describing him as a “tormented” soul given to outbursts of explosive rage and delusions of grandeur, at one point telling her that someday he would “do something” to make “everyone … know my name and remember me.”

Based on information gleaned from her interview and from other news reports, a clearer portrait is emerging of the man who (allegedly) took 149 others with him in his dramatic suicide.

1) Andreas Lubitz seems to have been a “nice guy” in public who was given to explosive outbursts behind closed doors. According to the ex-girlfriend — and I’m using the translated version of her remarks you can find in this Telegraph article — Lubitz was a lamb in public. “He … could be very sweet,” she told Bild. “He brought me flowers.” But in private he was a “weak” person “who needed love,” and was given to wild mood swings:

During conversations he’d suddenly throw a tantrum and scream at me. I was afraid.

2) His girlfriend had apparently broken up with him relatively recently, in part because she was unnerved by his explosive outbursts. There’s some confusion about Lubitz’ romantic history. The girlfriend who spoke to Bild was a flight attendant who apparently dated him for some months last year; he also seems to have had a fiancée, who may have broken up with him more recently — some accounts even suggest she left him the day before the crash. According to some news accounts, he tried to win back one of his exes by buying her a car. She evidently refused the gift.

As I pointed out yesterday, angry men tend to react poorly to romantic rejection, sometimes lashing out with violence. Roughly a third of all female murder victims in the United States are killed by their exes. While Lubitz doesn’t appear to have inflicted violence on his ex (or exes) in the wake of their breakup(s), it certainly seems likely that rage over rejection was one of the triggers of his actions.

3) He suffered from depression, anxiety, vision problems, and possibly other medical conditions and was afraid — with good reason — that he would likely lose his dream job as a result. His ex-girlfriend said that when they spoke about work, which they often did,

he became another person. He became agitated about the circumstances in which he had to work, too little money, anxiety about his contract and too much pressure.

He seems to have felt this pressure keenly, sometimes waking up screaming from dreams of plane crashes. Yet he was unwilling to give up a job he’d dreamed of having since childhood, tearing up notes from doctors indicating he was unfit to fly rather than turning them over to his employer. Indeed, Lubitz’ ex believes that his fear of being fired was the primary motivation for his final act:

He did it because he realised that because of his health problems his big dream of a job with Lufthansa; a job as captain and as a long haul pilot was as good as impossible.

4) He was regularly teased by other pilots because he started off his career as a flight attendant, a job that usually goes to women. According to the Mirror, “he was nicknamed ‘Tomato Andy’ because they believed he didn’t know if he was a ‘fruit or veg’ – a reference to his sexuality.” (The British tabloid The Star has decided, based on this, that he was actually gay.) It’s likely that this sort of treatment at the hands of his co-workers contributed to the insecurities his ex-girlfriend spoke of. [EDIT: A native German speaker tells me that the “fruit/veg” explanation does’t make sense in German. But I have seen other references to the nickname and the teasing.]

5) He evidently had a highly developed sense of “aggrieved entitlement.” After one of his girlfriends left him, he seems to have thought he could buy her back with a car. He felt he deserved his dream job as a pilot even though he was deemed medically unfit to fly, and even before his final flight was putting passengers at risk by hiding evidence of his unfitness from his employers. And he evidently felt so wronged, both by romantic rejection and by the probable loss of his job, that he decided he needed to take revenge on his enemies with a grand nihilistic gesture that would, as he told his ex, make the world remember his name.

This toxic mixture of anger, entitlement, and grandiosity is, not to put to fine a point on it, quintessentially male. Women don’t fly planes into mountains or buildings to take retribution on a world that they see as their enemy; men do. Women don’t track down their exes and murder them; men do. (I am oversimplifying somewhat here; these are overwhelmingly male crimes, but not exclusively so.)

While only a tiny fraction of a percent of men resort to acts as violent as killing an entire planeload of innocent people, there are unfortunately many men out there cultivating a similar if less extreme mixture of anger/entitlement/grandiosity, devoting their live to collecting grievances and daydreaming about some apocalyptic revenge.

After five years of writing this blog, I have to say I have become very familiar with this personality type. These guys are everywhere in the toxic online world of Men’s Rights Activists, MGTOWers, PUAs and PUA-haters. No, Lubitz was not, as far as we know, an MRA. No, I don’t expect that any of the MRAs I write about will resort to mass murder, though there are a few I hope the authorities are aware of.

My real worry is that the extreme and often violent rhetoric of many of those in the mainstream of the Men’s Rights movement could push some man who is already close to the edge over it. I don’t see this as unlikely in the slightest; indeed, it seems almost inevitable. I will have more about this, and about the vitriolic anger my posts about Lubitz have inspired amongst some MRAs, in a later post.

EDIT: I removed part of a quote because the translation I was using (by The Telegraph) was wrong, according to a native German speaker in the comments below. I also added a note in the paragraph about other pilots teasing Lubitz, and made a couple of minor tweaks in that paragraph and elsewhere.

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opium4themasses
opium4themasses
7 years ago

Inevitable? Hasn’t it already happened? (Guys in the manosphere getting pushed over the edge)

porree
7 years ago

It’s good you collect so much information about Lubitz, to keep everyone, or at least those who follow your blog, from creating strange myths about him.
Nevertheless, being German, I’d like to mention that Bild is a tabloid rather than a newspaper, and known for not only stretching the truth, but sometimes flat-out inventing headlines, rewriting interviews and so on. I’d rather not trust anything they write at this early stage of investigation. Their aim is to be the first newspaper to be reporting, even if there’s nothing to report.

Cyberwulf
Cyberwulf
7 years ago

Man, you know. One of these days. One of these days, women will snap. One of us is going to look at this catalogue of violent acts and the violent rhetoric coming from the manosphere and that woman is going to do something in response.

Vanir (@Vanir85)
7 years ago

Man, you know. One of these days. One of these days, women will snap.

– Cyberwulf

I hope note. There is no end to how such a thing would be used to justify fear and hatred towards feminists by the double-standard jackals we are dealing with. Men are individuals, women are all women – that’s still how this goes, at least to scumbag misogynists.

Bonelady
Bonelady
7 years ago

Just for the record, there were also 5 rescued Spanish dogs on that flight on their way to new homes in Germany according to Best Friends Animal Community. I don’t know why, but it makes the whole tragedy even sadder.

sunnysombrera
7 years ago

If this tragedy is going to teach us anything, it’s not “women need to dispense more blowjobs” it’s “don’t tease someone that you think is struggling with a mental illness.” I know that Andreas’ colleagues didn’t know he had depression, but there are enough adult bullies out there who would and do make fun of people that they know are having difficulties.

And again, I know that I can’t really suggest that it was the teasing that pushed him over the edge, but it can’t have helped.

roguepixie
roguepixie
7 years ago

Andraste’s knickerweasels… People still use the word “fruit”as a slur? Real live grown ups, even…

If there were any doubts that Elam was leading a hate group, or that AVFM was (is), at its core, a collection of abusers who’ve found support for bad behavior, it’s gone now. All gone.

Bina
7 years ago

The picture of him that’s starting to come together is indeed riveting…and horrifying. And yet it’s understandable, too, that he would act out in the way he did. If flying was his dream career and he had nothing to fall back on, but his health limitations were likely to put an end to it, the desperation he must have felt is not hard to imagine.

Not that any of that excuses what he finally DID, of course. Or what the various species of manurespherians have chosen to make of it. All of that is strictly on the respective perpetrators.

Bina
7 years ago

Nevertheless, being German, I’d like to mention that Bild is a tabloid rather than a newspaper, and known for not only stretching the truth, but sometimes flat-out inventing headlines, rewriting interviews and so on. I’d rather not trust anything they write at this early stage of investigation. Their aim is to be the first newspaper to be reporting, even if there’s nothing to report.

Yup. Bild is like the Daily Mail…an unreliable source on the best of days. I’m going to wait for one of the better German papers or mags to track down any woman from Lubitz’s past and see if any of that is true.

Meanwhile, Mark Twain’s saying about how fast lies get around the world while the truth is still putting its shoes on applies.

RaikonL
RaikonL
7 years ago

Two Translation Errors:

As a native German speaker, his Girlfriend indeed said he locked himself in the bathroom.

And the “Tomato-Andy” name was a reference to his previous job as a flight attendant. A job that is usually occupied by women.

Cyberwulf
Cyberwulf
7 years ago

@Vanir – oh, I don’t think we’d ever turn on men as a whole. Unlike the denizens of the manosphere, we know that most men are perfectly nice and don’t hate women. I just think that just as lionising men who commit murder-suicide and pushing the narrative that evil bitches made them do it can push another man over the edge, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that a woman might take in all this information and decide to do something not so nice.

Aunt Edna
Aunt Edna
7 years ago

Another excellent post on the subject, David. Keep’em coming.

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
7 years ago

Bild zeitung is about as reliable as The S*n, which ran the despicably ablist headline “MADMAN IN COCKPIT”. Mental health charities are having one big face-palm over the shameful media coverage of this tragedy.

I think all the papers have been too quick to focus on Lubitz. If he did crash the plane as some kind of “blaze of glory” suicide gesture, then ironically, they’re giving him exactly what he wanted.
In the early stages of events, they really should be describing the passengers and the efforts of the emergency responders, not speculating wildly about the “deranged lone killer” angle.

In fact, according to journalistic guidelines, focusing on the killer is the worst thing to do – because it inspires others.

AllisonW
AllisonW
7 years ago

Cyberwulf wrote: “Man, you know. One of these days. One of these days, women will snap. One of us is going to look at this catalogue of violent acts and the violent rhetoric coming from the manosphere and that woman is going to do something in response.”

And I would have trouble blaming her. Then again, I disagree with Vanir–of course the Men’s Rights Bowel Movement would whine about it being the fault of all women while men’s actions are only ever the fault of an individual man (unless women are to blame for his actions too), but more than once I’ve found myself wondering if the reason so many men are so quick to take out their anger on women is because they’ve been led to believe women won’t fight back. Perhaps fearing women *physically* and not just *socially* would keep some of them in check.

Vanir (@Vanir85)
7 years ago

@Cyberwulf – oh, i have no fear women will turn on men as a whole. What I meant is; due to the odd double standards regarding gender – a few women *snapping* and acting like Elliot Rodger, and it’s much more likely women/feminists as a whole will be blamed, at least by many. Women as a whole are much more likely to be labeled due to the acts of a few.

Ellie
Ellie
7 years ago

Still, is it weird that redpillwomen pisses me off more than the manuresphere? They’d shame this guys exes for leaving him/not putting up with him. They fall hard for the “my love will cure him” rhetoric that is too common in society.

Sorry. I was just on rpw and I always need to take a break afterwards. Too many women being in clearly abusive relationships being blamed for them and “just pamper him more” there.

AllisonW
AllisonW
7 years ago

Vanir: I’ll note that in the case of the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century, despite the fact that black people also had an “Other” status that allowed the dominant group to easily make generalisations about them (perhaps even more easily than about women), Martin Luther King wasn’t less effective because of the existence of Malcolm X. If anything, I’d wager MLK was *more* effective because Malcolm X provided the teeth that served as the “or else” to MLK’s perfectly reasonable demands for equality.

AllisonW
AllisonW
7 years ago

Ellie: no, it isn’t strange. Those redpill women openly seek to subjugate themselves to an enemy in exchange for table scraps. The sense of revulsion you feel towards them is completely appropriate.

Bina
7 years ago

Still, is it weird that redpillwomen pisses me off more than the manuresphere? They’d shame this guys exes for leaving him/not putting up with him. They fall hard for the “my love will cure him” rhetoric that is too common in society.

Not a bit weird. These are the kind of women who fall for serial killers and think those poor devils are just misunderstood. Special snowflakes don’t get any specialer. It makes me want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them, if it would only shake some sense into them. But they are already deluded, and nothing will un-delude them…at least, until it’s themselves who are in the clutches of a criminal, and scared shitless of him.

AllisonW
AllisonW
7 years ago

From that TBP thread: I really like the term “toxic femininity.” I’ve been using it in my head for a while now to describe exactly that kind of thing, along with the kind of garbage you see in fashion mags and whatnot.

Pear_tree
Pear_tree
7 years ago

I just want to make the point that he said the things about changing the system and being remembered a while ago. A lot of people would say that and mean setting up a charitable foundation or making the system more fair. It takes on significance now but would be wholly insignificant in the majority of cases.

Similarly, the only evidence of him hiding his illness (so far) is apparently ripped up sick notes which is also consistent with someone who didn’t know if he could attend work.

I’m not sure about what the girlfriends have said though. I don’t think his motive is that clear yet though.

brooked
brooked
7 years ago

“he was nicknamed ‘Tomato Andy’ because they believed he didn’t know if he was a ‘fruit or veg’ – a reference to his sexuality.” (The British tabloid The Star has decided, based on this, that he was actually gay.)

This reminds of the Fox News pop psychologist who suggested Elliot Rodgers was fighting against “homosexual impulses” because that would help explain his sexual frustration and/or murderous rage and because it’s fun to make bullshit up.

http://www.mediaite.com/online/fox-guest-thinks-you-misunderstood-her-elliot-rodger-homosexual-impulses-comment/

Vichtenaar
Vichtenaar
7 years ago

I see, so if a man suffered emotional stress for being mocked for being insufficiently masculine/heterosexual, that’s “aggrieved entitlement,” huh?

scalyllama
7 years ago

It seems many disparate communities were affected by this tragedy. I didn’t know about the rescue dogs and it also brings an added pathos for me.

I did, however, know that we lost two amazing Wagnerian opera singers in the crash. Bass-baritone Oleg Bryjak and contralto Maria Radner were on their way home from a performance of Siegfried in Barcelona. Radner was also travelling with her infant son and her husband. The grief in the opera world has been intense and profound.

How many thousands of people were brought light and joy by these two amazing humans? And how many robbed of that experience in the future because one man felt (reportedly) that the world owed him more than he was actually worth? It sickens me. If he wasn’t dead already, I would personally make his life a misery.

Rant over, sorry 🙁

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