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entitlement misogyny patriarchy

Alleged murderer of eight in Houston explains “I’m not God, but you know, I’m the man of the house.”

Four of the murdered children
Four of the victims

Last Saturday, police say, a 48-year-old Houston man named David Conley climbed in a window of the house where his ex-girlfriend lived with her husband and six kids. Using rope, and handcuffs he’d bought a few days earlier, he restrained the entire family. He then shot them all, one by one, starting with his ex-girlfriend’s husband, and ending with her.

Police took Conley into custody after an hour-long standoff.

Why hasn’t this horrific case of mass murder gotten the media attention that other mass shootings have gotten? Possibly because seven of the eight victims were black.

And possibly because, well, cases of men murdering their families are so common that they barely make the national news any more — even when the men in question kill more people than many much-better known mass murderers.

Someone shooting random people in a theater or a mall — that’s news. Men killing their exes and their children? That’s just part of the background noise.

Conley has reportedly confessed to everything, telling police in detail how he planned and carried out the eight murders. He has a long history of violence, having served five years in jail for a previous attack on his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Valerie Jackson.

In a series of jailhouse interviews, he’s been a bit more cagey on the question of guilt. But he’s been a lot less shy in discussing the motives for the murders he won’t publicly admit to.

He seems to have murdered eight people because Valerie wasn’t raising her children the way he wanted them raised. (Never mind that he was an on-again, off-again father as well as an on-again, off-again boyfriend, and that only one of the six children was his.)

And he was angry at her for “cheating” on him — with her husband.

The children “were growing up to be monsters, they were disrespectful,” Conley complained to one local TV reporter. “I’m not saying they’re dead because of that. I’m not even saying I killed them.”

“The Bible says, ‘Thou shall respect your mother and father or your days shall be short,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “I’m not God, but you know, then, I’m the man of the house.”

Let that sink in for a second:

“I’m not God, but you know, then, I’m the man of the house.”

At the time of the murders, of course, Valerie’s husband, Dwayne Jackson, was the “man of the house.” But Conley felt that Dwayne, the father of five of the six children, was somehow usurping his own rightful authority.

“He tried to pimp out over me and take everything, rule over my house.” he complained to one local TV reporter. “How would you feel?”

But it seems pretty clear that his most virulent anger was aimed at Valerie. He blamed the alleged bad behavior of the children — particularly his son Nate — on her.

“Nate didn’t give me any respect because of what his mother was doing to me,” he told the TV reporter. “She was cheating on me.”

Conley apparently made her pay for this “disrespect,” killing her last, after forcing her to witness the murder of her husband and her six children.

Yet he seems to think he’s the victim here — disrespected by his children, his authority as “man of the house” usurped by another man, and “cheated” on by a woman he had previously beaten and repeatedly left. When he asked a reporter “how would you feel,” he apparently assumed the reporter would feel some sympathy for him.

This is toxic masculinity at its worst.

 

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weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Unfortunately, a lot of people only care about black victims of violence with black perpatrators if it’s to derail a discussion of racist police brutality. Which is of course to say they don’t care at all.

Bernardo Soares
Bernardo Soares
5 years ago

Oh god, that makes me sick in my stomach.

Also, by the way, that’s one of the reasons why gun lobbyists use Switzerland as an example of a society with high number of guns per household without much gun violence. There are less mass shootings here, but there is a high number of DV and family murders involving guns. But that’s not what the discussion revolves around, so it’s easy to sweep under the rug.

Sissy
Sissy
5 years ago

I’m tired. And I have no words.

Those kids didn’t deserve that. That mother and her husband didn’t deserve that. And for those who blame the victim… *facepalms*

*sighs* Ironically, I didn’t get the entire gist of the news story until it was reported here. All I got from my local news was traces of “Eight people killed in Texas”. That was it. It was bad enough on its own, and then I found out about THIS?

Just… I’m just speechless now.

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

cupisnique | August 13, 2015 at 3:38 pm
@rugbyyogi

There’s obviously certain acceptable risks to our safety that we must deal with to participate in society. But I’m not sure what your point is to compare those with a woman’s chance of being murdered which really should never be an acceptable risk. And even where there is higher risk of bodily harm, like driving a car or walking across the street, as a society we do a lot of things to minimize those risks to ourselves and others, but when it comes to women being murdered by their ex or current partners we seem to think there is nothing we can do to minimize that.

I’m seconding this really hard right now.

Men feeling entitled to every aspect of women (our bodies, our emotions, our lives) is something we can and should change, and something we need to minimize.

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
5 years ago

Every layer of this murder is even more sickening, from his history, to his justifications, to expecting reporters to side with him, to the way the police fucking failed to act, to how this is a common occurrence, and not the last we’ll ever hear about…. it’s every kind of awful.

@ Iogrey – It’s sickening enough that these men make life a living nightmare for adult women, but I always find the worst part of the horror is the way they deliberately inflict the terror onto the children. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to survive that trauma as a child, or for a child to die by that hideous violence.

I’m so sorry that this is something that you have had to fear. I wish you peace and healing.

laughnwitch
laughnwitch
5 years ago

Wow I am speechless

level14boss
level14boss
5 years ago

@AltFronto I may be wrong, but I honestly think they see everything as property even their own children, and like particularly childish toddlers if they don’t get to play with their toys nobody does.

Felix Ray (@rayflix)
5 years ago

In the past, I’ve objected to the term “toxic masculinity” because it seems to suggest that this behaviour is some kind of consequence of being male, as if someone got their hands on some bad testosterone. Instead I’ve used the term “toxic myths about gender”. It seemed more accurate to me.

But is it? Is this kind of madness simply a dangerous myth being acted out?

GrumpyOldSocialJusticeMangina

@Felix: I’ve always made the distinction that “male” is a biological term and “masculinity” describes cultural conditioning and expectations which can indeed be toxic. In this case it is clear that Conley felt that he was entitled to control the lives of his ex and child, and their failure to respect that entitlement is why he killed them all. He didn’t think that idea up all by himself — it’s thoroughly ingrained ion the culture of masculinity, and I think “toxic masculinity” is a perfectly fine descrpition..

pecunium
5 years ago

I have nothing. I had to garden and look at red panda photos. Typing this is making me furious again.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Once again, Margaret Atwood is proven right. Men’s worst fear is that women won’t respect them; women’s worst fear is that men will kill them. And in this case, for imagined “disrespect”, obviously.

Tessa
5 years ago

Felix:

In the past, I’ve objected to the term “toxic masculinity” because it seems to suggest that this behaviour is some kind of consequence of being male, as if someone got their hands on some bad testosterone. Instead I’ve used the term “toxic myths about gender”. It seemed more accurate to me.

But is it? Is this kind of madness simply a dangerous myth being acted out?

Part of your problem is the use of the word Myth. Masculinity is a social creation, the common cultural idea of what it means to be a man. Toxic Masculinity is the ideas being cranked up to a point it’s dangerous and harms others.

The other part of your problem is equating masculinity with being a man. They are not the same. You are suggesting a man that isn’t masculine isn’t a man at all… That idea deserves a loud “fuck you”.

So toss out the “toxic myths about gender” and stop equating masculinity with being maleness.

Tessa
5 years ago

*sigh* “with maleness” or “with being male” not the horrible combination of the two like I posted.

Quantuminc
Quantuminc
5 years ago

I think ultimately this man just wanted to have a family, specifically a wife and kids. For a while he thought he already had that, but reality disagreed. He ended up in a state of cognitive dissonance, simultaneously convinced the family was his, while knowing it wasn’t.

Extreme toxic masculinity convinces some men that violence can help you get a wife and kids. Think of action movies where a man kills the bad guy and gets the girl, or kills the bad guy to defend his family. This is an obvious contradiction (in reality it requires love and nurturance). Toxic masculinity tells men they are entitled to anything if they want it enough and they are strong enough, and that being “strong” usually means being able to endure and commit violence. Put two and two together in the wrong way and you get extremely tragic results.

BritterSweet
5 years ago

There was an elementary school aged girl who was in a school play with my brother when he was in high school. She and her mother were murdered by the mother’s ex-boyfriend (I’m not sure if he was the father, probably wasn’t) when he broke into their house and shot them before shooting himself. Allegedly he shot the little girl first while she was sleeping in order to horrify the mother before he killed her, to inflict some extra pain on her.

This sort of pattern says a lot about what these vile turdbags think of women and of children.

speedwell
speedwell
5 years ago

I have a child from a previous abusive marriage 20 years ago. My ex-husband held a gun to my head and said that if I was so miserable in the marriage, he could find me a way out of it. He used to play target practice and joke that it was so he wouldn’t miss if I ever ran out on him. I didn’t laugh. After I managed to get out of that relationship I was so traumatized that the social workers decided I was incapable of caring for my son and I lost custody of him. After that I did everything possible to make sure my ex never found me. I even divorced by publication and convinced my lawyer to leave my address out of the papers (only saying enough to prove residency). I found out later that my ex-husband had been contacting my estranged parents and telling them that I ran off with another man and left him with my son. He said, when they told him about the divorce, that he considered me still married to him. Fortunately they did not tell him where I lived.

I recently remarried, and my husband, who is a good man from a good, loving family, can’t understand why I don’t want to mend fences. I have explained every way I can think of that I have no interest in recontacting a violent gunman who still considers me his property, or the son who still lives with that man. I just don’t know how to get it across to him.

rugbyyogi
5 years ago

@cupinisque @parodoxical – my point is not to accept male violence, but that we cannot live – without immediate cause – in paralytical fear from it. Fear of shark attack might be ‘normal’ but it’s not in any sense rational and comparing it to the risk of being killed (when you are not in a dysfunctional relationship) is a bit pointless and unhelpful. Fear of shark attack is more likely to save you from a death by drowning (which is a far greater risk) if it keeps you away from the sea, but then you never have the joy the ocean.

I’m in a dysfunctional relationship and my verbally and emotionally abusive husband has just left me. We share a child. We have unresolved issues. Am I at increased risk? Is my child? YES!!! But I can’t live in constant fear of that, neither can I live in constant fear of men around me. Awareness, yes. Fear, no. This story scared the fuck out of me, given that my estranged husband has just taken my son out of the country (well, just Scotland, but still…). I don’t have any particular reason to fear for his physical well-being, so I just have to let it go.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

But… This shit happens every week. Every week, there’s another instance of an aggrieved piece of shit murdering his family, or killing a woman who rebuffed his catcalls, or going on a mass killing spree. And that’s not even counting rape, just murder.

“Oh well, can’t live in fear, la la la” won’t stop this epidemic. Speaking out against it and against the false blaming of “Mental illness” instead of misogyny will.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

And before you ask whether I’ve personally known anybody who was killed by a family annihilator, the answer is yes. Admittedly, I only met them once, but my mum’s cousin and her kids were murdered by her husband back in the late ’90s or early ’00s.

misseb47
misseb47
5 years ago

Those poor children, that poor women and her poor husband. I hope the murdering arsehole burns in hell for what he has done to them. The arrogant, entitled low life. It is unbelievable how he felt entitled to take the life of his own child, but to murder 5 other children that weren’t even his?!?! That is seriously fucked up. 🙁

speedwell -O.O That is some awful shit! I am so glad that you got away from that creepy arsehole and have remarried a good, decent man.

Ellesar
Ellesar
5 years ago

speedwell – I am so sorry that you had to go through that and leave your son with him. I know that fear – though not to that extreme.

Falconer
5 years ago

@Quantuminc:

I think ultimately this man just wanted to have a family, specifically a wife and kids. For a while he thought he already had that, but reality disagreed. He ended up in a state of cognitive dissonance, simultaneously convinced the family was his, while knowing it wasn’t.

Extreme toxic masculinity convinces some men that violence can help you get a wife and kids. Think of action movies where a man kills the bad guy and gets the girl, or kills the bad guy to defend his family. This is an obvious contradiction (in reality it requires love and nurturance). Toxic masculinity tells men they are entitled to anything if they want it enough and they are strong enough, and that being “strong” usually means being able to endure and commit violence. Put two and two together in the wrong way and you get extremely tragic results.

I think it’s simpler than that. I think, somehow, he learned that the “proper” response to being crossed was violence.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Hugs to anyone here who needs them, what with abusive and generally rotten exes and all. It saddens me that there are so many of them.

andiexist
andiexist
5 years ago
Reply to  Bina

@Bina

…I never actually dated mine, if it helps? Not that he listened. At least the only person I had try to convince me to accept his apologies (he used to try to contact me every half-year, always starting first with apologies, then with incoherent anger about how I wanted to destroy him or something — I didn’t try to have school officials, who were handling it, have him delete his number because I thought he’d try to talk to me in person if he couldn’t text me) was that paraprofessional, who was all “he apologized! You’re a nice girl, you should give him a chance!”

Though the new dean (who had always been really sympathetic about the situation before) did pull a really victim-blamey “Don’t you think it’s time to let this go? What will you do if you meet him when you’re grown up?”

I told her that if he tried to talk to me when I’m grown up, I could tell him to eff off if I needed to.

She told me that “That would just make him angry. That’s not the (my name) I know.” And managed to pass the whole thing off to my parents as a misunderstanding.

Well, if you think he’s that dangerous, why are you trying to convince me that it’s okay if he tries to interact with me?!

(Ugh. I didn’t mean to rant… but that was just a bad situation. The school knew we weren’t supposed to be in the same class but stuck him in a study hall with me anyway. Guess what? He started pushing boundaries again!)

andiexist
andiexist
5 years ago

And yeah, telling him to eff off probably would make him angry, but I mainly said that because I was angry at the dean acting like it was an inevitability that I’d have to talk to him as an adult. Any no would make him angry.

GrumpyOldSocialJusticeMangina

@Andiexist: I don’t know how man similar stories I’ve heard — that if a woman would just make nice to an obnoxious male, everything would work well.
I think it was when my daughter was in 8th grade, one of her friends and her brother were the subject of a bitter custody battle. After an argument at the local July 4th fireworks display, their father simply took the children and set out on a trip across the country. The kids didn’t want to be with their father and apparently made that clear to him, and somewhere out in Ohio he shot both of them and buried their bodies near the interstate. News reports, as anyone here would anticipate, blamed the murders on his long history of depression. Aggrieved male entitlement was never mentioned.

GrumpyOldSocialJusticeMangina

Oh, that was probably a too abrupt transition. My first paragraph was intended to second andiexist’s point about how the authorities will almost always try to smooth things over at the expense of the woman. The second was to recount another family killing that happened fairly close to me.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
5 years ago

I’m not sure if this is really the right thread, or if I should put it in one of the Roosh ones for extra “Things going right in Canada” points, but this story may act as a small touch of reassurance that sometimes, things do actually go right. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/malyk-bonnet-teenage-hero-saves-woman-from-kidnapping-1.3191795

Incidentally, welcome to Canada, where the black teenager involved wasn’t shot by the cops.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

And yeah, telling him to eff off probably would make him angry, but I mainly said that because I was angry at the dean acting like it was an inevitability that I’d have to talk to him as an adult. Any no would make him angry.

Ugh, that sucks so much ass, and what an idiot that person was who told you to be nice to him. All the hugs you want, too. Being nice to him would not have made him less angry, mean or scary; I think he’d have found something to rage at even if you’d been the nicest person in the world to him. Or if he couldn’t find something, he’d have invented it. When a creep fixates and gets addicted to his own anger and sense of power over another person, there is simply no reasoning with him, and therefore no sense being nice. The longer one stays in his sights, the more he’ll take aim at them. Getting away is the only hope anyone has of breaking that chain.

andiexist
andiexist
5 years ago
Reply to  Bina

@Bina

Yeah. The dean was generally good about it before, so I basically chalked it up to “patriarchy gets to all of us,” but I’m not gonna dispute the other one being an idiot. 😛

Sadly, I can’t get fully away quite yet — he’s still at my school. At least they removed him eventually… after he tried to get the supervisor to punish me for ignoring him when he was “asking” me to open the door.

I think that was why I was talking to the dean, actually. It got resolved, though, and he hasn’t texted me since freshman year, so that’s something.

*returns hugs*

cupisnique
5 years ago

@rugbyyogi

Yeah unfortunately it would be really detrimental to women to not participate in society (i.e. live in constant fear and paranoia of all men around them), but I don’t see how just telling people this is helpful. Like, we know. We know that we don’t have a choice, we have to interact with men that might want to harm us and we do it every day. Sure, the chances might not be as high as getting into a car accident, but so what? I think the fact that it happens with any regularity at all is a completely unacceptable risk because it’s something that DOES NOT NEED TO HAPPEN. Car accidents are not intentional acts, so sure they happen. But someone murdering their ex doesn’t just happen and it is preventable. imo you are comparing apples and oranges.

Julie Salvatore
5 years ago

Hello. I’m new here. I posted a big long thing but it didn’t let me post. I guess my WordPress account doesn’t work. So, I’m using my Facebook.

This is such a stomach-churningly disgusting thing that happened….and what makes it extra barfy is that it happens all the time.

I believe in an afterlife, so I do try to take solace in the notion that this woman, her kids and her husband are all together, safe in a newer, higher existence. However, I know not everyone sees it that way and that’s fine. I respect other’s right to not have that worldview.

What makes this so sad is that so many in abusive relationships may feel that they are in a “damned if you do & damned if you don’t situation” and that will play into the hands of guys like this murderer.

We need to tell women that they can & should leave their abuser and succeed! We need to give them the tips and tools in how to pull it off safely. Surely there is a way.

What frustrates me is that LGBTA Rights are growing in leaps in bounds (and that is wonderful) but Women’s Rights is so darn sluggish. It makes no sense. Misogyny & Homophobia are intertwined, so one would think that Feminism would succeed more. We need to examine what the LGBTA Movement has been doing and apply similar strategies.

Also, David Futrelle, your site is awesome! Keep up the good work!

Also, I love kitties!