Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for March 11th, 2014

Adam Lanza’s Father Finally Speaks . . .

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In a new article in the New Yorker, writer Andrew Solomon discusses Adam Lanza with one of the very few people who knew him well — his father, Peter Lanza.

Now, why is this significant? Well, no one’s sure why Adam Lanza killed twenty-six children at Sandy Hook Elementary School to this day, and despite what we’ve learned about Adam Lanza over the past year-plus, we possibly never will know, either.

But at least Peter Lanza knew his son, Adam, and can discuss Adam’s mental illness and other issues . . . which is probably why Mr. Lanza consented to be interviewed by Andrew Solomon in the first place.

I wrote about the Sandy Hook school shooting back in December of 2012, and at that time asked the basic question: Why did this happen?

As I said at the time:

I normally have sympathy for the mentally ill, even severely mentally ill types like it sounds like the latest shooter, Adam Lanza, probably was. (And I’m decidedly not talking about his Asperger’s Syndrome; I’m talking about the behavioral issues he’d have likely had whether he had AS or not.) But in this case, I can find no mercy in my heart for him — far less mercy than one of the parents of the victims, Robbie Parker, who’s already expressed sympathy for the surviving family members of Adam Lanza.

Mr. Parker is a far better person than I.

My focus is elsewhere, because I just do not understand why any responsible parent, such as Nancy Lanza has been described, would ever allow a troubled young man like her son to get a hand on any of her guns.

Much less teach him to shoot them herself, as it appears she did.

What Peter Lanza has done by consenting to an interview by Mr. Solomon in the New Yorker is to answer that question — why did Nancy Lanza teach her son to shoot in the first place? And why did she seemingly enable her son to withdraw into his own violent fantasy world rather than get him treatment?

In addition, Mr. Lanza also discusses many, many other things. He believes that his son Adam would’ve gladly shot him, too, if Adam had had the chance . . . a tremendously sad thing for any father to say about his own son. And he discusses why he thinks Nancy Lanza, his ex-wife, took the odd approach of laissez-faire parenting on the one hand with over-the-top enablement on the other, too, and through writer Solomon comes to a somewhat healing conclusion that perhaps this was just the best Nancy Lanza knew how to do.

The eight-page article in the New Yorker is well worth reading, if you haven’t seen it already (again, the link is here), but it is unsettling.

I’m glad Peter Lanza, Adam’s father, has spoken. I’m glad he was able to shed some light on things from his perspective.

I know that speaking must’ve been difficult for Mr. Lanza. I applaud him for doing it, and hope it will help others in some way.

But it’s a sad, sad commentary when a father says of his own son, “I wish he’d never been born.”

Especially when it’s true.