Friday, December 21, 2012

The 27th Victim

Throughout the entire post-Newtown CT shooting tragedy there have been heartfelt tributes to the "26 victims" of Adam Lanza's terroristic shooting spree. Just ... 26. Church bells around this country pealed 26 times today.  There are "26 angels" watching over us all, from Newtown to every town.

But there is a 27th victim that everyone seems to be purposely and deliberately overlooking. His mother Nancy. 

Personally, I have purposely and deliberately eschewed a lot of the news reports surrounding this story. I do not want to wallow in the national sadness, and it gets none of us anywhere to sit for 24 hours in front of a TV and look at pictures of beautiful children and their teachers, all dead.

And I am about 500% done with friends on Facebook and Twitter furiously freaking out on either side of any political fence surrounding this pasture of sadness. Relentlessly.

There are too many crazy people, lock them all up! We need more compassion to help those with mental illness! There are too many automatic and semi automatic weapons and they should all be banned, hell ALL guns should be banned! There aren't enough guns! If teachers had guns, or if there was a trained guard at the door, no one would be dead today except Adam Lanza. There are too many violent video games and TV shows in the world! It's all his mother's fault everyone is dead. It's not his mother's fault, he would have found a way to kill her and others whether or not those guns were hers. 

I don't understand why Adam Lanza did what he did, I don't. I don't think anyone ever will. And I am okay with us never understanding why. We don't need an answer really other than evil finds evil, no matter what.

But as a parent of a kid who isn't 100% perfect, who is weird and who has said and done things in the past that disturb and frighten the disturbable and frightenable, well... I can't help but feel horrible for Nancy Lanza. And the fact that her death does not matter, is not counted amongst the victims, saddens me to my core.

I am sure she did the best she could with the hand she was dealt. I have to fault her with keeping weapons IN HER HOUSE (duh) with a child/adult living there who simply was not doing well mentally from all accounts. But does she deserve to be brushed aside, hated, denied a place with the other 26?

Am I alone in this? If I am, that's okay. Tonight I have a burning candle and equally burning tears for a mom who ... well, didn't deserve this, and doesn't deserve to be forgotten.


  1. 1.) we DO need an answer, because the more knowledge we have about what drives someone to do something like this, the better we can prevent someone else from doing it. burying our heads in the sand makes us complicit

    2.) I've heard several people mention her, so she's not forgotten. but choosing to have a veritable arsenal of weapons in the same house as a kid that she was just about to have *committed* seems ill advised at best

    3.) evil is a religious construct, a way of letting us off the hook of finding out why these things happen (see #1)

    4.) I've said and I think it's dangerous to suppose that everyone who has "issues" is a minute away from committing a crime like this. we just have to keep repeating that

  2. Christine - you are not alone in your thoughts. I thought very similar things when I heard the news that Adam's mom had been shot. And while I respect "Watchwhathappens"'s opinion, I disagree. The answers that people try to provide, whether more support for those struggling with a loved one's with mental health problems or gun control discussions, are too simplistic. We could do all of those things and still evil would insinuate itself into the world.

    Evil is a fact. Whether you give it religious significance or not. Evil exists. Very often evil is random. What's important really is that we still strive for God and good in spite of evil. We still try to do what is loving even though something awful occurred. Even if we were to find out why this happened, even if we actually were to figure out why shootings occur it would not bring those 27 people back. What's important here now is how we proceed. Do we act with compassion and love as much as possible or do we look to blame?

    Of course not everyone who has "issues" is a minute away from committing a crime. At times I have a whole subscription myself, but I would NEVER murder anyone. What's important is to act in love and have compassion for those who do. Using our compassion does not mean we do not expect people to answer for their evil deeds, but it does mean that we realize our world is flawed and so are the people in it. The flaws mean we can do some horrible things to each other and those human beings around us need to be aware of that and step in when needed to prevent the evil from escalating. That means we TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for the human beings around us and care enough to notice what might be happening. We need to lose the "it's not my problem" mentality that seems to be pervasive and pay attention to what is happening with our neighbor.

    Adam Lanza's mom had one perspective on her son's issues. While we may not agree with her approach, she was trying to be responsible according to what I read. Her approach was unfortunately flawed. That doesn't mean she deserves any less compassion, love or acknowledgement. She had people in her life who loved her and she did what she thought was best.

    What would make this tragedy worse would be to fail to recognize that we were dealing with human beings. While we need to be diligent about doing what we can to prevent such horrible things from happening and we need to hold those who are responsible accountable, we also need to pay attention to what is happening around us and act with love and compassion.