the national interest

Massacre-Prevention As Stimulus

Former high-school football player awaits gunman.

Since we know for a fact that legal measures to restrict the access of mentally disturbed individuals to military-style weaponry can never, ever work under any circumstances, America’s best right-of-center minds are devising workable alternatives. At National Review, Charlotte Allen lays the blame for the Sandy Hook tragedy on the liberals who banished men, and husky boys, from elementary schools:

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

Some of the teachers managed to save all or some of their charges by rushing them into closets or bathrooms. 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.

Now, I’m not sure if Allen believes that liberals have deliberately weeded veterans of high-school football out of the elementary-school teaching force. My understanding is that the traditional exclusion of women from most occupations is what historically made teaching, and especially elementary-school teaching, so female-heavy, and feminism has pushed to change that.

It’s certainly true that in some circumstances it makes sense for unarmed people to fight back against crazed gunmen. If you’re on a hijacked plane that you know is intended for a suicide mission, for instance. It’s also true that men are, on average, better at this than women are. But what is Allen’s argument here? If she believes there has been some systematic discrimination against males, or former high-school-football-playing males, in the elementary-school hiring process, we should probably address that. Otherwise, I have trouble understanding the complaint. Should we hire men for make-work jobs at elementary schools in case a crazed gunman shows up? That actually might be a Keynesian measure that could attract bipartisan support.