R.I.P., Nancy Lanza

I noticed the big Healing Moment of Silence today was for 26 victims, not 27.

And there’s your nasty little underbelly of this scenic little New England town: They blame Nancy Lanza for the shootings. She’s the mother, she should have known. She shouldn’t have guns in the house. She shouldn’t have taught her kids to shoot.

Well, she grew up on a farm. Guns are a big part of life in rural communities.

Besides: Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

I do not presume to understand Nancy Lanza, and I will not judge her. I do know one thing: She did the best she could under difficult circumstances. I mean, you’ll notice Peter Lanza, Adam Lanza’s father, hadn’t seen him in two years. Sounds to me like he wrote a fat check and walked away from dealing with his troubled kid. (Not that I judge him, either. I don’t know what I would have done in a similar situation.) It’s just that somehow, it’s always the mother’s fault.

I don’t think I’m making an inaccurate generalization when I say that mothers are usually the ones left to deal with sick, handicapped or disturbed kids. They’re your blood, you gave birth to them. You’re the mother.

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to people that maybe she kept the guns because she was afraid of her kid. Mothers can’t say things like that, so we’ll never know.

For these and other reasons, I will not use the word “should” regarding Nancy Lanza. I have no idea what she “should” have done. I wish everyone would put down the weight of their judgement.

I just know that she was a mother, trying to do her best, and she was blown away by the son she was trying to help. May she rest in peace.

20 thoughts on “R.I.P., Nancy Lanza

  1. I wish I could share your charitable feelings and I completely agree that the father seems to have abandoned his responsibility. The problem I have is that she was apparently a survivalist, meaning the guns weren’t there to protect her from her son – she thought she’d have to defend herself from crazed mobs when the economy tanked. I cannot help but have feelings of loathing for someone who would rather shoot first and find out later whether a person was going to grab your food or was asking for help. I’d rather die than shoot people begging for food. And that’s what she most likely was. Besides the irresponsible judgement used to keep firearms in the same house with her mentally ill son.

    Having said that, she was a victim even if it was of herself and should be remembered as well.

  2. See, my reaction to someone who was that worried about someone taking her food is to feel sorry for her. Fear makes people do crazy things. Oh, and she had multiple sclerosis, so maybe that was part of her thinking.

  3. Thank you for saying this despite how unpopular it may be. Too often there is a rush to judgement and in this case a loathing of the victim.

  4. Well said. She was the first one affected by her son’s issues (and long before the shootings) and should be acknowledged.

  5. I agree with much (most?) of this, but must point out that it was very irresponsible to not secure her firearms when having a disturbed young male in the house.
    That was just asking for trouble.

  6. If her son could break into the cabinet, then the guns were not really secure.

    Here’s an idea — what if the victims’ survivors filed a class-action suit against the manufacturer of the inadequate gun-cabinet maker? I know that firearms manufacturers are legally exempt from liability litigation, but maybe the gun-storage makers aren’t? (Thanks for that exemption, Dubya.)

  7. The other day I was re-watching the movie Elizabeth. The story introduces the idea that, if Elizabeth creates a national church to fight the political disruptions caused by the Catholics, people will be harmed by losing the consolations of a female deity (Mary in this case).

    It made me wonder if one reason women are blamed and judged so excessively might be because we have no female deities. Maybe when there is a God, or Goddess, to offload out unrealistic expectations of each other onto, it takes some of the pressure off of real people.

    I don’t know if that’s really how things work or not, but I’ve been wondering about it.

  8. I think that there’s a lot of blame to go around for Adam, his mom AND dad (who seems to have avoided any association with his son), society and even me as a member of a community that passes out guns more readily than mental healthcare. But, I too am horrified at how easily we can render judgement without knowing jack-shit about the facts in this truly American tragedy.

  9. She made mistakes, for sure, but death seems too harsh a punishment. She was the only one dealing with a very sick child, day in and day out. This overwhelming responsibility must have weighed heavily on her psyche. She seems to have isolated herself more and more from the community, as her son got sicker and sicker. She probably lived in constant fear for her life, but the danger was inside the home, not outside.

    I read that the parents separated in 2001, so Adam was only 10 or so at the time. The father paid way more than he had to – offered to pay extra – but does not seem to have been around for the heavy lifting.

  10. Fair point Susie, but we know exactly nothing about any member of this family, including Adam. I also think that your exculpation assumes facts that are far from evident.

  11. Nancy allowed a toxic situation to develop and then literally blow up. She allowed her twenty year old grown son to spend his life with violent games, doing what he wanted, no job, no high school diploma, no enrollment in college and as far as we know, no medicine and psychiatric treatment. That young man should have been insttionalized four years ago when he left Newtown HIgh School. A truly responsible parent would not have let this get so far out of hand.

  12. Susie made a point of saying she has no way of knowing lots of things about Nancy Lanza, nor do any of us. For us to judge her as unworthy of having her death at the hands of her son is harsh and strange rush to judgement.

    I mean, I did the math immediately and couldn’t figure out why there only 16 ringing of the bells…if 28 died, including the killer, then 27 people were clearly victims of the shooter. Were they only accepting as worthy those killed directly at the school? Strange decision.

    And, highly judgemental.

    Let he or she who is without sin –or whatever– cast the first stone.

    Nationally, all our “leaders” have cast stones at Nancy Lanza. Thank goodness she’s already dead or she would have been stoned to death.

  13. He left high school to take classes at a nearby college. He was seeing a therapist and was on a medication commonly used for schizophrenia. According to several news reports, Nancy Lanza had already started the paperwork to have him committed. So you rendered her guilty based on your emotions and not the facts.

  14. WOW. I know something about the schizophrenia meds as I used to test new medications and I remember when they were all the rage in the early 2000’s. I never did but I knew a lot of people who had and they said the side effects were awful. Those meds are very new, very experimental, and yes they went through clinical trials. If you but knew what bs clinical trials were you would shudder. In one particular one, the guys stole the keys, poked an opening in the prefab ceiling, snuck out for pizza and brought it back for all of them ruining the study protocol. The facility refused to stop the study as it paid a fortune to do it and complete it. I have heard stories of dead bodies being taken out in the middle of the night. One girl hung herself in my dprexa study at Lilly.

    You take those meds at your peril. Trust me on that one.

    IF she was a survivalist then she is full of that brand of paranoia. Anyone who has seen The Road or read Cormac McCarthy’s book knows that if all goes south, you are not going to be able to protect yourself or your food without a little army bigger than the one that comes after you. It is futile to think you can survive with weapons. Better learn to survive out there with nothing, have it all in a backpack and go into the mountains alone or with your family already knowing how to select and eat wild food out there. Ammo is not going to last so better practice with a bow and arrow. We are looking at The Hunger Games folks and being in confinement and used as slaves without any pretense.

    Please tell me how you could secure guns in your home that a young amn could not break into and get when he wished to do so. Ha ha on a locked cabinet. One of those old timey huge safes with a combo lock maybe yes. Who has one of them anymore. A storage bin and they would have been stolen easily.

    This woman was at the end of her rope. She did not know what to do and there was no social service that could or would help her in time. By the time you face the fact that you are going to have to commit your son, if he is schizophrenic he has already picked up on your intention. It is a drawn out process and is not easy. They do not keep them very long unless he had already committed a dangerous criminal act.

    The people on comment boards seem to me to come from a different world. They have all been brainwashed by tabloid crap until that is the way they think about everything. Emotional response and then jump on board.

  15. SUsie, taking classes does not mean matriculating, only enrollment. Also what is your source for the schizophrenia? And meds? My judgement is based on known facts. Denial is a deep well and Nancy was in deep denial. One look at the photo of her grown son and common sense says he should have been committed long ago. Finally let’s stop the biblical cliches about casting judgement. We are not talking about sin.
    We are talking about the development of a dangerous man that could have been stopped had facts been faced.

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