More horrific information coming out of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting tragedy. Reports now say that the killer, Adam Lanza, had rigged his gun to cause a maximum amount of killing. He also used a special kind of bullet to cause maximum amounts of damage. It's almost as if Lanza thought he was headed into war, not kindergarten classes. Does this prove definitively that he was absolutely insane?
Lanza, who killed 20 children and six adults inside of the Newtown, Connecticut school after killing his mother at home, came to the school armed to the teeth. I've also seen previous reports that he was wearing a bullet proof vest. Additionally, he smashed his computer before he left the house.
Lanza's main rifle, a .223 caliber Bushmaster, had been rigged in a technique known as "jungle taping," meaning he taped two ammo cartridges to the side of the gun so he wouldn't have to pause to reload. This allowed him to kill 26 victims in an extremely short amount of time. He reportedly only stopped when he committed suicide as police arrived.
And even more horrifically, he used bullets known as "frangible ammunition" which fragments upon impact and is used to cause the most possible damage to a victim. Reportedly, all of the victims sustained multiple gunshots, with some little victims receiving up to eleven gunshots. He also shot the majority of the children as they were huddled together in a classroom, terrified at the unfolding events.
I've probably been in the minority of people who isn't convinced that Lanza was definitively clinically mentally ill to the point where he didn't understand reality and didn't understand right from wrong. (The legal definition of insanity.) People leapt very quickly to the "mentally ill" conclusion when all we know about Lanza was that he was quiet, intelligent, may have been on the autism spectrum, may have had reduced sensitivity to pain, and liked violent videogames -- which describes millions of other non-violent kids and adults in this country. Plenty of people are depressed, isolated, resentful, and not quite in their "right mind" and don't commit crimes of this magnitude.
But hearing how much firepower he brought into the school makes me think he thought he was headed off to war -- indeed off to the jungle, as the name "jungle taping" suggests. Yet these were children! Surely would have known he wasn't going get much of a fight back from the victims inside the school, making this kind of firepower and rigging of his gun unnecessary. Could his mind have been somewhere else entirely? Could he have been not just mentally ill but legally insane?
We may never know the answers to these questions.
Do you think Adam Lanza was clinically insane and didn't know right from wrong?
Image via ABC News