My mom went to college in Ilsa Vista. We heard stories of how beautiful Santa Barbara was all through our growing up. The town is a romantic part of our family mythology.
Yesterday’s shooting didn’t leave me as shaken as it should have, like other shooting that happened have. Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Aurora. Those haunt me in their very senselessness. The mystery of why. They’re unforgettable because the motives are unknowable.
Yesterday’s shooting made perfect sense.
I think that’s more frightening than anything else could have been — watching the video made by the shooter and hearing his “nice guy” whine about being “friendzoned” and suddenly I was back in the car, listening to my date rant about his frustration, and telling myself to be calm so I didn’t lose control of the situation. Alone. In the dark. In an empty parking garage. With a dead cell phone.
“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” — Margaret Atwood
After my divorce, one of the things I heard a lot from older (usually white) men was “We’re not all like that! Don’t hate men because of him.” Even my grandfather emailed me to share this little nugget.
Of course I know that all men aren’t like that. But you never know which ones are like that until you cross them, and then it’s usually too late. That’s why after my date with #2, I changed my work schedule and I blocked his number when he texted me a couple days later to ask for a second date. He might not be “like that,” but I sure as hell don’t want to find out by experience if I’m wrong.
“Not all men are like that,” and I’m sure it’s safe to say that most of the dads at Clare’s prom didn’t look at her inappropriately. But someone complained, and she can’t know who, and she and I both know that homeschool dads watching you usually means you’re about to get in trouble for something they feel entitled to control.
Not all men are like that, but yes, all women have encountered men who are like that.
Gun control, mental health care reform — these are important, but they are easier to fix than male entitlement and misogyny.
Take a few minutes today and go read the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter in honor of the victims. And if you are a man, know that it’s not your place to comment or respond to this, but please observe our stories with respect and silence.
Not all men are like that, but all men need to hear our stories.