The Newtown, Connecticut school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School has sparked a “national conversation” about the myriad precipitates for such events, but one National Review writer penned a bit explaining a “feminized” school setting lacking a “male janitor” with a high-capacity bucket to fend off gunman Adam Lanza and his Bushmaster may be in part to blame for the large number of casualties at the school.
In a stunning display of woman-on-woman sexism, Charlotte Allen explains in what Slate called “The Stupidest Thing Anyone Has Written About Sandy Hook” in the conservative site’s piece that, had only a penis or two been present at the scene, the story’s end may not have been so tragic.
Allen claims “thinking” led to her conclusion that a lack of males on site the day 20 children and six educators were murdered by the heavily armed Lanza was a mitigating factor in the incomprehensibly awful scope of the killings. (The piece is not the first analysis the National Review has done on the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.)
Let us first get it out of the way that being female in and of itself has not been considered a bar to protection of self or others overall for some time — and to suggest as such is not only an insult but an irresponsible undermining of all the dedicated female police officers, firefighters, servicewomen, and security professionals serving this country.
Charlotte Allen, you should be ashamed.
In her writing, Allen begins:
“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.”
Allen is correct. All these adult women were indeed allowed to be in charge of the school, unchaperoned, presumably inconveniencing their fathers or husbands in being driven to “work” each day. One only can imagine what would have occurred should a female janitor have attempted the bucket-heaving maneuver.
Janitors throwing buckets at the knees of Germans is also how we won WWII nationalreview.com/articles/33599…
— Dan Amira (@DanAmira) December 19, 2012
From here, the writer continues:
“Women and small children are sitting ducks for mass-murderers. The principal, Dawn Hochsprung, seemed to have performed bravely.”
To recap overall, Hochsprung has been hailed as a hero in the accounts (many patchy) pieced together from the still under-investigation attack. She and psychologist Mary Sherlach, both unarmed, are believed to have “lunged” at Lanza in an against-all-odds attempt to take him down before any others could be killed.
Both women likely knew the outcome would be, for them, fatal. And, it should not even have to be pointed out, gender was a zero percent factor in this decision and its result. Hochsprung and Sherlach were mortally wounded before getting to lay a finger on Lanza.
Again, it should be noted, neither cowered nor sought male help. Neither retreated to their offices to summon authorities or wait for help. They charged on a man with a small arsenal, leading to their own deaths, to protect the children with whom they were obligated to keep safe.
They died for their bravery and likely knew death was imminent. They did it anyway. To somehow suggest a male would have fared better is a horrible insult to their memories and the amazing selflessness of their act.
NRO: If only more people at Sandy Hook had had Man Cards. nationalreview.com/articles/33599…
— Simon Maloy (@SimonMaloy) December 19, 2012
Allen then concludes:
“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.”
(Above, a helplessly passive female law enforcement officer passively escorts terrified children away from the active crime scene where it was believed a gunman may still have been lurking.)
Recall the “helpless passivity” described above, where Hochsprung and Sherlach rushed a heavily armed male. Allen immediately has contradicted her own account with little awareness of that fact. And while not a hulking 12-year-old boy (one of which I have at home, and while clever, I can say that I do not believe he would instinctually rush a gunman), teacher Vicki Soto also bravely jumped to act and, in the process, lost her own life.
From what we know, Soto barricaded students, students later found huddled in bathroom or closet as she lay dead nearby. Vicki Soto died fighting — not because she was incapable or too female to use her body to defend her charges — she did — but because she managed, it seemed, to save more kids by outwitting the killer.
What would have happened had Soto charged the gunman rather than shield the children? We don’t know. What we ourselves can surmise is that a male teacher would have been just as impervious to the hail of bullets Lanza would unleash at anyone who approached him or crossed his path. We can know because of Soto’s opposite of “helpless passivity,” some of her students are alive today, and she is not.
Finally, the writer adds:
“You simply can’t give a non-working, non-school-enrolled 20-year-old man free range of your home, much less your cache of weapons. You have to set boundaries. You have to say, ‘You can’t live here anymore — you’re an adult, and it’s time for you to be a man. We’ll give you all the support you need, but we won’t be enablers.’ Unfortunately, the idea of being an ‘adult’ and a ‘man’ once one has reached physical maturity seems to have faded out of our coddling culture.”
Amazingly, Allen manages to add yet another bit of sexism to her heavily flawed Newtown massacre analysis. While our society, by her account, fails to urge men to take responsibility, man up and take charge, we not only do not ask this of women but fully and insultingly ignore their heroic actions when they occur.
Esquire said of Allen’s Newtown piece:
“American conservatism has been rendered a parody of a burlesque of a puppet show. And Charlotte Allen should be shunned by decent people. Hell, people who think like this should be shunned by bacteria.”
Since a man said it in a man magazine, hopefully I have the weight behind my opinion to agree. Charlotte Allen’s words would be terrible independent of the carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary, indicative of the Olympic-level conservative mental gymnastics invoked to blame everything but guns for the murders last week. In light of the sacrifice of the brave women who died, they are unconscionable.