The gunman who killed three women and then himself at a Pittsburgh-area fitness club yesterday had a blog in which racist and sexist comments mixed with constant talk of his failure to have relationships with women, and of not having control over his life.
It indicates how sexist and racist ideas promoted so widely by right-wing outlets and politicians can find their way into the toxic thinking of a deeply troubled individual.
The killer, George Sodini, 48, from suburban Scott Township, Pa., worked at a tech job where he was worried about being laid off, and was a member of the health club where he carried out the killings.
Access to his original online blog has been blocked, but the text is available, for now at least, at www.shabooty.com.
In the blog, Sodini writes that he had been planning the shooting for some time, but postponed it until after the November presidential elections. (Note, all quotes below are verbatim from the web site, including spelling.)
‘Planned to do this in the summer but figure to stick around to see the election outcome. This particular one got so much attention and I was just curious,’ Sodini wrote on Nov. 5, 2008.
Then he turned to a confused and ugly mixture of racism and sexism.
He wrote that he didn’t really care who won, but saying about Obama, “He will be successful. The liberal media LOVES him. Amerika has chosen The Black Man.” He went on to talk in viciously racist and sexist terms about black men and white women, evidently blaming both for his problems with women.
Yet on Dec. 30 he wrote sympathetically about a black man he heard on a radio talk show, who “was describing the despair in certain black communities.”
Then, this spring, he wrote of the economic crisis and prospect of being laid off from his job. His company, he wrote on April 24, was “using this downturn as an excuse to take advanage of a bad situation and kill jobs.”
“I predict I won’t survive the next layoff. That is when there is no point to continue. … The paycheck is all I have left. The future holds nothing for me. Twenty five years of nothing fun. I never even spent one weekend with a girl in my life, even at my own place. Also unlikely to find another similar job. I guess then is when I take care of things. I don’t have kids, close friends or anything. Just me here. If you have nothing, you have nothing to lose.”
May 4: “The big problem on my mind now is that my job will end soon.”
May 5: “I want to do this before I get laid off.”
Then on July 20 he wrote, “Everything still sucks. But I got a promotion and a raise, even in this shitty Obama ecomomy.”
Earlier, though, he had written, “I know I will never enjoy life. This is an over 30 year trend. Some people are happy, some are miserable. It is difficult to live almost continuously feeling an undercurrent of fear, worry, discontentment and helplessness.”
Thus racism, sexism and fear of job loss mingled with the constant thread of isolation, lack of relationships, difficulty with women, lack of control.
To what extent did the sexism, male chauvinism, racism and white supremacist ideas purveyed in our society — for example, by today’s white male Republicans posturing against Sonia Sotomayor — play a role in this terrible tragedy? To what extent did the economic insecurity out there play a role? These things are worth pondering.
suewebb @ pww.org