Most mass shooters are men. Sophie Walker, the former leader of Britain’s Women’s Equality Party, tweeted that fact soon after 51 people were killed by a gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand. (A Mother Jones database of all U.S. killing sprees since 1982 records four female killers and 111 male ones.) In response, she was deluged with angry emails and accused of “playing the gender card.” A BBC journalist told her, “Not sure now is the right time to make this about gender Sophie.”
Only, she did not “make this about gender.” The shooters themselves did that.
The idea that feminism is decadent, and is destroying Western civilization; the idea that women’s natural role is to have children, and to be subservient to men; the idea that strong men are needed to save the world through violence—all of these arguments are found across extremist websites, and in the words of shooters themselves. Anti-feminist rhetoric is a powerful gateway to violent white nationalism, and it is calculated to appeal to the demographic overwhelmingly responsible for mass shootings: young white men.
The 28-year-old man awaiting trial over the Christchurch massacre wrote a self-justifying screed titled “The Great Replacement.” It begins: “It’s the birthrates. It’s the birthrates. It’s the birthrates.” The 21-year-old American who allegedly killed 22 people in El Paso, Texas, left behind a four-page document outlining his motivations. Its most consistent theme is the danger of Hispanic “invaders who also have close to the highest birthrate of all ethnicities in America.” The alleged shooter adds: “My motives for this attack are not at all personal. Actually the Hispanic community was not my target before I read The Great Replacement.”