Doesn't Shooter's Father Peter Lanza Deserve Our Sympathy Too?

Heartbreaking 103

Newtown Sandy hookIt's been what, six days since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School made us all stop what we were doing and focus our every thought on Newtown, Connecticut? And in that time we have heard from Adam Lanza's father, Peter Lanza, just once. The man whose son killed first his ex-wife, Nancy Lanza, then 20 children and six more innocent adults, released a statement on Saturday before going back into hiding.

I understand why he's gone underground. What I can't fathom is the backlash against him.

In these past few days I've read attacks on the Lanzas for daring to divorce -- as if that somehow sent their son on a path to massacre (really, let's look at the divorce statistics in this country, then compare them to the number of mass shootings ... I think you know where I'm going with this). Others have criticized Peter in particular for being absent from his son's life; even though details of the Lanza's divorce show that Peter was not only paying alimony to his wife to the tune of $289,800, but also paying Adam's medical and school bills

There are reports that Adam Lanza cut his dad off in 2010 when Peter started dating again. But by that time, Adam was 18, an adult. Adults not speaking to their parents are a dime a dozen. Sometimes it's because the parents are awful, sometimes because the adult child is finally free of their shackles. Either way, a parent cannot force a relationship with an adult child.

More from The Stir: Adam Lanza Used a Bushmaster Rifle & Bushmaster Needs to Pull Its Ad Campaign, NOW

And yet, there are the critics.

The criticisms aren't quite as harsh as those lobbed against Nancy Lanza, but still, they are there. How could he let this happen? What kind of man is Peter Lanza?

We are looking for someone to blame.

But we already have that someone. Adam Lanza shot up a school. Adam Lanza murdered children.

His father is not a victim in the way that those children are. He is blessed with his life.

But he is a victim all the same. He is a man who could not have known that the flesh of his flesh, blood of his blood, would become one of the most reviled criminals of his generation. He could not have foreseen Adam walking into a school armed to the teeth and destroying the lives of more than two dozen families, his own included. 

Because Peter Lanza's life has been destroyed. His elder son Ryan's life has been destroyed.

Forever these men will be haunted by what happened in Newtown on Friday. They will no doubt be asking themselves if they could have done something to stop it, if they saw the signs. This is human nature.

They will spend their lives having to answer questions -- some well-meant, some simply nosy, others twisted and cruel.

One day Peter Lanza will have to come out of hiding and begin to live again, live as so many cannot because of what his son did. But Peter Lanza deserves that shot at life. Because Peter Lanza is not the man who put the words Sandy Hook Elementary School on everyone's lips. His son did.

These two men, they were different, are different. Let's not forget that.

Have you been thinking about Peter Lanza this week? What would you like to say to him today?


Image via John Moore/Getty Images

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early... earlybird11

i have thought about peter lanza, and he is suffering a great deal. Im sure he is mad at his son, maybe even hates him because of what a monster he was, but he was his SON, that loss with be mourned.... then look at this: he was married to a women for 20 YEARS. he is grieving her too - then he has to greive each life his son took, and bare that weight.. this poor man has ALOT to deal with.. just because his son is a monster, doesnt mean he is.... thats not a fair leap!

Maevelyn Maevelyn

This makes me think about how Dylan Kelbohold's mom said about knowing that despite the fact that the world would have been a better place if he had never been born, she still loves her son. Every Time some one kills another person two families lose their children. 

Sarah UsedtobeZech Cone

Honestly I haven't thought about him but that doesn't mean I have any ill feelings towards him and I will put responsibility where it belongs.On Adam, the only one who is to blame in my opinion.

Mommi... MommietoJB

Parents of impaired adults have a life long duty to make sure their adult child gets help and is not a danger to themselves or others. Peter Lanza is not the cold blooded murderer but we need to hold parents accountable for their own behavior. Too many fathers walk away from there first marriages and children to start new ones.

Phil Moreau

Where were you Peter Lanza?

You divorced his mom, you divorced him

You ran like a coward- you left him hanging from a string
Money in the place of a Father is a terrible thing

You moved an hour away
The further you moved- the more money it would pay

The draw of money was so strong for you
The price you will pay is more than money- so true

You left your home for a new wife- a new life
He wasn’t important- there was too much strife

You left him at a time when he needed you most
Your absence left him as a ghost

Where were you while he was slipping away?
You turned your back on him- we NEED to say

Mom couldn’t do it alone
You walked away- so much indeed for the world to pay

From one Father to another- Sir, you have failed
The pain for so many will never be curtailed

He needed you- a Father- who abandoned his son
You turned your back, he grabbed the gun

You have failed the ultimate test
Now 27 innocents have been put to rest

What a world it could have been
Had this “Father” not committed the cardinal sin

Peter Lanza, the media says you wonder how it all came to be
Look into any mirror Peter and you will come to see!


Vegeta Vegeta

It sucks that he's going to get treated differently forever, for something he didn't have any part in. He could lose/ not find jobs or friends cause people are way too quick to judge. Also to Phil moreau ^ you are a ridiculous individual.

dirti... dirtiekittie

interesting that this blog comes up - a couple of days ago another blogger posted a rather ridiculous backlash of her own against Peter Lanza... surprisingly, that blog has now been removed from the stir. 

look, he didn't kill those people and he is suffering too. and if his son cut him out of his life (we weren't there, we don't know how that happened and shouldn't assume or judge on things we don't know) then maybe he *didn't* know that his son had such problems. maybe Nancy kept it from him after the divorce, like she did with friends. the bottom line is, we don't know. this man lost his son and the mother of his children, and nobody has the right to judge his grieving process. 

three... threeforme157

Peter Lanza is the head accountant for GE.  He is suppose to testify in the Libor scandal.   Robert Holmes, the father of the theater shooter works for FICO as a lead scientist.  He is also called to testify in the Libor scandal.  Coincidence?  Why has this not been brought up in the media?  

nonmember avatar Mike T.

This father is a slime bag and a coward. He threw this kid away because he didn't fit into the father's neat little life. He had no time, no guidance for the young man, obviously thinking that by throwing money at the kid and his Mom, he was fulfilling his obligation. His ridiculous hollow statement, where he selfishly reminds parents of little children murdered by his son that "we're grieving too" was offensive. And now he is hiding like the little coward he is, instead of coming forward to try to shed some light into the mind of this lunatic. There are many words I can think of to describe this person. Two I would never use are "father" or "man"

nonmember avatar ChiTownJuan

After reading this article.....I wonder, did Peter Lanza write it ? I don't feel sorry him one bit !!!

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