• Tue, Feb 19 2013

Police May Know Adam Lanza’s Chilling Motive For The Sandy Hook Massacre

motiveIn the months since the Newtown shooting, police believe that they have begun to piece together details about Adam Lanza‘s crimes, including the most mysterious and haunting aspect: his motive. Why did this young man kill his mother and then attack innocent children and teachers at a local elementary school? Why did 27 people die?

Officials are finally laying out a possible motive for these horrible crimes. They believe that Adam Lanza was attempting to compete with the horrible massacre in Norway by Anders Breivik. Breivik killed 77 people, many of them teenagers at a summer camp. Lanza possibly believed that he was having some sort of competition with the mass murderer and was trying to top Breivik’s kill score.

So why Sandy Hook Elementary School? Authorities believe the school simply provided the largest cluster of people in the closest proximity. Lanza picked the school specifically because he thought he would have the best chance of murdering a large amount of people there. They say he saw the murders like a video game, and he was simply trying to “score” higher than the other infamous shooter.

This type of competitive killing has been seen before in another infamous school shooting. According to Dave Cullen‘s exhaustively researched (and highly recommended) book Columbine, that massacre was a response to the Oklahoma City bombing. The boys were not planning on shooting all of their victims. They were attempting to bomb their school and then shoot survivors as they fled. It was only when the bombs malfunctioned that they began their shooting spree.

Many believe that understanding the motive can help the families of victims better cope with their loss. Unfortunately, this specific information likely does little to assuage anyone’s grief. These children died because Adam Lanza didn’t even see them as human beings, just as a score to mark against another depraved murderer.

The other implicit aspect of Adam Lanza’s motive that is sure to raise fears with parents and politicians alike is the presence and influence of violent video games. Police say they found a “trove” of games in Lanza’s basement. The “kill count” competition is obviously reminiscent of violent, military-style games. The question will be raised again whether violent video games are a threat to our society.

And I think that parents will have to take a deep look inside themselves and say that if we see our children getting addicted to these games or confusing them with reality, it is our responsibility to step forward and get our kids help. It is the duty of parents to talk with our kids about violent entertainment and how it differs from real life. Have the sex talk. Then have the violence talk.

We’ll never know exactly what was going on in Adam Lanza’s mind. He took that opportunity away from us when he committed suicide. Police believe that he was obsessed with Anders Breivik and that this had a huge impact on his crimes. It certainly doesn’t feel like closure, but it might be the only information that the families of victims and survivors get.

(Photo: Maridav/Shutterstock)

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  • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

    If he killed people because of video games, there was something deeply wrong with him to begin with. The video games aren’t at fault.

  • Andrea

    I think that “motive” is a load of bullshit. He went on a killing spree because he was bat shit crazy..ahem..excuse me, “mentally ill” and no one could do a dang thing about it.

    I doubt this “motive” is going to be of any consolation to grieving parents and it will only provide fodder for politicians that want to blame a “thing” instead of the murderer himself.

  • K.

    There are millions upon millions of people out there who play violent video games and watch violent movies but there are not millions upon millions of people shooting up elementary schools. And there are ALSO studies that suggest that for some people violent video games are therapeutic because they provide an outlet for aggression.

  • Nat

    If a person isn’t already screwed up, playing violent video games and watching violent movies/TV won’t do anything. They may desensitize people, but they won’t make murderers out of an ordinary person.

  • LiteBrite

    If I was a parent of one of the Sandy Hook victims, I wouldn’t want to know my child was murdered simply because he or she was seen as part of a kill count. I don’t see how knowing this would ever mitigate my grief; in fact, I think it would only enhance it.

    If Lanza really was trying to top Breivik’s murder count, then my only consolation (as poor as it may be) is that he failed miserably.

  • Annie

    In certain circles, the death toll of spree killings or serial killers is called the high score. It’s very, very dark humor based off of the Columbine killers’ obsession with DOOM and the urban legend that before the shooting, they made a DOOM level out of their school with pixelated schoolmates, and the sick fact that very often, killers try to outdo each other. They each want to be the most infamous. I think it’s that drive for notoriety rather than literally the gaming term that reasoning is colloquially named after that’s the motive.

    Sorry if this post wasn’t worded so great, I’m in a very noisy room atm and it’s hard to concentrate.

  • Byron

    There is no videogame that I know of where you gain “score” by killing innocent children and have a competition of who kills the most of them…and I know of lots of games.

    The games with shooting and violence in them are in the context of a war or a crime thriller or something of the sort. There’s no “baby killer 2013″ game out there, none where the story has a normal everyday person deciding to get his kicks by killing random teenagers and kindergarteners.

    If you make the connection from killing people who’re shooting at you in a war-zone to killing innocent 7 year old occupied in fingerpainting and napping, there’s something fundamentally wrong with you, something the games you play did not cause.

  • Dee Wright

    Oh good, I was hoping for round 76823645797235987902354 of “VIDEO GAMES ARE BAAAAAAAAAAAAD”. I was starting to miss that argument.

  • Jessie

    I’ll believe that video games create violent people the day someone gets arrested for killing a pig by catapulting a bird at it.
    Seriously, it isn’t the game that causes someone like this man to go batshit insane and murder innocent people. It’s the fact that they are mentally unstable and cannot separate reality from fantasy.

    I have been playing violent games since I was very young, and never ONCE have I wanted to go out and murder innocent people, because I know the difference between a GAME and reality. People like Adam Lanza do not, because they are mentally deficient, and THAT is where we should be looking to make changes: In our mental healthcare system. Using video games as a scapegoat does nothing, just as blaming rock music back in my mother in law’s generation did nothing. People really need to get that through their heads.