Deprivation And Revenge

Back in the day, we used to feel sorry for the geeky guys who couldn’t get a date to the prom. These days, some of those geeks have gotten together, created a “movement” of sorts, and labeled themselves “Incels,” short for involuntary celibates.

And they’re dangerous.

The Guardian recently ran an article  about a report from the U.S. Secret Service, detailing the growing threat  posed by these men who are angry over their inability to form what the report delicately terms “intimate relationships” with women. (Although the Secret Service is best known for protecting US presidents, the agency also examines and implements behavioral threat assessment programs designed to “identify and intervene with those who pose a risk of engaging in targeted violence”.)

The report enumerated the troubling and telltale behaviors of the Incels, which included the sending of concerning and threatening communications, and the posting of “concerning” online content.

Characteristics of Incels include a history of interpersonal difficulties, a history of being bullied, financial instability, and failed life aspirations.

As a case study, the Secret Service examined a 2018 shooting at a yoga class in Tallahassee, Florida, in which a man killed two women and wounded six.

“The attacker was motivated to carry out violence by his inability to develop or maintain relationships with women, along with his perception of women’s societal power over men,” the report said.

The gunman, 40-year-old Scott Paul Beierle, exhibited numerous warning signs including a history of inappropriate and criminal behavior toward women and girls.

Steve Driscoll, a lead research specialist at NTAC, said: “During his teen years, the attacker was accused of stalking his classmates and he wrote stories that centered around violent themes.

“One of those stories was 81 pages long and involved the protagonist murdering several girls before committing suicide. The female characters in the story that were killed represented the attacker’s actual classmates from his high school, but he slightly changed the names in his writing.”

Beierle was arrested three times for groping women and was called “Ted Bundy” by his roommates, in reference to a notorious serial killer who targeted women.

On the day of the shooting, Beierle left a note in his hotel room that said: “If I can’t find one decent female to live with, I will find many indecent females to die with. If they are intent on denying me life, I will have no choice, but to deny them life … Their arrogance, indifference and treachery will finally be exposed and punished.”

Other examples cited in the report included the Santa Barbara killings in 2014, in which a 22-year-old  killed six people and injured 14.  (The perpetrator had previously lamented his inability to find a girlfriend and spewed his contempt for women and interracial couples), and the 2020 murder of the son of Esther Salas, a federal District Court judge, by  a man who described himself as an “anti-feminist lawyer” and warned that “manhood is in serious jeopardy in America.” (Senator Josh Hawley evidently agrees with him...)

While research has yet to identify a profile of those among the Incels who are likely to engage in violence, it has pinpointed a set of concerning behaviors that are commonly displayed before violent or deadly assaults. That said, the report emphasized that misogynistic violence isn’t restricted to the sorts of high-profile incidents that make headlines.

Rather, “misogyny frequently appears in more prevalent acts of violence, including stalking and domestic abuse”. As a result, the report said, responses to threats need to be collaborative between law enforcement, courts, mental health providers and domestic violence and hate crime advocacy groups.

Police will often feel that they can’t intervene in a situation until or unless a law has been broken. Research, however–especially research focused on communities that are successfully coping with these behaviors–has found that the presence of a trained professional in threat assessment can avert many of these assaults by identifying warning signs and deploying the proper resources.

In the wake of the COVID pandemic, we’ve been hearing a great deal about the need for additional mental health resources. That need has clearly grown, but groups like the Incels, QAnon believers, Neo-Nazis and the like were part of the American landscape well before the advent of the pandemic, demonstrating that the inadequacy of mental health resources is not new.

Of course, that shouldn’t surprise us. The United States doesn’t even ensure access to physical health care…


  1. I could write a book about my encounters with people and groups of people who have been “slipping through the cracks” due to inadequate mental health services in the USA.

    I wouldn’t lump Incels into the political category because that’s not the issue. Not even close.

    If you remember, Freud wrote much about the instincts and repression of those instincts. I’m reading two books suggested by a friend written by Herbert Marcuse. One of those books, Eros and Civilization, picks up where Freud left off, but repression of instincts causes significant issues.

    As you might expect, many people suffering from mental health issues self-medicate with substances. But unfortunately, reports are surfacing that 2021 was a particularly fatal year for alcohol users who found it hard to cope with COVID and societal changes.

    (As a side note, I received an article in the afternoon addressing the topic yesterday, don’t look for the Russian treachery when US Oligarchs from the right provide the obvious answers:

  2. Write the book, Todd.

    We’ve lived in a sexually repressed society since our beginning. The “morals” brought to this continent by our European ancestors is a miasma of political/philosophical hypocrisy, conflicting ideologies/theologies and, of course, the usual formula of fear, guilt, misogyny and church-based community management. It should be clear, knowing even a little of our that history, that the table has been set for these “incels” all along. In more modern times, the “prom queens” don’t have anything to do with the “geeks” because they are so…well, geeky and not accepted by the beautiful tribe of jocks and cheerleaders.

    Beauty, status and heroics also add to that formula. Oh. Did I forget to mention the easy access of guns and other instruments of death and violence? While Todd rails about oligarchs, I see the society “controllers” at the local level as more responsible for this phenomenon. We had these so-called social misfits when I was in high school (pre-1960), but there weren’t the guns or the preoccupation with violence then – at least where I lived. People got shot and killed for money or drunken disagreements, not because they couldn’t get laid.

  3. And yes, our overall healthcare system is perhaps the worst in the industrial world due to the idiotic marriage of big pharma and HMOs. Once money-grubbers get their hands on a sure thing, the poorer people are sure to suffer. Mental healthcare? The above industry is too busy making piles of money off of the physically ill, the hypochondriacs who run to the doctor/pharmacy for every little thing and the opioid users/addicts. Universal health care won’t rid us of the hypochondriacs, and maybe not the mentally ill walking around, but it sure as hell will take the grift and the graft out of our health care perhaps even making mental health more accessible.

    But then, we’d have to try that in the face of absolute Republican resistance. Look at what they’ve tried to do ever since FDR created social security. Republicans are there to make sure the medical industry makes as much money as possible – the profits from which are hustled offshore to avoid taxes. THAT is our system.

    And the poor, misguided people in all the red states just keep going to church and electing Republicans to do more harm. Is this science fiction? Maybe Todd’s book should fall into that genre.

  4. Another version of the age-old excuse “boys will be boys”. Notice that Beierle stated in his note he was looking for “a decent woman to live with”; but he used Trump’s “grab ’em by the pussy” tactics to find her. Remember that long ago country music hit “If You Want To Have A Do Right All Day Woman, You Gotta Be A Do Right All Night Man”.

  5. Let’s try something easy first. Decriminalize prostitution. Will it make a difference? I don’t know, but it’s better than doing nothing and if it’s truly the involuntariness of their celibacy that drives them, it should help.

  6. Maybe Prostitution should be legal for both sexes. Humans need sexual releases and not getting that release makes people less sane. Less able to deal with everyday struggles and the isolation that was covid made the situation much worse. The world was not prepared for a pandemic. But these toxic masculine tendencies have started most wars and killed men, woman and children throughout our human history. Society is the problem. Just look what happened at the Oscars. The media showed the slap but bleeped out the cuss words spoken! Really? The words were more powerful than the violence? Have humans become so sensitive to words but violence is repeated over and over? No wonder the gun humpers are winning.

  7. Vern,

    I’m diggin those comments brother.

    During the age of enlightenment across the European continent, sadistic and Masochistic practices were commonplace!

    The willingness to look beyond humanity and see women as a possession, a thing to own, something to play with, something to fulfill fantasies and specific needs (perversions?), but not as a human being!

    I hate to say it, well actually, I don’t hate to say it, with the Advent of the internet and social media, Abundant Perversion is right at one’s fingertips. If a maladjusted horned up Insul is sitting on their couch or in their bed surfing porn and beating the meat, they’re going to get a warped viewpoint of relationships. They stay in contact with the like-minded as misery loves company. And, they are never going to find a female that is willing to give themselves to that kind of person. Or at least, more than likely not. Being freaky deaky is not gender-specific.🫣

    After all, look at the instances out there that are highly documented, where people want to eat somebody and there’s always somebody that wants to be eaten! And, I don’t mean sexually either. Now, that is heinously freaky deaky!

    The Mentally Disturbed and psychologically deranged don’t just throw epithets anymore, they throw bullets! Their self perceived pain is real to them. Mental illness is always put on the back burner. Mental health programs are constantly cut by all sides to save money.

    Maybe Elon Musk Should/Could design some of those Tesla Bots anatomically correct. They could perform or allow the “freaky deaky” on command. Of course, they would probably graduate to the real deal eventually. After all, I would imagine those with deranged sado masochistic tendencies, desire to see the pain.

    As Vern so skillfully and correctly identified the problem as not getting laid, or not being able to get laid, SMH 😠, social media doesn’t lend itself to learning decent communication skills. These folks stay in an echo chamber of dystopian sexual fantasies and desires. These guys have no conscience, these guys are the boogeyman peeking out from the bushes, or hiding in a gangway, lurking on a street corner or wandering through supermarkets! praying on women, children, and the weak. All for self-gratification!

    Society doesn’t have answers, there can be no cooperation on how to handle these type of issues. Our society’s moral decay is evident, and our callousness is just magnified by the mentally ill who take everything to the extreme.

    Really, it’s the ultimate Me’ist fantasy, the narcissistic vision that these folks have of themselves, a vision not rooted in reality, but an alternate self-created dystopia of perversion, moral turpitude and self-idolization!

  8. John,

    Thanks once again for the comments. A book… It would be the most difficult one to write because of all the pain and anguish it would require to make the story worth reading. I’m just too old for that.

    Meanwhile, the Sonya Keller trilogy screenplay is now under way. The filmmaker says he thinks it can be a 3-season series for Netflix. That’s what we’re working toward. So, will the movie be better than the books? I hope they’re equally enjoyable and that the social messaging embedded does some good somewhere.

  9. This topic has scared many people from posting for obvious reasons. Ask anyone working in the prison industry about the number of CHMOs that inhabit our human warehouses.

    The Metaverse was started and within weeks the female avatars were being assaulted by male avatars. Apparently, Zuckerberg didn’t see that coming! 😉

  10. Perhaps we should define the term “geek” before sailing too far into poorly- charted waters. The members of my high school generation were tribal (jocks, cheerleaders, car nuts, delinquents, etc.), but there did not seem to be a tribe of angry, antisocial misfits as the “incels” seem to be. I suggest that these modern-day weirdos are not shunned because they are fascinated by computers, mathematics, or chess; girls (and everyone, really) avoid them because they are most unpleasant to be around. Some guys give off danger signals and do things that push people away, reinforcing their perceived social isolation. Ask around any high school, and I’d bet students could tell you precisely who the dangerous boys are. I have no idea what interventions would be effective and legal.

  11. We should consider outsourcing our prison endeavors. Instead of spending innumerable amounts of monies to continue warehousing the worst members of our population,we could move progressively forward by having other countries do our dirty work (we’re certainly no stranger to such). Perhaps a country such as Afghanistan would be an excellent location for such a prison? Brazil? Myanmar? Portland, Oregon? Ukraine? A breadbasket for our basket cases.

    Incels? Do they have their own forum? Do they form bands and call themselves The Wallflowers? Do they keep PornHub in the black?Do they have a political lobby? If truly celibate,can’t blame them for the spread of social disease. Goddamn, wasn’t that nutcase Christ, an incel? I digress. You’d almost think they makeup the boardrooms of corporations such as Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics. Or perhaps they become priests? Is that why the pope looks like a big white dildo? Especially on that stupid little popemobile. Revenge and deprivation,you bet!

    Nevermind the global-prison idea. Scratch that. More importantly,If our healthcare system is so bad,and this has been the case for decades,why no action beyond ineffectual harping beyond the virtual-world? The top twenty percent do not want “socialized” healthcare for all. That includes the DLC and the DNC. Socialism is such a Russian construct. Got to watch for that slippery slope. Next thing you knew we’ll be singing Kalinka,wearing those big furry hats and dancing with our arms crossed over our chest as if we are sitting down. Although most Americans are too fat for such dancing.

    I believe if my memory serves me right,there was a candidate extolling the virtues of genuine healthcare a few years ago only to be rebuked, and our betters’ said” it can’t be done. ‘ America wasn’t ready for such an endeavor.”Healthcare might be out of our reach (they even have it in Thailand) At least we’re ready for WWIII.

    Good comment Todd. More pearls before …….

  12. Many of those young men aren’t the “geeks” you’re thinking about. There needn’t be a pocket protector, or taped glasses. If you just looked at a picture, you’ll sometimes see a handsome young man. Then, you talk to the person, and you find out why women are not interested. They have horrible ideas about many topics, but women especially, and are only too happy to share them. They are ugly, just not necessarily on the outside.

    Their fundamental issue is that they view women as portrayed in the bible, as the property of men. It’s no surprise they can’t find women who are interested in dating a person with those views. Notice in particular that they don’t develop _friendships_ with women, either. They cannot conceive of the idea. They don’t view women as people; they are potential possessions, there to cook, clean, care for them, and be available for sex.

    It’s terribly sad, to be sure, but the violence bubbling under (and sometimes to) the surface allows me to feel little pity for them.

  13. Hunter, I missed your comment at first. You are right. Incels cross all “tribes”. They’re a group that would view “The Handmaid’s Tale” as a depiction of a perfect society.

    Aside: Margaret Atwood is a national treasure. You are welcome, rest of the world. 🙂

  14. It is not change per se but rather the accelerated pace of change in an environment of Covid, Fox, wage and wealth inequality, treasonous attempts to destroy our democracy etc. which points up our mental health policy shortcomings and the spectacle of people in Dallas awaiting the return from the grave (with all its religious overtones) of a vice presidential candidate to run with Trump in ’24. The horrors of Ukraine and Yemen and the plight of Russians who are living in a dictatorship as well as our decaying environment don’t help, either.

    As for Freudian treatment of instincts, some instincts (e.g., self-preservation) are good; others (e.g., grab ’em —— a la Trump) are not. We desperately need to address mental as well as physical health if our social cohesion is to survive, failing which we can expect at the latest a new round of Second – Amendment-armed Bundys, Trumps, Greenes et al. to end our experiment in democracy.

    Perhaps a good start in nurturing our democracy would be to make an adjustment in funding our priorities, like a look at the proposed military budget of 778 billion in this upcoming budget year and how its reduction could be applied to single payer and mental health budgets without sacrificing our military “readiness.” Perhaps.

  15. Vern,

    All right brother you got me excited now. They need some good stuff on Netflix. Maybe even Amazon prime or Apple Tv?

    And, you are right! That would definitely be a dark and emotionally draining book. Just writing the comment above made me a little depressed!

  16. John H,

    I don’t exactly know what you’re talking about in the bible! Because, women were supposed to be treated as your own body! Man and woman were to become one flesh! Men were put to death for raping a woman, men were put to death for taking another man’s wife. And, depending on the circumstances, if the man and woman were complicit, they could both be put to death. I could go on, but that’s about enough I guess.

  17. Todd,

    You’re absolutely correct, Zuckerberg would claim he didn’t see anything coming, but I imagine the dollar speaks louder than misery.

    Sex Sells! Why? Because of our society’s voracious appetite sex, or anything related to it. If you want to be an influencer on social media, you have to promote some sort of sexual fantasy or freaky deaky behavior that gets people aroused. Moral decay is the end of civilization. Because with the Advent of that decay, is its destruction of guardrails!

    It’s all related, if you feel you can walk up on stage and slap somebody in the face, or you can tell someone to go “F” themselves in public, in an airplane, in a restaurant and/or out the window of a car, compassion and empathy are dead, they are just an idea, a notion that goes unpracticed. Everyone then steps over the victim without a Samaritan to be seen!

  18. Interesting how it is mostly men who are commenting today. The pervasiveness of patriarchal systems exists throughout the world, in particular in Afghanistan right now, where the education of young women is at issue again or should we say still, in societies where women are commodities for use as sex/cheap labor prohibited from having contact with males who apparently are unable to control themselves, or refuse to do so as a demonstration of their sexual prowess/allure on display to their peers. There are societies today who allow young female family members to be surrogates for their criminal male relatives, killed as a sacrificial lambs.
    Incels are essentially an American manifestation of the same value system, fostered by supposed fundamentalist religious groups trying to force their twisted ideology on all of us. Are they treatable as mentally ill when they can find sanctuary in many religious groups? How do they respond to mental health services?
    In many other countries including our own, women are viewed as property, vessels, a means of wealth accumulation, a source of forced labor, dispensable and easily replaced once their attractiveness/usefulness has been exhausted. It is certainly not new and is very often justified by religious dogma. It is such a waste of potential. Men raised (often by women) to believe their perceived superiority in all areas deserve the contempt shown to them.

  19. There is a political slant to INCELs. The GOP has been catering to man-card carrying pro-gun males for years. The dog whistles have been luring the misogynist crowd for years. This is part of their base. The lone wolf male character has been the staple of the GOP, with the “it’s my right to” (fill in the blank) crowd for years.

  20. Drawing back for a longer, wider view…

    World and local tribes and society have changed. Peoples’ genes haven’t.

    The solution will be genetic engineering.

    Meanwhile, take care of yourself and those around you.

  21. John Sorg, it probably depends on who is reading the bible then. Some people can (and do, unfortunately!) look at Exodus 20:17, and determine the wife is the husband’s possession, as the wife is explicitly listed among the things he owns. There is Genesis 3:16 which suggests the husband rules over the wife. There are numerous other places where the husband is said to be the head of the wife, as well. For example, Ephesians 5:22 has wives submitting to their husbands.

    These imply the woman is less important than the man. And, these may all be translation errors, or the result of mistakes in the copying and collating processes over the centuries (but I suspect not, as the bible was written for its time), but that doesn’t change the fact that there is a segment of religious people that believe the wife is not the equal of the husband, and the woman not the equal of the man.

    John, you’re also right about the internet, but it’s not porn that is the problem. It’s social media, and not just the mainstream areas, but 4chan and 8chan/8kun, and others shadier areas. These people now have easy access to a community of others that feel similarly. This shared home makes it easy to reinforce/amplify each others’ various bigotries and hatreds. They make each other so much worse.

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