Justice

Teenage Boy May Have Shot Up His School Because His Girlfriend Broke Up With Him

CREDIT: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Madison Wahlgren, 15, right, and Alyssa Strand, 16, left, both students at Marysville Pilchuck High School, hold candles as they stand outside following a memorial vigil at the Grove Church in Marysville, Wash.

Marysville-Pilchuck High School freshman Jaylen Fryberg shot three girls and two of his male cousins in the school cafeteria Friday morning before killing himself. One student told the Seattle Times that Fryberg was “angry about a romantic relationship he was involved in, and that the girl was one of the people shot.” CNN reported that his girlfriend had just broken up with him.

If these early reports are accurate, Fryberg unfortunately joins a long list of men who commit violence against women who they feel have wronged them. Another young man, Elliott Rodger, opened fire on a Santa Barbara university campus earlier this year after becoming obsessed with punishing “every single blonde slut” who he felt had rejected him. Shortly after the Santa Barbara shooting, a website called “When Women Refuse” went viral, documenting how frequently women are targeted by men who feel slighted or rejected.

Forty percent of mass shootings start with the gunman targeting his wife, girlfriend, or ex. And access to firearms makes it seven times more likely that a domestic abuser will kill his partner.

Teenage girls are the most likely demographic to suffer at the hands of an abusive partner. While Fryberg’s rampage took this violence to the extreme, a quarter of high school girls have been physically or sexually abused, sometimes starting as early as sixth grade. Many don’t realize threats or violence is unusual, and therefore don’t report it or try to get a restraining order.