George Sodini killed three women and injured at least ten others at a Pittsburgh-area gym before shooting himself yesterday. His online diary reveals an obsession with "hoes" who refused to date him — and a connection to more "mainstream" misogynists.
Sodini was a member of the LA Fitness in Collier, Pennsylvania, and neighbors described him as "a bit of a recluse." Allegheny County police superintendent says Sodini "did what he set out to do, and I think nobody could have stopped him." Moffatt did not confirm a report that Sodini's ex-girlfriend was one of his victims, but the killer's website (now offline) shows a bitter frustration with women in general.
On December 24, 2008, he wrote,
Moving into Christmas again. No girlfriend since 1984, last Christmas with Pam was in 1983. Who knows why. I am not ugly or too weird. No sex since July 1990 either (I was 29). No shit! Over eighteen years ago. And did it maybe only 50-75 times in my life. Getting to think that a woman now would just, uh, get in the way of things. Isolated. [...] I know nothing will change, no matter how hard I try or what goals I set.
And on December 29, 2008:
Just got back from tanning, been doing this for a while. No gym today, my elbow is sore again. I actually look good. I dress good, am clean-shaven, bathe, touch of cologne - yet 30 million women rejected me - over an 18 or 25-year period. That is how I see it. Thirty million is my rough guesstimate of how many desirable single women there are. A man needs a woman for confidence. He gets a boost on the job, career, with other men, and everywhere else when he knows inside he has someone to spend the night with and who is also a friend. This type of life I see is a closed world with me specifically and totally excluded. Every other guy does this successfully to a degree. Flying solo for many years is a destroyer. Yet many people say I am easy to get along with, etc. Looking back, I owe nothing to desirable females who ask for anything, except for basic courtesy - usually. Looking back over everything, what bothers me most is the inability to work towards whatever change I choose.
And on June 5, 2009:
I was reading several posts on different forums and it seems many teenage girls have sex frequently. One 16 year old does it usually three times a day with her boyfriend. So, err, after a month of that, this little hoe has had more sex than ME in my LIFE, and I am 48. One more reason. Thanks for nada, bitches! Bye.
Does it make sense to think of this as a misogynist crime? It's worth noting that Sodini's diary also includes some racist ramblings ("Black dudes have thier choice of best white hoez"), but both his racism and his sexism are heavily overlaid with insanity and despair. On May 4, 2009, he wrote:
I know I will never enjoy life. This is an over 30 year trend. Some people are happy, some are miserable. It is difficult to live almost continuously feeling an undercurrent of fear, worry, discontentment and helplessness. I can talk and joke around and sound happy but under it all is something different that seems unchangable and a permanent part of my being.
Sodini was clearly disturbed, but his bilious diary displays an extreme version of a type of grievance misogyny that is all too common. His conviction that all the "desirable single women" in the country are collectively rejecting him, even though he is not "too weird" seems at first like the antithesis of the bluster of pickup artists and "game" aficionados, but a glance at repugnablog Roissy in DC reveals a connection. In a post about the shooting, Roissy writes,
When men kill women, the underlying reason is almost always an unfulfilled psychosexual need. This goes for spree shooters, rapists, and serial killers. I'm not surprised Sodini hasn't had sex in nearly 20 years. As I've written before, to men celibacy is walking death, and anything is justified in avoiding that miserable fate.
Roissy's contention that "anything is justified" to help men avoid celibacy is terrifying, but more subtly disturbing is his assumption that Sodini's rampage was directly caused by women refusing to sleep with him. Like Sodini himself, Roissy assumes that Sodini shot up a gym because women rejected him, not that women rejected him because he was the kind of guy who would one day shoot up a gym. Roissy continues,
If Sodini had learned game he would have been able to find another woman and gotten laid after his ex dumped him. He wouldn't have spent the next 20 years steeped in bile and weighed down by his Sisyphian blue balls, dreaming of vengeance. Game could have saved the lives of the women Sodini killed. [...]
we are going to see a growing eunuchracy of involuntarily celibate betas and the marginalized men in their ranks decide that exiting in a blaze of hot lead beats living in loveless obscurity. And ex-girlfriends are target #1.
So basically if Sodini had only read Roissy's blog he would have been totally fine and never killed anyone, because all of his problems were caused by not knowing how to manipulate women. And women had better submit to such manipulation, unless they want to get shot. Despite his alpha-male swagger, Roissy basically endorses the tenets of grievance misogyny — that women are shallow creatures who reject perfectly good men, forcing them to endure the "walking death" of celibacy. Though his solution to this problem is domination through subterfuge and insults, rather than murder, his commenters are less charitable. One writes,
Finally a mass murderer writes a relatively coherent manifesto. Could be better, but at least it is implied that feminism is to blame and he is taking a last stand. I had been waiting for this (almost thinking I had to do it myself) and I am impressed. Kudos.
After George Tiller's murder, many asked whether conservative commentators were to blame for stirring up fringe elements of the anti-abortion camp. Similarly, AlterNet's Eric Boehlert called out Fox News for giving airtime to the conspiracy theorists who inspired murderer Richard Poplawski. Roissy and his pickup-artist ilk don't advocate the murder of women. But the worldview they promulgate does appear to inspire murderous thoughts. We don't know if Sodini visited misogynist websites during the long period in which he was planning his crime. We do know that he lived in a society where some people view hatred and even murder as a normal response to dating difficulties — if Roissy's violent "eunuchracy" ever comes to pass, these people will bear some of the blame.
Four Dead, Including Gunman, In Gym Shooting [CNN]
Pennsylvania Gym Shooter Plotted Attack In Online Diary Before Killing Three [ABC]
Game Can Save Lives [Roissy in DC]