In the aftermath of Sunday night’s mass shooting on the Danforth that shattered the lives of so many, shell-shocked residents are seeking to make sense of this seemingly senseless act. Why, many are inevitably asking, would someone do such a thing?
In truth, we may never know. The Special Investigations Unit, which is probing the circumstances surrounding the death of the suspect, named him late on Monday as 29-year-old Faisal Hussain, of Toronto.
The fact that the alleged killer is dead means we cannot ask him about his motivations. Indeed, those who study mass shootings note that because many people who commit such crimes take their own lives, or are killed by police, research into what makes them tick is not as robust as that examining serial killers, for example, who are often questioned for years by law enforcement.
A statement from the alleged killer’s family late Monday pointed to Hussain’s lifelong struggle with “severe mental health challenges,” including “psychosis and depression.” The family wrote that the interventions of professionals were not successful.
But Hussain also shared a characteristic in common with many mass murderers, one that has received particular attention in the wake of a string of explicitly misogynistic attacks: he was male.
“Much of it is this idea that (men) are owed something, or that someone has taken something from them and they must reassert themselves by taking something back,” said Rachel Kalish, a visiting professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Old Westbury and co-author of an article examining the relationship between masculinity and the concept of aggrieved entitlement.
“So for example, if a man is passed over for a job, say, and the job is given to a woman, he may feel like that woman ‘stole his job,’ but it was never actually even his to begin with