The University of Toronto is on edge in the wake of online comments urging a mass shooting of feminists.
Last week, an anonymous online commenter on BlogTO urged men to “rent a gun from a gang and start firing bullets into these feminists at your nearest Women’s Studies classroom.”
Here’s one of the threats, screencapped by a woman who posted it on Twitter and alerted police:
(I’ve crossed out the name of the other commenters.)
It would be convenient to toss this off as the bad joke of a shitposting troll. But Canadians remember well what happened when an angry man with a gun took his own personal antifeminist crusade to a Montreal classroom in 1989: 14 women shot to death.
And sadly. as I hardly need to remind regular readers here, numerous women have been slain since then by mass shooters with a grudge against feminists and women in general, from George Sodini to Elliot Rodger. This past May, a University of Mary Washington student and feminist/LGBT activist named Grace Mann was murdered after being the target of online antifeminist threats.
The University of Toronto is taking the threats seriously; in a statement released today, the school president assured students that “we have increased the presence of our own police on all three campuses.” The Toronto police, for their part, say that while “no credible threat has been identified” so far, they will continue with their investigation.
Threats like these, whether “credible” or not, are a kind of gender terrorism, designed to keep women in fear online, on campus, in the world in general.
If you’re at the U of T or in Toronto, please post any additional information you run across in the comments here; there’s also an ongoing (and generally non-awful) discussion on Reddit’s UofT subreddit as well as on Twitter.