Letter to the Editor: Race Has No Place in Gun-Law Debate

Letter to the Editor: Race Has No Place in Gun-Law Debate

April 08, 2013
Originally published in The Philadelphia Daily News

Charlotte and Harriet Childress falsely claim that "nearly all of the mass shootings in this country in recent years . . . have been committed by white men and boys." ("Mass murders a white-male, not mental-health, issue," April 2).

In reality, mass killings have also been committed by nonwhites, such as Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho, Beltway sniper John Muhammad, Long Island Rail Road shooter Colin Ferguson, and Wisconsin's Chai Soua Vang.

The Childresses speculate that "if African-American men and boys were committing mass shootings month after month, year after year . . . we'd have political debates demanding that African Americans be held accountable." That seems unlikely: Despite the high proportion of shooters who are already African-American - nearly half of all murders are committed by blacks, who are only 13 percent of the population - no such calls for "accountability" have occurred, nor should black people as a group be held responsible.

Since 78 percent of all Americans are white, the fact that some mass killers are white males is hardly a surprise, much less a reason to blame "white male culture" or "hold them accountable," as the Childresses seek to do.