It happened again. Another boy, Jaylen Fryberg, walked into his high school and started shooting. This time around, two students (at the time of this writing), both female, were killed and three more were injured, including two of Fryberg’s male cousins. As of this writing, every news report says that the motive for the massacre is still unknown. However if the rumors are true, the shooting may have been a response to a recent break up. Maybe we’ll find out for sure, maybe we won’t. Regardless of the motive, one simple, undeniable fact remains; another boy walked into his high school and started shooting.
Then something else depressingly common happened; news media reporting on the shooting did their usual dance around the humongous elephant in the room, refusing to highlight that fact that we were talking, once again about a boy who walked into his high school and started shooting. And when feminist activists, writers, and the like started responding to the news, resolutely pointing out the elephant (as we’re wont to do), the men’s righters, GamerGaters and every other fact-denying, angry man-child on the internet blew their collective gaskets. The target of choice was once again Anita Sarkeesian (you can read all the gory details over on We Hunted The Mammoth) and true to form the responses were just as fucked up and threatening as we’ve come to expect.
Not a coincidence it’s always men and boys committing mass shootings. The pattern is connected to ideas of toxic masculinity in our culture.
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) October 24, 2014
You’re damn right it’s about toxic masculinity and there’s plenty of evidence to prove it. To deny it at this point is on par with being a climate change denier. The overwhelming statistical evidence of some connection to masculinity is there. You don’t even have to be a scientist to see it. Just tally up the numbers yourselves, or if you’re too lazy to do that, look at this handy “Guide to Mass Shootings in America” compiled by Mother Jones, which reveals that in 30 years only one mass shooting was committed by a woman and most were committed by white males. Or how about this piece I just discovered (thanks to We Hunted the Mammoth) that compiled info on school shootings in the US, Canada and Europe and found 97% of shooters in these areas were male, 80% white and the majority of their victims were female (184 women killed and injured vs 138 men killed and injured). They even managed to list a number of incidents where girls and women were specifically targeted (for anyone still unmoved by the numbers). These are the facts, or Inconvenient Truths as I believe they’d be called by a man who dealt with another set of fact deniers.
This really shouldn’t be news to anyone at this point. Feminists have pointed out the connection between mass shootings and toxic masculinity for decades now. Yet, here we are again. Everyone else is confused and asking why a “popular” kid who didn’t “fit the profile” would do such a thing. The only elements of the profile he didn’t fit are that he’s not white and he wasn’t bullied or a recluse. Beyond that, he fit the profile perfectly; angry and male. Of course the other missing element in this discussion is his access to a gun. So he was angry, male and he had easy access to a firearm. And for the “mental health! What about the connection to mental health issues?!? crowd…” there are likely just as many women with mental health issues who can easily access guns out there, yet they’re not walking into schools targeting boys, or their exes, or taking out random teachers and classmates while they’re at it.
Regardless of the motive, or the contributing factors, one simple, undeniable fact remains; another boy walked into his high school and started shooting. And just like Sarkeesian said, if we don’t do a better job addressing toxic masculinity (like the type exhibited by men’s righters and GamerGaters, for most fucking obvious example ever), he won’t be the last.