Why are there so few female mass shooters?
New data shows that 96% of spree killers are men
Men commit the majority of mass shootings in the United States. We know that. But the extent to which male shooters outnumber female perpetrators is nonetheless surprising. The Violence Project, a nonpartisan research group that tracks American mass shooting data as far back as 1966, finds that men are responsible for 98% of all mass shootings. Statistics released last week by the US Secret Service, which cover the more broadly defined ‘mass attack’, 25% of which don’t include a firearm, puts that number at 96%, which is still staggering.
There have been 55 mass shootings in the US so far this year. Of those, 38 have resulted in at least one fatality. This month, separate shooting sprees in the Californian cities of Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay killed 12 (including the perpetrator) and seven people, respectively. Both shooters were aged over 65, and therefore a deviation from the enduring cultural image, burnished by Columbine and its copycats, of the disaffected young man who turns to violent retribution.
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Yet these criminals are not nearly so much a departure from the norm as female killers. If mass attacks are an epidemic in the US, why do so few women commit them?
In an interview with NPR The Violence Project’s president, Jillian Peterson, a forensic psychologist and criminology professor at Hamline University, offered a theory: “Men are just generally more violent.” Others, like Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), have suggested that the disparity is because shootings are motivated by “toxic masculinity” or grievances against women. Other scholars attribute this to “an evolutionary drive that pushes males to be more aggressive than females”.
There are shades of truth in all of these explanations, but a more nuanced answer might lie in the divergent nature of mass shootings and female violence. It’s not that there aren’t violent women, even if there are fewer of them: there are (the number is growing, too). However, mass shootings don’t bear easy comparison to other types of violence. Yesterday’s serial killers are not necessarily today’s mass shooters. That’s only true in terms of the role they play in media narratives.
Mass shootings are their own type of aggression, one that is both external and, when compared to other homicides, impersonal. Female violence, on the other hand, is more personal. Another way to think about it? Women implode; men explode.
Mass shootings are explosive.
There’s a huge exploratory gap in the literature around female mass shooters, but we can draw conclusions from data available elsewhere. Studies on female violence demonstrate that women channel their anger in a private and calculated way, whereas men tend to lash out.
But the new data from the Secret Service also shows that 50% of mass shootings are sparked by personal, domestic, or workplace disputes — that is, personal grievances — so where’s the distinction? It’s more about the expression of aggression.
Female violence is individualised. It’s often reactive or in response to abuse from a sexual partner. It affects the family, relationships, and caregiving: Munchausen-by-proxy, familicide or infanticide, black widows, and angels of death (healthcare providers who kill their patients) are all common typologies. It almost always happens within the victim’s home.
But in an article for the Journal of Mass Violence Research, one of the few pieces that analyse female mass shooters, Jason R. Silva and Margaret Schmuhl found many more similarities than differences between male and female perpetrators. They also found that female shooters were distinct in general from female homicide offenders.
It’s not that women aren’t violent. They certainly can be. It’s just that men are more likely to exhibit this type of violence. It’s a small — but ultimately important — distinction, which goes some way to explaining, even if not conclusively, the scarcity of the female mass shooter.
There ought to be some effort by feminists to close the gap. Women aren’t aspiring to be spree killers because their are few role models. This is a situation that can’t be allowed to continue. Equality will be achieved when women kill at the same rate as men.
I blame the patriarchy myself
I thought patriarchy was assumed now to be the fault of all of humanities woes.
And while we’re at it, for the sake of equity I think we should ensure that the jails are equally populated by men and women.
Why leave it there?
Historically, women have been denied the credit they were due for their contribution to war crimes
That classic video on YouTube I once saw, which clarified what feminism is all about.
Feminist goes on and on about how women should be equally represented in IT or other fields (no mention of warehouse, transport or bin cleaners though). Because there is no biological differences, it’s all because “girls are told by society to behave that way”.
The man debating her then asked – then why are more men in prison?
Her response: because men are more violent.
And incredibly, when the hall erupted in laughter and ironic cheers, she thought they were supporting her.
Why do you insist on making comments that are so obviously just complete nonsense? Is this some kind of performative art? Do you enjoy being humiliated in public?
Pot and kettle
That’s just the feminist marketing stuff. They don’t mean actual equality as defined in the dictionary, they mean preferential treatment for the non labor jobs I comfortable offices. They no more want to do the risky manual labor jobs today than women in the past. Yes there has to be an equal number of women at the executive level and of course once thats happened that previously male dominated space has to change so as to accommodate the new females but in no way in hell do they want equal representation on the bad stuff.
Right? When I read the headline, I immediately thought, They’re complaining about this now?!
The fact this pathetic attempt at humour has 60 upvotes categorically proves my original comment to be correct.
You people are so utterly predictable!
Sometimes humour is the only way to p***k pomposity
Remember, feminists aren’t looking for true equal treatment but special treatment they are allowed to claim is about equality so they don’t have to admit that what they want is special preferential treatment. Women have always denied they get preferential treatment like the P pass that all men know gets many women out of trouble especially with law enforcement. If you get pulled for speeding make sure your breasts are easily visible and use your smile and flirting skills so as to get just a warning. Same in court, find some way to claim you too were the victim of another, usually a man, so as to garner sympathy. When the workplace was mostly male the women could do this but now they do have to content with women who aren’t always lesbians.
The bottom line is they will make every man’s life miserable before acknowledging its preferential treatment they seek.
Utterly pathetic. I actually feel sorry for you.
Me think you protest too much
Boys wreck your house – girls wreck your head.
Jillian Peterson, a forensic psychologist and criminology professor at Hamline University, offered a theory: “Men are just generally more violent.”
At least the article tries to elucidate from this banality offered by the (no doubt) esteemed professor. The internalisation of anger by females, as a general principle, seems to ring true. What’s more interesting is why this should be so. Is it nature or nurture i.e. social conditioning? What role do hormones play, if any? This is what the professors need to try to get to grips with, whilst this article indicates they’re nowhere near doing so. If, however, i’m doing them an injustice, the article is failing to give a more incisive picture of where their research is taking them. It has implications way beyond the phenomenon of mass shootings, and might even provide some insights into the roots of trans culture.
It’s only recently that true equality for women has been established in society – women soldiers, women fire ‘people’. Maybe in 20 years or so, once general child conditioning in the home has fully applied such equality of opportunity in the play ‘training’ of children, we’ll see more women indulging in mass violence.
There’s an interesting analysis on the differences in the statistical probability of women, men and trans people committing sex crimes on the Wings website:
I hear that same sex female relationships have a very high rate of violence
Also keep UHaul busy.
I hear that you are a moron.
Well that is an insightful comment.
Perhaps you could explain your reasoning or are you only capable of hurling abuse, in which case that would make you a… ?
Yeah, the women are usually evenly matched physically. Men will usually try to flee a hysterical woman who is lashing out.
I was pointed in the direction of a report that violence in same sex female relationships was significantly higher than it is in heterosexual relationships and same sex male relationships.
I do not Kone about trans and non-binary relationships. There is probably just too many permutations.
“true equality for women” – Why would we ever want such equality? Bringing woman down to match men is thought to be a good thing. Women are physically not capable in general as men as a product of evolution. It seems we want true equality for women in the workplace to please our corporate masters. Not sure that actually benefits women. But we buy into the premise that it’s a good thing. Not that women’s ideas are not important, they are and need to be in the workplace, but trying to force them into ill suited roles seems foolish.
I read that as a statement of fact, not as a theory.
Are you kidding me. Has the author at last figured out that 2+2 = 4. Of course the majority of people are not violent, but everybody knows that at the tails of the distribution (and that’s where murderers and mass shooters are found) there are far more men than women by several orders of magnitude. That’s why 90% of individuals incarcerated in jail are men! And of course there are major differences between men and women, despite what the current woke ideology would like us have believe. Much of it has to do with testosterone.
It could be like IQ differences. Women are very slightly higher IQ then men at the medians (half a point) but the male variance is much wider then women’s. So the tails stretch out farther in both directions. If your looking at performance or behavior out at five sigma in either direction it’s almost always going to be men.
Quite so, but it today’s world it is heretical to even point this well known fact out without being canceled!
How about the fact that boys tend to play with guns and girls don’t. I’m not even sure if I can say this now.
When I was young I probably killed thousands of Native Americans.
As I say, women are traditionally not part of the infantry in large numbers due to physical strength/fitness requirements that are a lot harder (usually but not always) for women to meet. Boys are encouraged to play with guns (by TV etc.) because it’s usually males depicted as soldiers.
If you put out Barbie dolls and toy guns and let some children use them – the boys will get the guns and the girls the dolls – Jordan Peterson did a good show on this.
If you just put out the Barbies the boys would use them like guns to shoot each other, and if you just put out plastic pistols the girls would put doll clothes on them.
This effect has shocked a lot of extreme lefty Liberal mothers who want their boys to be non-violent and sensitive.
A colleague had three boys and one girl. They couldn’t have war toys and the girl didn’t have dolls. Only educational toys in that household. The boys were into this dinosaur phase and his wife was telling us one time how she found them all playing together with the plastic dinosaurs, but that whereas the boys had theirs chasing around eating each other, her daughter had her dinosaur in box she’d turned into a baby carriage with a bottle pretending to feed it.
Wars and fights were on earth well before TV. Boys emulated fathers and other men involved in fighting in every society on earth as tribes were at near constant war. Comes with evolution, not TV.
“… Hamline University, offered a theory: “Men are just generally more violent.”
Slow motion coffee cup shattering on the floor.
But women are also equally capable of serving in army combat arms or fire services.
Except when it comes to military conscription, because men are generally more violent.
But then when you make action or futuristic war movies, you must have plenty of female representatives because women are equally capable.
But those same women are solely the victims of domestic violence, and never the perpetrators, because men are generally more violent.
It makes your head hurt, trying to follow the “logic”
At some point, we might also discover that water is wet.
I’m fairly certain they’re working on research to prover that water is sexist
Consequences also play a role. If you embark on a mass shooting, you can generally expect to die in a barrage of police gunfire. There’s a kind of heroic bravery in choosing to die violently even for a questionable cause – one that’s been effectively exploited (pretty much exclusively in young men) in centuries of warfare.
There is always this idea that women are only violent because they are victims but men are always to blame for their violence. Better to blame both, I think. After all, half of all parents who kill their children are mothers:
Men and women have the same brains but different bodies. Women are not morally better or worse than men. Men are more likely to be violent or commit sexual offences because they are bigger and have male sexual organs. It’s a physical thing. Mass shooters tend to identify with the military in some direct or indirect manner. As only a small percentage of infantry, historically are female, mass shooting is less likely to appeal.
It’s also a testosterone thing.
Testosterone is really complex, it’s not clear that testosterone makes people violent in the absence of other factors. Testosterone can be an effect of someone being violent. Someone with high testosterone can do other things like be showy, attention-seeking instead of hitting people. Men aren’t ‘forced’ to be violent by testosterone anymore than women who hit their children are being ‘forced’ to do it by their chemistry.
Testosterone is a factor but it alone doesn’t guarantee the man will be violent only that he’s inclined to lean towards violence more so than a woman who also has Testosterone but lower amounts and who also has estrogen. These absolutely do impact one’s behavior but the individual can refuse to let those dominant how that person acts.
There is a neonatal burst of testosterone in males that kicks off the first round of brain development differences.
Half or even more of parents who kill their parents are mothers – but the majority of child abuse happens by non father males, usually the mother’s new boyfriend.
And that’s the flip side of this story. Most mass shooters are men. But most parents who would get bat shit crazy and physically violent if someone threatened their kid? Or die trying to save someone from a fire or criminals? Or die working in a dangerous job to feed their families? Also men.
Its more because when it comes to women choosing abortion men often aren’t involved in the decision and of those that do not all men choose to kill the baby making it always more than half.
Men and women’s brains develop quite differently. The corpus callosum connecting the two hemispheres is much bigger in females which allows the two sides to communicate more and in men the relative isolation is probably helpful in developing more developed spatial processing. The language processing part is larger in females. There are other differences.
Also, I followed your link. You seem to have misread it, because it didn’t discriminate between parents killing their own children. They found that parents killed more girl than boy children. Not surprising when you factor China into the equation.
You only read the abstract according to the actual article: ‘Data from 33 countries distinguishing the perpetrators of parental homicides of children under the age of 18 years showed that mothers committed just over half of all parental homicides’
Also, ‘The 12 countries with detailed data on parent as perpetrators showed mothers commit the majority of parental homicides of children under 1 year (71.7%…)’
I did only read the abstract. That’s pretty interesting, and perhaps not surprising in that mothers spend so much more time with their infants and small children. Thank you.
Don’t men commit the vast majority of all murders?
They do but as I say not in every context. Half of parental murders are carried out by mothers. Women don’t beat many people to death in street brawls for the same reason that men who are 5’2 and eight stone tend not to either. As I say, men and women are morally equal. Sorry to all the feminists and wannabe alpha males out there-we’re all the same.
We are not the same and yes sometimes shorter men will start a fight and even beat the opponent. If you think size us the determining factor in a fight I suggest you google Bruce Lee
The fun begins when you notice men of certain ethnicities commit murder or rape or form grooming gangs at a far higher rate….
Careful now. You know it’s against online law to cite any facts that challenge established narratives especially ones about ethnicity.
Let’s see those facts then.
Oh, you are just making it up! Great!
The topic of this article is not violence in general (which can include everything from wartime combat or aborting a fetus to throwing a cup of coffee at someone), but mass shootings in particular. One or two comments refer to the statistical link between mass shooting and suicide, an insight that could actually be useful in understanding this phenomenon. (I have more to say about violence in general, but this is not the place to do so.)
Mass shooters are not innately evil beings (by virtue of being male). If they were, then moral classification would be meaningless and attempts at prevention useless. Most of them act out of rage, it’s true, but also out of profound despair. They believe that their lives–even all lives–have no meaning, purpose or value. They want to kill others but also, and more significantly in view of the result, to kill themselves.
Suicide is worth discussing here, moreover, apart from its link with mass shooting. Far more men than women kill themselves. More women “attempt” suicide, it’s true, but women usually choose methods (such as sleeping pills) that are much more likely to gain sympathy and help from others than to kill themselves.
My goal here, by the way, is not to solicit sympathy for mass shooters (although I do solicit sympathy for those who are at high risk of becoming mass shooters). Rather, it’s to suggest that we need much more research on why these boys and young men are so desperately hopeless that they turn against both society and life itself. This problem, though not entirely unprecedented, is a disturbing sign of our time.
“aborting a fetus”
What kind of a moron compares mass shootings to a simple medical procedure? Oh right – the kind of moron who thinks Donald Trump is fit to be president of the United States.
As for the rest of your gibberish, not worth my time to dissect but clearly the ravings of a very disturbed individual.
What kind of moron doesn’t understand that a fetus is a human life. Oh that’s right, the kind of moron who thinks Trump is the anti christ and that Biden is the best smartest corrupt free president in history and those who suffer from stage 4 or 5 Trump Derangement Syndrome.
PSA: if you suffer from TDS or any other mental disorder and have not sought help do so today and if not for you then for your lived ones. TDS is not something to be ignored.
Oh, we’ve got a real live MAGA boy here!
Trump is far too stupid to be the anti-christ! He’s just a fat loser!
Ed, remember the ancient saying: don’t feed the troll.
When ptescription drugs are not a factor and the shooter is not suffering from some mental disorder mass shooting can typically be attributed to some belief system like a religious belief but it also can be attributed to an act of desperation to raise some kind of awareness to something. Rare is a mass shooting committed by one who is not mentally ill for no reason other than to kill others else the shooter wouldn’t be public with the killings
Why are there more male mass shooters than female?
This is why college for anything other than high skilled fields like medicine and engineering is worthless. You coukd ask any non college educated low IQ adult this on the street and after laughing at your silly question they will tell you why and be correct because they weren’t brainwashed by a college with the nonsense taught to college students the last decade.
Sounds like someone wasn’t smart enough to get into college! LOL!
Just for kicks, why don’t you tell us why there more male mass shooters than female?
This should be good!
How many women work in abattoirs?
A few men like to “go up in a puff of smoke”. The women who tend to kill many tend to poison them over quite a long period of time often for financial gain. There’s no financial benefit to mass shooting.
might that not also be because they have a stronger sense of self-preservation? Men are more likely to enact a violent situation that will get themselves killed. Women are more likely to make sure they know where the exits are, so to speak.
I agree. Men who are unhappy tend to look inward, hence more likely to commit suicide and also take others with them. The few women who do kill themselves often have a history of self-harm but generally don’t want to take others with them (unless sadly its their children)..
Women don’t have a stronger sense of self preservation than men. Men are more likely to take risks and women the (perceived) safer choice. I say perceived because as has already been witnessed here in the US, Women will choose the promise of safety and security at the cost of freedom and liberty so they often support more/larger government.
The author doesn’t mention gang violence. There are mass shootings in American cities – look at Chicago alone – nearly every weekend: https://www.newsweek.com/we-have-normalized-mass-shootings-black-communities-its-got-stop-opinion-1721901.
They don’t mention gang violence because the biased article is seeking to promote the idea that there are more school shooting like mass shooting events than they’re really are and since they’re are far fewer than is need to sell the idea if stricter gun control laws they mix in the gang shootings to pad the numbers
Yeah, I know. I was in media (mea culpa).
No you weren’t
The misleading count of 55 mass shootings last year ignores the fact that the anti-gun industry calls anything with more than 4 victims a “mass shooting,” as though these were all the same kind of random spree killing that (rightly) gets headlines. Proportionally, there were actually few of these; most of the so called “mass shootings” were among criminals involved in ordinary street crime, for instance the drive-by shooting that wounded 11 in Lakeland, Florida yesterday, or the regular shooting toll every weekend in Chicago that the media never talks about. The reason for conflating the two very different kinds of crime is to escalate the feeling of fear to cause a stampede in the direction of more and more gun control. It’s standard leftist agitprop, in other words. This is not to say that we don’t have a problem with disaffected and angry young men (almost always) engaging in genuine mass attacks. We do, and we need to find a way to identify and stop them in advance, but intentionally muddying the waters by confusing the two different situations won’t help. Nor will it help to take guns away from the millions of Americans who never and will never harm a soul with them.
Conflation is a key tool of the gun control lobby but it’s not exclusive to them. Politicians in general use Conflation as often as most people use the bathroom. Sadly it’s often a highly effective tool in the art of professional lying.
The data here: https://ilostat.ilo.org/these-occupations-are-dominated-by-women/ shows that across 121 countries some jobs are dominated by women and some by men. Some are more even.
So it is not unreasonable to argue that *in general* sexual preferences are expressed when people choose their occupations… and that this is echoed in the expressions of the types of violence as the article suggests.
I wonder how long before a woman storms into a brothel and shoots the customers.
Worried for your safety?
Don’t be too scared – there’s a whole lot of minorities who seem to way ahead of you in the queue to be mass murdered by radicalized far right wing shooters.
I can imagine a (probably French or Spanish) film along those lines.
”It’s not that women aren’t violent. They certainly can be.’‘
I have been around a lot of women – and I can tell you they are Much less violent men.
A rabbit has teeth and a gut for grass, a cat has teeth and gut for mice. No one has any confusion, the cat just wants to kill mice, the rabbit does not; it wants to eat grass. It is Hard Wired at birth.
Now Women…. they produce babies, they have all kinds of sexual physical and behavioral differences to men – as men do not produce babies, and then have to chest feed them, and so on..
Men and women are wired totally differently, almost like they are different species.
But then….. I once was teasing the wrong drunk woman (I was also drunk) and she got a knife fast, and cut me requiring 25 stitches.
So I am not saying the sex differences are not more guidelines than absolutes – but if I was teasing a drunk man wile drunk too – this would not have been such an usual event.
For much the same reason that there are so few female sex offenders I suspect
Sex offenders isn’t a good comparison as the system is biased against men when it comes to sex. If a 19 year old male has sex with a 17 year old female he us the perp who took advantage of her yet if the roles were reversed, 19 year old female and 17 year old male she didn’t take advantage of him and in some cases they’d argue the 17 year old boy seduced the 19 year old female. Why? Because when it comes tobsex their us a system wide preferential bias towards women, the women has no agency.
Such a sexist article..
I’m only joking folks..
Based on all the mysteries I read and watch (mostly British) the preferred weapon of female perpetrators is poison. To the extent that is accurate it’s difficult to poison many people in a single event.
Its easier to poison more people at an event than trying to shoot them. You could have the majority or even all at an event poisoned before the first person realizes there’s a problem. Withba shooting this isn’t possible unless you can simultaneously shoot every person at the same time.
well, most of these people take what is at hand to commit their atrocities……how many people can you kill with a purse????
A purse can hold either a handgun or many bottles of poison so it really depends on the purse holders preference and not that they have a purse
bad weapons cleaning, and maintainence, not zeroing weapons or managing sights, gas, magazine springs etc?
Why are so few females mass shooters?
We only ask that silly question if we truly believe the Progressive / Feminist myth that men and women are the same….and that any & every outcome disparity is always a function of misogynistic sexism.
So yes, given that idiot perspective of sameness, then we can only conclude that the other 96 women who are not committing mass murder (to be equal to the male 98)…have all been intimidated and harassed by the Patriarchy such that they just don’t feel comfortable killing lots of people at the same time & place.
Makes sense. The Patriarchy is keeping women out of Lumberjacking jobs, out of Roofing Jobs, chasing them away from being cement masons AND heavy equipment operators…undoubtedly pushing them away from all those mass murder opportunities, too. Darned men!
Women should complain. File suit or something. Seek mediation.
Either that or, once again we need to admit that men and women ARE different and that various aspects of that difference are reflected in the sociopathic urge to commit mass murder. The propensity to aggression & violence? Sure. The greater strength required to handle weaponry effectively? Probably. The less individualized the vendetta (even imaginary vendetta), the more generalized? Yeah, maybe. Maybe all those things combined with the fact that the entire category of so-called ‘mass murder’ (popularly associated with anonymous shootings (like those in Las Vegas or Sandy Hook) are actually defined to be any single-event shooting in which 3 or more people are killed. That categorization would also bring in gang shootings, drug trade shootings, etc. (all, again, heavily male in terms of participation).
In the end the disparity is entirely to be expected….in much the same way, though for entirely different reasons, that the heavy majority of child-care workers are female.
What people who have never handled a firearm don’t appreciate is that they are really heavy. They have to contain the explosive force of the propellant so are made of very solid metal. The movies don’t help in this, as they invariably show people, men and women, waving their guns around as if they were made of balsa wood.
This fact alone can explain why there are relatively few female mass shooters.
The comments when there is ever a piece about women on this site are very telling – typically a cross between the crass chauvinism of the awful Jeremy Clarkson and the open misogyny of the clown-like Andrew Tate.
Since these are both role models for conservative men, along with the oft-married Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, I don’t suppose we should be all that surprised about how clueless you are when it comes to the fairer sex.
I don’t think any man who calls himself a conservative has Andrew Tate or Boris Johnson as role models, I suspect like myself they only recently heard of Tate and think Boris is a clown. as for Clarkson, he’s just some actor from the TV/internet
I’m NOT a conservative BTW
Your post is the 11th in thread as I write this. There is neither chauvinism nor misogyny on display.
What is evident is your attempt to assert yourself by belittling others, as you often do here. Maybe you should take up darts or something, anything that keeps you away from the keyboard.
At my age I feel little need (and there is little purpose) in pretending I am a supporter of radical feminism or, on the other hand, trying to be hyper-masculine in order to attract the ‘fairer sex’. I can just wallow in the luxury of common sense.
Remember, to a feminist anything that is not supporting their ideological beliefs is misogyny. It’s like how with the race grifters everything is racist.
Oh, lighten up. The headline was asking for it.
Those role models frighten feminists and their beta male supporters because if enough men take them seriously it coukd bebthe end of the feminists scheme to gain power and preferential treatment under the guise of equality.
Thanks for proving my point!
What happened to you? Bad divorce? Mommy abandon you? Daughters hate you? Must have been something to make you such a pathetic example of manhood.
agree. the men who comment on these articles blow my mind with their twisted statistics, rubbish proclamations and complete lack of any logic. they just loathe women and love the sounds of their own voices. they are a disgrace.
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