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Gunman Targets Seven Women, Avoiding Men

Gunman Targets Seven Women, Avoiding Men

Last night, a gunman opened fire outside a South Florida restaurant, killing his wife; he then moved inside, where he targeted and killed three women, leaving three others in critical condition.  The shooter, Gerarldo Regalado, then committed suicide.  This tragic story is rendered more disturbing because according to the police, Regalado bypassed at least two men in the restaurant, specifically targeting the six women.

The mainstream news stories about the shooting focus, at least initially, on the fact that the gunman was the half-brother of former baseball star Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, a fact that’s hardly relevant to why he felt the need to gun down seven women.  Instead, Police Detective Eddie Rodriguez’s chilling statement, “He went straight for the women,” appears much further down the page.  It seems that some of the women may simply have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, emphasizing the utter misogyny of the act. 

Reading these articles, it’s hard not to think about last summer’s shootings, where George Sodini walked into an all-female aerobics class and opened fire.  Sodini was reacting to a lifetime of feeling systematically rejected by desirable women, and his blog chillingly shows that the women in the gym died that day simply because they were women, and Sodini felt that they deserved to be punished.

The Sodini shootings, admittedly, were an extreme case, and we don’t know very much about this violent incident, although Regalado was seen arguing with his wife outside the restaurant before the shooting occurred.  But these cases are eerily familiar, and the pattern of violence against female partners (or women generally) is one that is very often ignored by the media.  Earlier this year, I wrote about a shooting in Finland, where the gunman killed his girlfriend and four of her work colleagues.  The gunman had a history of violent crimes, and the girlfriend had a restraining order against him.  The crime, however, was chalked up as a “domestic dispute,” mild words for such a horrible and misogynistic act.

In a post from 2007, Jennifer Pozner wrote about the horrific Virginia Tech shooting, pointing out that the “gendered nature of the crime” was mostly ignored.  Pozner writes that although it became clear that Seung-Hui Cho, the perpetrator, had stalked women on campus, “few outlets explicitly named misogyny as a root cause.”  Instead, the media wondered “ad nauseum, ‘What was his motivation?’”

It’s possible that in further coverage of this horrific event, more attention will be paid to the role of gender in Regalado’s choice of victims – perhaps the Sodini shootings were dramatic enough to show us that for some men, violence against women is far more normal than we could believe.

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83 comments

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10:06AM PDT on Jul 28, 2010

This article was valuable in first, noting the apparent existence of gender bias in these shootings but, especially, for noting that mainstream media has not noted it.

2:53PM PDT on Jun 20, 2010

Are you all mentally backward do you really believe that Asian went berserk, why do you all behave as though Asians are a bunch of clever apes and never get to know Asian culture, eventually all one can say is Ladies First!, but I am a lady and am not joining you, O.K.?

10:58PM PDT on Jun 17, 2010

Anyone who would kill for the pleasure of it is sick and should be removed from society. This is what happens when we allow guns to be sold so freely.

12:37PM PDT on Jun 15, 2010

It takes a certain kind of arrogance to believe you have the right to humble anyone . These men believed they had the right to subjugate women . Innocents died for their faulty thinking .

6:43AM PDT on Jun 15, 2010

Wow, I am often faced with this ugly matter & still find it hard to believe that this behavior was acceptable in earlier times! I am a product of a very submissive background & everyday was a struggle for me not to submit. Death & violence is usually the only way to call attention to these cases & this is why the media dismisses them so quickly; can't admit that this is still a "man's world"!

3:54AM PDT on Jun 13, 2010

A terrible and frightening event but not certain about the equality perspective. Women only shortlists for mad gunperson appointment interviews to proportionately adjust the number of male victims? Nah, I don't think so.

4:51AM PDT on Jun 11, 2010

Charles Wallace: how right you are! Thank you for your comments.

5:59PM PDT on Jun 10, 2010

i say murder is murder no matter if you kill male or female...i also feel bad for the families that are without their loved ones

12:42PM PDT on Jun 10, 2010

Charles W. - I think you're right and wrong...Yes we should have some type of education to try and teach people that hatred is wrong but the sad fact is, you can't teach everyone.

In a sense we are wasting a lot of the taxpayers money on training of our police forces...A case in point comes from personal experience....When I was 18, 4 friends and I headed out to see a concert....When I pulled up to the tollbooth window I was instructed by an officer to pull over to the side of the road in front of the tollbooth...I had been doing nothing wrong...I hadn't been speeding, I paid my toll, my car was completely legal and my radio wasn't even on so no sound ordinances were being broken....We were made to exit the vehicle, place our hands on the hood and subjected to a full body search as well as a vehicle search which included the removal of my car's seats....The officers became more and more agitated as the search progressed since they weren't finding anything wrong....I asked why this was happening and was told point blank "No group of kids with long hair and black leather jackets travel together without drugs"....I couldn't even file a lawsuit for rights violation because...and I quote...The officers were simply doing their job...This all happened long before the WTC tragedy or even the Columbine shootings....I was the victim of unjust profiling based on my appearance...The system isn't perfect by any means...My point: You can't always tell who the criminals are.

9:38AM PDT on Jun 10, 2010

It is a sad state of affairs when women are killed just because they are female. He obviously hated his wife and I guess all womankind.

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