National Review writer's offensive Newtown theory

Twitter responds to the National Review's Charlotte Allen, who blames Sandy Hook Elementary's "feminized setting"

Published December 19, 2012 8:57PM (EST)

A writer for the National Review hypothesized that the shootings in Newtown, Conn., would not have occurred if the school had more men around to fight back against Adam Lanza, "or even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys."

As part of an NRO symposium called "Newtown Answers," Charlotte Allen writes:

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. Women and small children are sitting ducks for mass-murderers. The principal, Dawn Hochsprung, seemed to have performed bravely. According to reports, she activated the school’s public-address system and also lunged at Lanza, before he shot her to death. 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.

Twitter, naturally, responded with a range of disbelief and disgust:

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By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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