Critics Slam National Review Columnist For Nutty Statements on Sandy Hook Shooting

Erstwhile columnist Charlotte Allen stirred up quite a hornet’s nest yesterday, when she wrote in the Right Wing  National Review that Newtown school shooter Adam Lanza might have been thwarted, if only more men had worked at the school. (She also wished that perhaps “some of the huskier 12-year-old boys” should have “converged on Lanza,” a sentiment echoed by Megan McArdle, who wrote at the Daily Beast Monday that we should “[drill] it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun.”)

First of all, writes Elspeth Reeve at the Atlantic Wire, running at a shooter rarely ends well—even the US Army recommends running away or hiding first. But the bottom line is that both Allen and McArdle should back off. “It is possible to refrain from insinuating that you would have been braver and smarter than the people who were slaughtered, and that you would have made it out alive.”

A sample of other reactions to Allen’s piece, many of which point out that there were actually men at the school that day:

  • At Slate, David Weigel calls it “the stupidest thing anyone has written about Sandy Hook.”
  • Writes Katie JM Baker at Jezebel, “Allen is right that there weren’t very many men around that day. But there was one notable guy who showed up: Adam Lanza. Along with a killing weapon made by a company that tells men they’re pussies if they’re not armed. But woooo, ‘male aggression,’ you’re the best.”
  • “WOW is this disrespectful to the female teachers and staff at Sandy Hook,” writes The Nation writer Jessica Valenti on her Tumblr. “Allen mentions their heroism as an anomalous aside rather than exceptional bravery that saved lives.”
  • Salon rounds up Twitter reactions, including one from Farhad Manjoo of Slate, who says that while he is a man … he is also one “who would cower and soil myself in a mass shooting.”
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Posted by on December 21, 2012. Filed under NEWS I FIND INTERESTING. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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5 Responses to Critics Slam National Review Columnist For Nutty Statements on Sandy Hook Shooting

  1. E.A. Blair

    December 21, 2012 at 12:43 am

    In the comments section at Allen’s original article, I left the following message:

    Charlotte Allen, in failing to acknowledge the bravery of the women who did their best to protect the children in their care and those who died doing so, you have forfeited your right to your gender. You must surrender your vagina and boobs; pick up your jockstrap on the way out.”

    I received notice that my comment was “awaiting moderation”. Somehow I doubt it will survive to post.

    • AnonymousNot

      December 21, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      E.A. this is well said and well executed. Let us know if your comment goes through, but like you, I won’t hold my breath.

  2. bitcodavid

    December 21, 2012 at 7:47 am

    You know, this has been bugging me for days now. Guns or no guns – beefy guys or no beefy guys – people don’t know what they’re going to do in these types of situations, until they’re in them. And then, it’s rarely what you think it will be.

    I had an uncle who was a fire chief for Hartford. He used to get a kick out of asking people what they would do in a fire. He’d get all the usual answers. “I’d save the TV.” “I’d Jump out the window.” “I’d throw a wet towel over my head.” After my uncle got his answers, he’d say, “No. Here’s what you’d do… with rooms exploding around you – in total darkness – your lungs filling with toxic gasses and smoke – in a 1000 degree fire… you’d panic, running around in circles and crying like a baby. And – unless we get there in time – you’d die.”

    What boxing has taught me is that knowing what to do – and doing it, when a guy’s throwing a flurry of combinations at you – are two different things.

    I’ve never been in a mass shooting, but I have been in numerous situations where I’ve managed to cheat the reaper. Some of those situations did involve guns. And I have been on the wrong side of a gun, in more than one instance. I’m alive today – enabling me to write about what I’ve lived through – so perhaps a few who read me, don’t have to live through it themselves.

    I can tell you this. In none of the situations that I’ve found myself staring down the barrel of a gun – did I ever do what I expected myself to do. In fact, my sense of macho “my dick” bullshit prevents me from telling you in detail what I did do, but it sure as hell wasn’t some Robert Mitchum tough guy shit.

    People never know what they’re going to do.

  3. Dale Fisk

    December 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    My brother is a state trooper for 22 years, and he told me last night that no amount of training can prepare people for every eventuality.

    • Michael John Scott

      December 21, 2012 at 1:49 pm

      Dale I was in law enforcement for over 30 years and your brother is right. I’ve seen the best of officers lose precious moments in unexpected situations, including yours truly.