One map that South Dakota isn’t on is the Violence Project’s map of mass shootings. They count 171 instances over 50 years of killings of four or more people in public places by firearm and find no such events in South Dakota:
South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Maine, Vermont, and Delaware have yet to join this already too-large club.
All but three of the shooters in the Violence Project’s database were male. They “typically have an experience with childhood trauma, a personal crisis or specific grievance, and a “script” or examples that validate their feelings or provide a roadmap. And then there’s the fourth thing: access to a firearm.” When they break the data down by location, they find mass shooters at K-12 schools, places of worship, and commercial locations are usually white males; college/university shooters tend to be non-white, while workplace shooters show no predominant racial category.
And alas, the Violence Project finds shootings motivated by hatred of certain races, religion, and women on the rise:
Between 1966 and 2000, there were 75 mass shootings. Of those, 9% were motivated by racism, 1% by religious hatred, and 7% by misogyny. Of the 32 mass shootings that have occurred in the U.S. just since 2015, 18% were motivated by racism, 15% by religious hatred, and 21% by misogyny.
The increase in ideologically motivated mass shootings has coincided with the emergence of a newly emboldened far right, who’ve forged national and even international alliances of hate online. The sharp rise in misogyny-inspired shootings also squares with the rise of the “Incels,” short for “involuntarily celibate,” an online subculture comprised of angry young men who deeply resent and blame women for their isolation [David Noriega and Tess Owen, “Nearly All Mass Shootings Since 1966 Have Had 4 Things in Common,” Vice, 2019.11.19].
In the old days, jerks who couldn’t get dates just stayed in their trailers and wallowed mostly harmlessly in their inadequacy. Now they get on the Internet and find like-minded jerks who can pervert their jerkiness into a virtue and inflate their resentment into rage to punish the women who properly assess their character. If we need gun control, maybe we also need Internet control.
Letting Nazis speak for the White House doesn’t help, either.
The Violence Project notes that in 2017, the 106 deaths caused by mass shooters accounted for less than 1% of the 14,542 murders by firearms in the United States. Over the last five years, 69% of those murders were perpetrated with firearms. In 2018, in cases where we know who committed the murder, 88% of homicides were committed by males. A whole lot of American men apparently could use some instruction at an early age that guns are not a manly solution to their problems.