The gunman who killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio, including his own brother, compiled a list in high school threatening girls with rape, and was part of a music group that embraced misogynistic images and language.
Connor Betts, 24, joins a long list of mass shooters with records of misogyny. Many have records of sexual assault or harassment of women, abusive behavior toward female family members and partners, and belonging to online misogynist communities.
As a high school student, Betts created two lists of students he wanted to target: Girls’ names were placed on a “rape list” and the boys’ were on a “hit list.” Sources told CNN that some of the female students had turned down Betts for dates; Others had no idea why he put them on the list.
A former classmate said Betts frequently called women “sluts” and talked about violence. One former classmate, Jessica Masseth, told the Daily Beast that he texted her to let her know she was on the list and in the texts, and spoke about “destruction and dismemberment.”
Betts performed during the past year with a band called Menstrual Munchies, known as a “pornogrind” or “goregrind” metal band. The music is often violent and dehumanizing toward women and girls. Song titles for Menstrual Munchies included “Cunt Stuffed With Medical Waste – Sexual Abuse Of A Teenage Corpse” and “Preteen Daughter Pu$$y Slaughter.” The album art included images of a woman’s bloody and headless body chained to a bed and an illustration of a woman eating feces.
Betts’ demonstrated misogyny has parallels with other mass shooters. In April, John Earnest, a self-described white supremacist and anti-Semite, fired shots inside a California synagogue, killing one person and injuring three others. Authorities said Earnest posted a manifesto on the online message board 8chan before the attack, which included a mention of the “red pill” movement. The movement is associated with anti-feminist and misogynist views, men’s rights activists, and “incels,” or involuntary celibates. Incels often fantasize about violent acts of revenge against women online.
A Mother Jones database of mass shootings shows a pattern of shooters having records of violence or harassment against women. Mother Jones reported this spring after analyzing 22 mass shootings since 2011, that 32% had a history of stalking and harassment of women, 50% specifically targeted women, and 86% had a history of domestic abuse. Two of those shooters had connections to incel subculture.
Other recent shootings show connections to misogynist ideas as well. An online post allegedly by Santino William Legan, the shooter who killed three people and injured 13 at an outdoor festival last month in Gilroy, California, celebrated the book, “Might Is Right,” which includes misogynistic and racist language. The manifesto from Patrick Crusius, who killed 22 people this past weekend in El Paso, complained about “race-mixing” and said it was destroying America. Online far-right spaces often direct misogyny and racism toward white women in relationships with men of color, as well as towards the men, whom they refer to as “invaders.”
Incel subculture and white supremacist spaces are replete with examples of white men’s anger toward interracial relationships and marriage. Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin wrote that the women are deserving of scorn “because it’s OUR WOMB – that’s right, it doesn’t belong to her, it belongs to the males in her society – that is being used to produce an enemy soldier.”
There have been numerous other examples of misogynistic behavior and violence and harassment of women among mass shooters throughout the years. In 2018, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student at a Sante Fe, Texas high school, shot and killed 10 people, including a girl who rejected his advances. Scott P. Beierle opened fire on a yoga studio in Florida last November and killed two women after he made misogynistic and racist online videos and complained about women who rejected him. In one video, he said, “Made one date, didn’t show up. Made another date, didn’t show up. Kept making excuses. Ah, I could’ve ripped her head off.”
Alek Minassian, who also identified with incels, killed 10 people and wounded 14, most of them women, in Toronto. Minassian killed and injured his victims by driving a van down a busy street. He was an admirer of Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and injured 14 others in California in 2014 to “punish all females for the crime of depriving me of sex.”