When domestic violence is deadly: Shooter kills three women at a Wisconsin salon

Just a few months after the tragedies in Aurora and Oak Creek, the latest act of mass gun violence took place outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin yesterday.

Radcliffe Haughton opened fire at the salon where his estranged wife works, killing three women and injuring four others, before turning the gun on himself. While details are still coming out, the police are already pretty sure that “this incident is domestic violence related.” Earlier this month, Haughton allegedly slashed the tires of his wife’s car. Just last week she got a restraining order against him and he was ordered to turn his weapons over to the sheriff’s department.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has a slew of horrifying stats that show how domestic violence combined with easy access to guns puts the lives of American women at risk. I was especially struck by this one: Women are more than twice as likely to be shot to death by their male intimates as they are to be shot, stabbed, strangled or killed in any other way by a stranger.

And, as Eesha thoughtfully explored after the Aurora shooting, the gendered nature of mass murder–even those that aren’t directly related to domestic violence like this one–cannot be ignored. As Bob Herbert wrote a few years ago, after George Sodini killed three women at a Pennsylvania gym, “We’ve seen this tragic ritual so often that it has the feel of a formula. A guy is filled with a seething rage toward women and has easy access to guns. The result: mass slaughter.”

Our thoughts go out to the friends and families of all the victims.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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