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Baran Hines
Peter Lanza, father of Adam Lanza, gave a ‘series’ of interviews to Andrew Solomon of New Yorker magazine about his son and the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Daily Mail
The father of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza has spoken publicly for the first time to make the startling claim that he wishes his son had never been born.
Giving a series of interviews to The New Yorker magazine, Peter Lanza dubbed his son Adam ‘evil’ for killing 20 children and six staff at the Connecticut school just before Christmas in 2012.
Explaining that his son spent his entire life troubled by mental illness, Lanza, a vice president for GE Energy Financial Services said that in his opinion he thought his youngest boy was an undiagnosed schizophrenic.

Solomon pieced together an extensive article which provides more clarity on Adam’s life and relationship to his parents. However, it only fills in details which were hinted at during the aftermath, as opposed to concretely addressing the inconsistencies between the evidence and official explanation. Solomon’s article is extensive and riveting to read, yet cannot speak to the contradictory patterns in the evidence pointed out by multiple security experts, most recently Wolfgang Halbig.

Series of interviews beginning September 2013

New Yorker magazine
Since the shootings, Peter has avoided the press, but in September, as the first anniversary of his son’s rampage approached, he contacted me to say that he was ready to tell his story. We met six times, for interviews lasting as long as seven hours. Shelley, a librarian at the University of Connecticut, usually joined us and made soup or chili or salads for lunch. Sometimes we played with their German shepherd.

Peter hadn’t seen his son for two years at the time of the Sandy Hook killings, and, even with hindsight, he doesn’t think that the catastrophe could have been predicted. But he constantly thinks about what he could have done differently and wishes he had pushed harder to see Adam. “Any variation on what I did and how my relationship was had to be good, because no outcome could be worse,” he said. Another time, he said, “You can’t get any more evil,” and added, “How much do I beat up on myself about the fact that he’s my son? A lot.”

Received many items, ‘thousands’ of letters

New Yorker magazine
strangers from across the world have sent thousands upon thousands of letters and other keepsakes: prayer shawls, Bibles, Teddy bears, homemade toys; stories with titles such as “My First Christmas in Heaven”; crosses, including one made by prison inmates. People sent candy, too, and when I visited Peter, last fall, he showed me a bag of year-old caramels. He had not wanted to throw away anything that people sent. But he said, “I was wary about eating anything,” and he didn’t let Shelley Lanza—his second wife—eat any of the candy, either. There was no way to be sure it wasn’t poisoned.

Adam’s specific troubles

Absent the evidentiary inconsistencies and possible motives, Adam Lanza was in fact a troubled person. Peter Lanza speculated that Adam’s problems were exacerbated by the separation with his mother Nancy and the resulting discourse between the family. Adam’s intelligence was not in question, however the pursuit of vocations to earn money and make a living were not productive.

New Yorker magazine
When Adam entered middle school, he proudly took Peter to see it. “And talk about talkative: man, that kid, you couldn’t shut him up!” Peter said. 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.

New Yorker magazine
Adam displayed what his father described as “the arrogance that Aspies can have.” He wrote that he was “not satisfied if information related to me is not profound enough. I could not learn anything from the ninth grade history textbook because it did not explain events to a sufficient extent and did not analyze the implementations of the events.” He went on to discount his parents’ teaching, asserting that he had taught himself chemistry.

Living a “normal” lifestyle was becoming problematic for Adam as Nancy did not know what to do with him.

New Yorker magazine
King noted evidence of obsessive-compulsive disorder, which often accompanies autism. Adam refused to touch metal objects such as doorknobs and didn’t like his mother to touch them, either, because he feared contamination. “Adam imposes many strictures, which are increasingly onerous for mother,” King wrote. “He disapproves if mother leans on anything in the house because it is ‘improper.’ . . . He is also intolerant if mother brushes by his chair and objected to her new high heel boots, because they were ‘too loud.’ . . . If mother walks in front of him in the kitchen, he would insist she redo it.” King was concerned that Adam’s parents seemed to worry primarily about his schooling, and said that it was more urgent to address “how to accommodate Adam’s severe social disabilities in a way that would permit him to be around peers.” King saw “significant risk to Adam in creating, even with the best of intentions, a prosthetic environment which spares him having to encounter other students or to work to overcome his social difficulties.” And he concluded that Nancy was “almost becoming a prisoner in her own house.”

The pressure of forcing Adam to find a career path in money-centric western society weighed heavily on him as well as Nancy and likely created more resentment and disorder in his mind.

New Yorker magazine
Adam always had aspirations beyond his abilities. His list of colleges started with Cornell, for which he clearly didn’t have the academic record. Then he announced that he was going to enlist in the military when he turned eighteen, in April, 2010; he wanted to join the Army Rangers, an élite regiment. “What do you do?” Peter wondered. “You tell him, ‘Adam, that’s unrealistic’?” When the time came, Adam didn’t sign up. Peter took Adam to visit Norwich University, which has a military program, but they concluded that Adam should take classes at Norwalk Community College, near Stamford, before attempting campus life anywhere. Adam wanted to take five classes, but Peter said it was more than he could cope with, and suggested two classes that they could work on together. Peter went to pick him up for a weekend visit, and Adam refused to go. Peter said, “Adam, we’ve got to figure out a system so I can work with you.” Adam was angry. “I hardly ever saw him pissed, but he was pissed,” Peter recalled. “And it was, like, ‘I’m taking the five classes. I’m taking them.’ ” It was September, 2010: the last time Peter saw his son.

Earlier that year, Nancy had written, “He does not want to see you. I have been trying to reason with him to no avail. I don’t know what to do.” An e-mail that Adam sent Peter to get out of another meeting sounded innocuous—“I apologize for not wanting to go today. I have not been feeling well for the last couple of days”—but Nancy’s updates painted a more fraught picture. “He is despondent and crying a lot and just can’t continue. . . . I have been trying to get him to see you and he refuses and every time I’ve brought the subject up it just makes him worse,” she wrote. Nancy surmised that Adam resented Peter’s warning about the heavy course load.

Adam began slipping further into unproductive psychological paralysis which eventually clashed with the medical reality of his condition.

New Yorker magazine
Adam tried Lexapro, which Fox had prescribed. Nancy reported, “On the third morning he complained of dizziness. By that afternoon he was disoriented, his speech was disjointed, he couldn’t even figure out how to open his cereal box. He was sweating profusely . . . it was actually dripping off his hands. He said he couldn’t think. . . . He was practically vegetative.” Later the same day, she wrote, “He did nothing but sit in his dark room staring at nothing.” Adam stopped taking Lexapro and never took psychotropics again, which worried Koenig. She wrote, “While Adam likes to believe that he’s completely logical, in fact, he’s not at all, and I’ve called him on it.” She said he had a biological disorder and needed medication. “I told him he’s living in a box right now, and the box will only get smaller over time if he doesn’t get some treatment.”

The totality of Adam’s mental troubles can’t be ignored, however the links to the specific manifestation of violence are not as likely as television pundits would suggest.

Therapists “missed” it

The disconnects between conventional wisdom on psychiatric issues and the case of Adam Lanza are massive. The diagnoses, both conferred and missed, have a hodgepodge of mismatches related to warning signs and correlations.

New Yorker magazine
“Adam was not open to therapy,” Peter told me. “He did not want to talk about problems and didn’t even admit he had Asperger’s.” Peter and Nancy were confident enough in the Asperger’s diagnosis that they didn’t look for other explanations for Adam’s behavior. In that sense, Asperger’s may have distracted them from whatever else was amiss. “If he had been a totally normal adolescent and he was well adjusted and then all of a sudden went into isolation, alarms would go off,” Peter told me. “But let’s keep in mind that you expect Adam to be weird.” Still, Peter and Nancy sought professional support repeatedly, and none of the doctors they saw detected troubling violence in Adam’s disposition. According to the state’s attorney’s report, “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.

Peter gets annoyed when people speculate that Asperger’s was the cause of Adam’s rampage. “Asperger’s makes people unusual, but it doesn’t make people like this,” he said, and expressed the view that the condition “veiled a contaminant” that was not Asperger’s: “I was thinking it could mask schizophrenia.” Violence by autistic people is more commonly reactive than planned—triggered, for example, by an invasion of personal space. Studies of people with autism who have committed crimes suggest that at least half also suffer from an additional condition—from psychosis, in about twenty-five per cent of cases.

The discussion of motive and how it related to the Adam Lanza’s specific conditions is a complicated one, but the more that analysis of the trends are synthesized, the more this situation is confirmed as a statistical anomaly. The search for answers is focused on an continuously smaller area of correlations, in hopes of finding causation. To weigh that against the long list of questions that are unanswered, produces a more confusing picture of what happened at Sandy Hook.

A terrorist?

Inevitably, the discussion always centers on how to prevent the next massacre with debates focused on gun control and other initiatives that erode the privacy of the average person in the US. The “T word” has come up often and one has to look no further than the growing police state to understand how the Newtown events will eventually curb freedoms even more.

New Yorker magazine
Adam Lanza was a terrorist for an unknowable cause who committed three distinct atrocities: he killed his mother; he killed himself; he killed children and adults he’d never met before. Two of these acts are explicable; the third, incomprehensible. There are many crimes from which most people desist because we know right from wrong and are careful of the law. Most people would like to have things that belong to others; many people have felt murderous rage. But the reason that almost no one shoots twenty random children isn’t self-restraint; it’s that there is no level at which the idea is attractive. Since 2006, according to a USA Today study, there have been two hundred and thirty-two mass killings—meaning, more than four deaths apiece, not including the killer—in the United States. But fewer than fifteen percent involved random, unknown victims.

The takeaway for the future is shaping up to form new policy guidelines to identify markers in genetics previously not analyzed as the article noted that Adam’s DNA was being studied for clues about how to prevent similar massacres. The only place that leads is to “pre-crime” detection and detention or confinement if “warning signs” are found. In the coming era of designer babies and possibly being able to choose traits, or even selectively terminate a fetus, abortions may no longer be the sole choice of the parents. Somewhere, someone is waiting for the opportunity to draft legislation or policy to give government entities the right to terminate or prevent conception of an embryo based on preapproved markers. Whether pre or post-birth, the following passage is an example of the broad array of factors which may be considered for future guidelines.

New Yorker magazine
Scientists are sequencing Adam’s DNA to see if they can find anomalies that might explain what was broken in him. And yet, if someone has committed heinous crimes and is then found to have bad genes or a neurological abnormality, should we presume that biology compelled him? It’s a circular argument that conflates what describes a phenomenon and what causes it. Everything in our minds is encoded in neural architecture, and if scanning technologies advance far enough we’ll see physiological evidence of a college education, a failed love affair, religious faith. Will such knowledge also bring deeper understanding?

Legal definitions of insanity still focus on psychosis, the delusions of which are held to diminish responsibility. Medical conceptions include many additional bizarre behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. The legal definition has historically encompassed both questions of agency (he didn’t know what he was doing) and morality (he didn’t know that what he was doing was wrong). The psychiatric profession doesn’t consider mass killers to be necessarily insane.

The explanation provided by the investigation is not conclusive as it relates to how this crime was actually committed and by who. The reality that remains is a society fearful of guns in general and a polarizing, unproductive debate. This disconnect has already reached a tipping point in the same state of Connecticut where a newspaper writer called for the “100,000 residents who refused to register their guns to be arrested”. Reports have been surfacing recently that many law enforcement officers are stating that they “refuse to enforce new gun laws”. As more laws are forced, the situation will become more divisive. The WTF News archive on guns illustrates the pattern more effectively than further discussion would in this piece.


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