An FBI study of 160 “active shooter” incidents between 2000 and 2013 found that only 6 incidents, or 3.8%, were perpetrated by a female shooter. All six of these female shooters used handguns, according to the FBI study. The deadliest of these shootings, at a post office in Santa Barbara, California, in 2006, left six victims dead. Five of the six incidents involved women opening fire on current or former coworkers at their workplaces, including at the University of Alabama, a supermarket in Florida, and a factory in Philadelphia, all in 2010.
A different count of public mass shootings, one based on the number of fatalities, rather than the behavior of the shooter, includes only two incidents with a lone female perpetrator.
Overall, men are much more likely to commit murders than women are, according to FBI data. When it comes to domestic gun violence in America, women are also much more likely to be the victims of fatal domestic shootings than men are, according to a 2016 investigation by the Associated Press.
At least 760 Americans were killed with guns each year by spouses, ex-spouses or dating partners between 2006 and 2016, according to an in-depth analysis of homicide data from Florida and the FBI. But men were much less likely to be shot to death by romantic partners than women were. Overall, women were the victims in more than four out of every five of these incidents, the Associated Press found.
Mother Jones, which tracks “indiscriminate rampages in public places” with at least three to four victims killed, found only two of these shootings since 1982 with female perpetrators: the 2006 California post office shooting, in which the perpetrator shot one of her neighbors to death before killing six coworkers; and a 2014 shooting at the headquarters of a Northern California Indian tribe. The female perpetrator in that shooting opened fire at a trial meeting, killing four people, including her brother, nephew and niece, authorities said at the time.
Mother Jones’ mass shooting database also includes one shooting, the 2014 San Bernardino attack, with a joint male and female perpetrator. Married couple Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire on a holiday party of Farook’s co-workers in 2014 with military-style rifles, leaving 14 people dead.
There are multiple competing definitions of what counts as a “mass shooting” in America, where incidents of public mass violence are common, and it’s not clear if the YouTube shooting meets any of these definitions. The nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, which tracks incidents of gun violence using media reports, defines a mass shootings numerically as any incident in which at least four people are shot, not including the perpetrator, regardless of whether any of the victims are killed.
Mother Jones tracks public mass shootings between 1982 and 2012 with at least four victims shot and killed. Starting in 2013, Mother Jones lowered this threshold to at least three victims shot and killed, citing a mandate from President Obama. The Mother Jones mass shootings database excludes public acts of gang violence or shootings linked to robberies or other crimes, aiming to focus on shooters who attack large numbers of people at schools, movie theaters, or other public venues.
The editors of this groundbreaking book, Helen Brunskell-Evans and Michele Moore, deserve both our congratulations and our gratitude for compiling such a comprehensive selection of arguments, which together provide an analysis of the complex phenomenon that falls under the term ‘trans’, an analysis that is very different from the narrative currently capturing the minds of young people and professionals alike.
They bring together a variety of dissenting stakeholders to enlighten and educate us on the pitfalls inherent in the affirmative model, which asserts that gender is a self-identified feeling unrelated to biological sex. These dissenting voices include academics, activists, parents, commentators and clinicians who have all arrived, from their different involved locations, at positions of profound concern; a position collectively identified as ‘gender critical’.
It is essential to understand that ‘gender critical’ is entirely unrelated to ‘transphobic’ – the easy, careless accusation levelled at those of us challenging the so called ‘gender-affirmative’ approach which demands that, for children and adolescents who claim their biological sex is at odds with their felt gender identity, the process of both social role transition and the attendant physical intervention should go unchallenged.
It is perhaps worth stating at this point that I write this review from the position of being a clinician at the only NHS commissioned gender service for children and young people. Many scores of hours have therefore gone into the formation of my thoughts, ideas, concerns and dilemmas. These are forged out of the crucible of the gender service alongside much reading, thinking, talking and debating with colleagues and professionals along the way. My relationship with this book therefore inevitably emerges out of my personal clinical submergence in the world of gender in all its guises.
This topic is one that ignites passions, with people inhabiting polarised and strongly felt positions. As things stand we do not have sufficient evidence or understanding to know whether there are children born into the world intrinsically ‘trans’, in ‘the wrong body’ as it were. We do know that there are many adults who live happily and successfully as trans adults. however the complexity of presentation of the children seen at Gids, the difficulty and pathology found in their histories, suggest that for many of them at least there are reasons for their body dysphoria other than an inborn ‘trans’ nature.
It is logical to infer that some of the children and young people we see in GIDS will grow into adults whose gender dysphoria is such that the only reasonable ‘solution’ or treatment is a social role transition followed by medical intervention. However, it is both my experience, and the argument posited throughout this book, that the current socio-cultural situation is one which has permitted an inflation of the idea, and that we are indeed co-creating the very notion of the ‘trans kid’. The authors also identify the profoundly regressive nature of what ironically has rapidly become the liberal dogma of embracing medicalised approaches to the enduring problem of patriarchal gender norms – the demand that boys must act one way and girls another – that constrain our lives.
While each chapter is a discrete piece in itself, offering an individual viewpoint, the accumulated impact ensures that all the issues I recognise and worry about from my own clinical practice are referenced. So we are provided with a distillation of the current trends: the role of the internet and the potential for social contagion, radicalisation and grooming; the increase in born females identifying as trans and the associated high occurrence of co-morbid ASD; linked to that the late presentation of these females and the absence of explicit acknowledgment of the turbulence of puberty and turmoil associated with the dawning of same sex attraction; the unintended consequence that a so-called progressive movement in fact reinforces gender stereotypes by suggesting for example that feminine acting boys are in fact girls (a prejudice I have named ‘effemiphobia’); the role of the highly politicised support groups in perpetuating
inaccurate figures of the prevalence of self-harm and suicide; the ‘moral distress’ experienced by those professionals attempting to offer alternative formulations with neither the opportunity to provide psychological treatments nor the permission to discuss these dilemmas for what is undoubtedly a highly distressing set of symptoms; and the constraints placed upon those professionals by the looming spectre of accusations of conversion therapy.