As the sun set on the state of American letters Tuesday evening, it was a better-than-even wager that Megan McArdle's "Would The Children Please Rush The Shooter Next Time So I Don't Have To Defend My Policy Positions At Cocktail Parties To Anyone Who Thinks They Are Bankrupt" article for the Daily Beast was going to go down in history as the most wrong-headed piece on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
But with every sunrise comes a new chance to surprise, and I'm just as surprised as the rest of you that I plumb forgot about what the National Review, and Charlotte Allen, might yet attempt.
There are two things -- and really, only two things -- you should know about Allen. First, she despises and detests women with the fanaticism of an English soccer hooligan. Second, she's always suggesting that those who are beneath her station should rush off to sacrifice their lives and livelihoods in order to be ennobled. Allen thinks that Hurricane Katrina, for example, is the best thing that ever happened to the people of New Orleans (the poor and black ones, anyway).
Allen's piece on Sandy Hook, and the appropriate solutions that should be applied to future policy, is basically a variation on McArdle's "throw your bodies at the gunman in heaping numbers" strategy, laced through with a constant reminder that women are largely useless:
There was not a single adult male on the school premises when the shooting occurred. In this school of 450 students, a sizeable number of whom were undoubtedly 11- and 12-year-old boys (it was a K–6 school), all the personnel — the teachers, the principal, the assistant principal, the school psychologist, the “reading specialist” — were female. There didn’t even seem to be a male janitor to heave his bucket at Adam Lanza’s knees. Women and small children are sitting ducks for mass-murderers. The principal, Dawn Hochsprung, seemed to have performed bravely. According to reports, she activated the school’s public-address system and also lunged at Lanza, before he shot her to death. Some of the teachers managed to save all or some of their charges by rushing them into closets or bathrooms. But in general, a feminized setting is a setting in which helpless passivity is the norm. Male aggression can be a good thing, as in protecting the weak — but it has been forced out of the culture of elementary schools and the education schools that train their personnel. Think of what Sandy Hook might have been like if a couple of male teachers who had played high-school football, or even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys, had converged on Lanza.
Now, before we go any further, let's first recall that there have been no reports -- none, the null set! -- indicating that anyone at Sandy Hook Elementary School responded with "helpless passivity." Got that? No examples, is what I'm saying. Baseless assertion, is what I am saying. I am not arguing this because there is no argument to be had.
Second, as has been reported by NBC News, there was a male custodian at Sandy Hook Elementary School at the time of the shooting:
A custodian warned of the gunman by running through the halls, said 4th-grade teacher Theodore Varga.
"He said, 'Guys! Get down! Hide!'" Varga said. "So he was actually a hero."
So it would seem that in practice, the thing a male janitor should not do is attempt some feat of ninja crime-fighting with a mop bucket.
Third, note the name of the teacher: Theodore Varga. So much for: "There was not a single adult male on the school premises when the shooting occurred."
Fourth, when Allen says, "Think of what Sandy Hook might have been like if a couple of male teachers who had played high-school football, or even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys, had converged on Lanza," I can tell you my specific thoughts. One is a big pile of dead, husky 12-year-old boys. Another: a former high school football player who is now just as dead as Principal Hochsprung, because as it turns out, all that "male aggression" didn't impress the pieces of hot shrapnel flying through the air sufficiently to alter their trajectories.
But the main thought I have is that Sandy Hook Elementary School is a K-4 school, which means there wouldn't actually be any 12-year-old boys on hand, "husky" or otherwise.
These are just a few of the patently obvious things that you'd never expect to have any cause to point out, were it not for the fact that people like Allen are lurking out there somewhere, writing this inane drivel.
Have we now reached peak Sandy Hook stupidity? Let's hope so. I reckon that we could still have a column that argues that poor students should throw themselves at spree-killers because of the meritocracy or something, but I imagine that everyone already realizes that we need poor children to grow to adulthood so that they can instead throw themselves at militants in Afghanistan for the benefit of their affluent betters.
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