Nancy Lanza buried as locals ask: was massacre her fault?

Dec 21, 2012
Charles Laurence

One week on... private funeral takes place 200 miles away from the scene of Adam Lanza's rampage

WAS NANCY LANZA to blame for the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting rampage perpetrated by her 20-year-old son, Adam Lanza, a week ago today?

As the people of Newtown, Connecticut continue to watch in shock the funeral corteges of child-sized coffins passing through this affluent community, many are beginning to think so.

As the Washington Post reports, Lanza, a 52-year-old divorcee, is being left out of the local memorials. She was the first to be shot by her son – four bullets in the head while she lay in bed – but is no longer counted among the victims.

There are 26 Christmas trees standing on the road outside Sandy Hook school, each one bearing the name of a victim, but none for Nancy Lanza. Memorials, and news headlines, tend to count 26 victims, not 27.

"I am feeling that there is more anger toward the mother than there is toward the son," Lisa Sheridan, a Newtown parent, told the Post.

"Why would a woman who had a son like this, who clearly had serious issues, keep assault rifles in the house and teach him how to shoot them?" she went on. "To deal with that, there's a feeling here that we're just going to focus on the 26 innocent people who died at the school."

She could hardly have put it more clearly.

Nancy Lanza was buried yesterday, not in Newtown, but 200 miles north in New Hampshire. The location was not disclosed but as the Boston Herald reports, it is most likely the funeral took place in the town of Kingston where she was brought up, married and gave birth to Adam and his older brother, Ryan, before moving to Connecticut.

Only close family attended. Adam was not buried with her: his body remains unclaimed a week after he shot his 27 victims and then turned a gun on himself as the police approached.

The facts of the case are coming to light only slowly. But we do know that Nancy Lanza, lurching into the "preppers" survivalist sub-culture, had stockpiled an armory of lethal weapons alongside her cans of beans, and we know that she had taught Adam to shoot on frequent trips to the shooting range. Federal agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco have established that the last trip to the range was six months ago.

Himansu Patel, owner of the Newtown convenience store, asks how Adam got hold of his mother's guns. "If she had kept them in a safer place," he said, "this thing might not have happened."

Alexander Isgut, a paediatrician in Newtown, said: "If you are going to have an armory," he said, "you have to be responsible for it. Nobody else but you should have access to it."

So far, the police have not disclosed how Nancy Lanza kept the guns, nor how Adam got his hands on them. Did he pry open locks? Did he have the key? Or were the guns standing ready for "prepper home defence"?

The bottom line of the whole argument over the Second Amendment "right to bear arms" is that it is a citizen's right to own as many weapons as he or she likes, but the consequences are that individual's responsibility.  

Most Europeans think that the community - the government – should decide what is safe for the community. Americans consider that undemocratic "regulation" and believe the individual should make the choice and pay the price - up to and including the death penalty - when things go wrong.

It is the behaviour of the gun owner that counts, and Americans are finding Nancy Lanza's behaviour wanting.

She was a divorcee, hardly unique in America, but she was also a divorcee who enjoyed alimony of $250,000 a year, a good share of her ex's savings, a pension deal and even a share in the family season tickets to the local football games. Newspapers have pored over the divorce papers, but found no "cause" for the parents' split after 28 years of marriage.

They have discovered, however, that Adam's father remarried and that Adam had not spoken to him since. They have also discovered that Adam suffered from the Asperger's variant of autism and was sufficiently academically advanced to have graduated high school two years early, yet dropped out of college when his parents' divorce became final.

Nancy Lanza did have friends in town, and some have spoken up for her. Mark Tambascio, owner of the My Place restaurant and bar that Lanza frequented, said she had always been a devoted mother trying to do the best for Adam.

"Her kids were always first," he said. "She was very concerned about, obviously Adam — very difficult bringing somebody like that up."

Perhaps she had reached the end of her rope. The ‘prepping' phenomenon is usually a sign of stress and fear and there have been reports that she was variously planning to move to Washington on the Pacific coast, where she had found a special college to help Adam, or that she was planning to commit him to a clinic.

The suggestion is that he succumbed to rage at the prospect of being moved from his home into an institution.

The Daily Mail reports that Nancy Lanza quite often took short holidays as a break from caring for Adam and that she had just returned from such a trip the evening before Adam snapped.

Nancy, the good mother, had prepared all his meals before she left, because she could not trust him to cook. Yet she trusted him with an armory of guns.

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This article makes a lot of assumptions. You say you don't know how he accessed the weapons, but then say his mother "trusted him with an armory of guns." You say she "prepared all his meals before she left, because she could not trust him to cook" but you don't know that that's why she left him meals. A lot of mothers do that for their sons. You also say that "The ‘prepping' phenomenon is usually a sign of stress and fear" when in fact it's often due to resigned fatalism or religious fanaticism. You report that Lanza had Asperger's, which is still speculative at this point, and you say that Americans consider gun control "undemocratic regulation" when in fact many Americans are pro gun control. In short, this article has little fact in it all.

So she's worried enough to consider sending him to an institution but doesn't have the foresight to secure her weapons? She certainly had the money to store them outside of her house or to buy a gun safe. I doubt she had a safe as those things are built like vaults, you'd need explosives or advanced machinery to open them up without the key or combination.

So basically her biggest endorser was her bartender.

She is as much a victim as all the others.
It is a disgrace that she has been excluded from the memorials.

no, it is not. She is a disgrace to all mothers like me and all teachers like me who make sure that we keep our kids safe every day. What a travesty that she did not take her job more seriously.

I for one am glad that they have finally decided not to say that there are 28 dead and only consider the 26 that were actually the victim she raised this monster. Look the way they lived they had a nice house, money and look what he did seems like she raised a spoil brat and the other Ryan doesn't seem to be much better from his post on Facebook. She should never been considered in any memorials along with the others.

Per AP, 12-21: "Nancy Lanza kept her guns in what appeared to be a secure case in another part of the basement, (Russel) Ford said."

Shooter was said to be remarkably intelligent. He had the time, opportunity and motivation to get into the case. It was either not hard to do or he learned how. Stuff like how to defeat even seemingly secure locks is a catered hobby on the internet. Check it out.

Did the father have any responsibility to a son who was obvoiusly mentally unwell? At least his mother did not abundern him.!

I do wonder why the father wasn't helping his wife in the care of their very disturbed child. Apparently he and Adam's brother had not had contact with Adam for 2 years. The mother was paranoid as seen by her stockpiling for armageddon and her survivalist thinking. Her friends stated that she visited many US cities and 3 countries presumably looking for the right place to move to and place Adam. I think she had mental health issues herself.

He was angry about his parent's divorce several years ago. He probably got wind of moving to Wash.state and he felt abandoned with his mother calling all the shots.. She was treating him like a child by forcing him to get a haircut every 4-6wks. The barber said that Adam held his head down the whole cut and refused to converse with him.
The comment about leaving food for Adam-look at his recent photos. He looks anorexic-very gaunt. She left the food when she went away because, like the haircut, he wouldn't have done it on his own.
This behavior showed deep depression. Non-verbal and little eye contact are symptoms of autism. Asperger's is considered high functioning autistic behavior in the spectrum but they aren't violent. I don't think a family member would use that diagnostic term unless a doctor had evaluated him. His "shyness" and holding his head down with little eye contact reveal someone who is not comfortable interfacing with others. Note that he's not smiling in the photos the family has released. Like all of the other men who went on a spree(noti no women)

to continue: they had been planning their acts for awhile. How can a parent not know what's in their teen's bedroom or their behavior? Obviously they shouldn't go snooping around the whole room but be aware of weapons like guns. I would like to hear ALL the parent's stories about their son's life including events that may have triggered their spree. Note that it's all men causing this violence. We need better mental health screening esp. at schools. If you catch abnormal behavior you can get early treatment and hopefully prevent this violence
in the future. And get rid of the violent games, toys,etc. There is something very wrong with our culture that so many people are killed by guns in the country. How are we raising our sons?

It is a disgrace that she has been excluded from the memorials,
did she do it no for gods sake she was shot 4 times in the head,god bless her my she rest in peace

she was 100% responsible for this tragedy.Yes, there is a lot of assumptions, however she brought the guns to her house , he wouldn't be able to kill 26 people with a kitchen knives, that is not assumption , that is a Fact

Aspergers is hereditary. It is quite possible she had it as well. Finger-pointing after the event is unfair on her - she must have had a very difficult time, though not financially. It looks like she is being safely scapegoated. Blame attaches to the loony 'prepper' movement and the gun-crazy attitudes which make the possession of personal arsenals an American phenomenon.
"She should have been more responsible ..... were the guns locked up?". What does it matter? They were ultimately accessible by any crazy, whether related or not. Locks can be broken. Of course she was a victim.