The Elephant in the Room: Why is the Gunman Always Male?

From RH Reality Check:

by Sheila Bapat, RH Reality Check
December 17, 2012

As a nation, we are reeling. On Friday, December 14, 20 young children—12 girls, 8 boys—and six female teachers and school administrators were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in one of the most harrowing acts of gun violence in this nation’s history. After a year of some of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history, Newtown’s was among the most sickening in large part because the majority of the victims were young children between five and seven years old. A number of writers have begun to offer policy suggestions to outline, as President Obama called it, “meaningful action” on gun control.

To truly address the problem of which Newtown reminded us in the most horrific way, gender, and its entanglement with culture, poverty, and mental health requires serious attention in addition to gun policy reform. On NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, Shankar Vedantam pointed out common characteristics of gunmen in the most recent gun massacres including Friday’s in Newtown:

“[I]f you look at the series of incidents that have happened in recent years, there are several things that stand out in terms of patterns….the shooters have always been men.”

Why is the gunman always male? After the Aurora, Colorado shooting during the opening of the Batman: The Dark Knight Rises Premiere in July, Feministing ran a piece by Eesha Pandit, Executive Director at Men Stopping Violence. Pandit wrote:

What we are missing in our collective understanding is the gendered nature of mass homicide…the acknowledgement of ‘male violence’ without conflating it with all different kinds of violence is particularly useful, because it helps us contextualize the violence in our society as a function of patriarchy and sexism.

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2 Responses to “The Elephant in the Room: Why is the Gunman Always Male?”

  1. quenyar Says:

    Don’t worry none, just as soon as we have run enough women through combat, when enough of them have been damaged, when sufficient numbers will have died by their own hands, we will have some gunwoman who will kill innocents. Just be patient.

    • Suzan Says:

      I don’t know about that one. I don’t remember these sorts of rampages by WW II vets or Vietnam vets.

      Also most of these people were never in the military. But I’d be willing to bet they have watched thousands upon thousands of hours of violence porn, action movies and blood and gore horror movies where there isn’t any nasty intrusion of humanity or compassion.

      Add to that the idea that if a man is an ordinary human being, who enjoys reading and culture then he is a fag.

      What kind of fucking insanity is that?

      Why does every thing have to be a show of stupidity, hard jawed toughness and the seeking out of extreme dangers.

      Remember at the end of the 1970s when the commercial message was “Women don’t want sensitive men.”?

      Except we did.

      The corresponding message was men didn’t want feminist women with careers.

      So were were turned into these cartoon caricatures.

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