In the wake of a crime as barbaric as the Sandy Hook tragedy, it's easy to forget that there are people out there who deeply cared for shooter Adam Lanza. It's hard to think of him as anything other than a heartless monster. But his brother Ryan Lanza posted a message to remind us that his troubled sibling was loved, will be missed by someone, and that the victims of this crime include their family too.
"I am a victim," Ryan told the New York Post in a Facebook chat. "I loss my mom and brother." He also included a photo tribute to both. "R.I.P.," he wrote under an image of a smling Adam in presumably happier days. "I will miss you bro. I will always love you as long as I live." A photo of his mother Nancy included the caption: "I miss you mom. I love you so much. You will be always in my heart." It's important to note he also paid homage to the the 20 children and six adults massacred at the school, writing "You will be truly be missed. God Bless."
It's hard not to feel some sympathy for this young man who is clearly reeling from the horror and despair Adam caused. But he is a victim in many ways -- he has suffered a major loss but also feels hate and scorn from the public just because he was related to the shooter. "I am so tired of people blaming me for something my brother did. I love Adam, his [sic] my brother," he wrote.
He was prompted to write those messages because of all the Facebook posts wishing his brother would "rot in hell" and calling him the "scum of the earth." Sentiments we can all understand, but no less hurtful to Ryan. “But you have no right to call my brother names when he isn't here no more. Just let my brother rest in peace. Please. Respect that ... He is calling my brother a monster when he don’t even know him,”
As much as my heart goes out to him, he may be asking for the impossible. Of course Ryan should not be blamed. He is not guilty of his brother's crimes. But most people will always hold hate in their heart for Adam Lanza. He has impacted that town and this country in the most monstrous of ways. They can't help but lash out and call him names. It is their way of dealing with the grief. It may not be right, it may not be totally fair, but sadly it is a new reality Ryan must learn to deal with.
Do you agree with Ryan that it's unfair for people who didn't know Adam to lash out at him?
Image via Splash