Adam Lanza's DNA May Help Scientists Explain Sandy Hook Massacre But at What Cost?

Adam LanzaHave any thoughts on what should be done with Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza? Maybe you're with most Americans who would like to see him rot in hell? Or maybe you're with the scientists: they want to take Lanza's body into a lab and pick apart his DNA in the hopes that we can finally figure out why some people turn into psychopathic murderers.

Hey, it's worth a try, right? Maybe. Then again, is poking around Adam Lanza's DNA after his death really going to help our mental health community?


His body and brain may well contain abnormalities. After all, we've heard a fair amount of evidence that Lanza was mentally disturbed.

But as we've also heard loud and clear in recent weeks from the mental health and autism communities both -- mental condition is only a small piece of the puzzle. There are hundreds of thousands of people with conditions similar to Lanza who wouldn't hurt a fly, forget going into a school and killing small children.

One could say that's reason enough to take Lanza's DNA into a lab and start poking around. If scientists can find something different about what's in his head, perhaps we can finally protect the mental health community from ridiculous leaps made after tragic mass shootings. Maybe, instead of frenzy and fear, we can begin to talk about treatment and protection for people whose misfiring brains are not their fault and not under their control.

I would like to see the day when people are treated not as bad or weak because of their mental conditions, but as human beings who deserve the same amount of compassion as folks battling more socially acceptable illnesses, a day when someone with bipolar disorder is equated with a diabetes patient in terms of support for getting them treatment.

And yet, we live in a society where the stigma for the mental health community runs so deep that any excuse to make their lives harder is a danger to these people.

What if they don't find what we all hope for in Lanza's genetics? What if it reveals a mental disturbance no different from people who are completely non-violent? What then? Could this open the door to further stigmatization, to allowing others to be locked up at the mere chance that they could one day be a threat to society -- even though there's no other evidence that they will hurt someone?

Lanza is already dead, and with him has gone all his twisted thoughts that led up to the horrors in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14. Those thoughts are what caused the Sandy Hook tragedy, so do we really have anything to gain here?

What do you think of scientists splicing up Lanza's DNA?


Image via ABC

Read More >