June 24, 2017
It’s all too common to associate mass shooters with the disenfranchised individual or a terroristic act. While these are true associations, another association is that shooters have a history of aggression and violence toward women. A Washington Post article written by Nancy Leong about the shooting of Republicans while they practiced baseball discusses this issue and points out a number of mass shooters that had a history of violence against women. Ms. Leong analyzes mass shootings from 2009-2016 and, “concluded that at least 54 percent of mass shootings — or 85 out of 156 incidents — involved a current or former intimate partner or family member as a victim. Other research has found that those who abuse their domestic partners are also more likely to abuse children and animals, and that 68 percent of men in a sample of batterers exhibited other “problem behaviors,” such as fights, previous arrests or drunken driving.”
Domestic violence is not taken seriously. It is not seen as a predictor of future violent behavior. Leong writes, “A mass shooting tends to trigger passionate arguments about gun control and mental health services; discussion of how to respond to domestic violence often doesn’t even come up.”
Until the issue of domestic violence is discussed openly and honestly without stigmatization, positive changes cannot be expected to occur.