What lies behind Robert Dear’s Black Friday alleged shooting spree at a Colorado Spring’s Planned Parenthood?
Readers of the New York Time’s in-depth background report on Dear’s past, call him a gun nut, a religious zealot, a terrorist, a Christian, not a Christian, isolated, a pro-lifer, a white supremacist, a drug user, a malcontent, bipolar and/or mentally ill. Most commenters are men and are joining the predictable debates about the joining of the words “Christian” and “terrorist.”
But as a lawyer practicing divorce for 20 years, I can tell you that most of my male clients and the husbands of my female clients have characteristics in common with this killer of three, wounder of nine.
He married and divorced multiple times. He lied and told his current love interest he was divorced when he wasn’t. Then he went back to his first wife and made a baby. Like so many good Christians, he railed against women who had abortions, but excused his own pleasure-seeking, the natural result of which was pregnancy. If that isn’t hypocrisy and narcissism, I don’t know what is.
When Dear again left wife number one, he demanded that his rights as a father be respected. But he refused to divulge his address to the mother, effectively kidnaping his son.
Like my male clients who swear never to remarry after having to share their assets with their ex-wives, Dear decided just to shack up with his last girlfriend who was 13 years younger than him. This way, she would never gain rights to alimony or property division.
She was also effectively kidnaped as they lived in a trailer, “off the grid.” She didn’t even have access to a phone.
Like many white, middle-aged married men, Dear had no need of friends. Robert Durst-like, he actively chased them away by thrusting his speeding ATV down dirt roads and mistreating his dogs. Instead he “craved (I’d say, demanded) near-constant female” attention. This is the modern marriage contract. Women do the caring, emotional work while men are free to be “hard to please,” and “erupt into fury in seconds.”
He expected reward and financial support without effort. He got himself fired from the utility company for lack of effort. Since he wasn’t working, the money he used to buy a motorcycle and an “expensive gun” had to be his second wife’s earnings. Divorce papers tell a lot. They say he wouldn’t help with bills or clean the house. Dear was not alone in being a burdensome husband. Today’s hipster fathers are proud to wear a baby sling but they still don’t do an equal share of housework, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Husbands also create seven more hours per week of housework for wives, according to a 2008 National Science Foundation study. Disputes over housework top the list of frequent domestic complaints.
In Dear, we have a sexual predator who aggressively pursued a woman; refused to take “No” for an answer; and ultimately raped her at knifepoint. The victim’s husband, who may have also been infected with the same mindset, decided “we had to let God take care of it,” after a witness, described as a “Navy wife,” refused to testify against Dear. Prosecutors dropped the charges.
Rape is only occasionally an issue in my cases, but one in three male college students acknowledge they would “use force to obtain intercourse” if assured they would not be caught.
Short of actual rape, exhibitionism is another form of sexual harassment. According to the Times article, Dear liked to sit outdoors in his underwear and swim naked in view of the neighbors, such that they had to build a fence. Let’s remember Anthony Weiner took every opportunity to send pictures to women of his “package,” and former American Apparel CEO Dov Charney liked to interview prospective employees in his underwear.
Sexism is a social disease and we’re swimming in it. Let’s call the attack on Planned Parenthood what it is: MISOGYNY.
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