Today's "lone wolf" killers are actually a pack

Originally published at:


Next question, what the fuck do we do about them?!
They’re basically cultists. Telling them they’re wrong and explaining why doesn’t work. In many cases, their lives are actually shit, which makes them much less inclined to listen to anyone who they imagine is better off. They get all their information from the same giant fucking circle-jerk of people who share their views, so they’re marinated in positive reinforcement all the time.
Ostracising them helps limit the damage they can do to some extent, but it only makes them more bitter and hateful, and it doesn’t seem to do anything to reduce their numbers or prevent new people from falling into the pit… We can try and crack down on their ability to promulgate their ideology, but in most cases they’re not spreading it by running newspaper articles or giving TV interviews, it’s a word-of-mouth social networking thing. And even if we could, trying to silence the purveyors of an ideology only tends to lend it the additional allure of the Things The Powerful Don’t Want You To Hear. (Plus the legal mechanisms we need to put in place in some cases are dangerous tools to give to governments.)
The one small upside is that most of the people in these groups don’t have children, but unfortunately that doesn’t stop the children of others from buying into the narrative…


There is nothing more poisonous than a sense of entitlement, it seems. It drives Al Qaeda and IS as equally as it drives the white boys. They all thought the world was going to be handed to them on a silver platter. Or that someone else cheated them out of their rightful inheritance.

Pouting and flouncing weaponised.


And trying to make their lives better in a non destructive way won’t help because it won’t be doing what they believe is the only way to make things better.

Not that we should stop trying to do this, it might stop people converting in the first place.

  1. Reduce the number of disaffected youth looking for an outlet
  2. Give young people positive things to do with their time
  3. Combat groups the promote violence

(3) is the easy one. Recognize that these movements are, in fact, hate groups and terrorist groups and to treat them as such. So no more hand-wringing nonsense about free speech when people go on campus to recruit terrorists. No more ignoring their misogynist agenda. Some Americans left for the middle east to join Al Qaeda or ISIS, so identifying them as terrorists doesn’t stop the problem, but it helps steer appropriate resources to the problem.

I think that’s a “truthy” idea that isn’t supported by reality. White supremacy has become steadily more popular since David Duke put on a suit instead of a mask and came out to talk openly about what he believes. White supremacy has had a huge boost from electing a white supremacist president. The more socially acceptable a thing is, the more people do it; the less socially acceptable a thing is, the less people do it. Disaffected youth don’t automatically try to flock to the most hateful and violent possible outlet for their feelings, that’s a cultural issue.

But (1) and (2) mean doing things like not selling out the school shooting generation, and once again spending public resources on schools and programs for kids.

There’s some stuff we can do right now to try to stop specific groups, but the only thing we can do as societies to combat this trend is stop voting for governments that are bent on dismantling society.

Are Bronies violent reactionaries? I sort of thought they just like My Little Pony. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

Reducing the number that get into it sure is a hell of a lot easier than deradicalizing people who have already gotten into it.


We start with demanding that the media and law enforcement [ETA: and Internet hosting companies] take this misogynist movement as seriously as they do neo-Nazis or the KKK or Daesh or any other societally unacceptable ideology that radicalises entitled male losers. Since the object of their hatred is women, though, instead incels are dismissed as harmless (“hey, all they want is sex”) and in need of sympathy and coddling.


The internet allows insane people to find other insane people to tell them they aren’t insane.


I think that’s true, but I also think there’s a distinction between successfully making something unspeakable, which I would tend to agree will decrease its attraction, and attempting to suppress discussion of it, which only serves as another flag for the speaker to wave while they shout about how oppressed they are. At the moment, we’re very much more on the attempting side of things with, as you say, the election of an openly misogynistic white supremacist as President.

Not all of them, but there’s a significant overlap between them and the general group of… Emotionally immature adult males, who are the principal components of the groups which produce these killers.

Absolutely. But that’s not going to fix the problems that cause disaffected youths to join these groups in the first place.

Plus, law enforcement took the Black Panthers and the Suffragette movement a lot more seriously than they’re taking gamergate, (holy shit did they ever) yet both those groups persisted and achieved a lot of their goals despite that. Just having the police break up demonstrations and having the members of a group arrested isn’t enough to make them go away.


True. The goal here is to take these groups out of the list of their options as much as we possibly can (obviously there’s no Nirvana solution here).

Dealing with inequality, the excesses of late-stage capitalism, rape culture, and general malaise and aimlessness are larger issues.

That Black Panthers did preach violence as an option, but I’d argue that “their” goals were actually those of the larger and more peaceful Civil Rights movement (which was also targetted by law enforcement, but more unfairly in society’s and history’s view).

The Suffragettes were not calling for violence to achieve their ends. The street brawls they were involved in were essentially police riots.


Oh yeah, I’m not saying that either the Panthers or the Suffragettes are particularly comparable to these assholes, not at all. My point is more that the reaction of law enforcement to them was much more severe than it currently is to these groups (gee I can’t imagine why) and yet it didn’t succeed in stifling them, which makes me question exactly how much improvement we can expect to see even if we persuade the law enforcement of today to treat these people as seriously as they should be.


I’ll take “more than we have now.” It’ll get some results.


Oh true! An imperfect solution is definitely better than none, I just think we need to look beyond that as well.


Except the cops are not on anyone’s side but their own.


To that I’d add a contempt for democracy, the ideals of the liberal era etc.

The nexus of online mysoginist movements, white supremacy, And that “whole dark enlightenment” neo fascist thing is what coalesced into the alt right.

The refusal to connect the three with their catch all or with each other is why we end up with “decent people” marching with tiki torches.


True, but they have to at least pay lip service to society’s demands – sometimes against their own preferences (white supremacy has wormed its way into many American police forces). If society continues to portray incels as a bunch of harmless sex-starved nerds instead of a hate group that preaches violence then law enforcement will continue to ignore the problem.


Precisely why taking them alive is so important. They will be a wealth of information, singing like a canary on every contact they’ve ever encountered. Tough guys? Not so much…


Capital-L Libertarianism and Objectivism have been the strongest force over the past three decades for mainstreaming this attitude in American society. Peter Thiel brought it out into the open when he stated his belief that democracy and capitalism are fundamentally incompatible.

Incels, MRAs, PUAs, etc. also embrace the language promoted by “free” market extremists when discussing dating and sex.

The SPLC just published a study on this topic:


One thing that often seems to get overlooked in these discussions is that the Alt Reich is a symptom of a social shift towards increasing authoritarianism. Just as an example, the hope to appeal to law enforcement to combat racism when law enforcement is weaponized racism is a cognitive dissonance. People see that cops murder marginalized groups. And people see that open racism is increasingly mainstream, but they feel helpless against the threat both pose, so they turn to investing stronger authority in the existing broken system. The scorpion is the one that brought us here and we shouldn’t give it passage across the river. We need community solutions.


I wish I could find that quote about Nixon (or J. Edgar Hoover) being more scared of the Black Panthers “Free Breakfast for Children” program than by them carrying guns.