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Globe Editorial

Diary of a madman

August 6, 2009

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GEORGE SODINI, the 48-year-old man who sprayed bullets at 12 women at a gym near Pittsburgh Tuesday, killing four of them before turning the gun on himself, fits a sadly typical profile of an American psychopath: He was a loner who lamented his failure with women. His online diary was filled with fury over his sexual frustrations - claiming at one point to have been rejected by “30 million’’ women.

There are, of course, millions of frustrated men who don’t open fire on innocent civilians, so there’s a danger in making too much of his loser profile. But it is worth noting that somewhere down the list of Sodini’s rages was anger over Barack Obama’s race. “The liberal media LOVES him,’’ he reportedly wrote of the new president. “Amerika has chosen a black man. Good! In light of this I got ideas outside of Obama’s plans for the economy and such. Here it is: Every black should get a young white hoe . . .’’

Sodini’s comments have a disturbing similarity to those of some other recent gunmen, including the one who opened fire at the Holocaust Museum in Washington in June. Whatever their underlying aggressions, all were riled up by the prospect of a black president. The shootings back up warnings by the Southern Poverty Law Center and NAACP that, behind all the healing associated with Obama’s election, the extreme racist fringe has become violently unnerved.

No one can know what, specifically, caused Sodini to veer from frustration to anger to a murderous rampage. But the killings underscore the need to be vigilant, tracking and condemning expressions of white supremacy and violence toward women wherever they are found. The best cure for such pathologies is active rebuttal, a reminder that others in society reject those views and find them, well, demented.

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