Just as I hit middle age (my 44th birthday is this year), stories start coming out about how tragic white, middle-aged men’s lives are becoming. And, unlike many other people who have lived with their whole lives fighting, this is a new experience for many middle-aged white men in the States.
It started shortly after Bill Clinton helped Republicans in Congress enact a bunch of welfare reforms in the mid-90s. Of course, those reforms targeted people that white men with jobs would see as moochers.
We started seeing the effects a few years later as disability claims more than doubled in the 10 years after 2000 and the mortality rate for middle-aged white folks went up.
Tragedy begats tragedy and, into this environment, a divorced middle aged and isolated, church-going white man falls on desperate times. His criminal background probably didn’t help, but he saw an opportunity in targeting romantic men in their 50s who had been divorced and become isolated and desperate.
The Atlantic story with the click-bait title “Murder by Craigslist” does a great job of telling the story of these middle-aged guys in a compassionate way. It manages to use the story of a serial murderer in a depressed area of Ohio to help us see the tragedy in his life and that of his victims.
When I read stories like this, they hit close to home. I’ve been very, very blessed, but I still see that I am but a step or two away from being one of the romantic white guys described in this story.