In mass shootings, the killer is usually a male

To the editor:

With all the media coverage on the mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, seldom has anyone even mentioned the killer is nearly always a male. The New York Times was an exception. The Times on Feb. 17, observed, “Mass shooters are all different, except for one thing: most are men.”

In the Oct. 17, 2003, edition of Indiana AgriNews, Dr. Val Farmer wrote that “Men need a new image of healthy masculinity.”

He addressed the outdated and obsolete code of maleness formed in past generations about what it means to be a “man.” For some men, Farmer said, it’s become a emotional “straightjacket,” an obstacle to being willing to talk about his fears, sadness and confusion as a way of becoming and remaining connected with others and his community.

Gavin de Becker, the nation’s leading expert on predicting violent behavior and author of the 1998 book, “Gift of Fear: Survival Signs that Protect Us from Violence,” says nothing just happens.

Subtle messages in the speech, written messages, sketches and disguised language of coming events are what de Becker calls “PINS” — pre-incident indicators following a pattern that gravitates toward violence. As much as a year may pass before everything falls into place for a violent action, says de Becker.

In one of dozens of Sounds of Country columns looking at violence in our society I wrote, “When a woman is out on the street at night, or walking to her car after leaving her job or out shopping, it isn’t another woman she fears. When she finally arrives home, what she fears hiding in the bushes or in her garage is not another woman. In her home it is usually not a young woman she fears breaking into her home to sexually assault her or even kill her.”

Learn more about PINS and Gavin de Becker’s critical thinking on violence at

—S. E. “Bud” Durcholz

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