A Common Trait Among Mass Killers: Hatred Towards Women
Misogyny and mass shootings in the United States are closely intertwined.
“The man who shot nine people to death last weekend in Dayton, Ohio, seethed at female classmates and threatened them with violence.
The man who massacred 49 people in an Orlando nightclub in 2016 beat his wife while she was pregnant, she told authorities.
The man who killed 26 people in a church in Sutherland Springs, Tex., in 2017 had been convicted of domestic violence. His ex-wife said he once told her that he could bury her body where no one would ever find it.
The motivations of men who commit mass shootings are often muddled, complex or unknown. But one common thread that connects many of them — other than access to powerful firearms — is a history of hating women, assaulting wives, girlfriends and female family members, or sharing misogynistic views online, researchers say.
As the nation grapples with last weekend’s mass shootings and debates new red-flag laws and tighter background checks, some gun control advocates say the role of misogyny in these attacks should be considered in efforts to prevent them.
The fact that mass shootings are almost exclusively perpetrated by men is “missing from the national conversation,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom of California on Monday. “Why does it have to be, why is it men, dominantly, always?”
While a possible motive for the gunman who killed 22 people in El Paso has emerged — he posted a racist manifesto online saying the attack was in response to a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” — the authorities are still trying to determine what drove Connor Betts, 24, to murder nine people in Dayton, including his own sister.
Investigators are looking closely at his history of antagonism and threats toward women, and whether they may have played a role in the attacks.
Since the killings, people who knew Mr. Betts described a man who was offbeat and awkward; others recalled his dark rages and obsession with guns.
Those rages were frequently directed at female acquaintances. In high school, Mr. Betts made a list threatening violence or sexual violence against its targets, most of whom were girls, classmates have said. His threats were frightening enough that some girls altered their behavior: Try not to attract his attention, but don’t antagonize him, either.
“I remember we were all distant, like maybe we should just shy away from him,” said Shelby Emmert, 24, a former classmate. “My mom wanted me to just not associate. She said to stay away from Connor Betts.”
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