What Most Mass Murderers Have In Common: The (Unsurprising) Predictor Of Violent Crime

What do Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, Omar Mateen, Micah Johnson, and Robert Dear have in common? Besides their crimes, it has come to light that all of these men have a history of domestic abuse.

Micah Johnson killed 5 police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, USA.

He previously sexually harassed a fellow female soldier. She asked that Johnson receive help and laid a protection order against him. He was ‘prematurely’  kicked out but did not face criminal charges.

Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel killed 84 people on Bastille Day in Nice, France. 

Four days after the incident, it was revealed that the 31-year old-father of three was known for his violent and aggressive behaviour towards his children and wife. His sister Rabab, toldHuffpost Arabi:My brother [was] just not stable psychologically and mentally. His wife and her mother both complained about his violent behavior towards her.’ He also allegedly defecated on his daughter’s bed.

Omar Mateen committed the Orlando shooting, killing 49 in a gay nightclub in Florida, USA.

He had a history of abusing his wife, beating her over things like unfinished laundry.

Robert Dear shot 3 people dead at a Planned Parenthood branch in Colorado Springs, USA.

He had previously been charged with rape, abused his ex-wives and was arrested under the ‘Peeping Tom’ law.

study of criminal offenders in Washington state found that a felony for domestic violence was the greatest predictor of the perpetrator’s likelihood to commit future violent crimes. The study, featured in a NY Times article, stated: ‘More than half of the 110 mass shootings in the United States between January 2009 and July 2014 included the murder of a current or former spouse, an intimate partner or a family member.’ Activists Pamela Shifman and Salamishah Tillet, who wrote the article, go on to say, ‘Men who commit violence rehearse and perfect it against their families first. Women and children are target practice, and the home is the training ground for these men’s later actions.’

Experts have long established a correlation between domestic abuse and the tendency to murder. A professor in the department of criminal justice and criminology at Washington State University, Melanie-Angela Neuilly says toxic masculinity is to blame:

‘We raise our boys with an acceptance that violence will be part of their behaviors (“boys will be boys”), while teaching them to repress all feelings except for anger (“boys don’t cry”), in a society which objectifies girls and women. While problematic in and of itself (“patriarchy hurts men, too”), we see that abusers overwhelming come from abusive background, and thus only replicate patterns they have learned during their childhoods, patterns which, while criminal, are ultimately reinforced in a number of ways in a masculine culture of violence.’

The chilling fact is, most of these men, who had history of domestic violence or sexual assault, were reported. And charges were dropped or dismissed. This data suggests that violence starts at home, and by reporting it and persecuting the perpetrator, we can lower the risk of these people becoming dangers to the public as well.

CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence,Kim Gandy, says: ‘If everyone took domestic violence more seriously, if we listened to victims when they report that someone is dangerous, the nation and the world would be a safer place.’

By Zoya Pon for Marie Claire SA.

Feature image: bloochikin.tumblr.com