Whatever the many issues involved in the Newtown, CT, murders, one of the issues does not seem to be race.
A white shooter who, based on current accounts, had serious mental illness and personality disorders, killed his white mother to get her lawfully licensed guns, in order to kill almost entirely white kindergarten students and teachers. The response has been an outpouring of national grief, and what is sure to be a hot debate as to how to prevent such actions in the future.
It takes intellectual strain to inject racial politics into this event. David Sirota of Salon.com, previously mentioned here for his “white privilege” rant against Tagg Romney, managed to do so (via Mediaite):
Hayes said the thought that policy makers in Washington will be moved to do something about this tragedy. He said he could envision lawmakers calling for a more invasive surveillance regime.
Sirota agreed, but said that the political impediment to that was the fact that most mass shooting suspects are white.
“The issue with it will be, politically, I think; the profile is white men,” Sirota said. “That’s a profile that’s not, essentially, in America allowed to be profiled. That’s the one profile in America that’s not allowed to be profiled.”
Sirota said that he thought that, if the shooter belonged to a different demographic, the debate about how to address this mass shooting would be “much uglier.” Hayes agreed.
Sirota closed by wondering if the Republican party would have the same reaction to this event and policy recommendations to address it as they did to a report by the Department of Homeland Security raising question about the threats posed by right-wing militias. “Republicans said, ‘this is a way to demonize white America’ or ‘good, god-fearing America,” Sirota said.
Sirota’s racial politics ploy fit in nicely with Chris Hayes’ scoffing at the notion of better monitoring of the mentally ill. The problem is not dangerously mentally ill people who are protected by privacy and other laws, but the evil white man trying to protect his own!
I told you that mental illness would not be addressed seriously, even though mental illness with warning signs of danger is a pattern in these mass murders. I had not anticipated that the race card would be the factor that got in the way.