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

by Julie Ryan Evans on December 16, 2012 at 2:56 PM

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

Filed Under: crime, in the news

Comments

76
  • kelti...
    --

    kelticmom

    December 16, 2012 at 3:16 PM
    I read her essay, my heart aches for her. Then I read the comments. And THEY are why this country is the way it is. Everything from blaming her, calling her a "dumb bitch", saying they hope she burns in hell, saying SHE is crazy, not her son, telling her to put her son down like a lame horse.....I couldn't read any longer without wanting to vomit. You want to know the REAL reason nothing will ever change here, even with better health care, stricter gun control, etc? Because a vast amount Americans have become so entitled, so prejudiced, so condescending, so violence obsessed, so in-empathetic, so judgemental, so blinded to anything they don't understand or agree with, so angry, so Godless, so content to hide behind their computers and phones and say horrible things to each other.......THIS is why nothing will change. Because people simply refuse to.
  • guest
    -- Nonmember comment from

    guest

    December 16, 2012 at 3:37 PM
    It is sad to read this. No one can fully understand this moms perspective. However why do these kids always seem to be highly into video games?? Which are no doubt violent & isolating rather than positive emotions? I'm sure violent video games were probably part of the lives of all those boys she listed.
  • Beth
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Beth

    December 16, 2012 at 3:37 PM
    The problem is a mental health problem not a gun problem. We need a serious overhaul of our mental health system. These killers have mental health issues way before they do what they do. It's Horrific.
  • ajc1106
    --

    ajc1106

    December 16, 2012 at 3:51 PM
    It's much easier to ignore the problem than to work together to find a solution. Until we are willing to walk a mile in another's shoes, and truly help our neighbors, nothing is going to change.
  • KathyTh.
    --

    KathyTh.

    December 16, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    You're right, Beth, most of these people have mental health issues way before they commit some horrific act  like this.  But what do you suggest we do?  What would you do with Liza Long's son??


  • miche...
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    micheledo

    December 16, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Heartbreaking.  And I agree with kelticmom - the comments were HORRIBLE.  I don't know what the solution is, but these kids and parents need help.  I don't know how to do that.  But WHY do you have so many mental health issues nowadays?  It's ridiculous.  People say they use to be put in an insane asylum, but the numbers still weren't THAT high.  Why do we have so much of it now?  And how can we help these people?


  • PRIMA487
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    PRIMA487

    December 16, 2012 at 4:26 PM
    I understand that there is mental illness but where does mental illness begin and evil takes over? There just isn't finding a soft spot for the criminally insane by reason of mental defect and a defect that can't be fixed and as much as advocates fight for understanding it's just as hard for us "the looking in" to find sympathy for it. I don't think people really give a rats ass about the voices or whatever conflicts that are going on in their head we just think why didn't they just take themselves out. I can't fathom the heartbreak the families are going through so close to the holiday, they probably had last minute shopping to do, ice skating dates, too much sugar to drive parents crazy and these parents would give anything to have that again. Too sad.
  • Histo...
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    HistoryMamaX3

    December 16, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    It is so easy to look out at the world and see why things are the way they are... we watch "reality" shows that creates idols out of trashy people without morals- using physical violence and bad attitudes to deal with the world. But it's 'funny' so, whatever.

    We put movie and sports stars on a pedestal- and poo-poo the fact that they can be violent and terrible people, because they are 'stars'.

    We give small children medication that screws up their growing brains- because it is easier.

    We give adults dangerous medication- because it is easier.

    We ignore research because it might hurt some-one's feelings.

    We ignore others because we're scared to help... or we're selfish.

    That's our world today. And I can go on and on!

     

     

    Look around you, open your eyes. We scream about guns because it is easy to place the blame on a thing- rather than ourselves. WE are the problem. YOU are the problem. I am the problem.

    It'll only be a few days, however, before we go on about our business and wait until the next tragedy occurs... placing the blame somewhere else and hiding away. We're lazy and we don't care to change.


  • Lovex23
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    Lovex23

    December 16, 2012 at 4:42 PM
    Kelticmom you are so right!
  • starl...
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    starlight1968

    December 16, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    he shouldn't have been put in jail but a HOSPITAL where he couldn't hurt himself or anyone else.

    No more needs to be done to gun control, that will ONLY effect those that follow the rules anyways...those that don't will still get a hold of guns if they want to bad enough.


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