Adam Lanza's Mom Nancy Never Had the Chance to Use Her Guns for Self Defense

Rant 57

Nancy LanzaIn the days since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, there's been a photo floating around Facebook. It shows a woman with a baby in one arm, a gun in the other, and it's paired with a headline proclaiming her "a wise American mom." I see her, and I see Adam Lanza's mom. After all, Nancy Lanza was said to have created an arsenal of guns for "self defense."

But on Friday morning, it was her guns that police say her 20-year-old son used to shoot first Nancy Lanza in the face, then 26 innocent people at his elementary school, including 20 children no older than 7. Adam Lanza finally used one of those guns his mother kept in her home to "defend" herself to commit suicide.

These are facts. Facts that the crowd defending their right to bear arms in order to defend their families needs to hear today.

Nancy Lanza had an arsenal to defend herself, but it didn't help her. She died at the hands of a madman. Twenty children died at the hands of a madman, died being shot by bullets from guns that Nancy Lanza had purchased legally but couldn't use for their intended purpose.

I have no doubt that Adam Lanza's mother had the best of intentions. She's said to have been a woman who loved her sons, who was doing her best as a mom.

It's hard to argue in the face of demands that people be allowed to defend their families. I'm a mother; I would go to the ends of the Earth and back to defend my child. I understand the passion behind the argument.

Sadly, unfortunately, a passionate argument does not necessarily make for a solid one. We have the right to defend our families, but we don't necessarily have the means.

Because guns, even guns purchased for self defense, do not defend us.

I speak not only of the case in Newtown, Connecticut, of the death of Nancy Lanza at the end of her own gun. As horrific as Adam Lanza's rampage is, the shooting of his mother could be marked as merely anecdotal by some, a blip on the radar in terms of guns being turned on their owner, if it weren't for the statistics.

Take, for example, the study published in the Southern Medical Journal in August 2009. Completed not by politicians or lobbyists, but by members of the Department of Psychiatry at the Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and folks in the Departments of Psychiatry and Emergency Medicine, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, it takes a real look at the safety provided by firearms in the home.

Out of 395 gun-related fatalities inside the home during a certain period, 333 were suicides. Another 41 were domestic violence-related deaths, and 12 were accidents.

That's a 97 percent tragedy rate. Ninety-seven percent!

Compare to that the fact that 9 of those deaths were actually shootings of an intruder. That's 2 percent.

So 2 percent of gun owners gained the ability to defend themselves by owning a firearm compared to 97 percent who suffered tragedy, who saw lives lost. And this is what we're fighting for?

This is what Nancy Lanza died for? What Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung died for? What 20 innocent children died for?

For the 2 percent chance that owning a gun will make you safer, and the 97 percent chance that the gun you own for safety will tear your family in two?

I don't call that a "wise" mom's choice. I call that the choice of a mom burrowing her head in the sand.

Yes, we have the right to bear arms. But is there really any point?


crime, death, guns


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miche... micheledo

Your statistics are faulty.  You are looking at FATALITIES!!  Many, many people defend themselves from intruders without ever killing the person and without even firing the gun.  The threat of a gun causes many to run, shooting a gun causes many to flee, and many get shot but are only wounded.

The other thing I think people fail to consider - how many of us would TRULY pull a gun on our child??  We would try everything else to calm them, reason with them, and even be willing to die rather then pull the gun on them ourselves.  Saying she couldn't defend herself isn't really fair.  I don't know that I would kill my son to save myself.  :(  It is tragic.

Reepi... Reepicheep.CSL

Ask that 2% that are alive today whether they feel it was worth having a gun to protect themselves.

Sirena Robinson

I have some major issues with this article. First, those who commit suicide will do it no matter if they have a gun in the house or not. Shall we ban ropes and pills and bathtubs too? Second, three guns is HARDLY an arsenal. This article is all about victim blaming. Yes, it's Nancy Lanza's FAULT that her son STOLE her gun and shot her in the face, then used it to kill people! (insert eyeroll here).

I don't have a problem with a constructive conversation about how to make guns safer, such as mandatory gun safety training for those who own them, but by saying there's a 97% a gun is the cause of family tragedy is ridiculous. Over 90% of the results put forth were SUICIDES! Why don't we talk about suicide prevention and mental health services? Also, there are other reasons people have guns. How about the millions of Americans who use them to put food on their tables through hunting deer, rabbit, duck, goose, etc? Shall we rob those people of a way to feed their families?

fave82 fave82

I agree with above commenters... And If this woman was to blame for anything it was that her mentally unstable son knew how to get access to her guns. And honestly, we don't really know anything about how he came to have them.. were they not locked away? Were they in a safe and he knew the combination or where the key was? Did he break them out of a case?? We still know nothing about what exactly his mental issues were...

Renée FunSize McClure

If you take away the right to bear arms, that only affects law-abiding citizens!  Criminals regularly gain access to things that are illegal.  Weapons should be kept under lock and key but not taken away completely.  This article is so slanted in the author's favor.  

zandh... zandhmom2

My uncle who has served his country during Vietnam also has several guns in his home.  He mainly uses them to hunt with but once he did use them to defend himself.  He woke up to someone trying to break into his home, he heard noise from the roof of his house and went outside with his gun.  The guy jumped on his back and started beating him when my uncle pulled his gun and shot and killed him.  It very easily could have been him or my aunt or both who died that night.

dirti... dirtiekittie

i will never understand how people can put those who commit suicide in the same category as gun violence and see it as the same thing. as someone else said, if a person is intent on killing themselves, they will find a way. 

nobody in their right mind (key words here) just wakes up one day and kills their mother and nearly 30 innocent people. mental disease is a bitch, and hindsight is 20/20. and let's be honest here jeanne - your solution of "offer more gun training" wouldn't really help would it? nancy lanza would still be dead, because all the training in the world can't stop someone else's actions. 

i usually agree with you, but this article is pretty off the mark. and it borderlines in bad taste. the woman isn't even buried yet and we're speculating how it could have been her and her gun ownership that caused her death. that's ridiculous and uncalled for. 

jalaz77 jalaz77

We won't have guns here. We do not hunt, are not in the military so why? People are trigger happy. You hear it all the time where someone was shot by mistake. Better hope you know how to use that gun and the intruder doesn't grab it and use it on you. I was taught you hear noise outside don't investigate it yourself, get your kids and get in the car. So you realize someone is in your house at the end of your bed with a gun, then what? I don't care if others have guns but sadly people think its an answer. It's not. There really needs to be a 'control' on guns more so than a ban. People are scary who think differently. No one in their personal lives needs a freaking gun that sprays bullets. So so pathetic.

undrc... undrcvrmom

Please the whole 'right to bear arms' was written in 1791!  I assume they were not talking about the weapons that are available today.

Guns in 1971 would be single shot weapons and loaded through the muzzle.  Hard to kill 28 people in minutes with one of those.

nonmember avatar Danielle

Statistics aside, I totally agree with this article. You can't ignore the fact that this woman who owned guns for her own protection, ended up being killed by them. And when you have a child who is mentally unstable and guns in your home, common sense should tell you that you need to go the extra mile and then some to be sure he did not have access to them. Yes, he may have been able to get guns elsewhere but why make access so easy?

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