A recent New York Times piece on mass shootings has people pointing out a common trait shared amongst many shooters in the US.
In the print edition of The Times from Sunday 29 January, the newspaper describes several shared characteristics among mass shooters over the last 20 years.
Domestic violence, aggressive behavior toward animals, being socially withdrawn, and more were some of the more commonly listed traits.
“He tortured animals,” one quote from a mass shooting in Oxford, Michigan in 2021 says.
“He hit a co-worker and threatened to kill his supervisor,” another quote describes a shooter from a mass shooting in Henderson, Kentucky in 2008.
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“He turned in school assignments with violent imagery,” a quote about one shooter from the Columbine High School shooting said.
But over and over again, each quote uses the pronouns he/him/his to describe the shooter, pointing to the most common characteristic about those who commit mass shootings.
They’re almost always conducted by a man.
\u201cFrom today\u2019s \u2066@nytimes\u2069 . Sometimes, the truth hides in plain sight.\u201d— Leonard Pitts, Jr. (@Leonard Pitts, Jr.) 1675032479
A Washington Post article from June 2022 analysed 196 public mass shootings with four or more people killed since 1966 and found that 98 per cent were carried out by a man.
Only four of the analysed mass shootings were done by a woman.
An in-depth analysis of mass shootings from Mother Jones tracks the data behind 140 public mass shootings where four or more people were killed.
Of those, 135 were carried out by men alone. Two were done by a man and a woman. Three were carried out by a woman.
\u201c@LeonardPittsJr1 @nytimes Fireman -> Firefighter\nPoliceman -> Police Officer\nChairman -> Chairperson\nGunman -> Gunman\u201d— Leonard Pitts, Jr. (@Leonard Pitts, Jr.) 1675032479
\u201c@LeonardPittsJr1 @nytimes Noticed same: \u201cHe\u2026\u201d\u201d— Leonard Pitts, Jr. (@Leonard Pitts, Jr.) 1675032479
\u201c@LeonardPittsJr1 @modernista64 @nytimes The two consistent parameters? Males and guns. Obvious conclusion: males should not have access to guns since they can\u2019t handle them with the care and respect required.\u201d— Leonard Pitts, Jr. (@Leonard Pitts, Jr.) 1675032479
"He threatened suicide and stalked several female classmates," a quote about the shooter from the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting said.
"He killed his daughter’s cat because he was upset," one quote describes the shooter from a mass shooting in Atlanta in 1999.
"He was withdrawn and quiet, with no friends," a quote about the shooter from the 2015 Umpqua Community College shooting says.
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