Like so many of you, I woke this morning hoping that yesterday had just been some horrible nightmare and the 26 people who died yesterday didn’t really die, that this was just that, a nightmare, a dream, something that just happened in a movie that someone told me about and that life was normal today. But it’s not, and it feels like it never will be again. When something so awful, so monumental, so deeply life-changing happens, we try and wrap our minds around the whys and hows of it happening. How could someone go into a school filled with young children and do this? Reports about the shooter, Adam Lanza, have already started to surface. From The NY Daily News:
He was dark and disturbed, a deeply troubled boy from a wealthy family who unnerved his neighbors and classmates.Mass murderer Adam Lanza, 20, was a ticking time bomb, people who knew him told the Daily News.“This was a deeply disturbed kid,” a family insider told the Daily News. “He certainly had major issues. He was subject to outbursts from what I recall.”Lanza, who friends and officials said suffered from Asperger’s syndrome or a personality disorder, had a tortured mind.He was socially awkward and at times unstable, but also extraordinarily bright.“He was smart,” the insider said. “He was like one of these real brainiac computer kind of kids.” Lanza’s strange behavior was well-known among his well-heeled neighbors in leafy Newtown, Conn. His antics irked several residents.
“Adam Lanza has been a weird kid since we were 5 years old,” a neighbor and former classmate named Tim Dalton wrote on Twitter. “As horrible as this was, I can’t say I am surprised . . . Burn in hell, Adam.”
He was also seen as an odd figure at Newtown High School.
Even before that, Lanza walked the halls of his middle school carrying a black briefcase while most students lugged their belongings in backpacks. “That stuck out,” said Tim Lalli, 20, who graduated with Lanza in 2010. “It was different.”
Lalli said Lanza wasn’t a total outcast, but he didn’t speak much.
“Everyone just assumed he was a smart kid and that’s why he didn’t like talking to people all the time,” he said. “He hung out with the smart crowd.”
We can’t blame this on Asperger’s. There are plenty of children and young adults with Asperger’s Syndrome who would never do something like this. We can’t blame this on reports that Adam Lanza was a “smart kid” or an “outcast” or that it “stuck out” that he carried a briefcase instead of a backpack. The only thing we can blame it on is that fact that a twenty-year-old kid who had some sort of personality or behavioral disorder had access to guns.
We want to make sense of this. We need to make sense of this and we will try and connect the dots anyway way we can, we will make Asperger’s or being an outcast into the boogeyman so we can try and find some rational as to why this happened. It’s still too early to know why. It’s still too early to even try and make sense of this. We can’t live our lives assuming every outcast we encounter is going to become a mass murderer. Many kids who were described as being “outcasts” in school grow up to be the sort of people who do heroic deeds when terrible things like the Sandy Hook shooting happen.
I wish we had an answer. I wish there was some sort of concrete reason why 26 people died yesterday. But we may never know why Adam Lanza decided to do this. And even if we did, it will never bring the lives of those 26 back.