'I Am Adam Lanza's Mother' Explains Why Sandy Hook Tragedy Won't Be the Last

white balloonsAs we have moved through the heartwrenching news in the wake of the Connecticut School shooting, there have been tears, anger, debate, and disgust. Mostly we want to know why? Why would anyone do this?

There's no answer that is good enough, but there is an answer, and one mother, Liza Long, revealed in a brutally painful essay titled "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother." I read it first thing this morning after Gawker published it, and I've read it countless times since. It chilled me to my core, as I read each stark powerful word.

In it she talks about her 13-year-son and his struggles with mental illness. She describes how the very son she gave birth to and loves also terrifies her. They've been through mental hospitals, police involvement, and trips to the ER for his violent outbursts. They can't pinpoint a specific problem, and nothing they've tried, from drugs to therapy, has worked. He regularly threatens to kill himself and kill his mother

She writes:

I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am Jason Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

The only option she's been given by a social worker is jail.

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, "Something must be done."

I agree that something must be done. It's time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That's the only way our nation can ever truly heal.

God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.

Amen. I look at my own sweet children, and I can't imagine how I would cope if I saw signs like this in them. Would I be strong enough to make the hard choices? Would I even know what choices there were? Or would I, like so many do, be embarrassed, protective, or paralyzed with fear? I don't know, and I don't think anyone does until they're in that position. And the reality is that any of us could be in that position; mental illness can strike anyone. We ALL could be Adam Lanza's parents.

While I agree that we need to address gun control (though I'm torn as to how), I, like Long, believe the bigger issue, the most significant issue is mental illness in our society. We can't continue to ignore it. We can't pretend that there aren't mothers like this across the country feeling guilty, and helpless, and scared. We have to figure out a way to help them and their children before more of our children are killed.

Because even if there are no guns left, there will be people sick enough to want to do something like this. And that is dangerous in any society.

What do you think of this mother's essay?


Image via MaretH./Flickr

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bills... billsfan1104

Exactly History. And I agree with you as well too, Kelton.

jessi... jessicasmom1

gun control needs to be in effect everywhere

Doomy234 Doomy234

Yes, mental health care needs a major overhaul. They need to have hospitals where these people can get proper care for their individual needs. Like a nursing home, only for the care of mentally unbalanced people. We used to have places like this, but conditions were awful and treatment was cruel. You've seen Rain Man, right? We need places like where he was to take care of our mentally ill. Its much better than jail and will provide a safe option for these people.

Jason Baum

ya, these tortured souls and all those bleeding hearts who paint them as victims can all go straight to hell.

you think mental illness is a new thing?! how come these massacres are popping up now?! life was a million times harder in the decades leading up to now - and those folks didn't go postal.

IT IS BECAUSE THESE BLEEDING HEARTS make excuses for and enable their monster 'genius' children to do whatever the hell they want, and then have the audacity to say poor me i loved my child.

bullshit. take a firm stance on parenting from day one and just maybe this shit will stop happening. nobody has ever in the history of the planet had it as good as kids from recent era's, and yet these over privaledged pricks are tearing lives apart.

i can't even finish my post coherently im so physically annoyed by this letter and all the posts supporting further babying of these monster kids. fuck that. grow up.

IKnow... IKnow0101

These so called massacres have been going on for centuries so it's nothing new.  It goes on everyday in different parts of the world.  So Jason I do hope you don't ever have to feel the pain of facing evil because this goes on daily and it has nothing to do with being a bleeding heart. 

nonmember avatar Liz

@Jason- massacres are NOT new. Hardly. Have you studied history...at all? Ever? You're so grossly misinformed for someone for who clearly loves to run his mouth. YOU are the biggest part of the problem.

kisse... kisses5050

go into your local school .. ask about the "least restrictive environment law" this is the law that enables the the kid that bites and behaves violent to be in class with your child... this is the law that provides a full time aid to the child ...this kid that yells " I will slit your you open while you sleep" to your precious little sixth grader.. this child who throws a chair across the room and runs out of the school building or screams in the middle of a lesson... this child who takes things off the teachers desks but nothing can be done "because it is part of his disability and it is written into his plan. We can not punish him anymore then we could punish a boy in wheel chair for not being able to play football"  NOW to me that is a system that needs looked at far more than if Billy Bob and Uncle Joe can buy another hunting rifle.

Maias... MaiasMommy619

I think a major issue is that parents don't want to believe that it could be their child next that will commit such a horrific crime. Many parents need to get out of their fantasy world and wake up! If you see tht your child is exhibiting not so nice characteristics then something has to be done on your part! It all starts at home with the parents! I hear time and time again that the mother or father saw that their child was not normal... Well...why was something not done by YOU to help him/her before it got to this point?

nonmember avatar Liz

@kisses- If your school district is allowing those things to happen, then it is abusing the law. It is not meant to be all or nothing. There is supposed to be a continuum of services available. If that actually happened to your child, then I suggest you fight harder, that's not what the law is meant to accomplish. A child who behaves like that is clearly not a candidate for a regular academic classroom. Anyone who tells you differently is lying. You're child's education absolutely should not be negatively affected by that law.

nonmember avatar kaerae

"I'm afraid of my mentally ill son, so I think I'll load up on assault rifles and teach him how to shoot."

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