December 2012 will be remembered as the month when two horrific events took place: the Newtown shooting, which cost 26 lives (if I’m not mistaken), and a brutal gang-rape in New Delhi, which cost the victim’s life. (UPDATE: One of many, but for once the victims survived long enough to tell their story, and for once people listened.) In both cases, the events set in motion a wave of collective outrage, raising in particular the inevitable questions of how something like this could have happened, and what can be done to prevent similar atrocities in the future.
What do the two events have in common? One thing they have in common is the imperativeness of viewing both from the perspective of gender roles. With respect to the rape case, the gender dimension is immediately apparent, as rape is one of the most brutal and yet extremely widespread forms of male domination over women. But the mass shooting in Newtown, and in fact mass shootings in general in the USA, may (and should!) also be discussed against the background of gender roles. The fact is that virtually every mass shooting has been perpetrated by men (and in fact, mostly by white, middle to upper class males), and this is no coincidence.