On Easter Sunday, The Washington Post published a controversial op-ed by twin sisters Charlotte and Harriet Childress titled "White men have much to discuss about mass shootings." As in: white men commit all the mass shootings.
"Nearly all of the mass shootings in this country in recent years, not just Newtown, Aurora, Fort Hood, Tucson and Columbine — have been committed by white men and boys," they claimed. In the Detroit News, liberal Arkansas columnist Gene Lyons, one of the most ardent Clinton defenders in the 1990s, took this op-ed apart, piece by piece:
Neatly airbrushed out of the picture were two of the most notorious mass murderers in recent U.S. history: "Beltway snipers" John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo.
In 2002, they murdered 10 people in the Washington Post's primary circulation area for explicitly racial reasons having to do with black nationalism.
Also 2007 rampage shooter Seung-Hui Cho, a Korean immigrant who killed 32 classmates and professors at Virginia Tech. Raised in Fairfax County, Va., across the Potomac River from Washington, Cho had been adjudicated "an imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness" in a Virginia court, but not hospitalized.
This last is important because another of the Childress sisters' claims is that "when white men try to divert attention" from their collective guilt "by talking about mental health issues, many people buy into the idea that the United States has a national mental health problem."
Odd, because yet another mass shooting with a Washington angle involves Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood assassin — an Arlington, Va., native. Whether or not Hasan, a Palestinian-American Muslim many would call a terrorist, should properly be called "white" as the Childress sisters use the word, was debated by many of the thousands of online commentators who gravitated to the Post website to bicker and exchange anonymous racial insults — an entirely predictable outcome of publishing such witless nonsense.
Race tells us nothing about these tragedies. Absolutely nothing.
Washington Post staff Rachel Manteuffel reported more than 5,000 comments followed the Childress & Childress piece, and she scolded some of the commenters with words she could have used on the authors they published: "PostScript hereby urges you to withhold any such judgment; only fools and bigots make sweeping, judgmental generalizations about large groups of people based on the distasteful actions of a very few."