Text The Times.
Last weekend’s killing sprees in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, brought the number of mass shootings in the first 215 days of the year to 251. In the United States of Ammunition, that’s more than one a day. What’s going on? To paraphrase James Carville, “It’s the masculinity, people.” It’s infuriating to me that because it’s so obvious who did the shooting the media, politicians, and pundits rarely cite the most significant common denominator of virtually every mass murder in the U.S.—the shooter’s gender! Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old Texan charged with the El Paso murders, is an avowed white supremacist. The slain Dayton killer, Connor Betts, had previously compiled a “rape list” of females he wanted to sexually assault. Both are poster boys of toxic masculinity.
Any hope we’ll end the madness must begin by acknowledging that it’s almost always men shooting. Until we make gender central to our efforts to prevent mass shootings, we are on a fool’s errand.
I have been repeating this message for 20 years, since Columbine. Before Tree of Life, Thousand Oaks, Parkland, Sutherland Springs, and Las Vegas, there was Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Aurora. All male shooters; usually white supremacists. Let’s also acknowledge what’s not being examined — how we socialize boys and how little attention we give disaffected men. Think about the loner, the male outcast in high school.
(Connor Betts’s ex-girlfriend told MSNBC that the Dayton killer had “no support system.”) Because we know how alienated nearly all perpetrators are, that gender is not central to the national conversation reveals a blindness of the highest order. Ignoring this fact just escalates the danger. Don’t get me wrong.
Increase gun regulations — the tougher, the better.
Step up pressure to shutter the NRA. Support the Giffords Law Center, Guns Down America, Everytown for Gun Safety, and the Brady campaign. Have at it! [Editor’s Note: It’s clear you put a lot of thought into this, and I’m not going to just dismiss what you’re saying here, but it can be exactly zero surprise that these mass shootings are being perpetrated by men. I mean, it would actually be a massive shock if a woman decided to grab an assault rifle and start shooting up the place. I’m probably playing, oddly enough, to social gender norms, and I hope this doesn’t somehow come off as sexist, but I just don’t see most women having a “kill them all” mentality.
Not saying you’re wrong.
I’m just saying, for lack of a better way of putting it, yeah, so?]
Here’s what everyone is talking about this week: