Funny how that works

The phrase “you don’t think something like that would happen here” is always uttered by white reporters about mass shootings in white neighborhoods, and the implication is that “you” would “think” something like that would happen black or brown people in the inner city.

Only it never happens to black or brown people in the inner city. It’s always a white person in a white neighborhood.

167 comments on this post.
  1. Jeffrey Beaumont:

    Good point, it is not entirely clear to me why the mass school shooting phenomenon seems to be a white middle-class pathology.

  2. joe from Lowell:

    Honest to God, not an hour ago I calmed down my daughter when she said she didn’t want to go to school by saying, “That only happens in the suburbs.”

  3. Erik Loomis:

    This does feed into my thesis that fucking the white race out of existence is the best thing that could happen to the world.

  4. Erik Loomis:

    And as someone who married Irish, I’m obviously doing my part.

  5. Amanda Marcotte:

    It takes a lot of entitlement to believe you get to take out dozens of others with you during your final temper tantrum. That’s why.

  6. Thers:

    Chris Rock has a bit about this, about getting into elevators with white teenagers.

  7. Uncle Ebeneezer:

    Only it never happens to happens to black or brown people in the inner city. It’s always a white person in a white neighborhood.

    How long till Republicans start whining about “shared sacrifice?”

  8. Amanda Marcotte:

    If we just strip us of our privilege, that would probably be sufficient.

  9. Thers:

    The Irish are white, and fuckable? The things you learn on the Internets…

  10. MSPOPPY:

    I get what you’re saying, but it truly seems cheap and tawdry that you would bring up race right now. I usually enjoy your perspective even when I don’t agree, but you kind of suck on this one.

    Also, I may not have used the words cheap and tawdry correctly. I really wanted to use other words, but those words seemed mean and exploitative right now and I’m disappointed you would go this route right now.

    Still like you, but this post totally sucks.

  11. Dana Houle:

    Black and Latino families
    A. Less likely to be gun fetishists
    B. Less likely to have disposable income to buy Bushmasters
    C. More likely to send kids to schools with metal detectors and on-site cops/security

    …among other reasons

  12. SEK:

    That’s not your thesis, Erik, it’s George Carlin’s: “America’s problems could be solved if everybody just fucks everybody until we’re all light brown.”

  13. Malaclypse:

    An awareness of internet traditions requires me to point out that concern troll is concerned.

  14. Erik Loomis:

    I hadn’t heard that before, but I’m happy to give the great man credit.

  15. joe from Lowell:

    Violent, heavily-armed narcissists in cities have other outlets for their homicidal tendencies. There is a whole different fantasy to pursue.

  16. Malaclypse:

    Rule 34.

  17. Erik Loomis:

    Why? Race doesn’t matter? Please. Race always matters in this country.

  18. Erik Loomis:

    The Irish? White? What are you, a Papist? Of course they aren’t white.

  19. Erik Loomis:

    Seems easier to turn into Brazil though.

  20. Uncle Ebeneezer:

    Crazy. I can’t help imagining the outrage of black families at the fact that all these white students keep getting bussed in to their school districts.

  21. SEK:

    Because pointing out the implicit racism of the so-called liberal media isn’t productive … why exactly?

  22. Thers:

    I, Sir, am a Milesian, and proud of it!

  23. joe from Lowell:

    Oh, yeah? Then why do my relatives burst into flames at the beach?

  24. Bill Murray:

    Hey it’s now clearly post-Great Migration, you’re now whiter than Carrot Top

  25. Uncle Ebeneezer:

    Sorry, I was talking of a future, hypothetical scenario and accidentally posted before adding that.

  26. Leeds man:

    Oh bollocks. Every shade of humanity is as bad, given the chance.

  27. arguingwithsignposts:

    Wouldn’t work. We’d have to learn a foreign language.

  28. Erik Loomis:

    I am a genetic failure obviously. I should be bred out of existence.

  29. Erik Loomis:

    True. Be a lot sexier than English though. Seems worthwhile. Also, have you been on a Brazilian beach? Everyone looks amazing.

  30. Erik Loomis:

    We all know whiteness is a social construction more than skin color.

  31. joe from Lowell:

    The important variable here isn’t race, it’s geography.

    These shootings don’t happen in cities, even in whicte neighborhoods of cities, but they do happen in suburban and rural areas, even if they aren’t majority white.

  32. Malaclypse:

    “Seems I’m a victim of natural selection.” – Pere Ubu

  33. arguingwithsignposts:

    In other news, when they’ve lost Rupert Murdoch:

    Rupert Murdoch @rupertmurdoch
    Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy.

  34. Jeffrey Beaumont:

    Yeah, I’m not sure what is wrong with this. I mean there is probably a lot of complex issues at play here, and the post might be mildly flippant, but this shit doesnt normally happen at inner city schools.

  35. Jeffrey Beaumont:

    Does this ever happen in non-white suburbs? It seems, like serial killers, that this sort of crap is a white suburban phenomenon.

  36. Erik Loomis:

    Fuck Rupert Murdoch. It’s his network that helped create the climate where this happened.

  37. MAJeff:

    There are ways of fucking without breeding. Yay for homosexuality! Doing my part to do away with whiteness AND overpopulation!

  38. expatchad:

    We ALL have relatives, or friends, that flame at the beach. Don’t be so paranoid.

  39. MAJeff:

    But not all of us go to Fire Island.

  40. Josh G.:

    There was an episode of Law & Order some time ago that actually mentioned this. Some nutcase shoots up a school in midtown Manhattan and one of the grieving parents says, “I moved to the city to get away from stuff like this.”

  41. JoyfulA:

    I thought I was the one who came up with that about half a century ago.

    Of course, everyone I told it to looked at me like I was insane and then edged away, so it didn’t exactly go viral.

  42. Erik Loomis:


  43. Thers:

    Scott — the odd exception proving the rule I know of is that of Colin Ferguson and the LIRR shootings in 93, a case I know more about than I’d like to, as a friend of mine was one of the victims.

    Anyway, Ferguson was black, and I’m bleakly convinced that is one of the reasons Carolyn McCarthy is a Rep (I’d like her for Senator). Long Island is pretty damn racist, frankly.

  44. MSPOPPY:

    I have no idea in this particular case about the racism or lack of racism as the story is being reported. I have no idea and neither do you.

    I am angry that while this is still a breaking news story, the reporting from all sources has been hysterical (as is usual with mass shootings), we still don’t know what exactly transpired or the obvious mental issues involved, you would put something so cheap about black/brown/white people out there.

    I like you, but I hate this this post.

    Regardless, thank you for reading. Maybe I am the more emotional one, but honestly, I think you were going for cheap points here.

    My apologies if this wasn’t the case, but honestly 18 small people who probably didn’t know about the Tooth Fairy yet, but were looking forward to Santa Clause just lost their lives.

    I think there is every reason to believe mental health issues are at play here, but you went the gossip rag route.

    Sorry if I’m not explaining my mindset well, but you pissed me off quite a bit. I’m finding this very emotional, and I take responsibility for that, but I think what you posted was in very bad taste.

    I do still like you. :)

  45. John Protevi:

    That’s Senator Bulworth’s motto too

  46. bph:

    Serial killers are not a white thing at all. However, they are much more reported when they are in mostly white neighborhoods for some reason or another.

  47. Erik Loomis:

    Racism in Long Island (and Queens) been one of the biggest surprises for me getting to know the northeast. There are some crazy racist white people there. Or should I say wicked crazy.

  48. Anonymous:

    Yeah, people here are being too cute by half. Does no one remember the identity of the Virginia Tech shooter? It’s more a function of people’s position in the social structure than anything. In any case there are so many guns in the US that every race/class/sex whatever shoot innocent people. Just from my experience growing up in LA whatever urge drives people to shoot, in nonsuburbia be released through either petty personal attacks or an attempt at financial gain.

  49. Semanticleo:

    “you don’t think something like that would happen here”

    Thank you for making this point. In Gaza 100 Palestinians die for every Israeii
    Syrian children die every day, in Syrian hospitals, recovering from wounds received in street shootings from snipers and bombs.

    But nothing can move us more than white children dying in tragedies like this.

    It is tragic. But where is the outrage over children worldwide?

  50. Anonymous:

    *is released. Damn LAUSD.

  51. Jeffrey Beaumont:

    Well, thats a good point. I’d like to see some statistics and what not I guess, but good point.

  52. arguingwithsignposts:

    I, for one, wil not be getting a “Brazilian”, either.

  53. MSPOPPY:

    Agreed, race mAtters a great deal in this country. Just not in this particular case right now. If you want to have a conversation about how we deal with a massive death toll in different communities, I agree that would be a valuable thing. It varies for sure.

    I’m just saying with the information we have now, the conversation has nothing to do with race. I do agree that the way we deal with death in the media is very different depending on whether the victims or black or white of brown.

    But I think we should discuss these things in the context of how the media (and ourselves as a nation)handles the issues.

    Right now, we don’t even know most of the victims’ names, but we do know the majority of them still had their baby teeth, and the shooter most likely would blend in nicely. Why the fuck would you talk about hypotheticals or politics right now?

    I just don’t get it.

  54. Erik Loomis:

    Why would I talk about politics? Because politics created this act.

  55. Thers:

    You wouldn’t say “wicked” anything in NYC or Long Island.

    When I was a kid I thought “All in the Family” was a documentary.

  56. Erik Loomis:

    I’m just out of the Oregon forests, the east coast is still a mysterious place to me.

  57. Arthur:

    Dumb premise. It isn’t always white guys and it isn’t always white neighborhoods. The va tech shooter was Asian, the fort hood shooter was Arabic, and the lirr killer was black. The big mac attacker was a white guy in a Hispanic neighborhood. The mucker in china this morning was probably Chinese.

  58. Tehanu:

    How come these assholes never shoot up NRA meetings?

    The next time some jerk starts in about abortion, I’m just going to point out that according to their leading lights, dead babies are the price we have to pay for FREEEEEEDUMBBB!

  59. nonunique:

    Blacksburg is an urban metropolis?

  60. Michael H Schneider:

    Speaking of white privilege, seems like someone should mention Leopold & Loeb, so I’ll do it. Not totally apposite, though.

  61. tt:

    So we have “you don’t think something like that would happen here” is a response to a particular kind of violent act that “never happens to black or brown people in the inner city.” Isn’t this a full explanation for why this phrase is always uttered about “white neighborhoods”? What additional explanatory power does racism provide?

  62. MSPOPPY:

    Well,no matter how this plays out, politics certainly played a role, but that role is yet to be determined. I may or not may not agree with your politics in this situation.

    It seems to me this post seemed to play on a larger issue of how the media deals with tragedies differently depending on if the victims are minorities or not. That is what I am upset about. I happen to agree that the media reports on such issues differently, but I am very upset people want to take a stand after 18 kindergarten children were just shot dead.

    Does that make any sense at all?

  63. Anonymous:

    Huh? I’m trying to point out that Seung-hui Cho did the same thing, a mass murder in a suburban town, even though he isn’t white. I was trying to contrast suburban vs urban violence and point out the class and surroundings are far more important than race in how violence is expressed. The reason why the differences seem to correlate with race should be obvious.

  64. Erik Loomis:

    Given that massacre after massacre has happened because of guns over the past 15 years, it is time to take a stand.

    If not now, when?

    Especially because something very similar to this will probably happen in the next week, month, or year at the outside.

  65. Brien Jackson:

    Ya know, I’ll be charitable and say that I don’t actually think race, per se, has anything to do with it so much as it’s just a matter of crimes like this being (not) rare (enough), and thus something that seems like it shouldn’t happen to you in terms of probability. I.e. the proverbial “things that happen to other people” stuff.

  66. greylocks:

    See also mall and theater massacres.

  67. Dilan Esper:

    If a shooting like this happened at a black school, would the media even report it?

  68. Anonymous:

    The point is the implicit assumption in that phrase is that you would think something like that would happen, just not in a suburban town. Otherwise why add the “here”? It’s implied that you would think it would happen in urban areas aka where the browns and blacks are. But that’s not where mass murders happen. They’re in the suburbs. So if you just looked at the facts you would in fact expect something like this to happen in Newtown, CT. That people say otherwise is a function of their skewed worldview i.e. racism.

  69. SEK:

    Thank you. I’m criticizing the barely covert racism of the news media here, and the way they foist their racist assumptions upon me by including me in their “you.”

  70. BobS:

    Because everyone there is carrying?

  71. Hogan:

    Let’s hope we never find out.

  72. Barry:

    “Of course, everyone I told it to looked at me like I was insane and then edged away, so it didn’t exactly go viral.”

    They were worried precisely that it was viral :)

  73. Barry:

    Sorry, it’s mandatory.

    However, we will play really loud music, to drown the screams.

  74. Chuchundra:

    So you’re saying that 20 little kids are dead because white people have too much privilege?

    Go take a seat with Mike Huckabee on the go fuck yourself bench.

  75. Erik Loomis:

    Oh for fuck’s sake, stop being an asshole.

  76. tt:

    I suppose I want slightly stronger evidence before being convinced that racism is the most likely explanation here. For example, was this sentiment expressed after the Aurora shootings? Aurora is only 60% white and relatively poor.

  77. Western Dave:

    Any of you hear about this one

    And that’s just the best written of the numerous accounts of shootings in schools in my city. It happens here, in ones and twos, all too damn often.

  78. Brien Jackson:

    And more specifically, the sentiment is pretty much true on the surface on sheer probability. In the sense that a) these sorts of things do happen occasionally and b) the odds of something notable and rare happening directly to you are, by definition, really low, to say that “this is something that happens to other people” is a somewhat obvious statement, and there doesn’t *have* to be any racial or suburban angst angle to it.

  79. Keaaukane:

    Anything that conjures the shade of Darrow is alright by me.

  80. LosGatosCA:

    Talk about crocodile tears, this from a guy who is responsible for supporting regimes that have killed thousands more people than all the rampage killers in the US combined.

  81. joe from Lowell:

    The answer I was looking for was “whiskey fumes.”

  82. Dilettante:

    Huh. SEK is right that this is *exactly* the sort of neighborhood where this happens. I had the same reaction watching MSNBC.

    But Amanda Marcotte seems to be carrying things a tad far: arguing both that this happens because school shooters are entitled white people (above) and that stripping away white privilege would stop this sort of thing. Which ignores non-white school shooters (as in Va) and assumes ‘entitlement’ is the motivation for guys like Harris and Klebold or James Holmes. Which suggests either a really superficial read on those tragedies (and maybe they deserve more than a quick & superificial read) or that she’s joking in some way that I might see if I didn’t think this was an odd time for ironic humor.

  83. Erik Loomis:

    Amanda made an off-hand comment to my off-hand comment. The bullshit she faces anytime she comments here pisses me off. Attack me if you want to get after someone saying white people are responsible. Because fuck white people.

  84. DrDick:

    I have no idea in this particular case about the racism or lack of racism as the story is being reported.

    Because you do not get hysterical wall to wall national coverage of mass killings in minority neighborhoods. In point of fact there are many more cases where several children are killed in drive bys in ghettos, but they only get minimal local attention.

  85. MSPOPPY:

    I agree we need to take a closer look at guns.

    However, the post was not about guns, it was about race.

  86. Anonymous:

    That’s true of any crime. This particular crime seems to only occur in suburbs. The expression in that phrase is not that the people in that particular suburb were unlucky – it’s that the town did not possess the circumstances necessary for a mass murder. But how could you even judge that? I can’t think of any other explanations besides the one I mentioned above.

  87. DrDick:

    I doubt that there are reliable statistics, as police do not really track that sort of thing in poor minority neighborhoods. It is only when it happens in white neighborhoods or the bodies are found outside of the minority neighborhoods that they start paying attention.

  88. Punch:

    If you are into bestiality.

  89. expatchad:

    Burst into flames in a crowded theatre?

  90. Brien Jackson:

    The expression in that phrase is not that the people in that particular suburb were unlucky – it’s that the town did not possess the circumstances necessary for a mass murder.

    I dunno, that seems like reading waaaaaaay too much into it. I mean, the zip code I live in has had one murder in the last 25 years (so the local sherrif’s records tell me), and has averaged less than one reported violent crime per year in the time I lived here. So if a mass shooting were to happen here (and fwiw, some fucking moron decided to call in a threat to our BoE today, so I’d like to see that violent crime rate tick up a tad if possible) I assume I’d probably have the same “holy hell that’s not supposed to happen to us here” feeling because, well, shit like that doesn’t happen here!

    On the flip side of things, I don’t really expect it to happen in Balimore either (I expect it to happen to other white people in the suburbs somewhere, yeah), and I’m not the sort of white person who pisses my pants at the mere thought of having to walk a block in Baltimore or D.C. either. Not that this means anything profound as a data point, I’m just saying that I wouldn’t read too much into anyone’s statements when they’re a) likely made out of shock and b) made in the wake of something that is pretty honestly unlikely to happen to you directly.

  91. Brien Jackson:

    Those are the wrong kind of people, doncha know.

    Though on the other hand, it’s probably a good thing the media doesn’t breathlessly cover that. Just imagine how much more irrationally afraid of the cities white people would be if they did.

  92. expatchad:

    As a current resident of Asia, permit me to point out that Asian shooters don’t do it here, they go to the US and settle into very white environments.

  93. Dilettante:

    Erik – thanks for replying. I don’t know Amanda; haven’t read anything from her before to my knowledge here or elsewhere. If she’s often attacked I understand your touchiness; I don’t want to attack anybody.

    But I do want to attack the idea that i) school shooters act because of their entitlement; and ii) this is a question of white privilege. Because those ideas are wrong & this is not the day for them – it cheapens the shooting & weakens the charge of ‘entitlement’ for when we actually need to use it.

    But I guess if these are just off-hand comments between you two then it’s no big deal – perhaps I misinterpreted the seriousness/intent of those comments (I certainly hope so).

  94. Anonymous:

    I have to disagree, I think you can read into how people react. Especially in what you’re saying. Shit like this does happen in places exactly like yours. You wall off your mind to prevent yourself from being consumed by fear – by rationalizing it away. It’s a defense mechanism.

    In any case I hope today makes you look twice at what’s going on around you.

  95. Dilettante:

    Hmm. A few years back I recall an arsonist setting fire to a Korean subway killing a few hundred people. I think you’ll find “Asia” is a big place. My suspicion is: i) there is little to be gained from ascribing violence or peacefulness to something innate in ethnicity, and ii) more guns in the US means more killings by guns. So maybe stop the guns.

  96. MSPOPPY:

    Because you do not get hysterical wall to wall national coverage of mass killings in minority neighborhoods. In point of fact there are many more cases where several children are killed in drive bys in ghettos, but they only get minimal local attention.

    I totally agree with you here. But that is kind of my issue. We almost never get several children killed at once, even in high crime neighborhoods where gang violence all too common. Several children (or adults for that matter) is very, very rare.

    And that is why I disliked this post.

    By all means, we should talk about how the media covers violence differently depending on race, and economic status.

    But to use this situation to go there when we still know virtually nothing about the killer, but we do know an entire kindergarten class just got gunned down, seems to me to be in extremely poor taste.

  97. Anonymous:

    Well googling found this:

    Some said it’s easy to think that it’ll never happen here.

    “I feel pretty safe around this area. I guess in those terms, I guess you never think it could happen,” Frear said.

    I’m sure there’s more. I do wish people would recognize how “safe” a neighborhood is has little to do with whether or not a mass murder will happen there. It’s the flood of guns and inadequate mental healthcare, with suburban culture not helping.

  98. geo:

    Several of the worst serial rapist/killers in southern California are Africa-American men.

  99. tt:

    Yeah but that’s the point. If the “never expected this to happen here” sentiment is expressed even in relatively poor and black/brown suburbs, that suggests against the racism explanation. Not that I’m claiming that Aurora is like the inner city, but it’s also not Newtown Ct.

  100. Anonymous:

    Ehh don’t underestimate the ability of people to internalize prejudice, e.g. that notorious Chris Rock skit. I’m Mexican and I still have to catch myself sometimes even though I try to be self-aware about it.

  101. MSPOPPY:

    I agree. This shit does not happen at inner city schools. The killings there happen way more slowly, over a period of weeks and/or months, and despite the every day violence in the neighborhood, it’s rare that it touches an elementary school this way, with so many deaths in just a few moments.

    I think that I hate that the media has a priority in how they deal with deaths, but also 18 elementary school deaths in one moment will always be a bigger story than any lesser number of young people dying over a greater period of time.

    That is just how it works,and I feel horribly for all families and parties involved. I am sad for all.

  102. DocAmazing:

    The Oikos College shooting happened in non-suburban, majority-minority Oakland.

  103. Vance Maverick:

    That one is a good counterexample for the Huckabees of the world (as well as for Scott) — even strict Christian doctrine isn’t enough to protect you.

  104. Brien Jackson:

    “I have to disagree, I think you can read into how people react. Especially in what you’re saying. Shit like this does happen in places exactly like yours. You wall off your mind to prevent yourself from being consumed by fear – by rationalizing it away.”

    Yeah, but that’s pretty much the point. Things like this may happen in places exactly like my zip code, but they don’t happen here. Black, white, brown, or purple, people generalize these sorts of tragedies as things that happen to people who are not them on the teevee, not directly to them.

  105. expatchad:

    I absolutely agree!
    I was being picky.
    We have vastly fewer guns per capita in RPA and no killing sprees. No ethnic correlations ‘t’al.

  106. PSP:

    I think that “you don’t think something like that would happen here” in this particular case has a lot to do with the fact that it is Fairfield County Connecticut. If you aren’t from the northeast, that might not mean anything. But, Newtown and the towns around it are not a normal white middle class area at all. It is a white upper upper middle class area. It the homeland of volvo driving preppies and a distant suburb of media central in NYC.

    To see the Times crediting the Newtown Bee for pictures this morning was almost more shocking than the fact that someone shot up an elementary school.

    This didn’t happen in some distant east butfuckistan like Colorado or Lynchburg. This happened in the media and financial elite’s back yard. Every New England prep school, Yale, and little ivy graduate in the country is going to have friends, or friends of friends, whose kids went to that school.

    And that is why, we can expect truly over the top media coverage to continue. If any shooting is going to result in gun control legislation, this is the one. Ignore that fact, and nothing will happen.

    Perhaps I exaggerate a bit, but not that much.

  107. DocAmazing:

    Yes, Virginia, there is a sanity clause.

  108. Random:

    I will volunteer to help out with this project if needed.

  109. Random:

    The numerical disparity is far to pronounced not to have some form of explanation. It actually is the case that all of the top mass shootings are white-on-white violence and it is not statistically possible for that to be a coincidence. And she is correct that you actually do have to feel entitled to take someone’s life before you can plan and execute their murder. And you probably do have to have a sense of mass entitlement in order to plan and shoot a lot of them. It’s probable that you regard them as pawns in your universe that you would shoot a bunch of kids. Which part of any of that doesn’t make sense?

  110. Sebastian H:

    It doesn’t seem necessary to shove race into the despairing “never thought it would happen here”. Mass shootings are rare enough that pretty much no one ever thinks it will happen there, wherever there is.

  111. Grocer:

    Huh, I thought it was because ginger’s have no soul so they react to sunlight like slow vampires.

  112. Sly:

    Anyway, Ferguson was black, and I’m bleakly convinced that is one of the reasons Carolyn McCarthy is a Rep (I’d like her for Senator). Long Island is pretty damn racist, frankly.

    Her husband and son were on the train. Her husband died and her son was wounded.

    She was actually a Republican at the time, but Dan Frisa, her Representative and also a Republican, voted against several pieces of gun legislation so she switched parties and ran against him.

    And, yes, Long Island is exceptionally racist and one of the most segregated areas in the country.

    And it goes back further than the white flight of the post-war era. The headquarters of the resurgent KKK of the 1920s was not far from my hometown. They held major rallies and regular parades across Long Island, some having tens of thousands of members and supporters, and were actively supported by both local clergy and police, who even took leadership positions within the Klan.

    That pretty much ended in the late 20s, when the Southern Klan began a new terror campaign against blacks and liberal whites and produced a pretty strong, nation-wide backlash. Their staunch opposition to the candidacy of Gov. Al Smith for President in 1928 didn’t help their cause here much, either.

  113. Evan Hurst:

    Wow. Amanda. Cut right to the heart of it in one sentence, right there. Respect.

  114. Random:

    We already know the killer was 1) white and 2) felt a strong sense of entitlement over the lives of others. So it’s not really ‘going there’ so much as that we’re already there and she’s pointing it out.

  115. Grocer:

    That kind of incident is just as tragic as what happened today. But there is at minimum a motive difference between bystanders being murdered and the kind of mass killing that happened today. The mass killers and situations aren’t entirely homogeneous – I’m sure a lot of people here remember Wayne Lo for one. But they do seem to primarily occur in suburban, mostly white areas. Pointing it out is the first step in asking why, and even if there is nothing there, the only time better to ask those kind of questions than when everyone is paying attention is far enough in advance to prevent it.

  116. Grocer:

    Replied in the wrong place, sorry.

  117. expatchad:


  118. LeeEsq:

    I dunno, from what I hear from Brazilians is that it isn’t all the peachy keen there either and that white Brazilians from the south east often have similar opinions about people of color from the north east that white people in America have about people of color in the cities.

    A few years ago there was a fascinating Frontline report on attempts to bring American style affirmative action to Brazil. Lots of people of color favored. White Brazilians opposed it.

  119. LeeEsq:

    Do you really think you can get Americans to loose that much weight and work out? It might in Southern California and Hawaii but no chance elsewhere.

  120. Belle Waring:

    What is with all the pushback on an obviously true observation? Mass shootings like this have historically almost all taken place in suburban, majority-white areas, with almost exclusively white shooters. And yet there’s a different news lady with blond hair in front of a tree with fall leaves on every station, cutting to footage of the tidy lawns, the picket fences, the whitey-white-whiteness, saying “you just never imagine anything like this…could happen here.”

    What can that possibly mean but that you do expect this sort of thing to happen but not in “nice” places like Newtown. Rather, they maybe should happen…this thought appears not to be completed but a “not nice” neighborhood can be the only mental destination. The question is, why would you think that when it happens in places like this every damn time? To Amish kids? How the fuck more white can it be than that?

  121. Belle Waring:

    Additionally people tend to be moronically uncharitable in their responses to Marcotte; the suggestion was made that we get rid of white people by intermixing, and she said it would be sufficient to just get rid of white privilege. Then people start hammering her for saying white privilege is solely responsible for the crime? (Yes, I know, her first point was (also an apt one!) that a lot of privilege is at work when you think you get to take everyone with you when you go, like a pharaoh.

  122. Snarki, child of Loki:

    No worse than a frat hazing.

  123. J. Otto Pohl:

    This is not necessarily true. Sometimes mixed race babies have white skin even when the mother is dark brown. My daughter has my white skin and my wife’s Asian features. My wife is Kyrgyz with some Uzbek and Korean ancestry and like some Kyrgyz she has very dark skin. The baby got the Korean eyes, but my white skin.

  124. LeeEsq:

    There stupid vampires who forgot that sunlight does this to them?

  125. LeeEsq:

    On a more serious note, privilege is a rather nebulous concept and its not really something that its easy to design policy around. Especially in the context of stripping privilege. Its a lot easier to fix problems resulting from Group A being privileged over Group B by giving rights to Group B. Examples would be the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the ADA, and Marriage Equality.

    To a certain extent you could argue that the above acts do strip formerly privileged groups; whites, the non-disabled, and heterosexuals of privilege by making what they formerly enjoyed exclusively more widespread. This isn’t a good argument to make because its not positive and plays into resentment. A better argument is that the above made rights more widely spread and created a more equitable social system.

  126. rea:

    Killing sprees (“running amok”) are actually kind of traditional in Malaysian culture . . .

  127. Ken:

    It would be a grim test of the idea that if everyone were armed, these things would get stopped early.

    Or it might go more the way I suspect; that the person who shoots the original shooter, will be in turn shot by the people who took a little longer to draw and thought he was the shooter, and they in turn will be shot by the third round, and by then it will have become a free-fire zone.

  128. Anonymous:

    So true. It’s like there’s some other kind of privilege she’s challenging just by speaking up, but I just can’t put my finger on it.

  129. Karla:

    Oops, that’s me above. While I’m here, I recognize that some of the comments regarding Amanda’s comments are from people who would have said what they did regardless of to whom they were responding (if that makes sense), but in aggregate …

  130. cpinva:

    would that include our lawns? because nearly every (reported) serial killer in this country is also white. almost without exception, they are described by their neighbors as being “nice guys, quiet, kept their lawns neat, houses freshly painted (possibly to cover over the blood spatter?), always willing to lend a hand to a neighbor.” every.single.time.

    as a consequence, i make sure to never mow my lawn, haven’t had the house painted in years, and i sure as hell never offer to help out the neighbors.

  131. cpinva:

    troll feeding is more correctly done with pancakes, and syrup.

  132. cpinva:


    Serial killers are not a white thing at all.

    they are almost all a white thing. prove me wrong. unless all minority serial killers, save one, have managed to get away with it, without ever having been detected. that’s a crock.

    in a close urban environment, lots of bodies lying about would be even more quickly noticed. “if it bleeds, it leads” would ensure publicity, guaranteed.

  133. cpinva:

    please provide cites:

    Several of the worst serial rapist/killers in southern California are Africa-American men.

  134. Uncle Kvetch:

    This didn’t happen in some distant east butfuckistan like Colorado or Lynchburg. This happened in the media and financial elite’s back yard. Every New England prep school, Yale, and little ivy graduate in the country is going to have friends, or friends of friends, whose kids went to that school.


  135. Joseph Slater:

    Indeed. The right answer in the second comment.

  136. Joseph Slater:

    +1 for any Pere Ubu reference.

  137. Bruce Baugh:

    And they all moved away from you, there on the Group W bench.

  138. tt:

    I get that. But I’m looking for affirmative support for SEK’s proposition, and if this sentiment is a near-universal one its hard to distinguish racism from other possible causes.

    Thinking about this a bit more, it seems to me that “I never expected this to happen here” is similar to another cliche after-crisis response “I never expected this to happen to me.” So it seems likely these responses come from similar places, yet the latter is not so susceptible to charges of racism.

  139. Keaaukane:

    Juan Corona, though his favored weapon was a machete, IIRC….

  140. Karen:

    You owe me an iPad screen. The coffee snort stains ruined this one.

  141. sparks:

    …and his victims were farm workers, who weren’t exactly of a pale hue.

    Try again.

  142. Anonymous:

    Yeah, whenever I start feeling intensely depressed on the subway platform and start thinking about what it would be like to jump off in front of the train, I always think to myself: “How self-involved. Why should you ruin everyone else’s commute? Have the decency not to inconvenience everyone else and not to make a big mess that someone else would need to clean up.”

    Not actually suicidal here, but like most people, I’ve sometimes thought about it.

  143. JoyfulA:

    What’s a Group W bench?

  144. Hogan:

    Explanation here.

  145. Hogan:

    assumes ‘entitlement’ is the motivation for guys like Harris and Klebold or James Holmes.

    Not a motivation so much as an enabling condition.

  146. Shreve:

    I think that in time the Jim Bonds are going to conquer the western hemisphere. Of course it wont quite be in our time and of course as they spread toward the poles they will bleach out again like the rabbits and the birds do, so they wont show up so sharp against the snow. But it will still be Jim Bond; and so in a few thousand years, I who regard you will also have sprung from the loins of African kings.

  147. JoyfulA:

    I can’t think of any mass murder committed by a female, and my local newspaper routinely reports man shoots wife (or ex-wife or girlfriend or ex-girlfriend) then self and never the opposite, with one instance of lesbian shoots ex-girlfriend.

    So either my memory is biased or your sociology of “every race/class/sex” needs to be revised.

  148. nitwit:

    Amazing that you can post comments but haven’t figured out how to do a search.

    Chester Turner
    Lonnie Franklin
    Michael Hughes,0,515310.htmlstory

  149. GFW:


  150. paleotectonics:



  151. paleotectonics:

    Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father rapers. Litterers.

  152. paleotectonics:

    Really loud music Girl From Ipanema.


  153. Hogan:

    And creators of nuisances.

    In the words of Principal Snyder, “There are things I will not tolerate–students loitering on campus after school, horrible murders with hearts being removed. And also smoking.”

  154. Hogan:

    So if a mass shooting were to happen here (and fwiw, some fucking moron decided to call in a threat to our BoE today, so I’d like to see that violent crime rate tick up a tad if possible) I assume I’d probably have the same “holy hell that’s not supposed to happen to us here” feeling because, well, shit like that doesn’t happen here!

    Yes, but SEK isn’t talking about the reactions of people who live in Newtown. He’s talking about the reactions of white reporters who parachuted in yesterday and had that reaction.

  155. Jeremy:

    I think “wicked” is pretty strictly a Boston-area usage.

  156. Anonymous:

    I was actually trying to point out that the availability of guns causes all kinds of people to kill, just in different ways. But since you asked…

  157. Anonymous:

    Literally, are you blind, deaf, dumb?

    US media coverage of crime (what constitutes a crime, who constitutes a “worthy” victim, which criminals are the “wrong” sort) has everything to do with race (and class, and sex, and gender). Stop playing dumb, white dudes.

  158. Spud:

    Most shootings in the inner city are “business related”.

    Fewer targets in a given area, the shooters generally care about being caught, more likely not to listen to depressing music…

  159. Bloix:

    It gives me genuine to pleasure to learn that J Otto is married and has a daughter. Best wishes to you and your family, and to especially to your beautiful, almond-eyed daughter.

  160. Bloix:

    John Allen Muhammed and Lee Boyd Malvo, the Beltway snipers who killed ten people and kept my children and tens of thousands of others in lockdown at their schools for weeks, were black.

  161. Beware white neighborhoods | Under the Mountain Bunker:

    [...] — Funny how that works – Lawyers, Guns & Money [...]

  162. Mike Schilling:

    Since people who do these things are generally motivated by feelings of frustration and powerlessness, that’s a really poor diagnosis.

  163. Lyanna:

    No, I don’t agree. The people who do those things are motivated by the same type of “frustration and powerlessness” as a white Southerner after the Civil War. That is, the “powerlessness” they feel is the lack of power to oppress others.

    The people who are genuinely powerless, and know it, don’t commit mass shootings.

  164. Lyanna:

    Are there many non-white suburbs?

  165. Cody:

    I wouldn’t say privilege even refers to just wealthy white people.

    One can feel privileged and be poor and destitute. Perhaps you just think the world owes you everything, and don’t understand why it isn’t just handed to you.

    Then, since you’ve decided to make your exit you’ll take everyone you can with you so the world recognizes you.

  166. Links 12/21/12 | Mike the Mad Biologist:

    [...] Seriously Consider Voting For Republicans Did the federal ban on assault weapons matter? Funny how that works Libertarians, engineers, and climate disruption denial: part 1 – libertarians Share [...]

  167. Andrew:

    Good answer back in return of this difficulty with genuine
    arguments and telling all concerning that.

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