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Pre-2008 Posts

Male Terrorism, Today’s News: Colorado Gunman Wanted the Girls

 

The girl in the photo above is Emily Keyes, who was 16.  Those who knew her described her as friendly and kind, a real sweetheart.  She worked as a waitress in a cafe in her small town, played volleyball, and worked on the school newspaper.  She had a twin brother, Casey. 

Yesterday a 54-year-old man, Duane Morrison, entered the high school she attended, Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colorado,  around lunch time.  In his hands he carried a gun, on his back was a backpack full of sex toys.  He fired the gun, ordering first a teacher, then all of the boys, out of a classroom, forcing six of the girls to stay in the classroom with him.  One by one, he sexually assaulted them.  He let four of them leave the room.  There were two girls remaining with him, and he had stopped negotiating with police, when they finally stormed the room; he then opened fire, shooting Emily in the back of the head as she fled.  He then shot himself.   Emily died at the hospital.

Classmates of Emily Keyes

Although already there are efforts underway to depict Morrison as different from “normal” men, or “regular” men, or “other” men,  by claiming, for example, that he lived in his car or was “homeless” (homelessness presumably being not about poverty but about criminal behavior), or by publishing photos of him in which he is unshaven and looks scary,  there was nothing unusual about him at all.  He had a regular street address.  He had been steadily employed as a carpenter for years and was described as a good employee.  His brother-in-law and other family members were as stunned by what he had done as everyone else was, saying they had no clue he was capable of this.  He had never been in other than minor trouble with the law. 

 The mind searches for some explanation for these acts besides the one that is obvious.  We don’t want to believe an ordinary man tied a woman, alive, to her car and dragged her a mile to her death.  We don’t want to believe ordinary men pulled up alongside an aging woman teacher and women’s rights advocate, shot her in cold blood, then bragged about it.  We don’t want to believe ordinary soldiers raped a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, killed her whole family, and set her afire.  We don’t want to believe an ordinary man loaded his backpack with sex toys and blasted his way into the local high school, intending to sexually assault teenage girls. 

The fact is, these are everyday acts of everyday terrorism committed against women by everyday, ordinary men.   And so, as women, we are made to fear men, serve men, we are kept  subservient to them.

In the movie Antonia’s Line,  a brutal and violent man in a small Dutch town, rapes a mentally disabled girl and is banished for it.  Years later, he returns to the town to claim an inheritance, and when he does, he rapes Antonia’s granddaughter.  Antonia is the family matriarch.  After the rape of her granddaughter, Antonia goes into the town bar, where the rapist is yucking it up and drinking with his buds, hauls him out of there at the point of her shotgun, and directs him into the town square, where she says these words to him, at gunpoint:

“If I had it in me to kill someone

I would kill you. 

Instead, I’ll curse you.  

And my curse will haunt you forever. 

If you ever return, my curse will savage you to death. 

If you return,

my hate will destroy you.

For the rape of a child.”

These are powerful words and much could be said about them.  I am the mother of six daughters.  Two of them are near Emily’s age, one is 15, one is 17, and my 17-year-old’s name is also Emily.  My Emily also works in a restaurant.  My 15 year-old daughter works on the school newspaper.  Thinking about Antonia’s words, writing them here, reminds me of the only hope there really is for us, as women,  those of us who must live out all  of our lives in the shadow of male violence:  the small hope that one day, as women, we will find our courage, the courage of Antonia, and in so doing will find some way to hold men accountable for the way they relentlessly, intentionally destroy the lives of girls and women, for the way their acts of violence and predation follow us, shadow us, poison the very air we breathe, for all of our lives.

Rest in peace, sweet Emily, my darlin’ girl.  Your grandmothers,  your women folk, a great river of women are there waiting for you, on the other side.

Links here, here, here, here.

Heart

Discussion

33 thoughts on “Male Terrorism, Today’s News: Colorado Gunman Wanted the Girls

  1. We need to build a monument, a memorium.

    A wall where we can etch the names of every woman killed by this world disease of misogyny. Every woman in the world sexually abused and killed, shot by a boyfriend, husband, stranger, soldier, businessman, librarian, pimp, preacher. Women who die with their children in their homes as bombs drop. Women who die in “honor killings”, who die as young girls in childbirth b/c they were too young to be pregnant, baby girls who are murdered minutes after they are born for being born female and not male. The list goes on, and on and on.

    We need a huge wall (and indeed it would need to be massive), and every name etched in, like the walls I’ve seen for POWs, those young soldiers missing in action in Vietnam. Every time I pass such a wall I feel the gravity and essence of these young soldiers. I grieve for these young soldiers, I feel them in the air.

    We need such a wall for women, young and old, who have been killed, ultimately, because they were born women. A place we can go and pay our respects and in full view of the magnitude of this world disease, develop the love and rage necessary to stop this woman hate now. To recognize we can’t accept it, because right now, we do, and we always have. We need to build this memorium, this wall.

    Rest in peace beautiful young sister, beautiful Emily Keyes.

    Posted by Jeyoani | September 28, 2006, 7:03 pm
  2. “Thinking about Antonia’s words, writing them here, reminds me of the only hope there really is for us, as women, those of us who must live out all of our lives in the shadow of male violence: the small hope that one day, as women, we will find our courage, the courage of Antonia, and in so doing will find some way to hold men accountable for the way they relentlessly, intentionally destroy the lives of girls and women, for the way their acts of violence and predation follow us, shadow us, poison the very air we breathe, for all of our lives.”

    The horror and tragedy of this situation is suffocating. My heart is absolutely broken over this. I wept. And will do so again.

    Thank you for expressing so perfectly this main point. These are not “scary brown men” in alleys. These are ordinary, everyday men who do these horrible things.

    I wonder what the media will use to justify this – we he a junkie? mentally disturbed? recently divorced? Anything to divert attention away from the fact that he was just a random guy, and could have been anyone.

    Posted by Lya Kahlo | September 28, 2006, 7:18 pm
  3. In the last article, Heart mentioned women have “no nation, no police force, no military” to fight all of this. Well, we have to get them, a nation at least and maybe a police force, but maybe a military won’t be necessary. Women’s separatist communities are the beginnings of women’s societies, societies in which women will power bond with each other for the common good of women. Some of these societies will eventually contain men and boys, but they won’t be in power the way they are in this society, the women will be. I am convinced that this is the only way in which we will ever be safe, by nurturing these little societies and helping them grow, not by denouncing separatism.

    Posted by Branjor | September 28, 2006, 8:05 pm
  4. I’m so with you there, Branjor.

    Heart, I just can’t even…. Lya called it suffocating. That’s exactly it.

    And I just can’t stop being bothered by the fact that I feel like often I can’t even feel the full effect of something like this because of the massive pileup of this stuff EVERY DAMN DAY. It feels like such a battle to try and not become (or become more?) desnsitized to things like this, in trying to figure out how to read them all, know them all and not just implode, to be able to still manage daily life with this being the everyday of that life, everywhere, all the time.

    And I hate that: I hate feeling my horror at something like this even slightly subdued by that sort of traind dissociation from my own assaults, from everyone else’s, from the constant threat and knowledge that there will keep on being more and more, unceasingly.

    Jey, I love your idea of a memorial. Pity we’d need all the land of a substantial contient to make room for it.😦

    Posted by Heather | September 28, 2006, 8:27 pm
  5. And can I just state the obvious and say how much statements like this make me FURIOUS?

    “But, Clem added, it is unclear whether they were raped or fondled.”

    For the love of GAWD. The guy had a bag full of toys. Whatever the hell happened per this activity or that one, six girls who did not invite this man into their classroom, into any aspect of their lives or bodies were in some way sexually assualted.

    Were RAPED.

    I cannot for the life of me figure out what the hell exactly we have to do to stop having the defintion of rape split up into fifty million parts. Unwanted sex — of any kind — is rape. Why is this so difficult to comprehend or identify?

    Posted by Heather | September 28, 2006, 8:35 pm
  6. Why is this so difficult to comprehend or identify?

    Because it doesn’t happen to most men?

    Because men are the ones who get to define women’s experience and, by their definition, ‘fondling’ is deemed less of an assualt, less “bad”, than rape?

    Because men (generic) can’t get their head around the idea of a woman/girl not being ‘sex’?

    Because of male privilege and men’s sense of entitlement to women’s bodies?

    I don’t know. All I know is it has to stop.

    Posted by witchy-woo | September 28, 2006, 10:24 pm
  7. Jeyoani:
    “We need to build a monument, a memorium.

    A wall where we can etch the names of every woman killed by this world disease of misogyny.”

    Oh hell YES, sister. Talk about ripping the background into the foreground. It would be a massive, massive wall, yes.

    Did anyone catch this update? http://www.denverpost.com/ci_4410023

    “UPDATE FROM DENVERPOST.COM:
    The mother of Cassidy Griggs told the Associated Press that her son lied in describing what unfolded in the classroom where Emily Keyes was killed. She said he was not in the class, and the she doesn’t know why he lied.”

    This kid spent his morning all over the network morning shows, lying about having been there, lying about having told the terrorist he wanted to stay and “support” the girls, lying about having a gun put to HIS head. He was also quoted similarly in every story I read about this last night, before we ever heard anything from the girls themselves about what actually happened.

    Damn it, everything about this just enrages me.

    Posted by Melissa | September 29, 2006, 12:21 am
  8. I apologize for the messed up formatting above the link. No idea how that happened. If it’s possible to fix it, Heart, I’d appreciate it.

    Posted by Melissa | September 29, 2006, 12:38 am
  9. Jeyoani, yes, a monument! But it would stretch all around the world– you know. It would put the Great Wall of China to shame. I swear to the goddess on high, I can count on the fingers of one hand the women I know who have not been sexually assaulted. Women don’t tell. The horrors of telling overshadow the horrors of not telling. Women pay too much for telling.

    Yes, Branjor– women’s nation.

    Heather and Lya, I know what you mean about suffocating! I sat in front of my computer at work crying, tears streaming down my face, raging, grieving, so sick sick sick to death of it all, wanting to gather up all girls and women some way, some where, so frustrated that there is no way to do this.

    And yes, Heather, re rape. Fuckitalltofreakinghell, how could this be ANYTHING but rape?! Have people freaking lost their minds? A 54 year old piece of predatory misogynist shit puts his hands on you, his dick on you, his crap on you, that is RAPE.

    And Melissa– yes! The hell with this boy who uses this horrific moment to star in his own macabre, upside down, amerikkan idol story. (And I think your formatting is fine.)

    Maybe our women’s monument should be a quilt, with a piece for each woman raped, incested, touched against her will, brutalized, murdered. We could each make our own quilts, with the names of girls and women we have loved, known, and add to it with every rape, every occasion of brutality. And then maybe we could all meet, display our quilts for the world to see, miles and miles of quilts, maybe not hard granite, walls, like men make, cold, unyielding, but beautiful, beautiful quilts, all color and beads and embroidery and art, soft, warm, and when our quilts, which would cover all the world, were not on display, we would warm ourselves and other women with them in this crazy world, where our only home, as women, is where we make it, with women like us.

    Just me, dreaming, crying.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | September 29, 2006, 4:04 am
  10. According to ongoing news reports, it was small, blonde girls this man selected to brutalize and rape.

    These young girls had nothing to do with growing up small and blonde in a society that fetishes, and alternately worships and fiercely hates, all who are small and blonde. Sometime I am going to write about this.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | September 29, 2006, 4:33 am
  11. “…not hard granite, walls, like men make, cold, unyielding, but beautiful, beautiful quilts, all color and beads and embroidery and art, soft, warm, and when our quilts, which would cover all the world, were not on display, we would warm ourselves and other women with them in this crazy world, where our only home, as women, is where we make it, with women like us.”

    This is why so many women love you and are inspired by you, Heart. At least it’s why I do/am. I sit here only with seething rage, feeling suffocated as Lya and Heather said, but you conjure something this beautiful, this hopeful.

    Posted by Melissa | September 29, 2006, 5:26 am
  12. I never in my life would have entertained the concept of separatism until I started digging deeper into feminism. I’ve volunteered at women’s shelters for some time now, but it wasn’t until I dug into Feminist theory that I started connecting the dots.

    This is not to suggest that seperatism is a practical, possible or even perferable solution, but with each new story and each new way some asshat makes it all the fault of women – especially feminists (see this load of dipshitism: http://punkassblog.com/2006/09/28/if-you-cant-get-the-virgins-and-are-too-good-for-the-whores-i-guess-theres-only-one-option-left/ ) the more I am willing to entertain the idea.

    Posted by Lya Kahlo | September 29, 2006, 1:17 pm
  13. Heart, you are so right for pointing out the (entirely artificial) media distancing from ‘normal men’. ‘Normal men’ are all around us. ‘Normal men’ rape. ‘Normal men’ beat wives/girlfriends/children. ‘Normal men’ murder.

    It is surprising actually. Patriarchy should be embracing these ‘not normal men’ – as these are the ones who have learnt its teachings the best. They are patriarchy’s ‘supermen’. But then, who ever said patriarchy was logical.

    Witchy – fabulous summation.

    Posted by stormcloud | September 29, 2006, 6:14 pm
  14. Heart, I have been grieving hard for this sweet girl, too, and for all the girls who survived this, and for those who Columbine in 1999. I know this crime is retraumatizing them. I haven’t been able to read more than the headlines, but I trust your writing to not sensationalize, and for perspective, which I did find here, as always. — sw

    Posted by secondwaver | September 30, 2006, 12:50 am
  15. The fact that “grandmother” drags the murderer out at gunpoint and then just spews some soulfull words at him is why this wanton abuse of females continues.
    The ordinary guy needs a little fear of the ordinary gals. But if women keep on buying the garbage that they are all about sweetness and life supporting and hand wringing and quilt making even in the face of gross violence, our abuse will continue unabated.
    Stop begging the abusers to have a change of malignant heart. Take a lesson from nature, girls. The female lions and tigers and bears are smaller than the males, but they will physically savage a male that messes with them or their young–and she doesn’t need the jerk to stay alive; she hunts just fine on her own. Human males (including politicians) know the human female will cry, grovel, complain, beg for help, forgive, and come back for more.
    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over (for thousands of years of patriarchy in this case) and expecting a different result this time. Come on sisters, we can have more ovaries than this. — RJ

    Posted by Rhonda | September 30, 2006, 2:40 pm
  16. Rhonda, I hear you, but… have you seen Antonia’s Line? It wasn’t about soulful lines. Antonia was a force to be reckoned with. As a matter of fact the guy stumbles off and ends up being drowned in, if I’m recalling correctly, a water trough, by a male relative.
    I’m not interested in groveling, complaining, begging for help, forgiving or coming back for more, neither sweetness nor handwringing. Although I’m all about quilts and every beautiful and amazing thing women have created and can create.
    I’m also not about women savaging anybody, not in the traditional ways, at least. If we build a new world the way the old one was built, the world we build will look like the old one, just with women on top this time. I think we can do better than that– you know?
    But I know where you’re coming from.
    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | September 30, 2006, 3:26 pm
  17. “…Antonia’s Line? It wasn’t about soulful lines.”

    Sure isn’t– it’s about Antonia and her tribe, building their world the way they want, in the midst of and in spite of what surrounds them. Her daughter, Danielle, walks in on, and stops (aided by a pitchfork), Pitte’s rape of Deedee, the mentally disabled young woman (Pitte is Deedee’s brother, BTW; it’s implied and one could guess that he had been raping abusing her for quite some time). Immediately, Antonia and Danielle take Deedee into their home, make her part of this family of women. This is what this film is about: separatism. Antonia’s tribe deal with men, sure, it’s hard to avoid in a small farming villiage, but only on THEIR OWN terms. I could talk about this movie all day, but I think I’ll just go watch it again, instead.

    Any of us who’ve separated from men even in the smallest ways knows just how much this scares the crap outta them, if we’re talking fear, here.

    Posted by Melissa | September 30, 2006, 11:14 pm
  18. As the late Ron Ridenhour said of My Lai, ‘it’s not an aberration–it’s an operation.’ The reason all of this is not seen more like a series of lynchings, part of a systematic program, is that it keeps getting encoded as a set of ‘isolated incidents’, aberrations.

    Posted by profacero | October 1, 2006, 1:18 am
  19. According to a news report I just heard, KYW-TV, Philadelphia – Amish school shooting -3 children dead – all female.

    THE GUNMAN DELIBERATELY TARGETED LITTLE GIRLS.

    This is the FOURTH school shooting I have heard of in which FEMALES ONLY were deliberately targeted – Platte Canyon High School, the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, the middle school in Jonesboro, AK and NOW THIS ONE!

    Posted by Branjor | October 2, 2006, 7:01 pm
  20. If the cowards had not turned the guns on themselves, could they have been charged with a hate crime? The violence is spefically geared towards females.

    Posted by Lya Kahlo | October 3, 2006, 12:35 pm
  21. Sorry to post this here, but I couldn’t find an email address…

    I’m running a blog documenting a U.N. book on gender-based violence (i.e. domestic violence, rape, child abuse, female genital mutilation, etc.)…

    http://brokendreams.wordpress.com

    Also, have another blog documenting current sexual violence perpetrated by men…

    http://wallofshame.wordpress.com

    Blessings.

    Posted by breatheinspirit | October 3, 2006, 6:28 pm
  22. Well, there’s the Clothesline project.

    I’m with the above commenter (as you’ll see from today’s journal) – I think it’s high time we put the fear into men of receiving a hot slug to the gut if they treat us violently. I’m beyond thinking anything else is going to make them stop raping and killing us. If that sounds extreme, well, it’s their extremes that have pushed me to extremes.

    Posted by Amananta | October 3, 2006, 7:25 pm
  23. This is an apology and farewell. I thought I could contribute to posts about men, but I find my emotions too far out of control to find anything to write that could be appropriate here. I thought I’d heard everything, nothing could shock me, but I find I can only write unspeakably violent anger or analyze my fellow man with cold heartless logic. Both seem wholly besides the point and inappropriate, here. I’ll post a long blistering rant on my blog soon about male violence, and men posting hate speech on the web. I have to smoke out these enemies, let myself get so angry, I’m walking the edge of insanity. This is full on battle mode for me. I can handle enemy territory, as long as battles remain verbal, but to post here from that mode, or switch it off, is beyond my capacities for the foreseeable future. So if anyone wonders what happened to Angry Scientist, I got too angry to post here, I had to go into enemy territory to face them down. I’ll read and learn, as I did before I started a blog.

    Posted by angryscientist | October 4, 2006, 2:08 pm
  24. “If the cowards had not turned the guns on themselves, could they have been charged with a hate crime? The violence is specifically geared towards females.”

    No, not under existing federal hate crime law and not under state law in 22 of the 42 states that do have race, religion and ethnicity hate crime laws.

    Two recent Supreme Court cases completely did away with, for women, the federal protection from hate crimes that had been effective in stopping racist violence in the one quarter of the country where such violence was overt and socially acceptable. Legislation to add sex to the federal hate crime protection categories of race, religion and nation origin has been consistently voted down by the current and recent Congresses.

    In 2000, the Supreme Court struck down the 1994 Violence Against Women Act in U.S. v. Morrison. (O’Conner was part of that 5-4 majority). In last year’s Gonzales v. Castle Rock’s, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the woman whose husband murdered their three girls did not have a constitutional right to police enforcement of restraining orders In other words, if police choose to do nothing, there is nothing a woman can do. One basis for the 2000 Supreme Court ruling that women be denied federal protection against male violence was that local law enforcement was adequate. If it was not, female citizens could use the 14th amendment provisions written to protect black citizens when white state and local governments would not. Gonzalez v. Castle Rock said women did not have that right and there is not other law to replace it.

    The three quarters of America that did not overtly base humanity on skin color saw the need to stop the cruelty and violence of racism and enforced that vision on a small defeated part of the country. Even the placid acceptance of racism by the major religions in the South was not an excuse – the claim that God had created an inferior race to serve whites was simply ignored for the self-serving falsehood it was. There is nothing to force the same justice on the entire country for sexist violence, nowhere that men are not considered more human than women, nowhere that religions bigoted against women are rejected as false and destructive, nothing in America to shame or force men to stop killing, terrorizing, hurting women.

    Thank you, Heart, for your honesty and your outrage and for the space to say this.

    Posted by Lexia | October 4, 2006, 10:56 pm
  25. Looks like I was wrong about the space.

    Quoting the moderated post after mine:
    “FUCK YOU and arrogant belief in your own freedom–…even as your precious white men are looking to “use you until you bleed” right on the internet for the whole world to see.”

    The physical visceral hatred of a woman’s body and the celebration of her torture and degradation by men in these two posts is no different from the hate speech broadcast as artistic expression for rappers, no different from any of the hate speech targeted at women who speak the truth about women’s lives, no different from all the hatred directed at women.

    Posted by Lexia | October 14, 2006, 3:02 am
  26. Huh– not sure what you mean, Lexia. (And btw, I thought your post was great.) The trackbacks after yours (those aren’t moderated posts, those are”trackbacks,” excerpts from blog posts on another blog that she sent here because they were responsive to this thread.  Those trackbacks are from Brownfemipower’s site, http://www.brownfemipower.com. She was really, really angry, rightfully so, over a post at Alas in which a feminist woman said that to free Middle Eastern women, we should make war on all Middle Eastern countries, bomb them, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, make war on all of them to “free” the women. What bfp was saying was, who the hell do you think you are, urging that white people make war on brown people as though the way white women are treated is any better than the way brown women are treated, as though the U.S. has any right to make war on anybody. She said a lot more than that– she was really angry.  You should click on the link in the trackback and read the whole post and thread– I’m thinking maybe you’re misunderstanding. Then again, maybe I’m misunderstanding your post– it’s been a while since I read this entire thread.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | October 14, 2006, 5:38 am
  27. There are two sides to everything. For men and for women. Men, can be hurtful, they can rape women, then can kill and abuse us. But men can also be caring, they can also be hurt in an event like the one at Platte Canyon High School. I am sorry for CassidyGrigg. I’ve talked to him, and the reason i believe he said what he said is because that is what he wishes he had done. Everyone in that room, male or female, wishes they had been able to stand up to him. Tragic events like this show the best in everyone, as well as the worse in a few. But there are far more good people in this world, than evil ones.

    Posted by Tora | November 2, 2006, 4:36 am
  28. What happened to this young woman really, really upsets me as nobody should ever have to endure abuse (whether verbal, mental, physical or sexual) or any kind of violence. Luckly where i come from this kind of thing doesn’t happen that often (actually i’ve never heard of this happening in my country) because i live in England where guns are illegal (except shotguns in the contryside and you have to a licence and keep them locked up when not in use)but i really dispise the way women are abused whether through violence, abuse, rape or pornography.I don’t understand how other males (i’m an 18 year old caucasian hetrosexual male)can treat other this way because regardless or race, skin colour, age, gender etc. ect. everyone is EQUAL and they deserve to be treated as equals with dignity, respect, kindness and compassion.
    I’d like to finish by saying if i offended any woman in anyway i’m truly sorry and i appologise to you i haven’t been on femminist blogs for very long, about three weeks, but i really support feminism and what you are fighting for.Thank you for reading my comment -Aaron
    P.S. if you know of any books, websites or blogs that will help me to learn more about feminism you can e-mail me at aza125@hotmail.co.uk but only e-mail me if you want to and feel comfortable doing so thank you.

    Posted by Aaron | December 31, 2006, 3:20 pm

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