Rather, toxic masculinity may be one manifestation of a larger underlying characteristic of mass shooters; that is, feelings of being victimized and persecuted at the hands of a symbolic oppressor. In March, Lankford published a study in which he identified three main traits present in nearly all mass shooters: perceived victimization, desire for fame, and suicidality.
“Public mass shooters are attacking essentially symbolic targets, symbolic of some institution they believe have harmed them in the past,” Lankford said. For people like the perpetrator of the van attack in Toronto by a self-proclaimed “incel,” women become that symbolic group. Other potential targets include minorities, gay people or some “authority” such as one’s workplace or school. The YouTube shooter fits with this mold, as the company had recently demonetized her videos, a fact she was vocally angry about.
Her desire for YouTube stardom also folds neatly into this paradigm.