The Maryland Newsroom Massacre: Another Mass Shooting Fueled by Toxic Masculinity

As the nation mourned yet another senseless mass shooting — this time at a local newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland on Thursday in which five people were murdered — details of the alleged gunman expose yet another perpetrator with a history of misogynistic and threatening behavior towards women.

On Friday it was reported that the man arrested by police at the scene of the massacre inside The Capital Gazette’s offices, Jarrod Warren Ramos — who had a “bitter history” with the newspaper going back years — had been charged by local prosecutors with five counts of first degree murder.

According to the Associated Press:

Ramos filed a failed lawsuit against the paper in 2012, alleging the newspaper, a columnist and an editor defamed him in an article about his conviction in a criminal harassment case in 2011.

According to court documents, five days after Ramos pleaded guilty to criminal harassment, the newspaper published a story describing allegations by a woman who claimed Ramos harassed her online for months.

The article said Ramos had contacted the woman on Facebook and thanked her “for being the only person ever to say, ‘Hello,’ or be nice to him in school.”

The woman told the newspaper that Ramos appeared to be having some problems, so she wrote back and tried to help, suggesting a counseling center. She said that set off months of emails in which Ramos sometimes asked for help, but other times called her vulgar names and told her to kill herself. She told The Capital that she told him to stop, but the emails continued. She said she called police and the emails stopped for months, but then started up again “nastier than ever,” the article said.

After a court rejected his lawsuit claiming defamation by the paper, Ramos’ ire reportedly intensified and he increasingly targeted the newspaper and its staff with threats. As Christian Christensen, professor of journalism at Stockholm University in Sweden, pointed out Ramos’ profile fits a familiar profile:

Separately, Christensen simply pointed out that the scourge of gun violence in the United States — from the daily violence of injuries, homicide and suicide nationwide to the steady stream of mass casualty events like Thursday in Annapolis — continues unabated, with much of it fueled by what he characterized as the nation’s “destructive, macho obsession with guns.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) echoed the sentiments of many as she connected Thursday’s shooting to the larger and frightening trend that means nobody is allowed to feel safe in a culture where gun violence has reached epidemic proportions: