How Much Incel Terrorism Can We Prevent With Kindness?

When I think about violence caused by young, socially-rejected males, I often wonder how much bullying and mistreatment cause their violent behavior. That doesn’t mean excuse the behavior; I am talking about the proximate cause—or exacerbation—that contributes to the act.

I have a model in my mind that captures this, which goes something like this:

This doesn’t imply a “normal” family will make a well-adjusted kid.

  1. Family structure in the US is highly broken, with many children living in single-parent or grandparent-raised households that didn’t convey enough stable love during upbringing

  2. This causes social problems in a lot of kids raised in those situations.

  3. Those kids tend to suffer economically as well

  4. This combination of lack of socialization and economic status often leads to relentless bullying by kids all throughout school.

  5. The combination and bullying often causes trauma that limits their attractiveness and options to potential romantic partners.

  6. This often results in the kid then having few friends, no romantic options, and basically living life in hell from childhood to early adulthood.

  7. This then results in some percentage of those boys/young men becoming angry and attracted to negative and even violent narratives about women, e.g., the “incel” phenomenon.

  8. Becoming involved in that type of culture sometimes leads to the commission of violent acts, like the one described in this Hot Yoga Incel

  9. Violence Report by the Secret Service

  10. Since it’s really hard to fix the broken families part of this equation, our best opportunity to address this might be through marketing/education campaigns with students and young people, administered through schools.

  11. In short, our best way to fix this might be teaching kids to be kind to shy and anti-social kids—similar to how we teach them to get under their desks for earthquakes, or—unironically—how to react to school shooters.

What if we had a mandatory, country-wide curriculum that basically said:

  • Some kids aren’t as lucky as you. They’re not as good looking, or athletic, or maybe they grew up with trouble in the family, or with less money.

  • Those kids need more love from their fellow students than others

  • If you see someone being bullied, or just being extremely quiet, be nice

  • Being kind can not only prevent someone from doing something that hurts themselves or others (which is very rare), but more importantly it’s just THE RIGHT THING TO DO

  • Basically, kindness toward everyone is good for everyone

  • Let’s treat bullying and mean behavior similar to the way we treat terrorism: if you see it, report it

  • And if you see someone being treated like that, go out of your own way to be kind to them

This is crazy, I know. But fuck—I’m ready to try anything, and I can think of worse ideas.

Curious what you all think.