Charlotte Allen stirred up quite a hornet's nest yesterday, when she wrote in the National Review that Newtown school shooter Adam Lanza might have been thwarted, if only more men had worked at the school. (She also wished that perhaps "some of the huskier 12-year-old boys" should have "converged on Lanza," a sentiment echoed by Megan McArdle, who wrote at the Daily Beast Monday that we should "[drill] it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun.") First of all, writes Elspeth Reeve at the Atlantic Wire, running at a shooter rarely ends well—even the US Army recommends running away or hiding first. But the bottom line is that both Allen and McArdle should back off. "It is possible to refrain from insinuating that you would have been braver and smarter than the people who were slaughtered, and that you would have made it out alive."
A sample of other reactions to Allen's piece, many of which point out that there were actually men at the school that day:
- At Slate, David Weigel calls it "the stupidest thing anyone has written about Sandy Hook."
- Writes Katie JM Baker at Jezebel, "Allen is right that there weren't very many men around that day. But there was one notable guy who showed up: Adam Lanza. Along with a killing weapon made by a company that tells men they're pussies if they're not armed. But woooo, 'male aggression,' you're the best."
- "WOW is this disrespectful to the female teachers and staff at Sandy Hook," writes The Nation writer Jessica Valenti on her Tumblr. "Allen mentions their heroism as an anomalous aside rather than exceptional bravery that saved lives."
- Salon rounds up Twitter reactions, including one from Farhad Manjoo of Slate, who says that while he is a man ... he is also one "who would cower and soil myself in a mass shooting."