I was just listening to the news and heard a report of yet another “shooter” gunning down people at an event. Why do we call such people shooters?
Basketball players shoot hoops. You can shoot in pool, golf, craps, and rapids. If you are a model or photographer, you can go to a shoot and make money there. Some people, like me, shoot their mouths off.
The answer? I assume it’s a gender thing. We used to use the term gunman. That limits the “shooter” to males—or, today, perhaps cis-males. Calling someone a “gunwoman” seems awkward—plus, only 2 or 3 out of 100 mass shootings have been committed by women. “Gunner” might seem an option, but that connotes military and hunters, so we can’t go there. So I guess shooter it is. Sad that I even have to think about it.