NYT Pro-Gun Mom's Op-Ed Leads to Twitter Fight Over 'White Privilege'

Even though it’s almost three weeks since the shooting on Valentine's Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, liberals and conservatives continue to clash over issues regarding gun control.

One of the latest skirmishes involves conservative Jewish columnist Bethany Mandel and Shannon Watts, a founder of Moms Demand Action, a liberal group associated with the Michael Bloomberg-bankrolled gun-control advocacy group Everytown.

While Mandel discussed her experience being threatened and buying a gun to protect her family, Watts responded by calling her out on Twitter for her use of white "privilege."

The conflict began on Monday, March 5, when the New York Times published an opinion piece by Mandel entitled “I Wanted to Be a Good Mom, So I Got a Gun,” in which the author stated: “I was given a reason to feel that I needed to defend myself and my family. And I acted on it.”

The columnist referred to the beliefs held by her mother, who was always “the most progressive person in the room. And yet, she owned guns.”

Mandel continued:

They weren’t “weapons of war” to us, nor were my parents “gun nuts.”

[O]ur neighborhood … experienced a crime wave of burglaries, which led my mother to keep guns in various parts of the house in case she needed one at a moment’s notice.

“While it may seem counterintuitive to those who didn’t grow up around guns,” Mandel added, “in our house, we saw them as tools of protection and empowerment for two women living alone.”

“A few months after my father left our family home for good,” the columnist noted, “I heard the banging of a ladder” outside her open bedroom window, “and by the time my mother made it into the room and began loading her gun, a man was about to climb in.”

“The barrel of her rifle was inches away from his face, and she told him: ‘Next time you come here, I won’t hesitate!’”

“That decision turned a story with a potentially tragic ending into one about a heroic single mother and her young daughter,” Mandel stated.

She then noted: “After my first child, a daughter, was born, I must have printed the paperwork required to obtain a gun permit in New Jersey a dozen times.”

“Despite what many may think,” Mandel continued, “the process is not simple nor is it quick, which led to my procrastinating for several years.”

“Over the Republican primary season” in 2016, the columnist noted, “I was an outspoken conservative critic of then-candidate Donald Trump, and a torrent of hate rolled my way.”

Mandel continued:

The Anti-Defamation League named me one of the top 10 Jewish journalists to be attacked by the alt-right during the election season.

After years of receiving death threats for my conservative views, months of being attacked by the alt-right and then having our address published online by the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer, I pushed myself to finally go through the process.

According to an article written by Conor Beck, a media analyst for the Washington Free Beacon website, Watts ”called her out on Twitter for her white ‘privilege’” and “took issue with the op-ed and particularly with the fact that it was featured with a photo of a woman of color.”

Beck then said he found it “interesting” that the Times “paired this op-ed by a white woman based on her anecdotes of fear and paranoia -- instead of actual gun safety data -- with a photo of a woman of color.”

Mandel responded on Twitter by disagreeing that her fears were "anecdotes of fear and paranoia" since “her address was published by a neo-Nazi site, a threat credible enough that the police still drive by her house multiple times daily.”

Not exactly tinfoil hat paranoid over here,” she said.

“Watts attempted to enlighten her on why she thought it was relevant,” Beck added, "[b]ecause your … feeling that a gun will make you safer is in part because you are white.”

The media analyst also noted: “Watts replied in a now-deleted tweet that her ‘white skin’ nonetheless lowered her ‘risk as a gun owner,’ saying that if Mandel didn't see that, she must not ‘believe in racism.’

The liberal activist continued to push Mandel for seeking to make “gun laws based on emotion, not data,” but the columnist responded by then asking why Watts had promoted the Parkland high school students for two weeks.

Watts then argued that the students’ push for greater gun control is based on the fact that “stronger gun laws save lives.”

Of course, the liberal activist didn’t help her case when she claimed that the columnist controlled which illustration went with her newspaper column. That just makes her claim of white “privilege” helping when buying a firearm even more absurd than it already is.


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Parkland School Shooting New York Times Washington Free Beacon Michael Bloomberg Donald Trump