Florida yoga studio shooting spurs effort to research misogynistic 'incel' culture

by

comment
PHOTO BY ST. LOUIS CIRCUIT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Before a gunman shot and killed two women at a Tallahassee yoga studio in November, he had recorded online videos railing against women who had turned down his advances. Police said he also had a history of harassing women.

Four months after the shooting, the family of one of the shooting victims, 21-year-old Florida State University student Maura Binkley, wants research to get to the root cause of what can lead people like Scott Paul Beierle, 40, to open fire and cause mass casualties.



To do so, Binkley’s family on Monday launched a nonprofit organization, Maura’s Voice, which will partner with Florida State University to conduct research about people who are “incels” —- shorthand for involuntary celibate —- and behavior that leads to violence against women, including violent stalking, said James Clark, dean of the FSU College of Social Work.

“The motive for the terrible crime that took place in this city on Nov. 2 was hate. Our motive in establishing Maura’s Voice is love,” said Jeff Binkley, Maura’s father and founder of Maura’s Voice.



The goal, Jeff Binkley said, will be to influence policy decisions to create a positive cultural change. That includes looking beyond politics and ideology when it comes to addressing policies geared toward addressing gun violence.

“We want to find some of the root causes that are going on in our country, that are really disturbing people enough to do the kinds of acts that happened on Nov. 2,” FSU President John Thrasher said. “I think we can help find that.”

Thrasher said the shooting at Hot Yoga Tallahassee marked one of the worst days of his presidency because it also took the life of Nancy Van Vessem, 61, a physician and faculty member at the university.

“Now, it is up to us to help the Binkley family to ensure that Maura’s voice —- a voice of peace, love and kindness —- will carry on,” Thrasher said.

The research will be funded by donations. In a year, preliminary findings will be used to make policy recommendations, something Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, and Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, seek to focus on.

“If we can start focusing on the issues that surround hate and violence, from a science-based perspective, it’s going to yield good policy from out state Capitol,” Galvano said.

Galvano, who led efforts to pass gun legislation and school-safety measures last year after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, will continue to prioritize school security during the legislative session that starts Tuesday.

Binkley said his daughter was in the Capitol last year advocating for gun-control legislation pushed by the Parkland students’ organization March For Our Lives.

“Too often policymakers make reactionary decisions without science-based research,” Montford said. “This collaboration will produce some of the most beneficial and effective policies as we find solutions to end violence in our culture.”

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.