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Arms and the Men's Rights Movement

Democracy is not a First-Person Shooter

Good news, ladies and manginas: Apparently some MRAs don’t think it’s time to go out and start shooting people. At least not quite yet.

Some background: In recent days numerous MRAs have taken up the cause of a man named Thomas Ball – who burned himself to death outside a courthouse in Keane, New Hampshire in a protest against what he saw as unfair treatment in family court. Ferdinand Bardamu of In Male Fide has declared him “a martyr for the cause of men’s rights, a casualty of feminism’s stripping one half of the population of their humanity.”

Before killing himself, Ball wrote a long manifesto outlining his grievances and suggesting that the time had come for men “to start burning down police stations and courthouses,” describing  the inhabitants of such buildings as “[c]ollaborators who are no different than the Vichy of France or the Quislings of Norway during the Second World War … So burn them out. “ (He offered specific advice on how best to do this, including tips on how to select the proper bottles to use for Molotov cocktails.)

All this has inspired some in the MRA to start talking ominously about violence. On The Spearhead, W.F. Price has responded to this talk with a piece suggesting that the time isn’t quite right for the MRAs of the world to take up armed struggle. Not just yet, anyway. As he puts it:

It is never a good idea to pick up a gun and start shooting to address some vaguely defined injustice — that is savagery. Before the American Revolution, for example, patriots took pains to spell out a long list of grievances that justified rebellion. …

We have to make our own lists, air our grievances, and give the state the opportunity to redress them. … Before anyone resorts to the same methods the state uses against us, we must put every reasonable effort into working with the law and the political system we have. Because this effort is still in its infancy, any calls for armed resistance are entirely premature and counterproductive, and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Obviously, the flip side of this argument for delay is a justification for killing people if these “grievances” aren’t dealt with in the way that those in the MRA would like. Price’s reference to the American Revolution is an interesting one, because of course the central issue of that struggle was, you know, taxation without representation. The colonists couldn’t vote out the king if they didn’t like his policies. In case anyone has forgotten: we actually do have the vote now, which was kind of the whole point in the first place.

Of course, many of Price’s readers are a bit more impatient than he is. In a comment that drew (last I checked) more than 40 upvotes and only two dissenting downvote, Taqman took issue with Price’s call to delay the armed struggle:

Tell that to men who are facing imminent imprisonment for failure to pay child support.

They don’t have the luxury of time and can’t wait a couple of decades for the manginas of the world to wake up and decide that a gentlemanly form of armed resistance is now acceptable.

The ironically named Firepower, meanwhile, took a little swipe at Ball’s own actions, but didn’t challenge his advice for the rest of the men of the world:  

What IS crazy is having to point out that setting YOURSELF on fire is a ridiculous way to “win” anything.

 Set your enemies on fire. To even have to remind this questions the long term chances of victory for such a pathetic lot.

Jean Valjean suggested that political action was pointless — due to all those damned women who vote:

No amount of “stoic logic” will make politicians see our point of view.

Politicians are in the business of getting re-elected rather than the business of good governance. So long as women are the majority there will only be tyranny of the majority.

Peter-Andrew:Nolan(c) — you knew we were getting to him, right? — expressed his profound disappointment that more Spearheaders weren’t willing to embrace a violent solution:

Gee you guys are whimps and tiptoe around the ‘use of force’ like freaking ballet dancers. Are you so scared to speak about this when it is CLEAR the guvment LOVES using force against you and lots of other people too?

And he made the argument personal, explicitly denouncing, by name, the judge he claimed had “criminally abused” him with his rulings:

Judge [name redacted’s] life is now in my hands. He lives by my consent and my consent alone. …

And, like Ball, he declared judges to be essentially treasonous:

These judges pretended to be your servants. They are evil, evil people who deserve the kind of treatment reserved for those who commit treason.

There is more to Nolan’s comment(s) than that, but to get into it would require going down the rabbit-hole into his particular brand of crackpottery, which seems to involve him setting up his own courts to try judges he doesn’t like. (I frankly don’t understand his belief system and don’t care to.)

Now, it should be noted that a few Spearheaders actually objected to Nolan’s violent talk. But the last I checked, the comment I just quoted had more upvotes than downvotes. W.F. Price took more flak for suggesting men wait a little longer before taking up arms than Nolan did for, well, you saw what he wrote. That tells you a lot about The Spearhead, I think.

EDIT: Added quote from Ferdinand Bardamu; removed similar quote from The Spearhead.

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Clementine
Clementine
10 years ago

Scary stuff … The saddest part is that WF Prices is one of the more moderate ones ….

ClioPersephone
ClioPersephone
10 years ago

I find this to be terrifying.

Amanda Marcotte
10 years ago

I’ll point out that setting yourself on fire is an extremely effective tool if your goal is to make your ex-wife’s life a living hell, and if your anger at losing control over her overwhelms all other desires. Which is common enough with abusers, who will ruin their own lives and their own shit and turn their children against them in an effort to hurt the woman they’ve fixated on.

Bostonian
Bostonian
10 years ago

MRA = crazy, evil douchebag

every one of them.

Gemma
Gemma
10 years ago

Am I the only one who read the manifesto and thought, “She called the cops on your ass for BUSTING OPEN YOUR DAUGHTER’S LIP – good for her!”?

Was he truly incapable of seeing the problem, there? Terrifying.

AbominableSnowPickle
AbominableSnowPickle
10 years ago

This makes me not want to leave the house/talk to any men I do not know in elevators/make eye contact with any male I’m not already familiar with…Seriously, I think I’ll stay home with my cats and watch ‘Supernatural’ and ‘House’ reruns.

@ Clementine: Just the idea that W.F. Price is the more moderate one freaks me the fuck out.

Holly Pervocracy
10 years ago

Yes, there certainly are miscarriages of justice, but:

Most men who are not given partial custody or visitation of their children were either abusive or completely absent. The courts do tend to err toward giving primary custody to the mother, but when a man is denied all contact with his children or has it severely limited, it’s usually because he did something to prove himself unworthy of contact.

(I suspect, in the case of MRAs, that often that contact has less to do with loving the kids and wanting to play with and teach them, and more to do with the fact that it represents power and ownership.)

And in the case of a guy whose response to a family court ruling is to make violent and explicit death threats, I’m going to push that “usually” up to a “yeah, probably.”

filetofswedishfish
filetofswedishfish
10 years ago

Ok, first off. When women complain about pregnancy/child rearing, or abortion rights, responses from MRA types that I’ve heard range from “don’t get knocked up” to “don’t sleep with so many dudes SLUT”. Can I reply to Father’s Rights MRAs with “Don’t impregnate people”? Just as helpful, right? (sarcasm)

Second, treason is defined as either helping someone else to overthrow your country, or plotting to overthrow it yourself. So, aren’t these people doing that? The judges are upholding the law, which is basically the opposite of what treason is. source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treason

Victoria von Syrus
Victoria von Syrus
10 years ago

I do feel pity for Ball, the same I would feel for any human being who was in so much pain that they committed suicide.

But the rest of the people who talk about him terrify me.

filetofswedishfish
filetofswedishfish
10 years ago

Holly- And sometimes, abusive father still get visitation rights. I’m just one data point, but: My mom had an order of protection against my dad in the first, iunno 6 months or so of their divorce. We still had to finagle the every other weekend, and every Wednesday BS around that order. It got convoluted, and sometimes involved friends of my mother’s dropping us off in busy parking lots, and my dad picking us up, that way there were witnesses, just in case. My dad still didn’t think it was enough contact.

Tabby Lavalamp
Tabby Lavalamp
10 years ago

I’m so glad I wasn’t reading what people like this were saying after Marc Lépine or George Sodini went on their murder sprees. That there are people advocating for more atrocities like those is sickening.

Doctress Julia
10 years ago

Wow, swedishfish- that sucks. I’m sorry you had to experience that.

Had my father not died when he had (I was about 12, and it was melanoma that killed him), I think my parents would have gotten divorced (I really don’t know if they would have… I’d have wanted them to). My father was very abusive to my mom and my oldest sister, and I think I was about 7 or 8 the first time I called the police on him for physically attacking my mom in front of me and my sisters. I called the cops on him numerous times, but he was never arrested, or even cited as far as I could tell. I sometimes wonder if he’d have tried anything violent if my mom would’ve divorced him or just taken us and left him (although she really had nowhere to go).

filetofswedishfish
filetofswedishfish
10 years ago

Doctress: Well, my dad was never arrested, mostly because cops in my town felt that the woman deserved what she got, but also because the law in Illinois saying that police can press charges, even if the woman doesn’t want to, didn’t change until the mid-nineties. I remember them having loud, loud fights as early as when i was 4 or 5, about the time I went to kindergarten, and my mom started going to college.

Also, if you are still interested, I can give you the email to see if we’re still hiring for a receptionist. Also, I am going to yoga tonight at 7:15 in Fitchburg, and have an asston of free Guest Passes.

filetofswedishfish
filetofswedishfish
10 years ago

Also, Doctress- I am looking at your blog and i love you. Borderlands?!? DnD!?!

Doctress Julia
10 years ago

Oh, fuckkk…. that’s TOTALLY what the cops thought about my parents. My dad was high-income earning, a member of the local school board, yadda yadda… and they just let him get away with it- leaving my mom crying and hurt and me ENRAGED that they didn’t arrest my dad. I remember this one time, him crying and ASKING them to arrest him… and they didn’t.

One night after he hit her, she put me and my sisters in the van and we were going to leave, I guess? But, where to go? We ended up driving around for hours and then returning home and going to bed- it was like it never happened the next day. I think that may be when I decided to never get married.

Which studio is it? I could email them a resume… I am doing some auto fixin’ (I specialize in Hondas and Volkswagens!) and a bit of IT stuff, freelance like- but I am always up for trying something new.

Doctress Julia
10 years ago

Oh, my sad neglected blog.. yeah, I am hooked on Borderlands! I’ve been waiting to post on there again until I have another crazy dream or when something awesome happens. And, I have yet to find a good DnD group to play with that doesn’t include at least one creepy misogynist. My half-elf thief is a radfem with a katana. :3

Fuck MRAs
Fuck MRAs
10 years ago

So this Thomas Ball man slaps a 4 year old child repeatedly until she bleeds, gets off with only counseling, refuses to stand for this slap on the wrist punishment and won’t attend, rendering him ineligible for visitation with his children, and somehow that’s the family court’s fault and we should all feel sorry for him? Sounds like the perfect MRA “hero” to me!

But hey, at least Thomas Ball knew the only thing on Earth he was good for… Kindling.

Holly Pervocracy
10 years ago

But hey, at least Thomas Ball knew the only thing on Earth he was good for… Kindling.
Really not okay.

The guy committed suicide. I don’t think this means he was right to abuse his child or refuse counseling, but it gets him some sympathy from me–his pain was genuine even if it wasn’t justified, and he likely had mental problems beyond just “being a jerk.” It’s gross when the MRAs try to exploit a suicide to make it somehow “prove” how serious they are; but it’s gross when we make fun of suicides. Let’s please not go there.

filetofswedishfish
filetofswedishfish
10 years ago

Doctress- I was cooking up supper, but it’s BlissFlow Yoga and wellness. Recepting there is really, really part time. I have three shifts a week and it’s a Big Deal. But hey, free yoga, half off massages and private yoga classes? DONE. Also, I haven’t played since probably high school or my first year of college. But I miss it, and I loved the shit out of Borderlands. Sadly, I don’t have it anymore, and I let my XBL account expire, or we could play! I was always big on templates, and big hulking fighters myself. My favorite was a half-dragon barbarian prestiging as a frenzied berserker! She was basically feminist hulk.

Ami Angelwings
10 years ago

@Holly they tend to list Marc Lepine and George Sodini as proof of how “serious” their cause can be too :

Ami Angelwings
10 years ago

*gives Doctress Julia a huge giant hug* 🙁

filetofswedishfish
filetofswedishfish
10 years ago

Also- Doctress- Boyfriend and i share a VW that needs some bodywork. I got t-boned a while back, and he managed to t-bone somebody else a while later. We need a quote for insurance wink-ink nudge-nudge. However, I don’t know if you do engine work, or body work, so…

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

I wonder, because I don’t know. How unusual is this talk about violence? I was under the impression that MRAs said a lot of things, but never actually did them. Has there been talk of revolution before, or is this a new thing? If the latter, I’d be rather worried. If the former, wouldn’t even break a sweat.

Also, I second Holly, “Fuck MRAs”, not here.

filetofswedishfish
filetofswedishfish
10 years ago

Kirbywarp: A few weeks ago, David featured calls for corrective rape from an MRA site. And I remember hearing about how they agreed with what George Sodini did. I’d say calls for violence aren’t unusual, even if acting on them is.

Papr1ka
Papr1ka
10 years ago

@kirbywarp:

From my readings over the past two or three years that I’ve been aware that people like MRAs/MGTOWers/etc existed, this isn’t really new subject matter for them. I’ve seen some bloggers/posters on forums take their violent rhetoric to more extremes than others. I actually feel as though calls for violence have gotten a little rarer as the ‘movement’ has garnered more attention. Now that there’s more people taking notice of who they are and what they stand for, it seems like they’re trying to clean their act up a little bit…but I dunno. That’s just what I’ve observed, and I don’t really follow it incredibly closely to say one way or the other with a great deal of confidence. I personally am not terribly concerned, but time will only tell where these guys end up taking their vitriol.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

@filetofswedishfish (*squee* btw at your icon) and Papr1ka:

Thanks for the info. I can sleep easy tonight. 😛

Bee
Bee
10 years ago

“I’ll point out that setting yourself on fire is an extremely effective tool if your goal is to make your ex-wife’s life a living hell,”

And your daughter’s. I feel bad for the whole family after reading Ball’s suicide letter, but what especially struck me was his refusal to accept any responsibility for what happened as a consequence of him striking his daughter, and how as a result, the blame seemed to fall on his daughter, for the action that caused him to strike her (licking him).

And that’s really, really fucking gross. To make your child live the rest of her life in pain, thinking that you blame her for the mess your life has become — and for your suicide by fire.

Also gross: That the MRM is looking for a martyr, encouraging vulnerable people to fill the position, and then using those disturbed, vulnerable people as evidence that their hate-filled movement is necessary. It’s completely reprehensible.

Fuck MRAs
Fuck MRAs
10 years ago

“But hey, at least Thomas Ball knew the only thing on Earth he was good for… Kindling.
Really not okay.”

Holly, I frankly do not give one flying fuck if you think it’s OK. I stand by what I said. That man was an abusive scumbag and I’m glad he killed himself. I’m not trying to win any nice person contests here.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

@Fuck MRAs

Then vent somewhere else.

Fuck MRAs
Fuck MRAs
10 years ago

That goes for you too kirby, and anyone else who wants to get uptight about my COMPLETELY justified disgust with a man who made a 4 year old bleed by slapping her.

Fuck MRAs
Fuck MRAs
10 years ago

If the owner of the blog wants to remove my comments, I would imagine that he will.

Ami Angelwings
10 years ago

It wasn’t until it occured to me to look for “alchemist” that I found a good pic… if you look for some combination of female/woman nurse/doctor/surgeon and mad/crazy/evil you get porn… LOTS AND LOTS of porn xD

gelar
gelar
10 years ago

@Kirbywarp: I only read this type of sentiment once, in a thread on Askmen about nine years ago (give or take- not meant for kids, but as if that really stops anyone) where some dude was going on about how the “swing of the pendulum would be reversed” or something like that. Meaning, of course, men taking to the streets, women stripped of all their “privileges” like voting, having careers, not being raped. Basically “fixing feminism” with anarchy.

Not saying that this represents the entire site, which I coincidentally didn’t visit again, but that the revolutionary talk’s probably pretty old.

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
10 years ago

Ball’s statement was difficult to read. Really, really hard. One thing is certain: we need better options and access for mental illness in our country.

As for the calls to and/or threats of violence, they may not be the platform of many sites and MRA writers but the they’re definitely present. Years ago I was researching the concept of love-shyness, ironically for a female friend of mine, and ended up on love-shy.com forums right after George Sodini committed his act of terrorism.

It was… enlightening. To say the least.

The number of posters in the forums saying that they didn’t agree with what Sodini did but they certainly understood the way he felt was, at the time, surprising. The number of posters calling Sodini a hero and a martyr and saying, without equivocation, that women deserved it, and what do we expect when we refuse to have sex with anyone but alphas and ignore decent hard working men, was revolting. Sexism and misogyny I understood. The idea that women deserve to be the victims of terrorist assault because some men can’t get laid?

I’d never seen anything like it.

Like David, I think that the men who post on so much of the “boob roll” are a minority of men. Hell, I think that “Sodini is a hero!” and “Ball was driven to this by Family Courts! Molotov Cocktails for all!” are probably a minority within that group. But threats of violence, direct or indirect should not be ignored.

And, calling Tom Ball “kindling” is fucked up.

Holly Pervocracy
10 years ago

Fuck MRAs – Child abuse is wrong and sad… and suicide is wrong and sad. They don’t cancel out. I’m happy when a child abuser bears consequences and repents and apologizes and never hurts another child. I’m not happy when they die violently.

(There’s also the fact, and I hope admitting knowledge of this doesn’t lessen it, that I don’t want this blog to become some sort of example of “feminists celebrating a man’s death.” Because I sure as hell am not.)

Fuck MRAs
Fuck MRAs
10 years ago

Why is it that the comment section here seems to be able to tolerate anger coming from MRAs, but not from from people who hate MRAs? What I said isn’t even a millionth as offensive as the stuff I see MRAs comment with here on a DAILY BASIS. Not to mention that what I said was about a specific abuser, not men in general.

Fuck MRAs
Fuck MRAs
10 years ago

I’m not celebrating a “man’s” death. I’m just glad that a MONSTER killed himself. It’s not like I’m throwing a party over here.

filetofswedishfish
filetofswedishfish
10 years ago

I second Holly here. The last thing we need is an actual example for the trolls to point to that feminists hate men, not one they just make up.

Holly Pervocracy
10 years ago

Fuck MRAs – Being “as bad as they are” is a hell of a crappy excuse. I would like to think we’re better than they are.

I also think, separately from that, that celebrating the suicide of a mentally disturbed man is completely fucked up. He was a bad person, but… we don’t dance on graves.

Fuck MRAs
Fuck MRAs
10 years ago

No grave dancing and no man hating here. I simply am glad this PARTICULAR man killed himself.

And I seriously cannot believe I even bothered to type those words. Am I actually being accused of being a man hater HERE, ON THIS WEBSITE OF ALL WEBSITES, simply because I’m happy that a man who slaps 4 year olds and makes them bleed did the world a favor and made sure that he could NEVER do it again? What does that have to do with ANY other man than the man in question?

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

@Fuck MRAs:

How do you think we tolerate anger coming from MRAs, exactly? We sure as hell don’t pat them on the back. If we ignore them, its only because they’ve proven to be so out of touch with reality that they might as well be raving about aliens abducting them. You, I assume, are a rational person, one capable of understanding other opinions on the subject, and capable of recognizing when you go to far.

If you want to be “tolerated” the same way we “tolerate” MRAs, by all means keep up the angry comments.

Fuck MRAs
Fuck MRAs
10 years ago

Also, Holly, I never used the “as bad as they are” defense, at ALL. So do NOT say that I did.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

@Fuck MRAs:

Absolutely no one but you said the words “man hater.” Absolutely no one. How is it that expressing disgust for one man equals hating all men?

Holly Pervocracy
10 years ago

Fuck MRAs – Am I actually being accused of being a man hater HERE, ON THIS WEBSITE OF ALL WEBSITES,
Yes. Because this website doesn’t tolerate ACTUAL hatred of men. That’s pretty important to our whole “we’re feminists, not opposite-day WRAs” image.

Fuck MRAs
Fuck MRAs
10 years ago

kirby, I am capable of recognizing when *I* have gone too far. In this case, I MOST CERTAINLY have not. You are, of course, free to disagree, but you’ll have to understand that I don’t care if you or anyone else disagrees.

Holly Pervocracy
10 years ago

I’m starting to seriously wonder if Fuck MRAs is a mole, but I’m fairly sure they’re just someone who doesn’t get why this is not the place to be celebrating the violent deaths of one’s opponents.

Fuck MRAs
Fuck MRAs
10 years ago

Well, Holly, if you’ll read what I ACTUALLY wrote, I think you’ll see that I don’t have a hatred for men. If you read that into my words even after I specifically said it’s not the case, then that’s not my problem.

darksidecat
darksidecat
10 years ago

I don’t see any miscarriage of justice here. He physically abused the kid, got a really low punishment (which he didn’t do), and then wrote a terroristic screed. Sound to me like keeping this guy away from the kid was a good call.

On treason: It is damned near impossible to get a solid treason conviction in the US. Because our constitution says this:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.” (article 3, section 3).

So, organized armed resistence to overthrow the government is needed, and two people have to see you doing it. Just talking about how much you want to destroy the government is not legally treason. Nor is misapplication of the laws. Very, very little actually formally counts as treason if you go by the Constitution. Hence the long line of “sedition” laws to punish what other countries tend to count as treason. Oh, but if you like the US Constitution, it is up to the Congress to decide the punishments for treason, as well:

“The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.” (article 3, section 3).

Yep, there is a whole section of the US Constitution just on treason. Being traitors to the crown, the rebels were somewhat more sympathetic to the accused traitors rights, as might be expected.

Fuck MRAs
Fuck MRAs
10 years ago

oh my god… hahaha…

Now I’m a “mole?”

This is almost as funny as the time someone called me a republican on feministing.com

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