Do you know Adam Lanza?

I can hardly take another article or news story about the Sandy Hook tragedy. I just want to disengage from it all, but I have to take this moment to chime in (if ever so briefly).

So many are attempting to shed light on how one man could do such a horrific thing. It’s in times like this that we are driven to find that answer, something that will explain the unexplainable and that will ultimately help us to feel safe again.

But there’s a danger in trying to explain the unexplainable. We will probably never know Adam Lanza’s story. How could we possibly know all of the variables that led to that act? Even if we could, it would not change what happened and it won’t necessarily prevent it from happening in the future.

Outcast, different, shy, nerd, dark, disturbed, troubled, socially awkward, weird… mental illness, personality disorder, Asperger’s syndrome… all of these labels have now been associated with Adam Lanza . Yet, any one of these words still cannot explain why this happened. Associating these descriptors with violence can only lead to more fear, reinforcing the stigma of those who have differences that are yet to be accepted and understood by society.

Each of us can probably name someone we know who has a mental illness or a disability. And if not, we can probably think of at least one person who acts a bit “different.”

It would serve us all to consider the impact of our words.

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4 thoughts on “Do you know Adam Lanza?

  1. I have Bipolar Disorder, Rapid Cycling, Racive Thoughts, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Extreme Anxiety, Depression and Related Disorders, Doctor and Rx Controlled for past Suicidal Tendencies, diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, Under Rx Disability Management Control, Multiple Doctor Disability Management………I have lost both my parents in recent years, my father and mother-in-law, saw all the shootings in recent years around the U.S., now the recent school shootings of the 20 children and teachers and my best friend just lost their mom a day ago and father will follow soon due to old age illness…………….Yet I’m numb. I don’t feel any sorrow or pain any longer when people die or when watching these TV broadcast……….Now it sounds like the goverment wants to round all “us” mentally ill people up, (which was an inherited illness in my case so I was told) or make a list of us through Homeland Security. I have no desires to hurt anyone. I’m starting to feel like I’m guilty of something.

  2. I am a special education teacher. Anyone in special education knows someone described like Adam. I knew he had Aspergers before it was announced on the news. The description is so cliche for someone with Aspergers. This DOESN’T mean everyone with similar traits has the capacity to do what he did.

    We have to determine what it is about Adam that is unique.

  3. This seems to be the big problem. We need to look at what makes the people who act out in violence different and it’s not Aspergers or Bipolar or any other commonly diagnosed difference because if it were, there would be millions of shootings. There is something in each of the shooters–a different way of seeing the peoople around them, not as other human beings, but as props or pawns.

  4. I too am in the field of special education. I agree with the special education teacher above. If I understand correctly, the mother disagreed with the district’s special education plan for her child and took him out of school to home school. Two families I have worked with have decided to have limited services in their home. One child, who was in primary school and cognitively disabled was also violent towards everyone. His mother took him out of school rather than to have a behavior management plan implemented. Unfortunately, about a month ago, this mom, his only parent, died unexpectedly. No one in his extended family can care for him. They are not willing to be constantly attacked. Having worked with other children with behavior disorders and cognitive disabilities, I know we could have helped this child if we had been allowed to do our job. The other family has a soon who is so much like the description of Adam, it is scary. Although the school district has made a plan for mental health assistance, the parent say “no.”

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