(TM - ableism, guns, violence, the general asshattery in the comments to some of the posts I've linked to)
I agree with Alas a Blog's Jeffrey Newman that William Hamby's piece for the Examiner, Connecticut Shooting, White Males, and Mass Murder, is invaluable simply because it's so rare that a mainstream journalist mentions the link between white male privilege and mass murder.
I wanted to wait a few days before writing this, but I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with the network coverage of the Sandy Hook shootings. Every time something like this happens, and the round of finding someone to blame, and finding some easy solution (get rid of the guns! lock up all the crazy people!), we always seem to ignore the link between gun violence and masculinity. Granted, gun control is a huge part of it, but it's far from being the sole solution.
I don't want to complete ignore mental illness, though it's an incredibly sensitive issue and one that needs not demonization but understanding. People with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violent crimes, not commit them. (s .e. smith posted a list of links that help clear up some of the myths about mental illness.) Dave Cullen, who wrote the definitive book on the Columbine massacre, said on Rachel Maddow's show Friday night, that one thing that a lot of the mass shooters have in common is depression and suicidality. If you look at the statistics, 80% of suicides from firearms are committed by white males. a lot of these mass shootings are also suicides. And men are less likely to seek treatment for depression.
There isn't a whole lot I can say here that hasn't already been said by a few astute bloggers. Here are a handful of links that better explore the link between gender, race, and mass shootings:
How America's Toxic Culture Breeds Mass Murder (Salon)
Connecticut School Shooting: If Adam Lanza was Named Tariq Muhammad Would the Media be Calling This an Act of "Terrorism? " (We Are Respectable Negroes)
Is a Crisis in White Masculinity Leading to Horrific Gun Crimes Like the Sandy Hook Shootings? (AlterNet)
The Newtown School Shooting — Why We Mustn’t Ignore Gender (Crates and Ribbons)