These are some interesting things we read relating to the tragedy in Newtown. Their inclusion here represents not our endorsement of any or all the ideas contained within each story, but simply that these pieces contain ideas that are possibly worthy of discussion or thought — that part, of course, is up to you.
Gender, Family Life, and Gun-Fueled Mass Murder, by Ann M. Little for Historiann - "...what I’m proposing is that a large part of the toxic culture of white/privileged masculinity is fed by parental permissiveness, so that what privileged boys learn as they grow up is that there are no limits or boundaries which they must respect. Little boys are permitted to be more destructive in their play and in their relationships with others than little girls are."
Why Most Mass Murderers Are Privileged White Men, by Hugo Schwyzer for Role/Reboot - "It’s not that white men are guaranteed preferential treatment in every setting. It’s that white men are raised to expect to be welcomed wherever they go. When they find that that automatic welcome isn’t forthcoming, they tend to be indignant.... While each killer had a unique pathology that helped drive him to do the unthinkable, the fact that these white male mass murderers felt so confident choosing public spaces to commit their crimes reflects a powerful truth about the culture in which they were raised. Put simply, they did what they did because of an individual sickness—but they did it where they did it in part because of white privilege."
I Am Adam Lanza's Mother, by Liza Long for The Blue Review -"When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges."
You Are Not Adam Lanza's Mother, via The Girl Who Was Thursday - "By reducing ‘mental illness’ to ‘outward behaviour’ the article dehumanises the mentally ill and completely glosses over the inner mental life and experiences of those with mental illness."
Guns, Parents, and Sandy Hook: Time To Take The Bullet, by Andrew Cohen for The Atlantic - "Whatever else it means, Friday's tragedy is just another awful reminder of the disconnect that exists in America between the lengths to which we as parents (and teachers and school administrators) are always willing to sacrifice for our children when the bullets are flying and what we all are always unwilling to sacrifice for our children when the guns go silent."
Newtown, Drones, American Militarism, and Peace, by Robert Wolfe for Wolf & Eagle - "If [Obama is] serious about taking ‘meaningful action’, I submit that he needs to begin by withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, staunchly advocating the dramatic reduction of the US military budget, and proposing to channel the surplus into public education, healthcare, renewable energy, and all the other services that could rebuild a fractured and alienated social fabric."
Why Did Nancy Lanza Love Guns?, by Porochista Khakpour for Slate.com - "...even a sweet Connecticut housewife and mother, or a literary geek like me, can get swept up in the false power of guns. It’s time to realize what much of gun-loving actually is—a passion for destruction veiled as protection."
Today, Enough, by Roxanne Gay for The Rumpus - "We are struggling to make sense. We are crying out for change, for a mental health care system that can truly help the people who soothe their inner torment by reaching for weapons of such destruction. We are crying out for gun control laws that, at the very least, make it more difficult for such tragedies to occur. We are sick with grief and smallness and fragility."
The Gun Control That Works: No Guns, by Lexington for The Economist - "As for the National Rifle Association bumper stickers arguing that only an armed citizenry can prevent tyranny, I wonder if that isn’t a form of narcissism, involving the belief that lone, heroic individuals will have the ability to identify tyranny as it descends, recognise it for what it is, and fight back. There is also the small matter that I don’t think America is remotely close to becoming a tyranny, and to suggest that it is is both irrational and a bit offensive to people who actually do live under tyrannical rule."
To The Media Covering Newtown, by Mama By the Bay for BlogHer - "They will remember you. They will remember feeling violated by you. Their parents will regret that the veil of shock blurred their vision enough to allow you to interview their children."
Battleground America: One Nation Under The Gun, by Jill Lepore for The New Yorker (from April 2012) - "The firearms used by a well-regulated militia, at the time the Second Amendment was written, were mostly long arms that, like a smaller stockpile of pistols, could discharge only once before they had to be reloaded. In size, speed, efficiency, capacity, and sleekness, the difference between an eighteenth-century musket and the gun that George Zimmerman was carrying is roughly the difference between the first laptop computer—which, not counting the external modem and the battery pack, weighed twenty-four pounds—and an iPhone."
The National Conversation In The Wake of Littleton Is Missing the Mark, by Jackson Katz and Sut Jhally for The Boston Globe (May 1999) - "The issue is not just violence in the media but the construction of violent masculinity as a cultural norm. From rock and rap music and videos, Hollywood action films, professional and college sports, the culture produces a stream of images of violent, abusive men and promotes characteristics such as dominance, power, and control as means of establishing or maintaining manhood."