The horror of a massacre of first graders and their teachers – children and women – was immediately compounded by the loud and persistent call by an apparently endless parade of crazed white men for more guns in schools. Before the bodies had even been removed from the school, white men slammed teachers and unions for the wholesale killing, blamed contraception, blamed everyone but gun culture and mental illness. Columbine was thirteen years ago and I was no longer interested in school shootings because Americans were playing them on TV as spectacles and I wasn’t playing along; but this latest crime brought us a secondary horror. One would think that when women and children lay in pools of blood, men, ultimately our partners in the enterprise of living, would lay down their arms to take us in theirs. Instead, all across the electronically connected United States, white men have chosen to hang on to their guns.
This is not just a gun problem. This is not just a mental illness problem. This is also a profound disconnection of white men from women and children, one I still can’t really believe I’m seeing. It’s shocking and, somewhere in my gut, something has changed. I now wonder if women and children should have safe towns or even states where men are not allowed, and if that is the only way we can live in relative peace and safety.