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Connecticut Shooting

December 14, 2012 permalink

A gunman opened fire today at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut, killing 27 people, including 20 young children. The school was for kindergarten to grade 4, one entire kindergarten class is unaccounted for. This is not the place for the gory details of the killings, refer to mainstream news sources for that. What is of interest here is child protection and family law. Among the victims of now-dead shooter Adam Peter Lanza, age 20, was his mother Nancy, a teacher's aide at the school. According to early reports the shooter's son was also killed. It could be a family broken up by the family law system. And it is time to comment on the security theater at American schools. Students are routinely humiliated in searches that demand submissiveness, but when a real threat appears there is no security in sight.

Eight hours after the shooting the press is reporting that the shooter had a personality disorder. Could he have been prescribed psychotropic drugs? More as soon as there is enough news to be worthy of comment.

Still on the same day of the shooting, the press has already found out that Adam Lanza's parents were divorced and that Adam was on medication. No drugs are yet named. The early news that he had a son was incorrect.



Adam Lanza is recalled as a ‘rambunctious kid’ with family problems

Adam Lanza was his name.

Adam P. Lanza, 20, obscure in life, infamous in death.

A really rambunctious kid, as one former neighbor in Newtown, Conn., recalled him, adding that he was on medication. He was a son of an accountant and a schoolteacher. A family member told investigators that he had a form of autism, a law enforcement official said.

And he will long be remembered.

On Friday morning, police say, he shot and killed his mother in their home. And then, carrying firearms and an abundance of ammunition, he drove to Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School and started shooting. By the time he turned one of the guns on himself, police say, he had killed 20 children, many of them kindergartners, and six more adults.

Adam Peter Lanza — a new addition to a dreadful list, the roster of killers who targeted students: Seung Hui Cho at Virginia Tech (32 dead); Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold at Columbine High in Colorado (13 dead), Charles C. Roberts IV at a little Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania (five dead). The litany of massacres goes on.

As scores of investigators worked Friday to piece together what happened at the school and why, the barest details of Lanza’s life began to emerge.

His parents, Nancy and Peter Lanza, separated about a decade ago, and his mother, a kindergarten teacher at Sandy Hook, remained in the family’s home with her sons, Adam and Ryan Lanza, according to Ryan Kraft, 25, who was a neighbor.

The separation hit the children hard, Kraft recalled.

When Nancy Lanza would go out to dinner with friends, she sometimes relied on Kraft to watch Adam Lanza, who was too boisterous for Ryan Lanza to manage. “He would have tantrums,” Kraft said. “They were much more than the average kid [had].” Yet he was not prone to violence, Kraft said.

“The kids seemed really depressed” by the breakup, Kraft said of the Lanza brothers. Ryan Lanza, 24, now lives in Hoboken, N.J. Police questioned him Friday, but law enforcement officials said he was cooperating and is not suspected of having anything to do with the shootings.

For several hours Friday, authorities and the news media misidentified the shooter as Ryan Lanza, who, like his father, is an accountant, a law enforcement official said.

The Wall Street Journal quoted a friend of Ryan Lanza’s as saying that Lanza works for Ernst & Young. “He [is] a little shy, but very nice and sweet,” the friend, Katie Colaneri, 24, of Hoboken, told the Journal.

Nancy Lanza put the best face possible on her domestic troubles, the former neighbor said. “Nancy was really pleasant,” Kraft said. “She would come by the house and have a glass of wine with my mom.” The couple’s divorce was finalized in 2009, according to court records.

Beth Israel, who lived for a time on the same street as the Lanzas, recalled Adam Lanza as withdrawn but not threatening in any way.

“Overall, I would just call him a socially awkward kid, I don’t know, shy and quiet. Didn’t really look you in the eye,” Israel said in a telephone interview Friday night. “Just kind of a weird kid, maybe. I can’t tell you any specific incidents why [I thought so],” she said.

At a vigil in Newtown, a man of about Adam Lanza’s age was visibly distraught. “I knew Adam in high school,” he said, declining to give his name. “He always seemed like a quiet type. He was never really sociable. When you try to communicate with him, he would just kind of like have one- or two-word responses.

“He was a wicked smart kid, he excelled in everything,” the man said. “He graduated high school three years early.”

The man defended Adam’s mother and objected to some reports about her. “I know her. My family knew her. She was a respectable collector [of guns]. She used them responsibly. It’s not her fault that any of this happened.”

At the vigil, Catherine Urso said her son went to high school with Adam Lanza, who “was very remote, reclusive.” Lanza and his friends, she said, “always gathered alone in a corner in the school.”

A law enforcement official — who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is far from finished — said Adam Lanza fatally shot his mother in her home, then drove in her car to the school where she worked.

He had two semiautomatic pistols and a .223-caliber rifle, law enforcement officials said. He apparently used only the handguns, which were later found in the school. The rifle was found in the vehicle.

Peter Lanza, a vice president and tax specialist at GE Energy Financial Services, is remarried and lives in Stamford, Conn., according to the Stamford Advocate. When he arrived home Friday and was approached by a reporter, the paper reported, he appeared “surprised and horrified” and declined to comment on the massacre.

A woman who is a close friend of Peter Lanza’s became highly emotional in a brief telephone interview Friday. “His son was doing wonderfully,” she said of Adam Lanza. “This is inconceivable. Peter adores his children. His son was doing so well.”

Source: Washington Post

Sidebar: A tearful president Barack Obama addressed the country on television to express national sorrow for the dead Connecticut children. On Monday, December 17 the Washington Post reported that today nine young Afghan girls were killed in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar Province when one of them set off a landmine while collecting wood. There were no tears from Mr Obama about this tragedy.

Addendum: Four days after the shooting it turns out Lanza's mother wanted him committed to a psychiatric famility.



EXCLUSIVE: Fear of being committed may have caused Connecticut gunman to snap

NEWTOWN, Conn. – The gunman who slaughtered 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school may have snapped because his mother was planning to commit him to a psychiatric facility, according to a lifelong resident of the area who was familiar with the killer’s family and several of the victims’ families.

Adam Lanza, 20, targeted Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown after killing his mother early Friday because he believed she loved the school “more than she loved him,” said Joshua Flashman, 25, who grew up not far from where the shooting took place. Flashman, a U.S. Marine, is the son of a pastor at an area church where many of the victims' families worship.

“From what I've been told, Adam was aware of her petitioning the court for conservatorship and (her) plans to have him committed," Flashman told "Adam was apparently very upset about this. He thought she just wanted to send him away. From what I understand, he was really, really angry. I think this could have been it, what set him off.”

A senior law enforcement official involved in the investigation confirmed that Lanza's anger at his mother over plans for “his future mental health treatment” is being looked at as a possible motive for the deadly shooting.

Flashman was told Nancy Lanza had begun filing paperwork to get conservatorship over her troubled son, but that could not be confirmed because a court official told such records are sealed. The move would have been necessary for her to gain the legal right to commit an adult to a hospital or psychiatric facility against his will. A competency hearing had not yet been held.

Adam Lanza attended the Sandy Hook School as a boy, according to Flashman, who said Nancy Lanza had volunteered there for several years. Two law enforcement sources said they believed Nancy Lanza had been volunteering with kindergartners at the school. Most of Lanza's victims were first graders sources believe Nancy Lanza may have worked with last year.

Flashman said Nancy Lanza was also good friends with the school’s principal and psychologist—both of whom were killed in the shooting rampage.

"Adam Lanza believed she cared more for the children than she did for him, and the reason he probably thought this [was the fact that] she was petitioning for conservatorship and wanted to have him committed," Flashman said. "I could understand how he might perceive that—that his mom loved him less than she loved the kids, loved the school. But she did love him. But he was a troubled kid and she probably just couldn’t take care of him by herself anymore."

The Washington Post reported that the distraught mother had considered moving with her son to Washington state, where she had found a school she thought could help him. Either way, according to Flashman, Nancy Lanza was at her wit's end.

A separate neighborhood source also told that Nancy Lanza had come to the realization she could no longer handle her son alone. She was caring for him full-time, but told friends she needed help. She was planning to have him involuntarily hospitalized, according to the source, who did not know if she had taken formal steps.

Multiple sources told Adam Lanza suffered from Asperger’s syndrome , a form of autism, and other unspecified mental and emotional problems.

Adam Lanza has also been described by those who knew him as highly intelligent, and a spokesman for Western Connecticut State University told The Associated Press he took college classes there when he was 16, earning a 3.26 grade point average and excelling at a computer course.

Alan Diaz, 20, who was friends with Adam Lanza at Newtown High School, said the Lanza he knew was ill-at-ease socially, but not a monster.

"He was a wicked smart kid," Diaz told by email. "When I first met him, he wouldn't even look at you when you tried to talk to him. Over the year I knew him, he became used to me and my other friends, he eventually could have full conversations with us.

"I've heard him laugh, he has even comforted me once in a hard time I had," Diaz said. “A big part of me wishes I never dropped contact with him after he left high school, felt like I could have done something."

Flashman said nobody will completely understand why Adam did what he did.

“No one can explain Adam Lanza besides God and Adam Lanza, and I don’t even think Adam Lanza could explain Adam Lanza, to be honest with you.”

Source: Fox News