Social media users spoke out in large numbers over the weekend against violence and the deadly shooting in Isla Vista, California, on Friday, which left the gunman, four men and two young women dead and several others wounded.
The reaction was far-reaching. Within days of the shooting, social media became the platform for a massive global discussion about women’s rights, a father of one of the shooting victims called on the government to change its gun laws and the University of California at Santa Barbara, where the shooting took place, announced that it would shut down classes on Tuesday and memorialize the students killed in the shooting.
In a 141-page memoir and YouTube video that he posted online before his killing spree, Elliot Rodger, 22, made many misogynist rants, in which said why he felt he needed to get back at women who had rebuffed him.
“I don’t know why you girls have never been attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it,” he said in the video. “I’m the perfect guy, and yet you throw yourselves at all these obnoxious men, instead of me, the supreme gentleman.”
As news of the shooting spread, and as more details became public, tweets with the hashtag #YesAllWomen signaled a popular social media conversation about everything from how women are viewed by society to personal experiences to women feeling unsafe. It played off another viral hashtag, “#NotAllMen,” which experienced a similar viral conversation that originated with a Tumblr and a recent Web comic from artist Matt Lubchansky.
The tweet “Because every single women I know has a story about a man feeling entitled to access to her body. Every. Single. One. #YesAllWomen,” was retweeted more than 3,300 times.
Another: “‘I have a boyfriend’ is the easiest way to get a man to leave you alone. Because he respects another man more than you. #yesallwomen,” garnered more than 4,900 favorites and 5,500 retweets.
“The #YesAllWomen Twitter campaign is powerful. And necessary,” wrote Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak on Monday.
“It tells the stories we keep to ourselves, and it takes back a Twitterverse that is so often used as a space to intimidate, harass and threaten women,” she wrote.
Beyond the online discussion, the father of one of the victims made a direct and emotional plea to the U.S. government for stricter gun laws.
Christopher Martinez, 20, was shot and killed by Rodger on Friday night. His father, Richard Martinez, spoke to CNN the next day, when he made a public plea for stricter regulations on firearms.
"Our family has a message for every parent out there: You don't think it will happen to your child until it does," he said, his voice rising to a shout.
In an emotional appeal, he referred to various incidents in recent years when students were shot in or around their school.
Legislation proposed after the Sandy Hook shootings, which was meant to extend background checks for gun sales, ban assault weapons and limit ammo capacity, failed to clear the Senate in April 2013, as gun-rights advocates opposed the measure.
“We’re all proud to be Americans," he said. "But what kind of message does it send to the world when we have such a rudderless bunch of idiots in government?”
Parents, friends and classmates of the victims continue to mourn their passing.
On Sunday, roughly 200 people attended a memorial service at St. Mark’s University Parish. The University of California at Santa Barbara canceled classes for Tuesday ahead of another memorial service that afternoon, and the school announced that staff would be on campus to offer support to the students.
“On Tuesday we will remember and honor the victims of this horrible event, and come together as an academic community to reflect, talk with each other, and think about the future,” a public statement from the school’s Chancellor and Interim Executive Vice Chancellor Henry Yang and Joel Michaelsen said.