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Dispatches: Radicalizing Young White Men - Pacific Standard

Dispatches: Radicalizing Young White Men

News and notes from Pacific Standard staff and contributors.
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Police barricade the area surrounding the home of suspected Austin bomber Mark Anthony Conditt in Pflugerville, Texas, on March 21st, 2018.

Police barricade the area surrounding the home of suspected Austin bomber Mark Anthony Conditt in Pflugerville, Texas, on March 21st, 2018.

Over the past few weeks the country has experienced a number of harrowing and deadly—and ultimately preventable—incidents. There was the mass-shooting perpetrated by Nikolas Cruz at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. And a series of bombings in the Austin, Texas, area that resulted in the deaths of two people, and then the bomber himself, Mark Conditt. This is a suicide that's particularly challenging for the victims of Conditt's crimes.

These most recent tragedies are part of a lineage of terrible acts carried out by young white men in America. Columbine, Charleston, Isla Vista—and many other incidents—are all connected in some way. How? Young men, radicalized through disparate means, but leading to the same violent result.

We have written extensively on these issues, and tried to identify and trace the roots of these radicalizations. This past week contributing writer David M. Perry wrote about how all of these so-called "lone wolf" shooters come together to make a pack that is creating terror across the country. Contributing writer Arvind Dilawar considered the feelings of aggrievement that drive men to commit these heinous acts, and argued that it’s misplaced anger that is to blame. And Gabriel Thompson traced the radicalization of one of the faces of the alt-right, Nathan Damigo, from the perspective of his brother in a lengthy feature, "My Brother, the White Nationalist," a story that illustrates the complex factors that can lead to this kind of thinking.

On the other side, there was the "March for Our Lives" rally last weekend, which saw a spirit of inclusion and activism driven by teenagers in an attempt to stop the gun violence that has become a regular part of the news cycle. At Pacific Standard we aim to help unearth the sources of radicalization in order to figure out the best ways to combat it.

This dispatch originally appeared in The Lede, the weekly Pacific Standard email newsletter for premium members. The Lede gives premium members greater access to Pacific Standard stories, staff, and contributors in their inbox every week. While helping to support journalism in the public interest, members also receive a print magazine subscription, early access to feature stories, and access to an ad-free version of PSmag.com.

Over the past few weeks the country has experienced a number of harrowing and deadly—and ultimately preventable—incidents. There was the mass-shooting perpetrated by Nikolas Cruz at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. And a series of bombings in the Austin, Texas, area that resulted in the deaths of two people, and then the bomber himself, Mark Conditt. This is a suicide that's particularly challenging for the victims of Conditt's crimes.

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