This morning on the National NBC-5 Morning News, there was discussion about the mother of Adam Lanza that went on the Colorado shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary. The discussion partly centered around the topic of what his mother, Nancy Lanza, did about the belief that her son had a form of autism called Asperger’s Syndrome. Would it have made any difference if the boy had been tested or not? Where is the line drawn when it comes to parental fault?
This is a very difficult subject in general. For the parents of the victims and for the parent or parents of the offender, it is a nightmare – if they even live through the difficulty! For those parents that are involved, there is a barrage of emotions that take over.
It is impossible to imagine unless you are in their place – although it is all too common for people to criticize without thinking things through properly. Unless you can put yourself in the place of either the victims’ parents or the assailant’s parents, you may choose to speculate, or you may not want to.
When you stop and take a look at both sides of the fence, you may be shocked at what you see. Beginning with the shooter’s mother, in this circumstance at least, people were commenting on whether or not Nancy was stockpiling weapons, food and water for a doomsday event and this was part of the reason that her son had access to the weapons he used on that fatal day. If you combine that with the fact that he liked violent video games that some individuals believe taught him proper attack methods and that he felt he was in strict competition with Anders Breivik, the parents of the victims may feel like his mother should have done more. What Alaine Griffin and Josh Kovner of Hartford Courant and the PBS “Frontline” team actually discovered was that Nancy was doing everything she could; reaching out for help for her son. The question will always remain as to whether she would feel like she did do enough – if only she had lived through the ordeal. In fact, she was his very first victim!
Taking the opposite stance, the parents of the victims may or may not want to hold Nancy Lanza responsible. It is much too painful to suggest that they put themselves in her shoes as they will never be able to.
Speculation is just that. No other parent can answer for Nancy Lanza or her decisions as a mother. We will never know:
· Whether or not Adam Lanza did have Asperger’s Syndrome or not and if his violent nature was the result
· If the easy access to weapons was his downfall
· Whether extra assistance would have prevented the huge tragedy that befell the many Colorado families
What we do know is that Nancy Lanza suffered and as mothers and fathers, we will hopefully never have to have her experiences. What we can do is not criticize, but assist by recognizing these same difficulties in other families and work to prevent any other tragedies that could potentially occur.