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A Rundown of the Insane Rationales Right-Wingers Are Offering for Why Sandy Hook Happened

Those on the right who would blame the tragedy on anything but guns see women as the problem -- not the heroes

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Raise your hand if you have no idea what a mass murder by a “white kid” (who is somehow not branded a thug) has to do with a hypothetical group of “black thugs” (who are), except that clearly Birdnow is excited to not have to “tiptoe” around his desire to talk about one of them.

Blame women and people of color for not being nice enough to white men as they’re robbed of privilege. I do not know the politics of Princeton French professor Christy Wampole, but she is of a different stratum than the professional culture warriors above. Still, she sings their song in her own key in a piece on the New York Times website, saying in response to the mass murder, “This is merely anecdotal evidence, not social science, but I believe that it is indicative of a sort of infection spreading in our collective brain, one that whispers to the American subconscious: ‘The young men are in decline.’” The appropriate thing to whisper back, apparently, is “Poor baby.”

Walpole writes of young men, “They were once our heroes, our young and shining fathers, our sweet brothers, our tireless athletes, our fearless warriors, the brains of our institutions, the makers of our wares, the movers of our world.” (They were, perhaps, in literature. In this reading of history, they conveniently were never, in real life, “our” enslavers or oppressors.) “But more young men these days are avatars of soldiers rather than soldiers themselves.” (I think that’s a reference to video games.)

As a result, she writes, “the angry white man has usurped the angry black man.” As Jamie Peck put it in her takedown at the Gloss, “While the angry black man was angry about things like, I don’t know, the way white people kidnapped a million of his ancestors from Africa and enslaved them, then freed them but made them live in an environment of widespread racism, poverty and oppression, the angry white man is angry about whatever marginal gains people who are not him have made in the past 50 years or so.” Those gains, I might add, include belated recognition of the right to vote and participate in politics, which it is so unfair that white men had to share.

But here’s Wampole’s key insight: “Those of us who are not male or white have enjoyed some benefits from their decline, the sort of violence and murder that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary will continue to occur if we do not find a way to carry them along with us in our successes rather than leaving them behind.”

In other words, ladies and marginalized people: Can’t you be a little nicer in this apparently zero-sum game of rights grabbing? Or else this otherwise shining young man will shoot a bunch of children.

Irin Carmon is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @irincarmon or email her at icarmon@salon.com.

 
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