Never Again and Again
and Again and Again

click.jpg

Saturday, December 15, 2012

We Don't Know Much About This Shooting Yet, But ...

I think the following five paragraphs may tell us almost everything we need to know ....
Lanza is believed to have suffered from a personality disorder and lived with his mother, said a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation.
A law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said investigators believe Lanza attended the school several years ago but appeared to have no recent connection to it. 
At least one parent said Lanza's mother was a substitute teacher there. But her name did not appear on a staff list. And the official said investigators were unable to establish any connection so far between her and the school. 
Lanza's older brother, 24-year-old Ryan Lanza, of Hoboken, N.J., was questioned, but a law enforcement official said he was not believed to have had a role in the rampage. 
Investigators were searching his computers and phone records, but he told law enforcement he had not been in touch with his brother since about 2010.
... and that is that we will never know much about what happened, why it happened, or what was going on in Adam Lanza's "mind". 

Note that the brother has apparently not seen his brother in almost three years. The brother lives with the mother. We can infer from this that the brother has not seem much of his mother in almost three years either. The father does not live with the mother. The father lives elsewhere. 

The mother has apparently sacrificed her life to deal with her Autistic son. It may be that this family has been torn apart by the fact of Adam Lanza's Autism, and his mother's willingness to sacrifice everything to help him.

People who have Autism do not have a mind that functions in the same way as the minds of other people do.

Autistic people do not have normal human reactions to things. Sometimes they have almost no emotional attachment to others at all. Or if they do, they do not know how to express it.

They also tend to get very upset by obscure things that only their brain can put together or take apart.

In other words, they don't communicate what is in their head well enough for others to understand.

There is little help for such people. Not many children with autism live independently after reaching adulthood, though some become "successful" in the things their brains allow them to do.

I understand there are people who do music therapy and other types of therapy that are designed to help Autistic people out of their shell, to help them express themselves. But, it is also my understanding, and perhaps I am wrong, that Autistic people often do not ever really truly come out of their "shell".

I wonder whether it is a shell at all, or if perhaps, that is just them.

Always on Watch knows a lot more about Autism than I do. If she has anything to add to this post, or if she thinks I am wrong in anything I say here, I hope she will add to this post and help us understand what may have happened, and why it may have happened.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link#

17 Comments:

Blogger Always On Watch said...

Pasto,
I agree with your analysis.

So, what set off this shooter so that he mostly targeted a particular classroom?

Conjecture on my part, but I have worked with several individuals along the autism spectrum....

Nancy Lanza had a friend working at the school and told that person working at the school that she was going to start legal proceedings to force an intervention for her son.

Yes, I'm guessing. But I think that my idea makes sense. The shooter was not stupid -- not at all.

Reminds me a bit of the Cheatham case. Please see THIS POST that I published in 2005.

Saturday, December 15, 2012 1:59:00 pm  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Education today typically mainstreams autists who are high-functioning.

Most of these individuals then do just fine.

Autists can also be afflicted by mental illness -- and violence. Google search [autism violent behavior]. It ain't pretty!

I've read that the rate of personality disorders and other mental disorders among autists is around 70%, much higher than among the general population.

And let me be clear....Asperger's is a form of autism. The autism spectrum is very broad.

Certainly some on the spectrum are gifted and contribute to society. See information about John Elder Robison for example.

But not all Aspies are like Mr. Robison.

Saturday, December 15, 2012 2:05:00 pm  
Blogger Epaminondas said...

Considering the number of weapons, and the ammo this person had with him, did 'something' set him off?

Or was this something he had in mind and had been planning?

Saturday, December 15, 2012 2:07:00 pm  
Blogger Mirco Romanato said...

MY opinion is he had some type of psychiatric condition, probably psychotic;
social retirement, timidity, etc. are earlier common symptoms when the condition show up in teens and early twenties.

He probably had some previous psychotic episodes but he went untreated because the family keep them secret (not unusual) and they didn't attract authorities.

In my experience the mother (to "protect" the child, because of the shame to have a lunatic son, because she can not accept her son is nut, etc.) keep it all covered until things go totally out of control, them her fear take over and she run to ask for help from "authorities".

Her mother apparently did the same, but just too late to save herself, her son and the others.

Saturday, December 15, 2012 2:56:00 pm  
Blogger Mirco Romanato said...

I would not be surprised the mother had some psychiatric conditions herself, but she was just functional enough to have a job and keep up the house.

The failed marriage and the other son going out and cutting relations with the family are evidence of something wrong.

Saturday, December 15, 2012 3:03:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

It sounds like we all pretty much agree.

I can't imagine the mother was ignorant of the fact that her Autistic son with a personality disorder had so many weapons.

Saturday, December 15, 2012 3:07:00 pm  
Blogger Pastorius said...

By the way, I know this is not going to be the most empathetic thing to say, nor is it going to be non-controversial, but I think we may be fooling ourselves to think these Autistic types are in a "shell", that they have "feelings" or that they have a "personality" that can be disordered.

By that, I do not mean they can not be disturbed, that they do not have feelings (of some sort) or that they do not have a personality of their own.

I simply do not think it is wise for us to attempt to understand them with the same template as other human beings.

I think, from my observation, that they sometimes get very angry over very obscure things. Their personality does not seem to run the gamut or continuum from dream life, though waking life, with all the subtleties in between or memory, sense of time, imagination, sense of reality, sense of logic, rationality, etc.

They seem to often have very high analytical abilities which are focused like a laser beam on very obscure details about reality.

We tend to be lulled into believing they have emotion by the anger and force with which they will cling to these details.

I do not think anger and force ought to be understand as necessarily being within the continuum of normal human emotions which also contain empathy, love, compassion, hurt, physical desire etc. as well as many other subtle combinations of emotions.

Saturday, December 15, 2012 3:14:00 pm  
Blogger Epaminondas said...

What's missing is the connection and empathy for what is outside some of them.

We have a very poor understanding of this condition set, and we are very early in the information cycle on this person in particular.

What Mom in a town with 1 violent crime in the past year needs multiple handguns, a high powered hunting rifle, AND a semiauto 'M-4'?

What was in her mind that these were things she wanted around with a child who was not in the middle of the behavior bell curve?

The unknowns are gigantic

Saturday, December 15, 2012 3:58:00 pm  
Blogger WC said...

I have to chime in here.

I spent a year working as an aid at a school for with autistic and mentally disturbed children. The class I was in had three TRUE autistic children. I said TRUE because back then in the 70s, the mental health industry had not expand the range of mental disorders and called them autistic. We must remember that there's money to be made by having children or adults given an illness that the government will subsidize. So the profession is ever expanding a diagnosis to gain funds from the government to assist in some way families with disturbed and mentally ill children.

The diagnosis of autism suffers from this fact. That's why you see numbers as 1 in 10 and 1 in 5 children diagnosed with autism.

But I can't agree with those stats.

I've worked with the real thing. There were two other kids in the 'autistic' class. One had other issues, could be violent and was also diagnosed as schizophrenic. The other child - a girl, had other mental and behavioral problems. The three true autistic boys were gentle and had calm behaviors.

Anyway that's my opinion based on my experience.

Saturday, December 15, 2012 8:09:00 pm  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

There is a sentence in the Fox News article you did not include in your post:
"Lt. Paul Vance said Saturday morning that the suspect WAS NOT voluntarily let into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton."

Vance also told reporters:"It is not a simplistic scene,"

What does that mean? Any ideas?

As for the family relationship, it's not easy to live with mental illness. First and foremost you have the mother's guilt of having brought an "imperfect" child to life, and her determination to make him functional. She "sacrificed" more than her life. She sacrificed her eldest son and her marriage. Probably father and eldest son decided to cut their loses much earlier than the mom.

According to Always on Watch the mother was ready to look for an intervention, probably against her son's will.

Who knows what goes on in anybody's mind, much less a troubled one? He may have been jealous of the children in his mom's class, and that's why he targeted those children after he killed her. Maybe in his mind he thought she was getting rid of him to have more time with them ...

As for WC's chime, I respect his past experience, but thankfully, science has advanced at huge strives in the study of the brain since the '70s, when "special education" was nothing but a label for shame and humiliation of the children who were supposed to benefit from it. Autism went from being a product of maternal coldness and distance to a problem that is increasing at high speed and still nobody knows for sure what causes it. Additives to vaccines, environmental causes? Nobody knows, and that's why it's important for science to continue research.

The biggest problem is the handling of mental illness. The day medicine and society realize that the mind is part of the whole body and start talking of "health" and throw away the "mental" component, caring for the individual as a whole, maybe then we will be able to avoid this kind of tragedies.

Saturday, December 15, 2012 9:15:00 pm  
Blogger midnight rider said...

Epa said "What Mom in a town with 1 violent crime in the past year needs multiple handguns, a high powered hunting rifle, AND a semiauto 'M-4'?"

I ask: is it your suggestion that there should now be a limit on the number of firearms a person can own? Or specifically on someone who has a person with a disability in the home? And if so, what sort of disabilities would come under this and who would decide that? The government? Egads no.

As for the semi-auto m-4 in that configuration it is no more dangerous a weapon than, say smoething like a Ruger mini-14, a basic hunting rifle. It just looks more dangerous because of it's military heritage. In semi auto mode it is still one shot per triger pull.

I agree something needs to be done to address the issues of the mentally unstable and better protection for our children in school. I have NO problem with someone armed and trained in a school to deal with this, whether it's a professional (be they police or privately contracted) or training and arming the teachers themselves. The gun doesn't have to be on the teachers in class, but kept in a fire extinguisher or defibrilator type arangement -- break glass for gun etc.

But as always, going after the guns is not the answer. Strictly objectively (and I do not intend to sound calloused here) there is no difference between a psycho rampaging in a theater or a school or a mall. And if it's not with a gun it will be with somethin else.

Saturday, December 15, 2012 10:26:00 pm  
Blogger Epaminondas said...

" is it your suggestion that there should now be a limit on the number of firearms a person can own?"

ABSOLUTELY NOT.

It's a valid question. It goes to the motives and circumstances inside this family. Was she scared of her kid? Why did she FEEL she had to have those weaps? Maybe she's a collector (the best ans in these circumstances?).

I think it would be nice to understand as much as we can

Saturday, December 15, 2012 11:11:00 pm  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

Once you open the door to controls ... it's difficult to pull back. Therefore, since we believe in relying on personal responsibility, when someone buys a gun, he or she should be made liable of the consequences of the use of that arm. There should be some kind of legal document that binds that person to its use. They could lose all their assets to make restitution to victims who fell under that gun, etc. There are societies where if you are responsible for someone's death you have the responsibility of providing for their dependents,

Other than former military, everyone buying an arm should undergo a course on gun safety, which should be part of the cost of the gun. Also demand that the fire arms are locked in a safe at all times, etc.

If we want to avoid government interference, we have to show that personal responsibility is mandatory. We cannot demand rights when we are not willing to have responsibility.

If someone has the money to buy a fire arm, they should have the money to buy a safe.

Saturday, December 15, 2012 11:15:00 pm  
Blogger midnight rider said...

Epa -- agreed. I was just a bit concerned with where I thought you were headed with that question.

Charles -- I have to disagree with everything you said. Well, amost. I aree with the personal responsibility part. However, to require them to sign a binding document is just more control and unnecessary. If a vicitm falls to that gun the courts will almost always certainly side with the victim (or his survivors) when it gets there. Even now in many states criminals sue the un owner if they are wounded by the gun owner defending himself against their criminal action and in many casse win. And even if they lose the gun owner still has the huge legal bills to contend with for defending himself. In Pa. when The Castle and Stand Your Ground doctrines were passed they actually now provided protection to the gun owner so that he cannot be sued by the criminal (or his family if he is killed) for damages.

And none of that would stop the crime to begin with, only deals with the aftermath. And what if the criminal uses his own gun and then takes his own life? And what if it's a stolen gun? Yes I know hold the original owner responsible HOWEVER it is not uncommon for thieves to break into a home and then steal the safe the guns are in so they can clean them out later and more leisurely. Would you then hold the original owner responsible even though he had them locked in a safe as you suggest?

As far as a gun course goes also a broad statement that is unnecessary. Many people simply grow up around guns and have no need of that course (or it's expense). And what of the iner-city person (or otherwise) who buys a cheap Saturday Night Special for his own & family defense because of his environs but cannot afford the expense of a gun safety course? Should he not be allowed to have the gun t legally defend himself because he cannot afford the course?

Or would you make those courses free, paid for at taxpayer expense? The cry from Libs to pay for somone else's gun training will be even louder than the one forcing Catholics etc to pay for abortions.

The same with a safe. Aain, as stated, safe scan be and often are stolen. Secondly they are costly and might not be affordable to the aforementioned user AND, if he is livin in a small aprtment in the city, might not have a place forthe safe anyway.

Additionally and most importantly the safe may inhibit access to that gun when it is needed most and most urgently. Let alone the adrenaline dump hamperin their ability to open that safe (regular lock or biometric) when under that stress.

None of my guns are in a safe One is on my person at all times (except schools and government buildings). There is a .38 by my head at night, a .357 and a .45 tucked in my desk and a number of others secreted in rooms throughout the house. None openly nor easy to find unless you know where to look. Now, in the case of small children living in the home (or the disabled) I would be inclned to agree with locking them up, but still not the one carried or kept handy by the bed at night.

All of this is moot, however, because again it addresses the weapon and punished (for lack of a better word) those who legallly and responsibly own firearms. It does not address the hand that weilds the weapon.

And while we're weeping here for these children (rightly so) and oh my what can we do to prevent this sort of thing how about we address the children raped and beaten and maimed and murdered each year by their own family members, the very people theyb should have no fear of. Far more than the 20 we are talking aboutt here. Or those abducted and never to be seen again. Or those in a foster care system who go in troubled and come out criminals. If they survive it. A foster care system run by the very government you think should be regulating how when and where we should buy and store our guns.

Sunday, December 16, 2012 12:34:00 am  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

It's obvious I don't know much about guns ...

All I know is that the Second Amendment is vital and we should never lose the right to bear arms. But there have to be ways to avoid tragedies like these.

If the problem is "mental" illness, which I'm sure it is, what to do about it?

Sunday, December 16, 2012 1:13:00 am  
Blogger midnight rider said...

I think it's a societal issue but not so simplistic or crass as a culture of violence or gun culture meme used the last time around.

But a society where people are afraid to call a spade a spade.

Afraid if they label someone as troubled or disturbed or prescribe this med or that therapy they will get sued. Where they are afraid they may stigmatize someone withsuch a diagnosis.

A society that's wants to coddle the troubed, instead of some "tough love" (I hate that phrase but there you go). "oh he was such a misunderstood troubled youth" No, he was fucking evil and NO ONE wanted to admit it.

A society where we hand out participation feel good tropheies and then when someone runs up against a hard punch later in life doesn't know how to take it and lashes out. "But I'm a winner! I got the T ball trophy to prove it"

A society where we would rather blame some thing than some one and so (usually) it's the guns "Oh, he would have never snapped this would not have happened if he didn't have access to a gun". Tell Dahmer's victims that. Or Bundy's. etc.

Consider that in the last few cases each had been diagnosed by someone but nothing was done about it.

And so until as a society we begin to change the way we think about these kinds of things anything else is a bandage at best, a lacebo at worst. And this will continue to happen whether by a gun or a knife or a baseball bat.

This is real brief and simplistic because I have early work tomorrow but wanted to at least give you my two cents answer.

Also, nothing wrong with not knowing much about guns. At least you admit it. The problem is with the people who don't and won't and think they have all the answers on just how to fix it and are in a position to influence others.

Sunday, December 16, 2012 3:43:00 am  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

THIS ARTICLE is extensive and worth your time. Several clues in there as to what went wrong in that family.

Sunday, December 16, 2012 10:36:00 am  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home