The disturbing motivation behind the Toronto van attack was just exposed


Details have begun to trickle out about the man who drove a rental van into an innocent crowd in Toronto, Canada, killing 10 people and injuring 15 others, and the portrait of the murderer that is emerging is an all-too-familiar one.

The murderer — who doesn’t deserve to be named excessively lest we play into his desire for infamy — appears to have been an antisocial individual who previously praised a mass murderer on social media. “All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger,” the van killer wrote on his Facebook, according to CNN. Rodger killed and injured numerous people at UC Santa Barbara in 2014.

Prior to his rampage, Rodger released a video manifesto in which he lamented his lack of success with girls. As a men’s rights activist, he felt entitled to sexual gratification from women and reacted violently when they rejected him. It appears that the Toronto murderer subscribed to a similar toxic ideology.

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A Facebook post that appears to be from the killer shows him engaging in language popular in right-wing internet corners. He joked about being part of a digital paramilitary group and referenced 4chan, a cesspit internet forum rife with racists and sexists.

The killer also stated that “The Incel Rebellion has already begun!” “Incel” stands for involuntary celibate, a self-descriptive term used by men online who desperately want to lose their virginity but have proven unable to find a willing partner. Incel groups are invariably deeply disturbed, with many who use the term believing that they are entitled to sex. Misogyny and rape fantasies are animating elements of such groups.

“We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys!” the killer wrote. “Chad” is an internet term for a sexually successful, masculine man. “Stacy” is a term for sexually attractive, desirable woman. Both terms are widely used in men’s rights circles, where users like the shooter bemoan the fact that “Stacys” prefer “Chads” over men like themselves.


While these details are disturbing, they certainly aren’t surprising. Male entitlement is an increasingly dangerous force in both American and Canadian society. As women step forward to claim rights and privileges long denied to them, resentment has grown in a certain stratum of men. They want women docile and compliant and are willing to use violence to accomplish their goals. This kind of hateful ideology is inexcusable and must be rooted out wherever it springs up.

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Natalie Dickinson

Natalie is a staff writer for the Washington Press. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been freelance blogging and writing for progressive outlets ever since.