"I'll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you."
Do not defend this. Do not play devil's advocate. Do not point out exceptions. Do not discuss gun control. Do not discuss mental illness. Some of those things are worth talking about later. Some never. None of them need to be discussed right now.
Right now, six people are dead because an asshole of the highest order was mad he never had sex. And his monologue in the confession video above begins with a claim of how nice he is. He's "the perfect guy." The "supreme gentleman." He decided he could make the judgment calls for the women in his life better than they could. He was wrong.
You do not need to defend men today. Men are pretty well defended. The ones who are not defended are the women who were killed. The women who have to wonder every day if the creepy guy they turn down is going to come back and kill them. Or rape them. This isn't a statistical anomaly. This is common. It's real. An American woman has around a 25% chance of being raped in her lifetime. Or 1 in 4. For reference, you have a 1 in 84 chance of dying in a car accident. Even heart disease, the number one killer in the US, only claims 1 in 5. And this only counts rape. Not harassment, other types of domestic violence, or even murder.
This is what the conversation is about. So, guys, ask yourself one question before you speak up: Do I really want to be on the opposing side here? Do I really want to start my argument with "Yes, you're afraid of being raped, beaten, harassed, insulted, shunned, and humiliated on a near constant basis, BUT..."? Do I really want to start a discussion with a woman—again, with a 1 in 4 chance of being or having already been raped in her life—by talking about how hard guys have it when trying to get a date?
Is that the guy you want to be? Or would you rather be the guy who does the one helpful thing that a guy needs to do when women speak up for themselves on the subject of violence and rape towards women:
It's okay to shut up. It's good to shut up. You need to shut up sometimes. Because this argument isn't about you. When you, guys, heard this news about a guy shooting six people, you viewed it as yet another mass shooting. Maybe it conjured up the image of a guy you know who also wasn't good at talking to women or getting a date. The women who saw this story, though, can all, to a person, conjure up an image of a creepy guy that hit on them, then got angry when she didn't respond to his advances. Every. single. one.
So, you know what? It's okay if you shut up and let someone else talk about this one. It's okay if, for once in our fucking lives, we men don't talk about how hard our lives are.
I know you want to talk about how focusing on the rapists and abusers makes you, the nice guy, look bad. I know you want to talk about the equally important issue of mental illness and the failing support system for that in our country (an issue which is near and dear to my heart, so I'm there with you). I know you want to talk about gun control and college culture and 21st century American dating culture and a hundred other issues.
Now. is not. the time.
Just shut up. Try listening. Read what other people are saying. Check out #YesAllWomen. Don't scoff because it's Twitter. Read what real women have to deal with. Don't get angry. That's making the problem worse. Stop making it an us vs. them thing. Start supporting the women around you.
There is one thing we should all be able to agree on and rally around: that this guy, the guy who killed six people because no one would have sex with him, did an impossibly awful thing for all the worst reasons and it's a tragedy that women have to worry they might be next. We should all be in this together. Let's do that. Let's try supporting each other.
If you can't get on board with that, if your instinct is to argue, fight, or get offended, save it. Argue another day. Not today. It won't kill you to wait. Today, listen.
And if you feel it's not "right" that you should have to be quiet and sit in the corner and listen, let that be a small penance for the times that a woman has done that for you.