Insights on Newtown, Conn. shooting: It’s not guns but gender at root of mass killings

This photo captures the horror experienced by hundreds of elementary school children in Newtown, Conn. after a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children. Photo: Jason DeCrow / AP

As the writer of one of the first books on Shooters, written in 2001, who isolated a suggested cause of this phenomenon, I am aggrieved that we are making no attempt at seeking remedies, even as the random mass shootings escalate.

We learned how to lock down schools, send SWAT teams to “neutralize” shooters, and beef up security systems against future mayhem. This is all good, but we have been treating the symptom, not the disease.

Immediately after a mass shooting the first question asked is “Why?” What was the shooter’s motivation? Whether shooters spew bullets at movie goers, mall shoppers, church goers, work-place employees or elementary school children, shooters all have one thing in common. They are all male.

Simply put, the only thing mass shooters have in common is that they are all male

That fact alone should indicate a question to be asked. Not all males are shooters, but all shooters are male. What is lacking in certain males that propel them to execute mass killings?

In all mass shootings, there are “the usual suspects,” the first being the easy accessibility of guns. True, guns make mass killing easier then other methods would, but girls and women have the same accessibility.

The next “suspect” is that the shooter was mentally unstable. So are many girls and women. Then “he lost it”.  This is said to be a “spur of the moment” panic attack. Not so. Most shooters had planned their attack for days, or even months. So, the only common denominator is that they are all male.

I have suggested reasons in my book for this murderous phenomenon being a male-only action, so I won’t go into those details here.

I have compared gender differences in education in other countries, and have made comparisons with patrilineal vs. matrilineal societies, including in the animal kingdom, with a long look at chimpanzees with whom we share 98 percent of our DNA.

The bottom line is that if we raise boys the same as we raise girls, mass shooting would eventually be history.

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About June Stephenson

June Stephenson is the author of 20 books about women’s issues, parental responsibility, the humanities, philosophy, comparative religion, music, architecture, parenting, sexual abuse, child abuse, spousal abuse, incest, crime, women’s studies, aging, tyranny, family, marriage, and divorce. The accomplished author has a degree from Stanford in economics and a Ph.D. in psychology with 25 years of teaching experience in history and English. Stephenson’s well-researched and documented approach combined with an easy-to-read style, offers readers enrichment and enjoyment. She also is an award-winning artist with many red ribbons from juried art shows throughout California. Stephenson has two daughters and two granddaughters, and lives in Palm Desert, California, with her Labradoddle named Happy.

2 Responses to “Insights on Newtown, Conn. shooting: It’s not guns but gender at root of mass killings”

  1. Great post, June. Not only are they male, but they are white males. I am not sure why that is or what the answer is, but it’s not the guns doing the killing, it is the white males. Video games, movies, music that glorify violence; is that why? I don’t know, but it has to play some roll in it all. I also think how we treat and deal with individuals that have mental health challenges will need to change before we see a change in society. Many thoughts and emotions after a tragedy of this nature…..

    • June Ortegren Stephenson Bailey January 8, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      John, thank you for your comment. I do appreciate it though I am late in getting back to you. So much going on these days what with gun control controversy, Syria’s Assad going to go down with his country rather than save it by disappearing, Egypt’s dilemna. Do things seem to be piling up? Thanks again. June