Was Adam Lanza’s Motive His Fear of Being Institutionalized by His Mom?

This Just In 15

adam lanzaFor a moment there, it sounded like we had a motive. A Newtown, Connecticut resident told Fox News that gunman Adam Lanza was afraid of being committed to a mental institution by his mother Nancy and that his anger and fear at the thought set him off. Josh Flashman, 25, is a US Marine and is familiar with the Lanza family. He said that Adam was aware of his mother's court petition for conservatorship, as well as, her plans to send him away, and was convinced Nancy loved the school more than she loved him.

Flashman's theories are interesting, but his father, Pastor Richard Flashman, sees things entirely differently.

First, here's more of what Josh had to say:

Adam Lanza believed [his mother] cared more for the children than she did for him, and the reason he probably thought this [was the fact that] she was petitioning for conservatorship and wanted to have him committed. I could understand how he might perceive that—that his mom loved him less than she loved the kids, loved the school. But she did love him. But he was a troubled kid and she probably just couldn’t take care of him by herself anymore.


Richard, Josh's dad, doesn't think it was appropriate for Josh to release such a statement, and explained:

I’ve just spoken to [my son] Josh. As the Fox News article indicates, the information Josh spoke to them about was hearsay and not confirmed. I suggest you do not run with the story.


The idea that Adam was mad at his mother for her alleged future plans for him, combined with the notion that she loved Sandy Hook elementary more than she loved him ... it was a motive neatly packaged with a pretty bow on top, and frankly, I wanted to believe every word.

A motive would help explain the unanswerable question of why. A motive would help us wrap our minds around what happened. A motive would make things easier.

If his actions were just completely random, doesn't that make it all the more frightening? If the question of "why" remains, then so does the question of "how" it can be prevented. It leaves a feeling of uneasiness, like something's unfinished.

All that said, Josh's theories aren't out of the realm of possibility, they're just not confirmed, and at this point, certainties (if such a thing even exists) are what we're looking for. For the sake of the "how", though, I hope there's an explanation soon.

Is it important to you to find out Adam Lanza's motives?


Photo via ABC

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Sarah UsedtobeZech Cone

I don't give a rats ass about his motive and I really wish bloggers/media would quit putting him,his name and his picture in the headlines.Of course, let's discuss what we can do to prevent or lesson the odds of this happening again but that's not covered by just one single issue. Its discussion on mental health, looking at gun control,  and providing the best school security that are topics that will help or affect the outcome, not "WHAT WAS HE THINKING?". I don't care what he was thinking.I want to do what we can to fix this best we can and move on not make a celebrity of a crazy murderer. But that's just my opinion.

Mommi... MommietoJB

I agree posting his picture and headlining his name, wrong. Obviously he had a lot of issues, the motive doesnt really change anything. Whether he did it randomly or for a purpose, its still the same evil act. His reasons for shooting up a school will never make sense to normal people.

nonmember avatar miranda7

No, sorry. In my opinion, if his motive for the shooting at the school was indeed his anger because his mother had begun the legal process to involuntarily commit him, then we need to take a look at the legal steps that one must go through to have a clearly disturbed individual placed in a psychiatric facility. I think most will agree that Adam Lanza was more than just a "troubled kid". This is someone who should have been placed in a psychiatric hospital both for his own safety and to protect society from him. A remotely normal adult is not going to shoot up a class of first graders because he believes that his mommy likes them better than him. I feel the legal system needs to allow for a more pro active approach to situations like this. It is very difficult to commit someone, even if they clearly need to be off the streets. The only immediate action his mother could have hope for would have been a 72 hour commitment and then only if he posed an active threat to either himself or others. There are some people who simply need to be placed in a protected environment where they can be treated. If they recover sufficiently, they can be returned to society. If they do not, at least members of society will be protected from them.

nonmember avatar HJ Smith

As someone who was happy having grown up in CT, it makes me sad that a school shooting has visited us, too. Now the hard questions:
Do we either seriously change gun laws, or, beef up school security to the highest degree? I wait and wonder, but don't have faith that the politicians will run anything except their mouths.

jmama... jmama0307

I don't care what was his motives. Just because he didn't want to be instituting doesn't justified for his actions. Clearly he needed to be there if he had major rage. I would of put him there since a child not wait this long. If doctors and psychologists thought he was endangerment to himself and others that would be my first clue. If he knew his conditions he knew every well what he was doing cause no one with that mentality knows they will go to a looney bin cause of their disorder. They are too messed up to knowledge anything but to actually say no I'm not going so might as well kill my mom and a bunch of kids really makes you think he really was thinking and not blaming on his state of mind. 

nonmember avatar J

I've resisted commenting on most stories regarding this. However, I have to agree that giving his name and photo so much publicity is wrong. It gives other "boarderline" crazies more insentive to "go out with a bang" or to "become famous". That said, I think understanding the why is just as important as any gun control talk or school safety talk. HOW can we prevent things like this start from WHAT exactly went wrong and how can we see signs in other people and get the proper help in time. The next layer is how can we prevent such mass carnage when someone goes just bat arse crazy? I think it's all important. Knowing every detail of the killer, his name, face, etc. is NOT important but the WHY sortof is. We can learn from the why and use it to be proactive.

Stephanie Sheehan

....except Nancy was not a teacher....

nonmember avatar Kelly

Why does the media continue to try to say the shooter's mom was a teacher at that school!?!?! Oh my goodness, she wasn't even a teacher, period! I too, want to know WHY, but you know, I don't think we'll ever know why. There cannot be a reason that will ever help me wrap my brain around what happened to those poor, innocent babies.

nonmember avatar Deb

I also hate that they keep showing pictures if him & some appear to be when he was a lot younger. It's ridiculous and you can't make sense out of a senseless act.

Cel7777 Cel7777

There are reports that his mom was a volunteer at the school, not a teacher. I agree, stop showing his picture and repeating his name. When referring to him,  "Batshitcrazy scumbag piece of filth" would suffice just fine.

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