Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Eric Wright

Second Advisor

Katie Acosta

Third Advisor

Ben Kail


Psychologists, criminologists, media scholars, and other academics have for decades struggled to explain why spree/mass shootings occur. However, a surface level glance at the perpetrators of these events shows one common feature. Most of these incidents are perpetrated by heterosexual white men. I hypothesize that these men are motivated to commit these acts as a byproduct of performing masculinity. I performed a content analysis of various media from 16 spree shooters utilizing Peter Langman’s School Shooter Typology. Analysis found that the School Shooter Typology did not effectively describe the motivations and features of most shooters. By applying an intersectional lens that accounts for masculine identity and performance, I found more insight into the motivations of these shooters. Through my analysis, I developed a theory that helps explain how ostensibly privileged men might also be marginalized due to the constrains from patriarchal demands for masculine performance.


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