‘We cannot wait till the world is sane’

“I’m not scared of the world ending. I’m scared of people who think the world’s ending.”

Gun-rights absolutists thrive on the paranoia they engender, and the rest of us eventually pay the price for it.”

“What pisses me off most about all of the vigilante-hero fantasizing gun nuts is that their limited view of heroism involves [only] killing a bad guy. If you want to be a hero, there are plenty of ways to step up and be one every day. Unless your fantasy isn’t about heroism at all, just killing.”

“Last time we visited with her in person we talked about prepping and you know, are you ready for what can happen down the line when the economy collapses.”

“You say things like this, because in some ugly part of your brain you want to see yourself fighting the globalist army after the collapse of our country. And you have that particular dream because you’re old and white, and you’re afraid of the way this country is changing.”

An aberrant variety of pathological White Masculinity, as embodied by mass gun murders such as Adam Lanza and John Holmes, is killing people — the vast majority of whom are white.”

“As a white male, he is characterized as a disturbed individual, wholly distinct from the race and culture to which he belongs.”

“Yet, because the the perpetrators in question in these shootings are white men and not ethnic or religious minorities, nobody is talking about demographic profiling them as a group. The discussion, instead, revolves around everything from gun control, to mental health services, to violence in entertainment – everything, that is, except trying to understand why the composite of these killers is so similar across so many different massacres.”

The gender identity of the shooter and the gender identity of the victims — underlie why policy solutions should include greater examination of gender, men’s relationship to women and to each other.”

“To state the obvious, there is something more than self-defense at work here.”

“There is an interesting psychology at work here. Nancy Lanza, the mother of mass murderer Adam Lanza, was a gun collector who kept arms so that she might be ‘prepared for the worst.’ But Nancy Lanza’s weapons did not prepare her to defend against the worst, they prepared her to be destroyed by the worst — along with her neighbors and several small children. Pratt’s answer is not to question the preparation which killed Nancy Lanza, but to duplicate it ad infinitum.”

Pakistani children light candles Sunday in Karachi, Pakistan. (Arshad/Zuma Press photo snitched from Talking Points Memo)

“We guarantee that crazed man after crazed man will have a flood of killing power readily supplied him. We have to make that offering, out of devotion to our Moloch, our god.”

“I came to realize that, in essence, this is the way we in America want things to be.”

“Don’t fool yourself, something truly terrible could arise out of this, gun owners are going to double down with all their fury in the coming months. It’s going to be ugly.”

“We can no longer hide behind the convenient fiction that guns are an urban problem.”

“The NRA, which everyone thinks owns the gun control issue in America, isn’t anywhere near as powerful as people think it is.”

“Of the some 3000 persons killed by US drones, something like 600 have been innocent noncombatant bystanders, and of these 176 were children.”

Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

The title of this post comes from Madeleine L’Engle’s Advent poem “First Coming,” posted yesterday by Susan Russell.

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  • Jessica_R

    Here’s the story of one of those helpers, http://news.yahoo.com/neighbor-took-6-young-survivors-home-205020443.html

  • LL

    I don’t think it’s a white male thing (though white males do
    perpetrate more mass shootings than other groups), it’s a male thing. Men of
    all races kill people all the time. 


    It’s just that it’s just usually women (ie, it’s a domestic
    situation), so it’s not as big a deal. Last year in the Dallas area, a
    Vietnamese guy shot 8 people at a skating rink (his wife and some of her
    relatives). Last Christmas (Christmas Day, actually) a guy (last name Yazdanpanah) killed his entire family (wife, two kids)
    plus 3 other people, also in the Dallas area.


    kill women every day in this country. They kill kids almost as often. It
    happens so frequently it barely makes the news in the same way that terrible
    mass shootings do.  

    Just sayin’, it’s not so much a white male thing as it is a male thing. 

  • LL

    Sorry about that funky spacing.

  • Carstonio

     Yes and no. Given the level of white male resentment and feelings of misplaced entitlement, it’s reasonable to suspect these as being among the combination of factors for this type of assailant. These guys may be projecting those feeling onto society instead of onto women or minorities specifically.

  • ProfWombat

    Expanding a bit:  responses to human problems can be divided into three categories:
    1.  Ain’t it awful?  The sweep of history.  Pandora’s box open.  Human nature in a fallen world.  You can’t unring the bell.  There are too few of us.  Nothing to be done, because nothing will work.  Pass the lemon meringue pie and the Chardonnay.
    2.  Ain’t they awful?  Moochers and looters, coming for what I built with my virtuous hands as if their hunger and privation were my responsibility, rather than evidence of their failures.  Back in a bit, hun:  gotta get more ammo and some hungry young alligators for the moat.
    3.  What can I do to help?  How can I join with others to help?

    Only one of these is a response which any of us would tolerate for a minute with respect to, say, a middle school recess yard…

  • Granting that it’s reasonable to suspect these as being among the combination of factors for this type of assailant, what follows from our choosing to do so?

    Does something different follow from instead choosing to suspect the factors LL proposes (which are also reasonable to suspect as being among the combination of factors for this type of assailant)?

    Would something different follow from instead choosing to suspect the combination of factors (“white”, “male”, “earning less than $100k annually”)?

  • Carstonio

    My point has little to do with spotting potential assailants, and more about the long-term goal of doing away with privilege and entitlement based on personal characteristics. I don’t suppose that would ever disappear entirely,

  • Only one of these is a response which any of us would tolerate for a minute 

    You’d think all that energy wasted wringing hands and grinding axes could have easily been spent doing … something.

  • Got it.

    Admittedly, I don’t quite understand why you mentioned the combination of factors
    for a particular type of assailant at all, in that case, but I certainly agree that if the topic is reducing privilege and entitlement based on personal characteristics, then talking about the relatively privileged, entitled status of white men makes a lot of sense. 

    And other things, like income levels or genetic markers or whatever, that may be a contributing factor for particular types of assault but aren’t a common source of privilege and entitlement, are in that case irrelevant to the topic.

  • AnonymousSam

    So Nancy Lanza had been stockpiling guns for the big event, when the country falls apart and people riot in the streets and prey off of one another. Instead, she gets killed by one of the closest people to home — a family member — using the very weaponry she was saving for that special occasion.

    I don’t like victim blaming, so I’m not going to engage in it now. She’s dead, and as far as I’m concerned, she’s square with the table. Whatever comes after this wonderful and terrible world of ours, I believe it’s enough of an equalizer that I have no right to be a big jerk and rip off some kind of “I TOLD YOU SO” schtick.

    That’s why, when I say “those who live by the sword will die by the sword,” I’m thinking it may be time to rethink the meaning of this phrase. I always took it to mean that people who seek aggression will eventually meet an ugly end at the hands of an enemy they either don’t see coming or who proves too big a bite to chew, but I think there may be something else going on here.

    When you bring weaponry into your home, you create a variable of everyone else who has access to your home. Regardless of your own stability, friends, family, visitors and burglars all become potential catalysts in anything from horrifying accidents to bewildering and tragic murders, all because you felt like you would be more secure, more cool, more in touch with the past or more something by dint of owning a weapon which only has one purpose: killing people. And the problem with things that kill people is that you’re people too.

    Or in short, I’m beginning to suspect that the best way to keep yourself from being killed with a gun is to never own one.

  • AnonymousSam

    Addendum: In case my point wasn’t clear, it’s that rather than keeping its wielder safe, it seems likely to me that having a gun and living anywhere near human civilization means that there is a non-zero chance that any person in close proximity may pick up your gun and shoot you with it. The closer it is, the less far they’ll have to reach for it. The more there are, the more options they’ll have.

    Take all those guns away and anyone who wants to shoot you is going to have to look somewhere else to find a gun, and maybe they’ll change their minds along the way. One can always hope.

  • hidden_urchin

    “You know he wouldn’t carry a gun, Scout. He ain’t even got one—“ said Jem.  “You know he didn’t even have one down at the jail that night. He told me havin’ a gun around’s an invitation to somebody to shoot you.”

    That’s about one of my favorite characters in fiction, Atticus Finch.  I’ve always figured it was probably about right.  And here is one of my very favorite Atticus  quotes from To Kill a Mockingbird.

    “…I wanted to you see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you being anyway and you see it through no matter what…”

    It’s too bad so many folks slept through that part of English class.

  • Isabel C.
  • Or in short, I’m beginning to suspect that the best way to keep yourself from being killed with a gun is to never own one.

    There is evidence to support this view.

  • Carstonio

    It’s relevant because the privilege and entitlement help create racist fears and resentments. The same emotions that have twisted the gun debate for decades, where personal protection is a euphemism for keeping minorities at bay.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    And other things, like income levels or genetic markers or whatever, that may be a contributing factor for particular types of assault but aren’t a common source of privilege and entitlement, are in that case irrelevant to the topic.

    Income levels aren’t a common source of privilege?


    You wouldn’t happen to be middle class, would you?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    “What pisses me off most about all of the vigilante-hero fantasizing gun nuts is that their limited view of heroism involves [only] killing a bad guy. If you want to be a hero, there are plenty of ways to step up and be one every day. Unless your fantasy isn’t about heroism at all, just killing.”

    This point exactly. Please note and take to heart, dude who likes to fantasise about how he imagines he’ll act against some hypothetical oppressor one day and then they’ll see, they’ll all see.

  • Sorry, the income levels I was referring to was low income levels, which aren’t typically a source of privilege. High income, of course, is. Sorry I wasn’t clear about that.

  •  Ah, OK. Thanks for clarifying that.

  • banancat

    Considering that killers are most likely to target victims of their own race and class, if there were black male spree killers, would we even hear about them?  Whether or not race is a big factor in incidents like this (it mostly likely is to some extent), I think the race of the victims plays a big part in the press coverage.

    I’m really afraid to click on any google links about black spree killers but just based on the title links, it looks like the sites are mostly racist white people making a big deal about black killers of white victims.  There’s also some mention of gangs, and it occurs to me that if there was a spree shooting in a poor urban area it might be attributed to gang violence without really looking much into it.

  • stardreamer42

     Most large cities have malls and cinemas that draw majority-black clientele. I’m pretty sure that if somebody shot up one of those it would make the news. Drive-by spree killings, though, you’re probably right.

  • AlexJarr

    Do we know that spree killers like this target their own race? (I know that other types of murderers do, but I’m wondering if it’s the same considering how these guys tend to operate. The Arizona guy for example had no way of ensuring that everyone he attacked was the same race as him, and neither did the guy in Connecticut — and the guy in Wisconsin was probably targeting people because another race.)

    If they do tend to hit the same race, it might because they target their own neighbors/people who are nearest to them, and that’s a factor of geographic segregation.)

  • banancat

     I just meant that for crime in general, attackers usually target victims of their own race.  I really don’t know if this extrapolates to spree killings because, like I said, that is not something I want to sift through google for.  However, I certainly didn’t intend to imply that it is or could be as much of a problem among men of other races.  My point was that if it’s as much of a problem among black men, for example, we likely wouldn’t even know about it because of racism in the media.

  • P J Evans

     I wouldn’t expect there to be drive-by spree killings – it’s pretty difficult, because it’s in the open, and after about two shots everyone will be on the ground or headed for cover. Also, lots of witnesses, whether the police talk to them or not.

  • Or in short, I’m beginning to suspect that the best way to keep yourself from being killed with a gun is to never own one.

    Well you know, those who live by the [weapon of choice in their day and age] die by the [weapon of choice in their day and age].  Of course what did Jesus know, he was a long-haired radical socialist Jew.

  • I read a book in the mid-90s in a West African literature class that addressed male violence in a culture where black males are the privileged ones (since there are virtually no white males). I have been trying to remember the name of the book for months. But I think it should be required reading in every nation on earth. It addresses the problem of treating men like little boys — of giving little boys so much leeway in the first place, and then not stopping. Of shrugging and saying “boys will be boys” whenever they do something. Of blaming women when men do wrong.

    The little boys never grow up. They have not been taught that they are not the centers of the universe, that everything is not going to go their way in life, and that it is not actually okay to throw a tantrum when it doesn’t. And then they abuse women and children, they start wars, they hurt themselves and everyone around them, because no one has ever stood in front of them and said STOP. 

    It was a book about a society where male privilege is even more extreme than it is in the U.S., but the principle is the same. Yes, many men have parents who teach them to be grown-ups, or somehow fumble their way into maturity. But the broader society is constantly telling white boys that they are the only things that matter.
    That women are some other species that exists to serve white men sexually and domestically.
    That white men are right to “defend” white women from black men, because white men are the real men, and black men are somehow animalistic not-really-men. That Hispanic men are lazy druggies, not-really-men. That Asian men are brainy and non-masculine, not-really-men. That white men are the absolute norm, the measure by which all others are judged, the only true humans.

    White men know for a fact they can get away with sexually assaulting girls and women, and so the only thing keeping them from it is the fact that most of them don’t want to do it. But those who do want to do it, only very rarely pay for it, because we don’t demand responsibility from men. Every problem in a heterosexual relationship is laid at a woman’s feet. He cheats, it’s the other woman’s fault, and his wife wasn’t doing what she needed to to keep him happy. He beats his wife, she shouldn’t have said that, and why is that stupid *$#%$ staying with him anyway? The woman gets pregnant accidentally, somehow she hijacked his sperm. History as it is commonly taught tells him: everyone important is a white man. Media tells him: everyone important is a white man. The little adjustments other people (particularly women) go through to make his life smoother and protect his ego: you, white man, are far more important than anyone else.

    And so there is not one thing stopping those white men whose parents are not good or who have not lucked into maturity from thinking they should have everything always. And so when they hit a “no”, they hit a wall, they have no way to deal with it. 

  • Regardless of your own stability, friends, family, visitors and burglars all become potential catalysts

    My mother has a schizophrenic brother who used to be violent before three things happened. One: he got better meds. Two: he got older, and mellowed.

    Three: the last time he hit his mother was when my father saw him do it. (This happened when I was a baby.) My father had just come in from tennis. My uncle would not stop hitting his mother, so my father hit my uncle with the racket. My uncle never hit his mother or, to my knowledge, anyone else, ever again.

    The lesson I take from this, is that anyone can be taught personal responsibility, even a 30ish-year old schizophrenic middle class white male whose every whim has been catered to his whole life; first, because he was the genius oldest son; then, because everyone in his family both feared and pitied him. 

    My mother has gone her entire adult life without ever buying really good, big, sharp knives. She’s afraid of what could happen during an argument if they were in the home.  Because she grew up with instability, she fears it. 

    I don’t know if there’s a lesson in that. Just that I’m sad that my mother is afraid to have good knives. 

  • Income levels aren’t a common source of privilege?


    Same with many genetic markers. While blue vs. brown eyes don’t do much, so many other things do. Being tall, especially if you’re a man, really helps. I haven’t seen any studies about height in women, but I have long noticed I get a little more deference in person than my shorter female friends, and I don’t think it can be personality. Being “too” short does hurt. Fatness hurts severely. Being good-looking is pure win for men, a mixed blessing for women, but usually helpful for both when trying to find a job.

    Not to mention the genetic markers like mental and physical non-normalcy (what is considered normal) or disability.

  • Daughter

     by dint of owning a weapon which only has one purpose: killing people.

    I want to highlight this. In some discussions, gun owners have gotten offended by this statement, claiming that they use theirs for fun by shooting at gun ranges.

    And then they point out that cars kills a lot more people, so should we ban cars?

    But the point is, a gun’s purpose is to kill things (animals or people). And sometimes, people use it for other purposes, such as target practice. But that doesn’t take away from it’s primary purpose.

    Likewise, a car’s purpose is transportation. And sometimes people use it for other purposes, like living in it when they find themselves homeless. But that doesn’t take away from it’s primary purpose.

  • Daughter

     I’m not so sure about that. Back in the crack age of the 1990’s, the media in Boston regularly covered stories about innocent bystanders getting killed by gang violence. Usually, those victims were black, but they were not the typical demographic of gang members; they were young children, older adults, females.

  • Clearly, I was counting on a level of context from the conversation I was in that simply didn’t get carried over.

    The genetic markers I was referring to were the hypothetical ones that might characterize spree killers, which is what we’d previously been discussing, just as the income levels I was referring to were the ones that hypothetically might help to characterize spree killers, just as being white and male had been introduced as physical characteristics that characterized spree killers.

    My apologies for failing to explicitly note that context.

    I agree completely that there are many physical characteristics, like height and body shape, that convey privilege, and that many of these characteristics are related to genome sequences.

    I should perhaps note, incidentally, that not every genome sequence that has a noticeable phenotypic effect is a genetic marker; we’ve drifted into a somewhat extended use of the term.

  • Michael Pullmann

    And we regulate cars way more than we regulate guns.

  • AnonymousSam

    I’m a sociopath who realized the value of individual and collective life, so I can definitely see where you’re coming from if the lesson was “Don’t write off everyone.” It’s a huge step to make to be Absolutely Sure that everyone with potential access to the gun would never use it irresponsibly under any possible circumstances, though, and I don’t think everyone can do it. The parent who’s Absolutely Sure their teen would never touch their gun has a habit of coming home to discover that their teen is nothing like what they thought he was, because he didn’t disclose that he’d been bullied in school, was a member of a gang and had an upcoming fight with rivals, broke up with his girlfriend or who knows what.

    It just seems to me that the only way to be Absolutely Sure is not to own one at all. Then you can know for a fact that it’ll never be misused. :p

  • We need a War on Violence. 

  • EllieMurasaki
  • Yay 1BR!

    We just had our first readthrough for the performance of the Vagina Monologues that I’m helping direct, which is associated with 1BR, for which several women wrote extremely powerful “Why I Am Rising” statements, so it’s particularly near and dear to my heart right now.

  • EllieMurasaki


  • Ahem. Apparently, my manly nature is the reason that I find myself wanting to punch abstract comments, And that’s a good thing.

    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.

    Yes. That is why all those children died. Insufficient male aggression.

  • Soylent H


  • hidden_urchin

    Now that I’ve scraped my jaw off of the floor…

    Thank you, Ross, for just breaking my brain with that link. 

    Someone actually suggested that some twelve year old boys should take on a twenty year old man who is armed with an AR-15?  I haven’t seen anyone suggest in earnest that the kindergarteners should have been packing heat but this is close enough.   Also, way to support the sick cult of hyper-masculinity that is contributing to so many damaged people– men and women alike.

    I’m going to be absolutely frank here and I apologize in advance for my language.

    That woman is a fucking idiot.

  •  And… A meme is born

  • fredgiblet

    I think this may very well be a contributing factor.  I’ve seen plenty of people complaining about the youth culture we have that is so self-centered, raised on a steady unending diet of praise that when they are faced with a place where they aren’t praised they fall apart.  I can see the crushing blow of that causing serious issues.

  • Dash1

    On a somewhat different topic–but only somewhat–that picture of the Pakistani children makes me very sad, in large part because we never do anything like that when our drones kill children in Pakistan. 

  • hidden_urchin

    Good.  I hope that she never lives it down. 

  • So… even though in American high schools it seems that one out of every two has some kind of actual sports team that participates in county and state events, and one out of every one has some kind of P.E. program, somehow all that vanishes when this dipshit wants to score rhetorical manly-man points?

    I can only wince at the stupid radiating off that person’s post.

  • EllieMurasaki

    None of those count, because thanks to Title IX, sports funding has to go to boys’ and girls’ teams equally, instead of primarily or exclusively to the boys’ teams.

    (People pitch such shitfits over how this deprives boys of sports, because there aren’t enough girls interested in sports to muster as many teams as the interested boys could fill. Doesn’t seem to occur to any of these people that perhaps the solution is to figure out what about our culture makes competition a male thing and to reduce that thing, which would make girls a lot more competitive in academics and the workforce as well as in sports. Let’s not even discuss coed teams. I forget where, I think it’s Louisiana, but there’s a boys’ football team with a female quarterback. Other teams often don’t want to play her team if she’s on the field, which sometimes means she gets benched and sometimes means the other team forfeits. It’s ridiculous.)

  • Again, I get the impression that most of these people develop all of their knowledge of the world from films. 

    They learn about women’s issues from pornography (“Women need birth control because they have sex frequently… bow chika wow wow”), counterterrorism issues from dramas (“If torture isn’t legal, how will Jack Bauer find the ticking time bomb?”), religion from horror movies (“The Bible says that the Antichrist will soon come and take over the world!–I know because ‘The Omen’ tells me so!”).

    And now apparently they’re basing their gun violence issues from action-comedy movies like “Kindergarten Cop” and “Home Alone”. 

    I’m sure Allen has cooked up this elaborate fantasy universe where a rugged former college ball player-turned-elementary school gym teacher, possibly down on his luck (possibly played by Vin Diesel or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) teams up with a few cute kids possibly culled from the Disney or Nickeloden roster to take Lanza down. 

    And the worst part of it is, this is only slightly more inane than the suggestions given so far by prominent figures like Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and former Arkansas governor/presidential candidate and current televised asshole Mike Huckabee.

  • That kind of action-hero thinking is more than a little disturbing. :O

  • AnonymousSam


    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.”

    So the reason this happened is because Nancy Lanza didn’t kick her son out the home for being a lazy bum, and he killed so many people because feminism has sucked the aggression out of society.

    Whatever you’re shooting, lady, it can’t be legal.

  • One out of every one? Maybe 30 years ago (or, again, in Hollywood movies) that was the case but budget cuts and lack of support has pared that down considerably. 

    The reality is that only about 50% of American schoolkids have a regular physical education program any more, and programs like PE, music, and art — usually deemed nonessential — are usually the first ones to get cut when local governments are short on education funding. (Heck, many schools don’t even have on-campus nurses any more; what ends up happening is a single nurse does a rotation around throughout an entire county, which obviously isn’t a perfect solution…)

    The problem goes way deeper than Title IX — before you can worry about making sure that girls and boys have equal access to athletics programs (a worthy goal, of course, despite the complaining from the usual suspects) you have to make sure that there are athletic programs at all. Title IX really would only apply to schools that can afford to support these programs — for anyone — in the first place, and those are increasingly few and far between.