Nancy Lanza was a victim.
And because of her, there were many more.
In Camus’s The Fall, a less-than-beloved building’s superintendent, known as “the concierge,” dies. Though no one was terribly interested in the man while he lived, once deceased, the residents dressed up and attended his funeral and all had nice things to say about him. Not only did the neighbors enjoy the funereal pomp and circumstance, but they were obligated by the constructs of their society to respect their dead; False sentiment was considered more apropos than apathy.
The general feeling in western culture is that once dead and unable to defend yourself, you’re suddenly off the hook. Recently, on The View, legal correspondent Chris Cuomo shut down conversation about the killer’s mother, Nancy Lanza by saying that she wasn’t present to defend herself and the subject was dropped.
While evidence surrounding the case continues to be uncovered, based on what we know now, the mother of the nation’s most recent mass murderer is at least partially culpable. Had she not been a victim of matricide, she would have already been convicted of second-degree homicide in the court of public opinion.
The Lanzas’ story is a cautionary tale, so riddled with bad luck, and worse choices, the only thing that’s astonishing is that this murder/suicide textbook went from pamphlet to tome.
None of the following aspects are lethal, but when pieced together they became the wick, the dynamite, and the match that blew apart a nation: Violent video games — withdrawn mentally unstable youth — and a cache of firearms.
Properly parenting a mentally ill child is certainly no cakewalk, but when your teenage son is psychologically unstable, it’s safe to say that it’s not wise to teach him how to shoot a semiautomatic weapon that sprays up to 100 bullets a minute. And when he was not being taught by his mother how to fire her Glock (which he used to kill himself) and Bushmaster (which, it’s believed, he used to kill twenty-six people), Adam Lanza locked himself in the family basement and went on virtual killing sprees for hours playing Call of Duty.
Ms. Lanza, who some called cheerful and others “high strung” by her friends at her local bar My Place, frequently would bend an ear over her worries about her troubled son.
Rich Collins, a family friend of the Lanzas said, “It was really hard for her as a single mother. It’s hard enough raising an autistic child. I think it’s important to get that part of the story out — an unmarried woman was trying to raise an autistic child on her own. I think she needed more support.”
She did need more support. And she had the financial wherewithal to provide it, but Nancy Lanza was a proud gun owner who often spoke braggingly of her new purchases: it was who she was, it was a part of her persona.
Many people own firearms and treat them responsibly; they take their sons and daughters to firing ranges and even hunting, and when sound judgment is applied, rarely do things go awry. But Nancy Lanza, knew her son was a ticking time bomb — she spoke of it — yet she left her son alone with her prized gun collection while she left on vacation to New Hampshire for three days.
Reports, however, reveal that Nancy Lanza was not exactly a wholesome homemaker whiling her days away in her $1.4 million home. Following her divorce in 2009 she became a government conspiracy theorist who was stockpiling weapons for Armageddon. Perhaps it wasn’t just target practice, rather Nancy Lanza was actually training her emotionally unhinged son to be a solider.
Nancy Lanza’s friends say she was charming and generous and believe that her death should be mourned in the small Connecticut town alongside with the rest. But the other residents of Newtown don’t see it that way.
Near Sandy Hook Elementary there are currently twenty-six Christmas trees bearing the names of each victim. Notably absent is the name of the first person who was murdered that morning.