[CONTENT NOTE: mass shootings and shooters, violent misogyny, rape culture.]
First, when I use the word misogyny, by way of definition I incorporate by reference the concept of entitlement. It may be directed to women’s deference, obedience, attention, decisions, bodies, privacy, place in a hierarchy (such as a business), perceived or actual safety (relative to men), and/or umpteen kazillion other aspects that I cannot think of right now on account of the blinding rage. So whatever else its definition may encompass, it encompasses at least some form of gender-based entitlement.
Second, the definition of mass shooting lacks consensus, to put it mildly. Broadly speaking, it requires a single shooter, a minimum of three (or four) victims, which may (or may not) include the shooter, in a public place, in essentially the same geographic location with shots fired close together in time. Again, broadly speaking, it does not include foreign terrorist attacks, or incidental homicides such as multiple killings during a bank robbery.
Interestingly, the common caveat that a mass shooting must occur in a public place means that incidents where a shooter kills his wife, girlfriend, or ex, her children, other family member(s) and possibly himself (odds are 50-50 there) does not meet the definition of mass shooting.
I wonder why that is?
Articles about the mass shooting in Uvalde, TX, have been flooding my news feed since it occurred. I am, like most non-conservative USians, sick and heartbroken over this incident, and the countless others before it, with no end in sight.
I don’t want to talk about how to stop these mass shootings; it’s a solvable problem, but as long as conservatives exist in positions of power, it will never be solved in the U.S. I also don’t want to talk about the evils of the gun industry, its loyal servants in congress and on the Supreme Court, and how it infects broad swaths of multiple subcultures in this society.
Simply put, all of that shit has been written about (by me and many others) and there is quite literally nothing left to say that hasn’t already been said, again and again and again. It is the ultimate exercise in screaming into the proverbial void, and, well, I ain’t got time for that.
What I do want to talk about is probably an equally pointless endeavor, but here I go anyway. It’s the violent misogyny that infests the minds of the vast majority of mass shooters. And I want to pose this question: why is evidence of this not the focus of law enforcement before a massacre occurs?
Of course I have my own opinions about the answer(s) to that question, and would welcome yours. But given the status quo described above – and assuming for the moment that this, too, is a solvable problem – will it be tossed atop the towering landfill of solvable problems that will never be solved in the U.S.?
Okay that was two questions. #sorrynotsorry.
First things first. The stench of violent misogyny is present in every history of a mass shooter about whom I have acquired some detailed knowledge. I refrain from making a blanket statement here, because odds are that there will be exceptions, and in any event I find researching their lives tedious and repugnant. Racially motivated mass shootings come to mind, but… I wonder how hard we’d have to scratch the surface of a racist mass shooter to find violent misogyny – or for that matter, vice versa? Elliot Rodger’s violent misogynist rants also included racist hate, and I don’t think many reality-based people will disagree that misogyny and racism are frequent and very cozy bedfellows.
Usually, the mass shooter’s history of violent misogyny gets reported almost as an afterthought – say, in paragraph 13 of some 15-paragraph piece titled “What We Know About the [latest location] Shooter.” Alternatively, as in the Uvalde case, the violent misogyny evidence trickles out well after the ubiquitous “mental health!” scapegoat has made its appearance and been kicked around to death, and other facets of the shooter’s character and history have been reported.
Older mass shooters frequently have arrest records for domestic violence or related crimes like gender-based stalking, harassment, and sexual assault. Teen mass shooters are less likely to have acquired public arrest records, and juvenile records are often expunged or sealed. The fact that online and other available evidence of violent misogyny predates mass shootings should mark it as a critical red flag for law enforcement scrutiny. It is the canary in the coal mine for mass shooters, and a characteristic (almost) all perpetrators have in common.
Well, except for the fact that mass shooters are (again, almost) universally (white) men. Shouldn’t that fact alone elevate the importance of violent misogynist views as a precursor to mass shootings? Yet its importance is instead diminished, ignored, or excused away, by both law enforcement and the media.
Once in a while, violent misogyny comprises the entire subject of a mass shooter’s zillion word manifesto and online vitriol, e.g. Elliot Rodger. And even then, we will still have national media outlets publishing pieces denying the obvious. Guaranteed.
All of this was brought to mind (again? still?) today when I saw this:
May 28, 9:46 a.m. EDT
Uvalde gunman made online threats to kidnap, rape and kill teen girls, but they went mostly ignored
Young people who encountered the alleged gunman online before the massacre said their reports to social media companies were ignored and that his kind of angry misogyny is just “how online is.”
Read more [@ Washington Post]
I declined the invitation to “read more,” because there is enough in this one blurb upon which one could base a book.
The headline that says the shooter’s violent, misogynist threats were “mostly ignored” contradicts the next sentence, which states that the shooters threats were not ignored by “young people who encountered the alleged gunman online” and took the step of reporting him to social media companies. The fact that social media companies – and their partners in law enforcement – ignored those threats should not be news to anyone.
The more important point is whose voices are being ignored, when they report online threats and hate. You could ask any woman with an online presence for the answer. Or note, as the same sentence goes on to say, “his kind of angry misogyny is just ‘how online is.'”
Well guess what, Washington Post? It’s how offline is, too.
Violent misogyny certainly manifests in our ever-worsening epidemic of domestic violence. Yet curiously, those incidents never seem to appear on your front page or in your email blasts, unless of course they concern Johnny fucking Depp.
Violent misogyny manifests in rape statistics, and perhaps more so in rapist conviction rates.
And violent misogyny also manifests in mass shootings. To downplay this, trivialize it or ignore it completely speaks to either its ubiquity, or unconscionable, willful ignorance. Or both.
Since we as a society clearly tolerate expressions of violent misogyny everywhere, we should expect a lot more bullets to fly. And all available evidence points to the fact that we’ll tolerate that, too.
I have to go play with my kitteh now. And maybe eat a cookie?
The young people who reported the gunman’s threats were teenage girls, so…therefore, they were just hysterical idiots, amirite? (Note–that was sarcasm, I do not feel that way.)
What enrages me is all the times women have reported being harassed, threatened, stalked…and it’s just treated as a “oh, well, what can you do?” from the police.
The police ignorance and at the shooting their cowardice illustrates why I NEVER depend on the police for anything and made sure my kids learned the ways of self-defense. And they carry bulletproof backpacks. One can always count on ahole bad-guys being around, but NEVER depend on the police for any kind of protection.
Misogynistic men do cause a lot of harm . I agree with you about their DV or threats of DV lead to other severe crimes
It really is peculiar how US police don’t recognize that they are vastly outnumbered by the citizenry-at-large, and that maybe cultivating good relations with the populace would be a Good Thing. I mean, that’s only been known and practiced since the early 19th Century in the UK (see also: Rob’t Peel)…
Or maybe it’s not so peculiar. It all depends on what the police collectively conceive their job duties to involve, doesn’t it?
At the crossroads of all of this, I’m reminded of something I heard before, that there was a proposal to add ‘Domestic Violence charges’ to the list of things that could be used to ban someone from getting a firearms licence… and police departments all over rose up to fight strenuously against it, because that would mean a lot of serving police officers would be stripped of their licences.
Somebody was focusing on the wrong part of the problem…
@ ^ jenorafeuer : Staggering yet somehow not surprising. Maybe all cops aren’t bastards but far too many of them seem to be misogynist (& racist) abusers.
@1. K : Something else that badly needs more attention and ti be changed after this mass murder. Reports esp from teenage girls that used to go ignored need to be taken and treated seriously by everyone social media esp.
@2 L.Long : Sure you already know this but whilst learning martial arts is a great idea and satisfying and helpful in itself it’s not going to help against being drugged or exploited after voluntarily having too much X (usually alcohol but not always) or having a relationship with an initially charming and wonderful seeming abusive partner esp one that gaslights and manipulates. Worth just noting that whatever steps someone takes, it is NEVER their fault when abusers abuse them and the myth of rapists just being strangers jumping out of bushes and physically attacking is, well, the exception to the usual situation. Sorry if that’s too rape culture 101 for most here but think it deserves noting.
Sorry #6 but my daughter was attempted rape. And when the guy regained consciousness she hit him where it would do the most good. Then photoed her slight injuries and told to go ahead and report the self-defense…and be known as the guy who got his ass kicked by a little girl. But that is NOT the main effect of martial arts, it trains you to face difficulties and to stand proud as if you own the place. This eliminates 90% of conflict and the rest can be beat up. And as far as KNOWN OTHERS are concerned, no problem, as they all know she can beat the crap out of them. This training may not be perfect but it is far better than any alternative.
Raucous Indignation says
Hi Iris. I am alive and well.
Sadly, your rage face is only getting more appropriate.
chigau (違う) says
chigau (違う) says
110% true. whatever you do, don’t rely on Biden to do much to solve this political regression. He was a PART of it not that long ago. Last chance to vote progressive in the upcoming midterms. absolutely the last chance. but really? you’re probably just staving off the civil war that should have decided whether america stands for all americans… or only some, back in the 1850s.