What motivates mass shooters?
The motivations of these killers are often confused, complex, or simply not known. But researchers have found that many mass shooters, who are almost entirely men, are linked by a common thread: a history of misogyny, violence against female partners or family members, or sharing women-hating views online. A Bloomberg analysis of 749 mass shootings from 2014 to 2019 — incidents in which four or more people were shot and which weren’t identified as gang-related, drug-related, or robberies — found that 60 percent of the attacks were either acts of domestic violence or committed by men with a record of domestic violence. Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at an Orlando gay nightclub in 2016, beat and strangled his ex-wife during their marriage. Stephen Paddock, who killed 60 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas in 2017, was known to publicly dominate and bully his live-in girlfriend. And James Hodgkinson, who opened fire on a 2017 Republican congressional baseball practice, had been arrested a decade earlier for hitting and choking his foster daughter. “Most mass shooters have a history of domestic or family violence in their background,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “It’s an important red flag.”