Toronto van attack: What is an 'incel'?

Apr 27, 2018, 01:47
Toronto van attack: What is an 'incel'?

Short for "involuntary celibate", it references a community of mostly straight, cis men who believe they're being forced into celibacy against their will because women (or "Stacys") "refuse" to have sex with them.

But Alek Minassian, who faces 10 counts of murder and 14 of attempted murder, did express regret that the Toronto Police officer hailed as a hero didn't shoot him. Fourteen people remain in hospital.

"Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please".

"The Incel Rebellion has already begun!"

"We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys!" it continues.

Facebook said it had quickly identified Minassian's last post as hateful, and deleted his account.

Wendy Cukier, a professor in the business school at Toronto's Ryerson University and president of Canada's Coalition for Gun Control, said Canada may avoid some types of violence because its social programs are stronger than those in many US states and there is less income inequality. But they declined to say whether they were investigating the post, much less whether they considered it a clue to a possible motive.

Police also said those killed and injured were "predominantly women," but didn't offer further details.

Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ontario is now facing 10 counts of first-degree murder and over a dozen counts of attempted murder.

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At it's core, the incel ideology is that women who refuse to have sex with you are the problem, and they should be punished for it.

A number of incel-related posts have idolized Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old California man who killed six people and injured a dozen more during a deadly rampage in Isla Vista, Calif., in 2014. Rodger left behind a video manifesto dubbing himself a "supreme gentleman" and announcing that his crime would serve as punishment for women who rejected him and the men whom those women preferred.

The Reddit Incel group R/Incels was banned after becoming a haven for misogynist content.

"There is absolutely no place on our platform for people who commit such horrendous acts", the statement said.

It's a very toxic environment of people who seem to be disfranchised with society.

"It was a very fast answer - 2012" and "she said no". "And that is the feeling of injustice that can fuel radicalization", Fiset said.

While violence against women extends beyond any online discussion, "this is a discourse that promotes a wider, broader misogynistic culture", said Ross Haenfler, a Grinnell College sociologist who studies subcultures.

In his pre-rampage Facebook post, Minassian referred to "Chads" and "Stacies", the subculture's slang for the attractive men and choosy women - also referred to as "normies" - whom they perceive as shutting "incels" out of the sexual marketplace. However, an incel forum, called Braincels, remains on the site.

Bailey Poland, the author of a 2016 book about online misogyny, says the talk of brutality is risky, whatever the posters' intentions.

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The media has not been fantastic when it comes to reporting tragedies.

At first, because the "van" is so often lone-wolf jihadism's preferred agent for carnage, many Canadians assumed the Monday's sidewalk massacre in Toronto's Yonge-Finch corridor was an act of terrorism.

"On the surface, incel sounds harmless", Kini told CBC Radio's As it Happens.

More recently, people in Minassian's neighbourhood saw him as a somewhat withdrawn figure.

But, she says, there's "a high degree of misogyny" in the "self-created" incel community.

This is a group of deeply insecure men who want to lash out violently - against themselves, or against others. "And that's been codified into a sort of indoctrination", she said. "And I think it just reifies and confirms itself [or] establishes itself through these echo chambers online".

"For officer Lam, it will be day by day".

This bitter, resentful movement is grounded in an obsession with sex that depersonalises all women, views them as conquests never to be attained and often, hates them accordingly. They see themselves as a class, oppressed by a social system that's rigged in favor of other men. He briefly enrolled in the Canadian army previous year, but left two weeks into a four-month basic course, before he had been trained in weapons.

Flowers, cards and messages of sympathy cover a makeshift memorial for the 10 victims of Monday's van attack in Toronto.

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