Adam Lanza – the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter that gunned down twenty children and six adults – was the son of Peter Lanza, who has now opened up about Adam’s sickening crimes in a disturbing interview with the New Yorker, set to come out next week.
According to Today.com on Monday, the interview with Peter, given by Andrew Solomon and entitled Annals of Psychology – The Reckoning: The father of the Sandy Hook killer, details inner feelings that we can't even begin to imagine.
Peter Lanza described the revulsion, overwhelming guilt and severe regret over his son’s actions.
“Any variation on what I did and how my relationship was [with Adam] had to be good, because no outcome could be worse,” Peter said. “You can't get any more evil.”
Despite being diagnosed at an early age of suffering from sensory-integration disorder – a neurological disorder that results from the brain's inability to understand basic sensory information – Peter says his son was “just a normal, weird little kid” who was “always thinking differently.”
But those cute abnormalities as a child started to manifest themselves in serious, and dangerous, ways as Adam aged. His mother Nancy separated from Peter when Adam was nine, leaving Adam to struggle through a broken marriage.
“It was crystal clear something was wrong,” Peter said. “The social awkwardness, the uncomfortable anxiety, unable to sleep, stress, unable to concentrate, having a hard time learning, the awkward walk, reduced eye contact. You could see the changes occurring.”
From the New Yorker:
According to the state's attorney's report, when Adam was in fifth grade he said that he "did not think highly of himself and believed that everyone else in the world deserved more than he did." That year, Adam and another boy wrote a story called "The Big Book of Granny," in which an old woman with a gun in her cane kills wantonly. In the third chapter, Granny and her son want to taxidermy a boy for their mantelpiece. In another chapter, a character called Dora the Berserker says, "I like hurting people. . . . Especially children." Adam tried to sell copies of the book at school and got in trouble.
Adam was later diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder characterized by significant trouble in social situations. He was pulled from school and taught at home by Nancy.
"Why do you need friends?" Peter says Adam once asked him, dismissing the notion that a friend could be important to him.
In September 2010, Peter said he saw his son for the last time.
"He does not want to see you. I have been trying to reason with him to no avail. I don't know what to do," Nancy wrote in an email.
"I was hurt," Peter said in reply. "I never expected that I would never talk to him again. I thought it was a matter of when."
The New Yorker describes Peter’s reaction when news of the school shooting broke:
Shocked by the developing news, Peter said, "Both my kids went to that school," and went back to his office. Then news reports mentioned that a twenty- and a twenty-four-year-old were involved (the ages of his two sons) and that the shooter had attended the school. Unable to get any work done, he drove home to watch the coverage. A reporter was waiting in his driveway, and told him that somebody at his house was involved in the shootings. Peter closed the door, turned on the TV, and saw that CNN was identifying Ryan as the shooter. But he knew better, and called Shelley at work. She told me, "Peter said, 'It's Peter. I think it's Adam.' I didn't recognize his voice. And he just said it again: 'It's Peter, it's Peter, it's Adam.' And I still didn't understand him. And he said, 'I think it's Adam, it's Adam.' When it hit me, I screamed and started shaking violently."
Peter’s words are equal parts chilling and affecting: "With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he'd had the chance. I don't question that for a minute. The reason he shot Nancy four times was one for each of us: one for Nancy; one for him; one for Ryan; one for me."
Peter now admits he wished his son, Adam, a boy that committed the second-deadliest mass shooting by a single person in American history, had never been born.
"That didn't come right away," he told Solomon in the interview. "That's not a natural thing, when you're thinking about your kid. But, God, there's no question. There can only be one conclusion, when you finally get there. That's fairly recent, too, but that's totally where I am."
Head over to the New Yorker for the entire story.