It's been over a year since the tragedy, and we're finally hearing from the one remaining parent of Sandy Hook Elementary shooter Adam Lanza. In his first interview, Peter Lanza revealed to the New Yorker what he really knew about his son's condition. He says he wishes his son had "never been born." And he says he knows his son would have killed him as well. "With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he'd had the chance."
Lanza hadn't seen his son for two years at the time of the shooting. He doesn't believe there's any way he could have predicted his son's actions. But he is still tormented by what his son did. "You can't get any more evil," he says. "How much do I beat up on myself about the fact that he's my son? A lot."
It was "crystal clear" that something was deeply wrong with Adam by the time he was in middle school, Peter Lanza says. Was it Aspergers that caused Adam to commit that violence? Lanza doesn't think so. "Asperger's makes people unusual, but it doesn't make people like this." In the article, Adam Lanza's history with mental illness and treatment is described. He was on psychotropic drugs for a while, but stopped taking them because of side effects.
Lanza keeps boxes of stuffed animals and letters sent to him after the shooting in his attic. He's met with two of the victims' families. "It's gut-wrenching. A victim's family member told me that they forgave Adam after we spent three hours talking. I didn't even know how to respond. A person that lost their son, their only son."
It's been over a year since the shootings. Why is Lanza finally talking? "I want people to be afraid of the fact that this could happen to them,” he said. These are haunting words. Maybe Lanza is hoping his interview will force people to examine their own families, and not ignore any signs that their own children could be dangerous. Will they, though?
It must take a huge leap for any parent to see the potential for violence in their disturbed child. The interview doesn't illuminate the mystery of why Adam did it. It's just one more piece in a complex puzzle.
At any rate, we do have a little more insight now into Adam Lanza's last years, and about how much his parents really knew about his condition. I can't imagine how awful it must feel to be the parent of someone who caused so many people so much pain.
Can you imagine how it must feel like to be Peter Lanza?
Image via Tim Clayton/TIM CLAYTON/Corbis