NYT Letter to the Editor: Misogyny and Mass Murder

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June 14, 2022

To the Editor:

Re “Seeking Clues Why Gunmen Are So Young” (front page, June 2):

"It’s dangerous to talk about the emerging pattern of teenage mass shooters without highlighting a more common thread that unites so many assailants: their violent hatred of women.

It’s become a familiar pattern at this point. After the initial shock and horror of a mass shooting wears off, law enforcement and media begin reporting that the assailant had a history of online harassment of women, sexual assault and/or domestic violence. The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence found that a staggering two-thirds of mass shootings were linked to domestic violence.

For months before the shooting at Robb Elementary School, the shooter directed violent harassment against young girls online, threatening to kidnap, rape or murder them. He then shot his grandmother before entering Robb Elementary School.

Shooters in Santa BarbaraOrlandoSutherland SpringsMontreal and elsewhere have likewise been motivated by or had histories of violent misogyny, including engaging in online harassment, domestic violence and sexual assault, and deliberately targeting women in a mass shooting.

If we want to address the scourge of gun violence and mass shootings in America, we have to be honest about the role of misogynistic violence as a gateway to mass violence."

Lynn Hecht Schafran
New York
The writer is senior vice president at Legal Momentum, a legal advocacy group for women.