Home / General / The Most Farcical Conservertarian Reaction To Newtown: The Competition Ends Prematurely

The Most Farcical Conservertarian Reaction To Newtown: The Competition Ends Prematurely


We’ve had some strong early entries: Glenn Reynolds, “let us cite William Burroughs as an authority on the dangers of gun control”; Ann Althouse, “let us speculate about how Nancy Lanza conspired to help her son murder kindergartners, perhaps with Jose Padilla’s terrorist blinking acting as a go-between”; and let us nor forget Eugene Volokh, “an armed-to-the-teeth kindergarten classroom is a safe classroom.”

Megan McArdle, however, decided to obliterate the field:

I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once. Would it work? Would people do it? I have no idea; all I can say is that both these things would be more effective than banning rifles with pistol grips.

I…what the hell? Wait — it gets better!

But I doubt we’re going to tell people to gang rush mass shooters, because that would involve admitting that there is no mental health service or “reasonable gun control” which is going to prevent all of these attacks. Which is to say, admitting that we have no box big enough to completely contain evil.

Yes. Clearly the only practical problem with telling unarmed people to rush at people firing semiautomatic weapons rather than running away is that we would have to admit that gun control cannot entirely stop evil but merely substantially contain it.


Unless I am missing a very subtle parody of libertarianism, McArdle’s plan to teach children to launch banzai charges against mass murderers is the single worst solution to any problem I have ever seen offered in a major publication.

He understates, but close enough.

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  • shah8

    I think the column is misunderstood.

    YOUR kids get to rush that crazy guy.

    Her children, because they are Very Important Children of Very Serious People, will have professionals trained for the situation, of course.

    YOYO, never forget the motto, YOYO. The American People are sssttrrrrrrroooonnnng.

    • Warren Terra

      Some children have to be behind the lines, supervising the carnage, drinking tea and composing letters to the parents of the nobly fallen.

      In any case, you’re being unfair: I’m sure she has no intention that any children of hers would ever share a classroom with children born to be cannon fodder.

      • Anonymous

        Does she even have kids? I hope she doesn’t.

        • expatchad

          She would need a male of her species. Hard to find. I hope.

          • S_noe
            • expatchad

              O! Dengkyo!
              You made my day.

      • ChristianPinko

        They also serve who only attend high-priced day schools.

      • JoshA

        Your children will be a part of Operation Human Shield; Hers will be a part of Operation Stay Behind the Plebs.

        Or as South Park put it:


    • Jon H

      McMegan is just making the libertarian case for forced busing.

      “Inner-city students, CHARGE!!!”

    • Anonymous

      Would you rather they sit in their seats and get shot one by one?

      • NorthLeft12

        Attempting to escape is the normal response of sane human beings in the face of overwhelming force and firepower.

        I believe there are numerous cases of well armed and well trained soldiers doing the same thing [they call it retreating I think] in similar circumstances.

  • How has America survived to this point with an elite gene pool that is so weak.

    • Davis X. Machina

      Money. Covers a multitude of sins, even better than B-I-N™ or Killz™ primer.

    • DrDick

      Take a quick look (a long look would induce suicide) at the British aristocracy.

  • Murc

    I like how in one breath she advocates a policy that in her next breath she admits she has no idea if it’ll work or not.

    In a way, this is the logical outgrowth of the “everyone should be armed all the time” school of thought. Rushing a guy en masse has been a reliable battlefield tactic for millenia; you sacrifice a few guaranteed deaths to defeat your foe. That sounds perfectly reasonable if you’re in a mindset where you’re at war, with everyone, all around you, all the time.

    Which, come to think of it, is kind of the libertarian mindset, isn’t it.

    • Ken

      Security, economics, politics, science, cooking – there is no beginning to her talents.

      (Shamelessly stolen from Terry Pratchett)

      • Don’t forget interior design. Her kitchen remodel was the stuff of legend.

      • DrDick

        Whenever you think nobody could say anything more inane and/or braindead stupid on some topic, McArdle always rises to the occasion.

        • NorthLeft12

          Or sinks down to it, as this case surely is.

          And for clarification, is Ms. McArdle really a fourteen year old boy?
          A very stupid fourteen year old boy to be precise.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not just a mindset formulated to “win” it’s also been proven over and over that casualties are *lower*.

  • Sammy

    Is there some way to construct a wall of bodies behind which our children can huddle from the bullets? Perhaps the gangrushers can be trained to die in a big pile should their initial attacks fail.

    • Karate Bearfighter

      Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections who has written a history of mass murders in America, said that while mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, they dropped in the 2000s. Mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929, according to his data. He estimates that there were 32 in the 1980s, 42 in the 1990s and 26 in the first decade of the century.

      Chances of being killed in a mass shooting, he says, are probably no greater than being struck by lightning.

      • Warren Terra

        These statistics are skewed in a number of ways. Buildings incorporate lightning protection devices (and smoke detection and fire suppression), all of which lower the rate of death-by-lightning, as does common sense and training to come in out of the rain. And the people who do get struck by lightning are often asking for it, as in the case of that federal park ranger who’s been struck a half-dozen times, because he often gets caught out in the open in bad weather. Late 90’s jokes about the Post Office aside, I don’t think you can similarly increase your risk of being the victim of a mass shooting.

        • DrDick

          Lightning strikes were a leading cause of death among working cowboys on the Great Plains in the 19th century.

      • Karate Bearfighter

        God dammit. Go steal someone else’s nym.

        • Warren Terra

          I had wondered, having previously seen you posting sensibly.

          • Alan in SF

            To the extent that “terrorism” exists as a concept apart from “asymmetrical warfare,” a central tenet is that it inspires fear far above and beyond the immediate statistics — 9/11’s 3,000 deaths, obviously, inspired a national trauma far beyond 10,000 annual gun deaths. I didn’t delve into Grant Duhe’s data, but were people gunning down classrooms full of 6-year-olds in the 1920s?

  • Warren Terra

    You’re missing the available common ground here. For a couple of years now we have been bemoaning the firings of teachers, amid cutbacks by local governments. We should embrace McArdle’s plan, and in doing so we should point out the (only!) obvious flaw: most of these classrooms full of six-year-olds contain only a single adult, or at most an adult teacher and a young adult teaching student. Once each classroom has five or six trained teachers giving the students the greater level of individual attention they need, each classroom will also have the manpower to rush the shooter en masse (with an admittedly very small chance of success).

    I suppose we could go with her original plan and enourage classrooms full of unruly children to rush at and violently subdue adults. Though the most anxious of worriers might pretend to foresee issues with this scenario, even leaving aside the actual shooting of children.

    My fallback plan remains Hand Grenades.

    PS: We must always remember that from time to time the Tree Of Libertary must be watered with the blood of teachers and schoolchildren.

    • Alan in SF

      The good thing about this plan is that, if the teachers are union members, they will, by definition, be thugs, and thus better able to handle the armed lunatic.

  • mark f

    A 2×4 in every classroom.

    • Barry Freed

      Kudos, you beat me to it.

    • Njorl

      It took me a while.

  • Deggjr

    If only the principal and the psychologist had been armed. Then they would have died with pistols on their hip, just like the two officers in Kansas City this past weekend.

    • Njorl

      Yes, but the kids could use their pre-school commando training to retrieve the pistols from the bodies.

      For this reason, Volokh’s suggestion to arm teachers should be restricted to very light handguns that 6-year-olds could fire.

      Although, maybe we shouldn’t do both – train children to gang-rush and disarm an adult, and arm teachers. Ah what the hell!

  • David C

    Apparently McCardle thinks Germany lost World War I because they didn’t want it enough. Should’ve been more over the top at Verdun, less instinctive crouching in trenches.

    • Warren Terra

      I don’t know if it was true, was intended as sarcasm, or was just plain racist, but I took a WWI history course, and the Professor insisted that the French had a theory that the key ingredient to winning a battle was not superior numbers, tactics, training, or equipment, but morale – an idea he called elan. Obviously it’s now time to revive that theory and train our schoolteachers to joyously charge to their deaths, cries of victory upon their lips.

      Oh well, at least maybe we can get a pay rise for the teachers. Underpaid and embittered workers are poor candidates for confident and joyous death charges.

      • That is somewhat true. French tactics at the time revolved around “The cult of the offensive”.

        The British were no better. General Haig liked to see huge British casualty figures because he assumed that meant the Germans had likewise suffered huge casualties.

        • Warren Terra

          I thought the current thinking was the the Germans did suffer fairly similar casualty figures – albeit that the German casualties were mostly lost to bombardment of positions prepared to defend against the massively self-destructive assaults by the British.

          • The Germans had their idiot generals too. They lost almost as many attacking entrenched positions as the allies did.

            • Alan in SF

              Tolstoy, in War & Peace, contends that everything falls apart in the fog of war (and, just as often, the fog of cannon smoke, or even the fog of fog) — strategy, command, discipline, etc — and that a single moment of elan can turn the tide one way or another. Probably more true in the cavalry-charge warfare of the day than in modern heavy armaments warfare, but still not a trivial factor, I’d guess. The actual military experts at LGM probably know more about this.

              • NorthLeft12

                While not being one of those military experts I can speak from personal experience that when I yelled real loud as I rolled the dice, my success at offence during a game of Risk increased dramatically. Strangely, this did not hold true for defence. Small sample size?

      • elm

        Barbara Tuchman discusses this in great detail in the Guns of August. As Major Kong says, it’s largely true, though Tuchman takes great pains to point out that all of the major powers believed in this cult of the offensive, though the French probably more so than others.

        • Ramon A. Clef

          Also discusses in the recent book “To End All Wars.”

          • I’ve read both books and highly recommend both.

      • Murc

        I’d like to note this isn’t just true of the French.

        During what I think of as most of the modern phase of warfare (basically, from the New Model Army forward) about every major western power, including the US once it actually existed, thought that the primary characteristic an army needed was a willingness to never back down and to always be prepared to hurl themselves into the breach.

        The officer culture reflected that. Standard operating procedure for the British army was basically ‘when in doubt, fix bayonets and charge. We have the best soldiers in the world, the other army will break and run way before we will.’ To be fair, this worked an awful lot; it also failed in a bloody fashion many times. The most famous example most people will have heard of is the Battle of New Orleans.

        Expressing doubt about this as a tactical option would get you branded a defeatist.

        It was a mode of thinking that would persist for a very long time. For example, right up until WWII, tactical training for American officers was, by modern standards, remarkably sparse. The emphasis was on two or three standard responses that you were expected to shoehorn into every single situation, and the emphasis was on ‘leadership’ rather than ‘competence.’

        A number of WWII vets noted in their memoirs recollections along the lines of ‘Some of us weren’t quite sure that “Engage them in the front and send out flanking forces while you hold their attention” was a universal recipe for victory, but our elders at West Point were very convinced that this was how you won wars and we were just the men to carry it out and, more importantly, get those under our command to carry out with unrelenting tenacity. So we became convinced as well.’

      • agorabum

        Twas true; based in part on the success of Napoleon. With an army of revolutionary frenchmen taken from the levee en masse, the determined bayonet charge oft scattered the peasant conscripts kept in line by the lash of Hapsburg nobility.
        And the early studies of Napoleon emphasized this ‘elan’ as a key factor in winning. The subsequent armies of nationalistic Europe all heartily endorsed these ideas. And the US armies in the civil war were all trained with the same. Which is why they thought charging well fortified positions could be acomplished with elan, such as at Fredricksburg or Gettysburg.

        • Warren Terra

          Amazingly, the British not only witnessed the American Civil War, they had their own small-scale modern first-world war in the Boer War, which showed the carnage to be expected from attacking entrenched positions whose defenders had repeating rifles. But they didn’t learn much …

          • greylocks

            Also, too, the Crimean War, which brought us the Charge of the Light Brigade. That war produced a huge big long list of lessons not learned, except for the value of female nurses in field hospitals.

            • Jon H

              And a jolly good sweater.

              • Keaaukane

                And the face mask.

    • Lurker

      Actually, the Germans had a revolution in their tactical thinking late in the war. They introduced small-unit tactics. Instead of a massed charge against enemy fortifications, they sent a strengthened infantry platoon (four infantry squads, a combat engineer squad and, perhaps, a machine gun or a light field gun squad) to infiltrate the position under the cover of darkness. Then, with the element of surprise, the platoon would locally overpower the numerically superior defenders and allow the second wave to proceed.

      It was a relatively efficient tactic, but usually, the assault stopped at the next line of fortifications, where the defenders were alerted and ready. However, had the US not entered war, these tactics would probably have won the war for Germans.

      • Maybe. While a great tactical advance to be certain, they were starving at home due to the British blockade.

        We would have to assume that the British and French, even as pigheaded as they were, wouldn’t have caught on and revised their tactics.

        Back in Germany things were starting to unravel politically. The Navy basically mutinied. Army desertions were way up and the civilian populace was getting pretty testy.

  • How about we restrict semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles and improve mental health coverage? It seems easier than all that training to be a suicide martyr.

    • Bill Murray

      but every country needs to have their own Judean People’s Front Crack Suicide Squad

      • davedejour


      • El Guapo

        Fuck off! We are the People’s Front of Judea Squad of Crack Suicide.

  • Look, you’ve got to break a few eggs to make Hollandaise in your thousand dollar blender.

  • eRobin
  • There’s a terrible syllogism that tends to follow on tragedies like this:

    1. Something must be done

    2. This is something

    3. Therefore this must be done.

    . . . and hello, Gulf War II.

    Hmm, who wanted a war with Iraq? Thinking, thinking…

    • Jay B.

      Hey Substance, I wasn’t trying to rip you off. Just happened organically.

    • Davis X. Machina

      That’s Sir Humphrey from Yes, Minister, I believe

      • sparks

        Yes, but he was being sarcastic.

  • Jay B.

    Unless I am missing a very subtle parody of libertarianism, McArdle’s plan to teach children to launch banzai charges against mass murderers is the single worst solution to any problem I have ever seen offered in a major publication.

    To be fair, it’s not any worse than supporting a war in Iraq to avenge an attack by Saudi jihadists who were based in Afghanistan.

  • Steve

    I like to think that this McArdle epiphany was preceded by an elaborate hallucination of scrawled algebraic glyphs, like in A Beautiful Mind when Russell Crowe is calculating the odds of success when everyone hits on the prettiest girl at the bar. “A-ha,” thinks McArdle, as in her mind’s eye the scenario is gamed out, first with the slaughter of hiding children, then with a few gang-rushing children being mowed down, and then finally with 8-12 unarmed bodies (the hallucinatory mathematical notations flying furious now) overpowering a shooter with only, say, 2-3 casualties, twitching their last in pools of blood.

    McArdle swivels around to her keyboard. She types, “…these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly…”

    • Anonymous

      Necessary link for your comment.

  • ed

    The inevitible protracted series of posts explaining how she was misunderstood and/or it was a hypothetical and/or she had gastritis when she wrote that and/or “Hayek!” should be good for a guffaw or two. That woman is a buffoon.

    • herr doktor bimler

      Gastritis? Perhaps you mean “long-standing gall-bladder
      disorders”. No, wait, that was de Selby.

      • joel hanes

        Confusing McArdle with de Selby is perhaps explainable.

        In The Third Policeman, Flann O’Brien quotes “the eccentric du Garbandier” :

        the beauty of reading a page of de Selby is that it leads one inescapably to the happy conviction that one is not, of all nincompoops, the greatest

      • herr doktor bimler

        We’re poaching on Thers’ territory now.

  • Brandon C.

    “Perhaps we should have easier institutionalization of the mentally ill, and damn the Bill of Rights.”

    I don’t even have words for how fucked up this is. Another vote for the worst argument ever published.

  • DJA

    Would it work? Would people do it? I have no idea

    It’s a sad day for you when you’re simultaneously crazier and more ill-informed than Breitbart.com:



    • Jay B.

      Yes, but if he brought along a squadron of third graders with him, it totally would have worked.

      • Jon H


        • davedejour


        • Eric


    • Philip

      The comments at Brietbart are something special.

      • NorthLeft12

        I love the guy who talks about a drill at work with an “active shooter”. Apparently, they hurled all sorts of office equipment [chairs, staplers, etc.] at the guy and ended the threat.

        I am not sure I would want to work for a company that encourages that particular strategy.

        I believe that strategy could turn a hostage incident into a mass murder in short order.

  • You know, even if her solution would work,it’s a distinctly non-libertarian idea. Obviously it is in an individual’s interest to run and hide, and only people who had a fairly extreme devotion to the good of the collective over their own would be inclined to rush an armed gunman. Perhaps the woman is a socialist after all. Or perhaps just a dolt who couldn’t think her way out of a wet paper bag.

    • Leeds man

      What Would Ayn Rand Do?

      • Matt

        Judging from Rand’s schoolgirl crush on a serial killer, she’d probably defuse the entire situation by FELLATING the shooter right there for his Galtian manliness.

        • NonyNony

          If I read this without McArdle’s byline on it I’d assume it was someone trolling libertarians to stand up and consider what their core beliefs demand that they believe.

          Since this comes from Jane Galt herself, I’m just going to have to move the outer bounds of “stupid shit that some libertarians believe” out a bit farther now. Like, to the outer orbit of Pluto. Or Alpha Centauri.

          I won’t ask if this is the stupidest thing that McArdle will ever right. I’m positive that she will come up with something stupider and more offensive to everything good and decent about the world sooner rather than later. She is, after all, not yet even 40 – she’s got at least another 4 good decades to shovel the stupid and come up with something dumber than this. I’m sure she can do it.

        • Let me be the first to congratulate you on your blow-jobs-by-Zombie-Ayn-Rand solution to the spree-killer problem. It’s got spunk AND moxie.

    • Charles

      Exactly. The libertarian response to such a situation should logically be to use classmates as shields, not sacrificing to save the lives of a bunch of moochers.

      • NonyNony

        Um, take a look at what McArdle is proposing. Other people should rush the shooter. Not her, of course, but other people.

        Sounds like a perfect example of 21st century American libertarianism to me – let other people do all of the dangerous work, then pretend like you’re a self-made individual. McArdle is just kind of too dumb to realize that she’s giving the game away here.

        (And seriously – if she ever has kids I hope that she and Suderman hire a nanny to raise them. A nanny who doesn’t think that training your kid to try to tackle a guy firing a semi-automatic weapon is a good idea.)

  • Leeds man

    McArdle’s idea is not without precedence. Maybe at the start of each school year the kids could draw lots to see who get to be the Forlorn Hope.

    • wjts

      “Take six picked toddlers and remember – if you succeed, you’ll be gazetted to the second grade and granted an additional pudding cup at snack time.”

      • Hogan

        “War’s a psychological thing, Perkins. You know how 10 men often play better than 11?”
        “Yes, sir.”
        “We’re asking you to be that one man. Pop in a crate, Perkins . . . ”
        “Yes, sir.”
        “Hop over to Bremen . . . ”
        “Take a shufti . . . ”
        “Don’t come back. We need a futile gesture at this point, it’ll raise the whole tone of the war.”

        • Leeds man

          “Goodbye Sah! – Or is it au revoir?”
          “No, Perkins.”

          • Keaaukane

            I don’t recognize this conversation, but I’d like to hear the rest. Where is it from?

            • Warren Terra

              Google says its from Beyond The Fringe, which I’ve often seen mentioned (I’m a fan of British comedy) but never seen.

  • greylocks


  • Well this would work fine for her but the rest of us don’t generate a stupidity so dense that not even a teflon coated hollowpoint can penetrate it.

  • Uncle Ebeneezer

    (McMegan thinking): Are granite counter-tops bulletproof?

  • elm

    You know, this piece is making me think that McArdle has been performance art all along and she screwed up by making it too obvious here.

    Seriously, how can anyone think training 6 year olds to rush a gunman would be either, 1) possible? or 2) effective in reducing the body count?

    I’m trying to play this through my mind. 20 1st graders run at the gunman who has a semi-automatic rifle and two pistols and is wearing body armor. How many of the kids reach him and how many get shot first? Let’s say 15 make it to him and let’s say they get there in unison. What now?

    While they fling themselves over him to bring him down, he takes out one or two more perhaps before going down.

    OK, 12 kids piled on top of him. What now? Why does the rampage end now? He’s got pistols. Why can’t he shoot the kids who are on top of him? Hit them over the head with the rifle butt? Until he’s unconscious, tied up, so wounded he can’t function, or dead, he’s going to be able to damage the kids. How are the unarmed kids, each of whom weights, what, 40 pounds, going to achieve any of those against an armed adult even after they take him to the ground? So what’s the end game here?

    Unless McArdle has gone full Althouse and consumed a box of wine before writing, she can’t possibly be serious with this suggestion.

    • shah8

      Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

    • somethingblue

      How are the unarmed kids, each of whom weighs, what, 40 pounds, going to achieve any of those against an armed adult even after they take him to the ground?

      This is central to her point!

      • Njorl

        Not to lend any credence to McCardle’s idiocy, but I know of one 6-year-old who attacked an adult, broke her nose and collarbone and knocked her unconscious just by head butting. It was in an alpha adrenergic crisis, though. The last thing we should want to do is train such children to be violent.

        • NorthLeft12

          Yes, we need to train the other, normal children to be that violent. There are more of them, thus increasing the chance of success of the rush.

          Only a right wing nutjob would think of turning children into attack dogs.

    • greylocks

      Apparently she has never watched all those episodes of Cops where it took eight big, gym-toned cops to bring down and handcuff one guy who didn’t even have a gun.

    • wjts

      It works in Starcraft, so I’m not sure what your point is here.

      • Cody

        This is an important point. Why didn’t her article simply read “We should teach all kids how to Zerg Rush”?

    • NonyNony

      Seriously, how can anyone think training 6 year olds to rush a gunman would be either, 1) possible? or 2) effective in reducing the body count?

      1) You’re an idiot without a basic understanding of simple physics.

      2) You’re an idiot without a basic understanding of how guns work.

      Basically, this kind of proposal would only make sense to a complete idiot. Which is why McArdle decided to float it out there.

      I’m certain that at some point she’ll walk it back by saying that she was engaging in satire or something. Since she’s an idiot without a basic understanding of how satire works, this explanation will be unsatisfyingly plausible when it comes.

      • NonyNony

        Note that I’m not saying that McArdle was attempting satire here. I’m saying that will be her excuse.

        Clearly she thinks that this is a serious proposal here. And because she does think it’s serious I would hope that no one lets them near their children. Ever. And that includes her own children, who should be raised by nannies who have more than a milligram of compassion and more than an ounce of common sense.

        • I think she’ll say she was referring to people in general, not children specifically, which is still really dumb but not quite as mind numbingly so.

          • Hogan

            if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun

            Which is not to say you’re wrong.

            • swearyanthony

              I suspect her response will be “you are all deliberately misreading me, I will explain more in a followup article” and of course that’ll be the last we here of it from her. Cf part 2 of her devastating takedown of Elizabeth Warren.

              And yes, she will of course remain in good standing with the baby villagers, no matter how stupid and awful her work is.

            • NorthLeft12

              I believe I see a long term flaw in Ms. McArdle’s plan…..
              what if these same children decide to employ these same tactics on their teachers or parents or any other authority figure who incurs their wrath?? Hmmm?
              Think “Battle of the Planet of the Apes” sans apes.

              • Cody

                More importantly, at this point I imagine everyone has a gun. I mean, without gun laws this would’ve never happened.

                So these kids now have to rush like every adult, cause they’re all going to have guns!!

      • herr doktor bimler

        She might well be under the impression that the best way to attack an idea with which she disagrees (“reduce the access of would-be murderers to powerful weapons”) is to come up with a suggestion of her own that is several hundred times as stupid… meanwhile reminding the reader of occasions in the past when she was a vociferous cheerleader for catastrophically bad foreign policy (and for physical violence against her opponents).

        Modest Proposal UR DOIN IT RONG.

    • Bobby Thomson

      Implicit in all of this is the idea that all these kindergarteners will also slay the shooter. Just a wonderful plan, all around.

      • proverbialleadballoon

        We’ll just have to tweak the kindergarten curriculum a bit; learn your colors, how to tie your shoes, the difference between a dime and a nickel (that was a stumper at 5, why would the smaller one be worth more?), sharing with others, and of course, how to kill a man with your bare hands, and proper crayon stabbing technique.

  • greylocks

    Also, it’s especially important to rush a guy shooting with a handgun, because beyond about 10 feet, most shooters (including cops) can’t hit a moving Mack truck with a handgun. So let’s concentrate as many bodies as we can as close as we can to the shooter to make sure he has a maximally target-rich environment, rather than having them run like hell the other way and dispersing.

  • MFA


    • Steve


      • herr doktor bimler

        The Semiautojammer Kids.

  • jon

    Scoff and josh as you will. But cooler brains have analyzed this brilliant strategy and understand its invincibility. Once you realize that the typical kindergarten class is actually composed of twenty-six year old marines amped up on a cocktail of steroids and Red Bull, and have trained for years for just this circumstance. Our kids will prevail! (seriously, am I the only one here who has watched the entire Home Alone oevre?) And all this time, we’ve been wrongfully confiscating jacknives, brass knuckles and snub nose revolvers from generations of teens. Once the homicidal, mentally ill realize that the tables have turned, they won’t be trying this again.

    • NorthLeft12

      I hope these highly trained and dangerous children don’t decide to turn on their teachers and parents.

  • Scott, I am appalled by your lack of faith in our conservative commentariat. I, for one, believe that, even given how high McArdle has set the bar, one of them will manage to come up with a reaction e even more farcical within a few days.

    As Andrew Sullivan would say: Know hope!

    • Njorl

      I don’t know. I’ve considered the dumber things we could do, and I don’t think they top McArdle.

      -Ceiling panels which drop guns into the classrooms when accoustic sensors detect gunfire.

      -Genetically engineering children to emit knock-out gas when shot.

      -Allowing packs of vicious dogs, who know the scent of every student and staff member, to roam the halls of the school.

  • Ellen Smith

    Actually, Meghan, this is a great idea. You go first!

    • Bitter Scribe

      Exactly. I hope that dumb bitch takes her own advice if she’s ever in a situation like that. And she can take Mark Steyn and John Derbyshire with her.

      • Corey

        Yeah, as bad as she is, surely we can do better than “dumb bitch”.

        • Warren Terra

          Indeed. If we must be crude, we can at least aspire to be inventively crude, and in a way that doesn’t make us look like sexist pigs.

      • T. Paine

        And I also wholeheartedly endorse what Corey suggests. Let’s do better than misogynistic taunts.

    • T. Paine

      I’m surprised it took this long for someone to float this idea. I second the motion! Maybe DC can have her on call for whenever there’s a hostage situation, and she can lead the charge…

    • Beat me to it Ellen. Well played.

      But it’s the only possible answer.

      • Gone2Ground

        Yah, me too.

        It’s my instinctive response to almost every hare-brained Libertarian idea I’ve ever come across: eliminating Social Security, free market medicine, “Seasteading”, etc. etc.

        You First!

  • Corey

    The only reason McArdle gets away with this shit is that nothing she writes – no matter how heinous and callous – will get her uninvited from happy hours with Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein at Passenger.

    Obviously I’ve done my fair share of agreeing with the more neoliberal parts of these guys’ repertoires here but their choice of friends is something else entirely.

    • Nicole Aliota

      100% correct.

      She cannot be shamed out of her stupidity because she is shameless and has an infinite supply of stupidity.

      But as long as she is welcomed, or even tolerated, instead of being shunned as would be appropriate among normal human beings, her stupidity will show no surcease.

  • wengler

    This is so stupid I can’t respond to it logically.

  • herr doktor bimler

    We’ve had some strong early entries

    You left out Huckabee, with “Lack of christian brainwashing in public schools is the cause of psychopathic violence from home-schooled catholic-college graduates”.

    • Warren Terra

      To be sure, his argument seemed to be less about the poor upbringing of the killer than about how, since the teachers and kids didn’t have School Prayer, God wasn’t going to save their asses.

      • NorthLeft12

        Yes, that is the way I read it too. I had an interesting conversation with my wife over that. She read it as if it was a failure of the mother and shooter, not [as I did] that it was because the school was not religious enough.

        Apparently religious schools have a “hot line” to God to smite any shooters who enter their blessed space with evil intentions. According to the pious Mr. Huckabee.

  • Linnaeus

    I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad…

  • Uncle Ebeneezer

    Shorter McMegan: Guns don’t kill people, cowardly classmates who fail to step up like true Wolverines, kill people.

  • Is this McCardleism opening the door for Steyn to criticise the kids for not storming the shooter?

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  • Leeds man

    In the wake of the École Polytechnique massacre in 1989, I wondered what I would have done had I been one of the men told to leave the classroom. One fantasizes about rushing the guy, but…

    Some of the guys who were there felt it afterwards;

    Some students and staff never stepped foot in the Polytechnique again. Sarto Blais, a graduate, hanged himself eight months after the massacre, saying in his suicide note he was torn apart by guilt that he didn’t stop Lépine.

    The following June, his parents also committed suicide, unable to cope with the loss of their only son.

    Male students came in for criticism after the shootings. Some people even said they should have overpowered Lépine.

    In short, people advising what others should do in a crisis they themselves have never suffered through should just shut the fuck up.

    • BobS

      My wife told me she read about a guy who was in his kids classroom when the shooting started. He took his boy and hid in a closet, which was the right thing to do for him and especially his son. I can’t imagine making the same decision and not being tormented by it.

    • nolo

      How truly terrible. And yes, McArdle is an ass.

  • John

    A classic technique ripped right from the strategic classic Zapp Brannigan’s Big Book of War.

    • Keaaukane

      Where every mission is a suicide mission!

  • calling all toasters

    She is obviously being sarcastic. As a true follower of Ayn Rand she, of course, sides with the initiative and lack of sentimentality of the shooter. She is demonstrating by reductio ad imbecilium that any group action like rushing the shooter together will only get the tiny socialists what they deserve.

    • herr doktor bimler

      IIRC “A Modest Proposal” was written as a response to one or another Irish famines — when the libertarian pundits of the day were all explaining at length that although it was sad about all the people starving to death, the alternatives of government assistance or private charity were even worse, so the Starvation plan was kinder in the long run and the Irish should be grateful for it. Rather than arguing with these pundits as if their sociopathic callousness deserved a reasoned response, Swift opted for satire.

      So I am quite willing to believe that libertarians now claim Swift as one of their own and an intellectual inspiration, and that McArdle genuinely thinks that what she’s writing now is a “Modest Proposal” homage.

      The trouble is that the suggestion that she’s trying to satirise (“reduce the immediate access of would-be murderers to military hardware”) does not have the sociopathic callousness of Swift’s targets; at the worst she could accuse its advocates of being idealistic and expecting results that it would not produce in practice.

      So, SATIRE FAIL.

      • montag2

        Uh, the mere suggestion that McArdle has anything in her even vaguely resembling a satirical bent gives her entirely too much credit.

        I doubt very much that narcissism and satire can coexist, even uneasily, in one mind.

  • Barry Freed

    If she’s not being sarcastic this is so patently absurd and offensive that she should lose her job over this.

    • Anonymous

      That describes most of Ms. McArdles’s career. Good money to be made in comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted. The Dynamic Job Creators who own media outlets can’t buy enough of this shit.

      At least Malcolm Gladwell and those Freakonomics scumbags pretend to do more than mail in their talking points…which now that I think of it is even more disgusting and amoral. Jane Galt doesn’t even bother, and why should she? She and hubby are well paid for their services and can buy kitchen appliances.

      Vapid, self-righteous and purposefully ignorant? Yeah, but on Ron Paul’s Planet it’s friggin’ Libertarian awesomesauce because gold or something. I just wish they would go there and stop fucking up our all-too-real world.

      • Anonymous

        Hey, wait- I’m Newhavenguy, not anonymous!

        If I offended the glorious Blog Creators somehow, please e-mail me. Not to be obsequious but I like this blog a lot, comments section also (!damn that’s rare!)

    • Halloween Jack

      Unlikely, as even Tina Brown knows that page hits = money.

  • Mohandas Gandhi

    I approve.

    • El Guapo

      + Nirvana

  • Anonymous

    1. C’mon, why kick a McSuderman while she’s down?

    2. OMG, maybe even a new low for Megan? She makes John Stossel seem like an intellectual on a good day. Unless she meant it as a joke (she didn’t), curb away.

    3. Village media is old news to me, but could we at least have better hacks than this? Easy to mock her, but Brooks, Douthat are even worse(!) consistently. I won’t even start on the WaPo.

  • Kathleen

    Doesn’t she also ply her spew at NPR? I caught a sliver of her condescending smirk while station surfing in my car one day. My tax dollars at work.

    • Scott Lemieux

      In fairness, when you’ve been writing paychecks to Cokie Roberts for decades, it’s hard to go downhill from there. At least McArdle is fun to make fun of.

  • ajay

    The answer to “how many five year olds could you take in a fight” changes when you include a gun.


    • Bill Murray

      I can take 19, not too bad for an old guy

    • Visitor

      and the answer to, how much would you want to meet people who were attracted to a dating site through that particular survey is…?

  • CJColucci

    It takes a great deal of pretty intense training to make sure that adult, armed, and armored men, who volunteered for the dangerous job of soldier, actually run from north to south when bullets are flying from south to north. And a depressingly large part of the time the training doesn’t take. Now we’re going to get unarmed school kids to do it?

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  • zebuhanareth

    I think that Megan should lead us (in charging armed gunmen) since it’s her idea. “Right behind you, sir” (way way behind you).

  • Literally the worst person in the world, if not the dumbest as well.

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