Why Did Sandy Hook Happen? Because Nancy Lanza Was An Idiot Survivalist

March 10th, 2014 // 214 Comments
Sandy Hook Memorial
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Sandy Hook was the national tragedy that broke me. Almost two years later, I still can’t look at the images of terrified and crying children evacuating their school while heroes, honest-to-fucking God heroes, whether they were teachers, police or first responders steeled themselves and walked through fire to get those kids to safety. I imagine the children in my own life being put in that situation for barely a second and forget it. And for a short while, the entire country felt the same way. This was going to be the time when we all stopped for a minute and went, “This is getting goddamn ridiculous.” But then the moneyed arm of the NRA with the full weight of American stupidity behind it took off the cast it wore for show and went right back to work harder and more dead inside than ever as gun laws actually became more lax because surely you see the problem wasn’t too many guns, it’s not enough! Rabble rabble rabble! And so Sandy Hook was forgotten – except for when it makes a great Christmas present anecdote, you betcha – until today when a New Yorker interview with Adam Lanza‘s father Peter became the must read article of the day and pulled Sandy Hook out of the dusty box labeled “Just one of those things that happen because F’EEDOM!” In it, Peter Lanza details the deterioration of Adam’s mental state in his own pursuit of figuring out why something like this happened and what can be done to prevent it in the future. It’s a depressing look at a father’s attempts to process having your son commit such a heinous and violent act that bleakly ends with him wishing his own son was just never born. Except what really boggles the mind, and yet goes unspoken the entire time by Peter, is that Adam’s dwindling mental state was readily apparent to his mother Nancy who – as Peter unfortunately learned much too late – was downplaying the severity of Adam’s behavior. As you read the interview, it’s abundantly clear this was a sadly troubled young man, and yet his mother KEPT A FUCKING ARSENAL IN THE HOUSE. The entire article delves into the psychology and biology that may have caused Adam to snap, but the reason for why, and even moreso how this happened is right fucking there. And naturally the shitbird response to that will be, “Well, he would’ve found other weapons.” And you know what? Maybe. Maybe Adam Lanza would’ve built a pipe-bomb or somehow purchased his own firearms because this is a country that believes in Jesus-shooters for everyone, but that would’ve at least put some sort of friction between him and his goal besides, “Where can I find an assault rifle? Oh, wait, right here on the couch because mom think gun safes will slow you down during Armageddon.” Which brings me to probably the most profound passage of the whole interview:

For him, the crime defines the illness—as he said, soon after we met, you’d have to be crazy to do such a thing. He found the idea of Adam’s not being insane much more devastating than the thought of his being insane. Peter has searched the psychiatric literature on mass killers, trying to understand what happened to his son. He came across the work of Park Dietz, a psychiatrist who, in 1986, coined the term “pseudocommando.” Dietz says that for pseudocommandos a preoccupation with weapons and war regalia makes up for a sense of impotence and failure. He wrote that we insist that mass killers are insane only to reassure ourselves that normal people are incapable of such evil.

The Reckoning: The Father of The Sandy Hook Killer Searches For Answers – New Yorker

Photo: Episcopal News Service


  1. Leila

    This story is a nightmare, and almost more depressing is that no one wants to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Obviously, having an arsenal at your fingertips is a bad idea–how can this still be an issue? I actually have family who live in oppressive regimes where the police can actually break down your doors and disappear you with impunity who are LESS scared than some of these survivalist nut jobs living suburban USA. Just what happens to your little brains that you equate the relative security and safety of this country you were lucky enough to be born to armageddon and delusions of coming apocalypse? In what crazy fantasy would your stockpile keep out an army? And is “slowing down” or fighting for your rights in the remote chance something happens worth the kids getting gunned down every day? I’m never going to understand the selfish twisted logic there.

    • Bryan

      Legal gun owners are EXACTLY, as in, 100% exactly, as responsible for Sandy Hook as you are for all the drunk driving accidents and liver disease that kill way more people than guns, all because you have a few drinks at weekend parties. How does that make you feel? Is your unfettered access to liquor really worth all those dead children, or girls raped by drunks? How selfish.

      Read the analogy I posted yesterday and tell me why you wouldn’t vote for my new regulations and restrictions on alcohol consumption, a societal plague far more useless and deadly (both objective facts, look up the stats) to our children.

      (I already know the answer: those rules would affect you personally, and gun laws don’t affect you at all, so what’s the big deal if it just bothers a few racist redneck gun nuts, right?)

      • Well, yeah. Fuck them.

      • But seriously, you’re building a fucking straw man. Again. Some more. Stop doing that.

      • Mitch

        So by your theory, banning guns makes the country a safer place.

        Why hasn’t that happened in Australia where guns are mostly banned?

        The UK has few gun deaths but criminals are running around with machetes, knives and clubs and killing just as many people as before, except that law abiding citizens have no way to protect themselves.

        Criminals are always going to find a way to get guns, and they sure as hell aren’t going to register them or turn them in if they are banned.

      • Are you talking about the same Australia where an ACTUAL AUSTRALIAN PERSON came into the comments and pointed out how their shooting deaths went way down the last time you tried to make this point?

  2. Momo

    Anyone who thinks conspiracy theories are a tool of the right, are a righteous tool. There are just as many left wing morons that believe in conspiracies as there are right wing. I think if this convo has taught us anything it’s that extremism (left or right) in any form sucks. Even a kid knows too much of something is bad. Eat too much pineapple and see what happens.

  3. Shia LaBeouf

    I am not famous anymore!

  4. Laws are always after the fact.

    You can pass gun laws, or drug laws or tax laws, but they are only enforced after they are violated, and then only if the violation is noticed by law enforcement. It isn’t an efficient way to run a society at all, because giving in to greed is so deliciously tempting, we all have easy access to massively lethal technology, and wonderful, clever us certainly won’t ever be caught and made to pay for our actions because – comic books, video games and gun-worship movies.

    Eventually a dog eat dog society destroys itself. If we aren’t going to slide into the jaws of the sixth mass extinction, soon, we have to find a better way to do things. Just saying…

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