There is an extensive interview with Peter Lanza, the father of Sandy Hook mass murderer Adam Lanza in The New Yorker, and I have no idea why I read it. I have an obligation for my job to read things like this, to cull what I think is important from these things so I can relay that in my articles on Mommyish, to have a strong point of view on articles like these so I can form my own opinions and we can discuss them together. But after reading this extensive interview, I’m left with nothing, except a remembrance of how ungodly tragic the events of December 14, 2012 were that day in Newton, Connecticut. Peter Lanza offers us no solutions or answers as to why Adam took a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle and killed six school workers and twenty children on that horrible day.
The article, which is 7,600 words, marks the first time Peter Lanza has spoken to the press. He doesn’t offer any new insight to this son, who he describes as a “weird little kid” who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome after he was taken to numerous psychologists. He was prescribed the anti-anxiety drug escitalopram but stopped taking it after he had severe reactions. His father feels his son was an undiagnosed psychopath or schizophrenic. From the New Yorker:
Interview subjects usually have a story they want to tell, but Peter Lanza came to these conversations as much to ask questions as to answer them. It’s strange to live in a state of sustained incomprehension about what has become the most important fact about you. “I want people to be afraid of the fact that this could happen to them,” he said. It took six months after the shootings for a sense of reality to settle on Peter. “But it’s real,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be understood to be real.”
We get a sense of who Adam Lanza was from the article. He hated tags on his clothing and his parents had to remove them. He underwent speech therapy because he was a late talker. He enjoyed playing with Legos with his father. When he was older he wrote violent stories.
All things that many, many parents experience with their own kids.
In the years that followed, they would talk about politics. Adam was a fan of Ron Paul, and liked to argue economic theory. He became fascinated with guns and with the Second World War, and showed an interest in joining the military. But he never talked about mass murder, and he wasn’t violent at school. He seldom revealed his emotions, but had a sharp sense of humor. When Peter took him to see Bill Cosby live, Adam laughed for an hour straight. He loved reruns of “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Get Smart,” which he would watch with his dad. One Christmas, Adam told his parents that he wanted to use his savings to buy toys for needy children, and Peter took him shopping for them.
Judging from the article, Adam’s parents did everything they could for their son, even after they divorced. They took him to numerous therapists, they were both involved in his education, after after he began homeschooling. Peter talks about how he felt more and more alienated from his son, but he assumed most of that was due to normal adolescence, because he felt stranger from his own parents growing up. I think every teenager goes through a period where they don’t really like spending time with their parents. I know I did.
“Those mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior.” Peter said, “Here we are near New York, one of the best locations for mental-health care, and nobody saw this.” They engaged and indulged his interests, his mother taking him to shooting ranges because he had an interest in guns and the military. These parents were involved in their son’s life, even though Peter had not seen his son for two years prior to the shooting.
There are no answers for why Adam did what he did. There are no answers as to why 26 people died that day, 28 if you include Adam and his mother Nancy. Peter claims his son would have killed him too if he had the chance. There are no answers in this article, we only bear witness to a father and his unspeakable grief over what his son did on that day in December. We are only left with this sentiment he expresses.:
Peter declared that he wished Adam had never been born, that there could be no remembering who he was outside of who he became. “That didn’t come right away. That’s not a natural thing, when you’re thinking about your kid. But, God, there’s no question. There can only be one conclusion, when you finally get there. That’s fairly recent, too, but that’s totally where I am.”
I think it’s safe to say that most of us feel that way too.
(Image: getty images)