If these females aren’t treating these guys with respect, they’re gonna kill them...
Few would argue that the Internet has had an extraordinary impact on almost all walks of life. From changing the way we do business, deliver banking, education, healthcare and government services, to the ways in which we interact with one another, the Internet is arguably one of the most significant drivers of social evolution in modern history. Yet for all the benefits the Internet has brought the world by reducing, or completely removing, communication barriers between communities worldwide, it has also connected a darker cohort of humanity whose views and ideologies often run contrary to the interests of mainstream society.
On the evening of May 23, 2014 in Isla Vista, Santa Barbara, near the University of California campus, 22-year-old virgin Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree, becoming the poster boy for an online community that would likely never have propagated in the pre-Internet era. The day prior to his spree, Rodger’s sat in his car and filmed himself for a YouTube video he titled Retribution in which he outlines his intended revenge on humanity the following day. Rodger’s rants against the women he believes have rejected and ignored him, expressing his need for revenge. “I'm 22-years-old and I'm still a virgin. I've never even kissed a girl,” he says into the camera. So, for the loneliness he was forced to endure by women ignoring him, he promises revenge on them and the ‘obnoxious brutes” they choose instead of him, “the true alpha male”.
Rodger’s also promises retribution on all the popular kids who have rejected him, promising to “take to the streets of Isla Vista and slay every single person I see there.” Next day, true to his word, Rodger’s stabs three men to death in his apartment, before driving to a sorority house where after failing to gain entry he shoots three women outside, with two later dying, before moving on to fatally shoot another male in a local deli. Rodger’s then takes to the streets of Isla Vista, shooting people on the street from his car and ramming others, injuring a further 14 people. Hours later, injured after two brief shoot-outs with police, Rodger’s is found dead in his crashed car after shooting himself in the head.
These killings were in line with Rodger’s ‘incel’ beliefs. Incels are an internet subculture of men that abuse, torment, assault, and kill women because of their perceived rejection by them. Incel is an acronym for “involuntarily celibate” which refers to men frustrated by their lack of sex and an obsession with their own “unattractiveness. The incel communities reaction to Rodger’s killing spree? He is now widely regarded by the ten’s of thousands of incel members worldwide as the founder of the “Incel Rebellion”, with many referring to him as Saint Rodger.
A pervasive belief with the incel community is that women are to blame for their sexual failure. Incel’s view women as shallow, vicious and only attracted to macho type men. Incel’s see this as an injustice against them as they cannot help being who they are genetically. A small extremist group of incels believe femicide - a sex-based hate crime against women – is a rational response for their rejection. They believe an “Incel Rebellion” or violent response (also referred to as the “Beta Uprising) is the answer to their frustrations.
The limited research available into incel communities reveals they are typically misogynist, racist, narcissistic, self-pitying and cynical younger men who believe women owe them sex and only exist for their sexual abilities. Incels refer to them as “Stacys” (beautiful, feminine, inaccessible) who only go out with “Chads” (popular macho men who do not have trouble pulling women). But it’s not just about having sex for incels, it is equally about their perception of women withholding sex from them, with these shared beliefs bringing together more and more frustrated and isolated young men across the Internet since 2014. Today, the Internet has enabled this darker subculture to recruit members worldwide, many of whom openly espouse hate crimes, which in turn has convinced some incel’s to convert their online hatred into mass murder. Since Rodger’s killing spree in 2014, there have been at least six incel initiated mass murders totalling 44 deaths by young men inspired by their “incel hero.”
On October 1, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon, writing student, 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer shot his assistant professor and eight fellow students at Umpqua Community College, killing nine people and injuring a further eight before shooting himself in the head after being injured in a brief shoot-out with police. Harper-Mercer spared the life of one student who brought him a package before he made the student sit at the back of the classroom to watch as he open fired on his classmates with two handguns. The package was a manifesto containing his obsession with mass murderers and how he ‘related’ to Rodger. In the manifesto, Harper-Mercer admitted sharing a bond with mass killers, saying they are “people who stand with the gods”. His writings were laden with hate and anger at not having a girlfriend, still being a virgin, and his rage and hostility towards the world.
On December 7, 2017, in the school where he once was a student, 21-year-old William Atchison disguised himself as a student before shooting two students in the hallways of Aztec High School, New Mexico. He then shoot up a classroom while students barricaded themselves in an office before turning the gun on himself as police approached. Several hours before the shooting, Atchison posted his intentions on social media. He was also known to have used the name “Elliot Rodger” to post on forums and praised Rodger as the “supreme gentleman”.
On Valentine’s Day, 2018, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz walked into Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring another 17 in the hallways and grounds before abandoning his AR-15 to flee the scene. Police captured him an hour later at which time he admitted to the shooting. Cruz is another incel who related to Rodger, posting "Elliot Rodger will not be forgotten" online.
On April 23, 2018, 25-year-old Alek Minassian went on a ramming spree in the streets of Toronto, Ontario, killing 10 and injuring 16. Before taking to the streets, he wrote a chilling Facebook post — “the Incel Rebellion has already begun”, also praising Rodger as the rebellion’s founder. In a police video released in September 2018, Minassian told police his motivation was his resentment at being a virgin, blaming what he calls “Chads and Stacys”. He said he could not understand why women gave “their love and affection to obnoxious brutes” instead of him. In the video he also says he hopes he can “inspire future masses to join me” in the violent “Incel Rebellion”. He admitted he had exchanged messages with Rodger in 2014 until three days before Rodger became a mass murderer, as well as having previously talked with Harper-Mercer online. After Rodger’s killing spree, he admitted daydreaming about taking his own action for years.
On November 2, 2018, 40-year-old Scott Briele purchased a casual yoga pass at the Hot Yoga Tallahassee Studio, before walking in to class, donning earmuffs to protect his hearing, and pulling out a Glock and shooting five women and a man, killing two women. Briele then killed himself with a single shot. Briele had a long history of women hating, fantasising about killing and raping them in his writings. His trouble with women had him kicked out of the army for his interactions with female soldiers and he had also been fired from a teaching job for accessing pornography while at work. He had also had a pattern of sexual misconduct since his school days, and his personal website was full of his writings about murder, rape and torture. Prior to Briele’s attack, a woman had warned the FBI of the website but it was not deemed actionable.
As a self-declared woman hater, Briele uploaded videos to YouTube bragging about his hatred and about not ever having a girlfriend. He even mentioned Rodger in one video. Beierle said, “The situation ... of like not getting any — no love, no nothing, this endless wasteland that breeds this longing and this frustration — that was me certainly as an adolescent.” In a video called The Rebirth of my Misogynism he said, “How do you respond when they, for whatever reason, collaborate to make the decision to attempt to tear somebody down? Well that’s where it began. That was its origins. Until I figured out how to address it.”
On February 19, 2020, 43-year-old Tobias Rathjen, , killed nine people and wounded five others in two shootings in Hanau, Germany. He then returned home, shot his mother and killed himself. Rathjen left behind a manifesto filled with his bizarre views on how some races and nations “must be destroyed”. These included people from Central Asia and the Middle East and demonstrated a profound racist outlook on the world. After reading the manifesto, King’s College London counterterrorist expert Peter Neumann labelled Rathjen an “incel with far-right leanings”. He had not had a girlfriend for the previous 18 years because he thought the government had him under surveillance since a young age. Although he sent a 19-page letter to the authorities about the surveillance, official record state they had never heard of him.
It is hard to know the size of the global incel community. Some forums have as many as 40,000 members, but researchers closer to the incel community believe there could be hundreds of thousands of incels around the world. Even though they are mostly online, posting on forums where harassing women is encouraged, incel’s prefer to remain anonymous. The Internet has brought these men together and provided them with somewhere they feel they belong. Many incels believe their personality and how they look is the reason for a lifetime of loneliness, making them arguably susceptible to other incels who are happy to reinforce these beliefs.
Some incels simply find the forums a safe place to joke around, vent their frustrations and find support when struggling with their own identities, whilst others are driven to cross the line and turn this radical ideology into violence. University of Kent digital culture expert Dr. Kaitlyn Regehr says we now “live in an age of hate crimes”. Regehr has been researching online misogyny for five years and Rodger’s massacre for 12 months. She believes Rodger “flipped a switch” to where an online community now has the potential to carry out real acts of violence".