We don’t yet know the motive behind the shootings at the King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, which left ten dead. But we’re learning some telling details about the alleged shooter, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa.
According to several of Alissa’s former high school wrestling teammates, interviewed by the Denver Post, the accused mass killer was a big angry ball of toxic masculinity. Though they didn’t use the term, they told the Post that he was “violent, short-tempered and paranoid” and that in the past he had physically attacked and threatened to murder people who challenged his fragile masculinity. According to his teammates,
He has a short fuse:
“[H]e was a pretty cool kid until something made him mad, and then whatever made him mad, he went over the edge — way too far,” former teammate Dayton Marvel told the Post.
Another former teammate, Angel Hernandez, remembered Alissa’s
dark side … If he did get ticked off about something, within a split second, it was like if something takes over, like a demon. He’d just unleash all his anger.
“He was scary to be around,” Marvel recalled.
He is acutely sensitive to slights — real or imagined. whether they were directed at his Muslim faith or his wrestling prowess (or lack thereof). The Post reports:
In 2017, Alissa, then 18, attacked a classmate at Arvada West High School, according to an affidavit filed in the case. He punched the classmate in the head without warning, and when the boy fell to the ground, Alissa continued to punch him. The classmate suffered bruises and cuts to his head, according to the affidavit.
Witnesses told police they didn’t see or hear any reason for Alissa to attack the classmate. Alissa told officers that the classmate “had made fun of him and called him racial names weeks earlier,” according to the affidavit.
He believes that violence is the solution to many of his troubles.
His attack on a classmate in 2017 wasn’t the only time he tried to solve his problems with his fists. After losing one match, Hernandez said,
Alissa got into a fight in the parking lot …
“(The other wrestler) was just teasing him and goes, ‘Maybe if you were a better wrestler, you would have won.’ (Alissa) just lost it. He started punching him,” Hernandez said.
After losing out on a spot on the varsity wrestling team, Alissa reportedly threatened to murder the whole team. Though “nobody believed hiim,” Marvel said, “we were just all kind of freaked out by it, but nobody did anything about it.”
He is homophobic.
On a now-deleted Facebook page thought to have been Alissa’s, he reportedly “expressed anti-LGBTQ sentiments,” according to the Post.
We will almost certainly learn more about Alissa’s motives for the shooting in the coming days. But it’s already clear that toxic masculinity deserves some of the blame.
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