Sandy Hook Spree Killer’s Mother Was About to Commit Him to a Mental Hospital

“The gunman who slaughtered 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school may have snapped because his mother was planning to commit him to a psychiatric facility,” foxnews.com reports. A former U.S. Marine appears to be Fox’s primary source for the story. “From what I’ve been told, [spree killer Adam Lanza, above second row, third from the right] was aware of her petitioning the court for conservatorship and (her) plans to have him committed,” Flashman told Fox. “Adam was apparently very upset about this. He thought she just wanted to send him away. From what I understand, he was really, really angry. I think this could have been it, what set him off.” The Sun newspaper [UK] cites local plumber Peter Wlasuk, who says Adam Lanza lived in the family’s windowless basement where he played Call of Duty. FWIW.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

85 Responses to Sandy Hook Spree Killer’s Mother Was About to Commit Him to a Mental Hospital

  1. avatarMichael B. says:

    I’ve had just about enough of the media’s intense focus on this piece of ****. I shouldn’t even know the name of this sick, deranged narcissistic loser who is getting all the attention he could’ve ever wanted.

    I wish there was a hell for him to burn in.

    • avatarA reasonable man says:

      While anger and other emotions are understandable, I encourage you and others to resist judging and demonizing the assailant without being either a mental health professional, a theologian or both. A mental health professional to impartially assess whether the assailant could rationally cope with emotions, or know right/wrong, and a theologian to consider if evil acts confer “evil” upon all, or only those that know they are committing a sin.

      It is easy to sit backdeclare the mentally inhibited of evil, w/o personally working with someone that does not know the difference between “how are you” and “how was your day”

      • avatarRandy Drescher says:

        Its pretty easy to see the elevator didn’t go up to the top floor in his early pictures. Don’t need to be an astronaut to see the moon. I don’t need to get in his head or psychoanalize him, he should have just been stopped with a bullet, Randy

      • avatarMichael B. says:

        I would’ve felt sorry for him if this was a story about a messed up kid with problems getting treatment.

        But that’s not the story.

        No matter what his twisted thinking was, he chose mass murder. He wasn’t a spur of the moment rabid berserker.

        Once that line is crossed I don’t give a damn what mental illnesses and/or personality disorders people like him have.

        • avatarA reasonable man says:

          I did not say sympathize, I said don’t demonize. Again, its easy to judge with a full set of mental faculties those w/o such mental faculties. Even moreso when you’ve not had to interact frequently with them.

          If you’re a priest, or mental health professional, please feel free to examine the full philosophical dilemma of guilt, evil, sin and cognizance.

        • avatardaveR says:

          “he chose mass murder. He wasn’t a spur of the moment rabid berserker.”

          Whatever, but he probably didn’t **choose** the way you or I choose. If you’ve ever been around a truly mentally ill person you’ll realize this immedialty

          The person whose decision was more to blame was the mother–not only did she share a house with a severely troubled kid, she *knew* he was severely disturbed and yet she still chose to keep weapons around without taking sufficient measures to deny him access. If there’s a single person who didn’t live up to their responsibilities as a gun owner, it’s her.

        • avatarA reasonable man says:

          Thank you daver, you understand my point exactly. The act itself is still horrendous , it is the uninformed labeling I am taking issue with

        • avatarCA_Chris says:

          I will demonize him, because regardless of his problems he know that what he was doing would hurt others. Our mental health system is not sufficient, and he should have been in treatment long before the shooting spree. But, he chose to hurt others and that fact is not in any way altered by his circumstances.

  2. avatarBilly Wardlaw says:

    “I think this could have been it, what set him off.” …and so it follows that no one else should have access to certain types of firearms, on the off chance that a sick child might snap. Makes perfect sense to all of us, I’m sure.

  3. avatarRob says:

    Oh, now I understand. This is why I shouldn’t have a rifle. That makes so much sense now.

  4. avatarJason says:

    So why weren’t her guns secured?

    • avatarJon says:

      Are we certain they weren’t? It is difficult to secure anything in such a way that a determined adult can’t gain access.

      • avatarJason says:

        He got them, therefore they weren’t properly secured. Sorry to say but if you cannot reliably secure your guns from a dangerous family member, it would be prudent not to own them.

        • He killed her! There’s no securing something when you’re dead!

          Geeze people lay off the judging. Let’s try not to speak ill of the dead.

        • avatarJason says:

          His mother was shot four times. He had the guns before he killed her.

        • avatarBruce says:

          Since he tried to buy a gun a few days before I would say the guns were secured some way.

        • avatarCA_Chris says:

          He acquired them without waking her up. Unless he drugged her, the guns weren’t very secure.

        • avatarThomas M. says:

          Gun “safes”, aka Residential Security Containers, are measured in minutes, not hours, nor days, of how long they can resist average power tools.

          Just saying, even if they were in an expensive “safe”, a few determined minutes with a drill, or abrasive wheel….

      • avatardaveR says:

        “Are we certain they weren’t? It is difficult to secure anything in such a way that a determined adult can’t gain access.”

        The evidence says they were not secured well enough. If he had to get out the blow torch and bolt cutters then the mother is a little less to blame but seriously, if you live under the same roof as a person who you feel is dangerous, you either keep your weapons with you at all time or you simply don’t have them. Your 2nd amendment right does not mean that you can ignore everything and everyone around you.

    • avatarRalph says:

      How do you know they weren’t? Most likely he killed her and then took the keys.

      It’s one of the reasons why I prefer combo locks. Since I’m the only person who knows the combination (they’re not written anywhere), I think that — just maybe — keeping me alive would be a priority to a person who wants to steal my guns.

      • I have been curious about this as well. Is it a more or less favorable thing if it turns out he forcably broke into a safe?

      • avatardaveR says:

        “How do you know they weren’t? Most likely he killed her and then took the keys.”

        Killed her with what? He shot her in the face. With a gun.

        The mother failed and her crazy kid was left to run wild.

      • Your gun safe should always be at least ten minutes stronger than the person in the house with the least reliable mental condition.

        So if your kid has a 30-second attention span, a trigger-lock will do. If you have a manic-depressive in the house, you need a gun safe that can stand up to a week-long assault.

        Sorry if this sounds inconvenient to anyone, but even the most troublesome gun safety is still more convenient than getting shot with your own gun.

    • avatarBilly Wardlaw says:

      I agree. As appalled as I am by the tragedy of it all, my only hew and cry is this – Why, if this woman knew her son was this ill, so ill that she was moved to have him committed, would she conduct her’s and her son’s affairs, without securing her firearms? At the very least, you think she might worry about a suicide and move them off-site, store them with a relative or a storage unit temporarily.

      Only two things could have averted this. More discretion on the part of the mother and family, and failing that, an armed defender at the school.

    • avatarBilly Wardlaw says:

      Secured does not necessarily mean locked up. Her son’s access to those arms should have been mitigated well before hand – taken to storage, sent with a relative, or even sold, all without the kids knowledge.

      She failed to avert this disaster. I’m not saying she could have predicted the extent of his actions, but is there a single firearms owner left that doesn’t understand the volatility of a mentally disturbed child and a gun?

      • avatarJason says:

        Exactly. At some point, if you realize that you are unable to own a firearm safely due to family members or yourself, then you should do the responsible thing and get rid of them. Responsible gun ownership includes recognizing when you shouldn’t own them.

        • avatarjwm says:

          My first marriege was to a woman that had mental health issues. There’s a reason I advise people not to stick their dick in crazy. When it became apparent that this woman was unsafe I moved my guns out to a trusted persons house.

          I am happily married now. But between my first and second marriege I always checked out their crazy qoutient and gun compatability of any woman that was more than a one night thing.

        • avatardaveR says:

          Agree. This is the price of responsibility. If there is a sizable risk that your guns will fall out of your control, you have a duty to everyone around you to secure you guns in any manner necessary.

      • avatarRalph says:

        I wonder if she had the gun BECAUSE of the kid.

  5. avatarLance says:

    Hay Obama time for murder control not your loved gun ban idiot.

  6. avatarRalph says:

    Shooting school kids tells me that the scumb@g was sending a message — “my mommy loves them more than me.” He was killing his rivals, which is something I suspected immediately but wondered why he did so now. Wanting to commit him might have been the stressor that set him off on his murderous spree.

    It would have happened sooner or later. The little pr!ck should have been sent away a long time ago. Maybe then he, the mother and 26 others would still be alive.

    Having some experience with a child (not mine) with personality disorders, I can tell you that they can be dangerous as hell. When I lived with one, all the signs were there and they were not ignored. Everything was kept in a combination-locked safe for fear that some day my GF and I would wake up in the morning dead. And believe me, I wanted to put all the kitchen knives in there, too.

    These are scary people despite their age and need to be in a locked facility. There’s a big difference between the personality disordered and autistic kids. Kids with autism — expecially high-functioning — are generally harmless to themselves and others and most do better at home.

    • “Shooting school kids tells me that the scumb@g was sending a message — “my mommy loves them more than me.” He was killing his rivals ”

      Yup. It is a very natural impulse.

    • avatarMichael B. says:

      +1000

      The mother was extremely negligent and her death should serve as a warning to all irresponsible gun owners living with unstable people.

      I want to know more about the father, though. Where the **** was he?

      • avatarPascal says:

        Divorced, new wife, living in a different town. Mother took child as part of the divorce

      • avatargot my mosin says:

        They divorced in 2009, and the dad lives out of state. She was getting more than $200,000/yr in spousal support, which ought to have paid for some pretty good mental health care.

  7. avatarLarry says:

    Why no call to ban video games like Call of Duty? Seems like violent movies, video games, etc. have the possibility of desensitizing an already sick individual. Yet, an inanimate object like a gun that has no bearing or influence on the individual gets the blame?

    • avatarCurzen says:

      I’m sure the control freaks in congress will gladly propose to curtail the 1st along with the 2nd.

    • avatarPascal says:

      No stone will be unturned, it has already started

      In Shooting Aftermath, Axelrod Says Focus Should Also Be on Video Games

      http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/in-shooting-aftermath-axelrod-says-focus-should-also-be-on-video-games/

    • avatarSanchanim says:

      Yup people are calling for a serous look at violent video games, and movies.
      I like playing video games, but it doesn’t make me want to kill people does it??

      I admit though for young kids, and mentally challenged adults, this is an absolute contributing factor. Also by mentally challenged I mean anyone dealing with some sort of disorder in which serious therapy or drugs are used to treat.

      • There is kind of an odd argument going on in the media, and it goes something like that: “Guns don’t kill people, video games kill people.”

        (Or, depending on which network you watch: “Taking prayer out of public school kills people.”)

    • avatarFjord83 says:

      Why no call to ban violent TV shows or movies? Or to ban violent books/magazines/comics? Hey I’ve got an idea, why not just ban all mental stimuli all together! If people don’t think then they won’t get ideas about killing others! Look, I’m not saying that violent MEDIA didn’t aggravate the situation, but you can’t just put the pin in it and say “this is what caused it”. What it boils down to is the parenting. And how can you say that the gun had no bearing or influence on the kid? He knew what it did, he knew what it was used for. You don’t think it occured to him that “hey I can use this to kill the people I don’t like. If his mom didn’t have the guns, she might still be alive right now, along with 26 other innocent people.

  8. avatarRichard says:

    The logic is so stupid they did ban flying on commercial airlines when 3 of them hit world trade center killed more than 3000 people on 911. They did stop selling fertilizer from being soild after Oklahoma City bombing killed 168 lives 19 children under the age of 6. There no logic to this insane man reason for what he did no logic pass gun control measures that well not work.

  9. avatarRon says:

    “may have” “from what I’ve been told” “apparently” “from what I understand” ” I think” ” Flashman was told ” “could not be confirmed”
    This is nothing but rumor. Gossip.
    I’m not surprised to find this unconfirmed sensationalism at foxnews.
    I’m a little surprised to find it a TTAG.

  10. avatargot my mosin says:

    Sounds like she should have kept more quiet about that

  11. avatarCurzen says:

    so do we need sensible videogame murder simulator control too?

  12. avatarGuy says:

    Adam Lanza’s Uncle stated that he was prescribed a medication called Fanapt. It has been linked to aggression and violent behavior and other negative mental effects.

    From Drugs.com, side effects of the drug Fanapt:

    Psychiatric side effects including restlessness, aggression, and delusion have been reported frequently. Hostility, decreased libido, paranoia, anorgasmia, confusional state, mania, catatonia, mood swings, panic attack, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa, delirium, polydipsia psychogenic, impulse-control disorder, and major depression have been reported infrequently.

  13. avatarPascal says:

    Two items of note for those interested

    1) Connecticut Mental Health Bill Defeated Months Before Deadly School Shooting — FU to the ACLU
    http://tinyurl.com/a6d5db9

    2) Thinking the Unthinkable (How the mental health system fails)
    http://tinyurl.com/d7g98ht

    3) Also see Kirk’s post up above

    It could have been stopped. They are going after guns versus the real cause of the shooting. The shooting is an excuse for the failure of the govt. to do their job verus only act in a crises mode. The crises filled with emotion only allows them to take freedom’s away under the disguise of safety and masking the many failures of govt.

    • avatarmatt says:

      -1
      The ACLU said the bill would “infringe on patients’ privacy rights by expanding [the circle of] who can medicate individuals without their consent.”

      I’m not sure if you noticed but psych medications have been linked to suicide and other serious disorders. You truly are welcoming the quite literal thought police with open arms.

      -1 again for linking that shitty blog article. The reason that kid is screwed up is because his mother is failing to provide a family, and is trying to drug her kid in to subordinance rather than ensuring he has a father. She says she is a single divorced mother, in this post titled “News From The War On Women”

      http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.com/2012/07/news-from-war-on-women-front.html

      Also she admits she was a bitch who said a “perfectly poisoned phrase… before he was my ex (he filed for divorce the next day)—I’ll let you use your imagination here, but rest assured, it was something so horrible that all the men who know about it turn pale and say, “He totally had to divorce you. No man could stay married to a woman who said THAT.” Fair enough.”

      http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.com/2010/09/all-apologies.html

  14. avatarSpoons Make You Fat says:

    Forget this guy. I mean FORGET THIS GUY. For real. If you really need names, below are the names of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, as released by Connecticut State Police (Name, age, date of birth, sex):

    Charlotte Bacon, 6, 2/22/2006, F

    Daniel Barden, 7, 9/25/2005, M

    Rachel Davino, 29, 7/17/1983, F

    Olivia Rose Engel, 6, 7/18/2006, F

    Josephine Gay, 7, 12/11/2005, F

    Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, 6, 4/04/2006, F

    Dylan Hockley, 6, 3/08/2006, M

    Dawn Hocksprung, 47, 6/28/1965, F

    Madeleine F Hsu, 6, 7/10/2006, F

    Catherine V Hubbard, 6, 6/08/2006, F

    Chase Kowalski, 7, 10/31/2005, M

    Jesse Lewis, 6, 6/30/2006, M

    James Mattioli, 6, 3/22/2006, M

    Grace McDonnell, 7, 11/04/2005, F

    Anne Marie Murphy, 52, 7/25/1960, F

    Emilie Parker, 6, 5/12/2006, F

    Jack Pinto, 6, 5/6/2006, M

    Noah Pozner, 6, 11/20/2006, M

    Caroline Previdi, 6, 9/7/2006, F

    Jessica Rekos, 6, 5/10/2006, F

    Avielle Richman, 6, 10/17/2006, F

    Lauren Rousseau, 30, 6/8/1982, F

    Mary Sherlach, 56, 2/11/1956, F

    Victoria Soto, 27, 11/4/1985, F

    Benjamin Wheeler, 6, 9/12/2006, M

    Allison N Wyatt, 6, 7/3/2006, F

    Source: http://articles.courant.com/2012-12-15/news/hc-names-sandy-hook-newtown-school-shooting-victims-20121215_1_ana-grace-marquez-greene-victims-names

    • avatarmatt says:

      2.4 million people die every year in this country, what makes them special?

      • avatarSpoons Make You Fat says:

        I can’t tell if you’re a troll or simply a tone-deaf faux-tough-guy. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and pick the latter. In which case you should re-read the introduction to my post, the part where I wrote, “If you really need names…”

        Check out the ages, then feel free to ignore them. I choose not to.

        • avatarmatt says:

          So how do their ages make them special? Are you going to post a list of every still born baby too, how about the ones that died from SIDS? According to the National Center for Health Statistics 29k infants died in 2007, and theyre even younger than the ones you mentioned.

        • avatarWLCE says:

          better yet, lets get the names of children killed by drones in yemen, iraq, afghanistan, and pakistan.

          oh wait, cant do that. that would make the obama administration look bad and render their connecticut soapbox irrelevant.

  15. avatarBobby says:

    Jesus, the look in that pyscho kid’s eyes. I could’ve told you he was a whackjob just by looking at this picture.

    • avatarBruce says:

      I hope you look normal Bobby, or maybe someone will ask for your head. Or perhaps they may ask anyway if looks start to be a determining factor.

      • avatarRalph says:

        Looks are an important factor in just about anything. We don’t pick our significant others because we think they’re ugly. And if someone is sane but looks crazy, he isn’t going to have a lot of friends and nobody’s going to sit next to him on the crosstown bus.

        We make judgments based on appearance all the time. Sometimes we’re right, and sometimes we’re not.

        • avatarmatt says:

          Oh the irony. You love to complain about racists but are defending discrimination against people who dont dress the way you think they should.

  16. avatarBeninMA says:

    The NRA should educate gun owners who may find themselves in a situation like this mother. Now’s the time to do it, while the issue is still so prominent in the news.

  17. avatarLiberty2Alpha says:

    Ok. It’s driving me crazy.

    WTF are the two kids in the left front doing?

  18. avatarAharon says:

    I don’t know how to define Adam Lanza as being evil or crazy or both. I do know that he should not have been able to gain access to the guns he murdered with. I do not know if the guns were kept in a secure safe he had access to or not kept in a safe. I do know that his mother shares some responsibility for the murders of the children and adults by not having secured her guns from him. She choose to own guns (she did not have to own guns) and keep them in a home with her unbalanced son. She failed in her responsibility to secure them from her son taking control of them to murder.

    • avatartjlarson2k says:

      Sigh.

      Why is everyone assuming that the mother knew her son was “one evil thought from committing murder”.

      Really.

      It was her son. Do you think people really believe anyone they love is capable of committing crimes? If they really did, they would have had them committed. The fact he wasn’t committed yet means there are two scenarios:

      1) Either she did think he was a threat to himself or others and for whatever reason the guys with strait jackets were taking their sweet time.

      or

      2) She knew he was mentally unstable but didn’t think he was a threat to himself or others at the time.

      A reasonable person wouldn’t keep guns in easy reach of a mentally distraught person (son or not). They probably were locked up. The fact her son had to kill her tells me something. It tells me she either tried to stop him and died for it, or she was caught off-guard and died for it.

      Yes, there is the chance she was negligent and for whatever reason, maybe she couldn’t face the fact her own son was about to be committed, she made a serious error somewhere and allowed him to gain access to her firearms, which resulted in her demise.

      Either way, she died. We’ll never know the whole story unless there is a witness. The mother and son are dead. So speculating is pointless. But I just decided to offer my opinions because they’re just as plausible as the pessimistic opinions trying to paint the mother as some sort of accomplice.

      Until you have to commit your own son to a mental hospital, you really have no room to judge this woman for her actions. For all we know, she was in the process of moving the guns to a secure location when her son jumped her, took her guns and shot her.

      Who knows.

      • avatarAharon says:

        She was seeking to commit him. She knew he was disturbed. She had a responsibility to secure her guns whether a possible thief could have been a stranger or her son. All that matters is that the son was able to steal the mother’s guns and use them to commit mass murder.

        You wrote that I have no room to judge the mother until I am committing my son to a mental hospital? Really? By such logic I should not judge Obama and Finestein until I am a president and a senator.

        I can and am judging her actions. Her actions of owning guns and not securing the guns resulted in twenty children and seven adults being murdered. The mother’s carelessness with her property provided the tools or means for her son to commit murder. She is indirectly responsible for those murders. If she was still alive I’d like to see her prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter. Perhaps childslaughter is a more accurate word.

        • avatartjlarson2k says:

          I’m saying you have no room to judge a mother who died dealing with her mentally disturbed son because:

          1) You weren’t there and
          2) You don’t have all the facts.

          Judge all you want. The fact remains she was murdered by her son. Assigning blame to the mother is assigning blame to the first victim of the Sandy Hook incident.

          Who’s to say she didn’t confront her son with a gun and he managed to overpower her and then shoot her dead?

          Would it still somehow be her fault too? Really? Is that how it works? Ownership of a gun means you’re responsible for any crime committed by it even after you’re dead? Hmm.

          Then god forbid any CCW holder loses (but survives) a standoff with a criminal who goes off to do more crimes — because according to you, they should be liable for all the crimes that criminal commits thereafter…

          Whoever said gun-owners were superhuman and infallible? Sure, the guns should’ve been secured as soon as her son was assumed to be mentally unfit. Who’s to say they weren’t? If the son was capable of murder, he was certainly still capable of a great many things to increase his chances of getting his hands on weapons (whether those were his mother’s guns or someone else’s).

        • avatartjlarson2k says:

          By your logic, if gun owners can be blamed for all actions others commit with their weapons after the gun owner is killed , then we should not also blame unarmed victims for being unarmed and “allowing themselves” to be gunned down in the first place?

          See how silly that all sounds?

          Unless the mother was truly grossly negligent in some way, she’s just a homicide victim, nothing more, nothing less.

        • avatarAharon says:

          Whether she died trying to stop her son or not, she is the one who bought and owned the guns and her property was not secured enough to be kept from being stolen or taken and used to commit mass murder. That is how it works. It is holding people to being accountability and responsible. The mother willingly chose not to secure her guns. She made a decision that resulted in providing ie giving the tools and support to a mass murderer. She is indirectly responsible for harming others.

          False analogy with the CCW.

  19. avatarAharon says:

    tjlarson,

    Whether she died trying to stop her son or not, she is the one who bought and owned the guns and her property was not secured enough to be kept from being stolen or taken and used to commit mass murder. That is how it works. It is holding people to being accountability and responsible. The mother willingly chose not to secure her guns enough. She made a decision how to store them that resulted in providing ie giving the tools and support to a mass murderer. She is indirectly responsible for harming others.

    The mother chose to inform her son that she owned guns and helped him learn how to operate and shoot them. He knew where they were located in his mother’s house and how they were stored. The son was not some opportunistic thief that broke into the house one day and by chance found the guns (locked or not).

    False analogy with the CCW.

    If the mother had secured her guns in a high-quality safe or high-quality vault that had to be forced open by her son using special tools and methods (and not opened with a key or known combination) then she would not be guilty of “gross” negligence. If that was the case then I’ll retract some of what I have said about her. I have spent a large amount of time following this case and there has not been any indication that she did anything to secure her guns. BTW, using a crow bar to open a locked metal cabinet is not an example of reasonable security. Regardless, the mother will always bear some degree of indirect responsibility for this mass murder.

  20. avatarMister Fleas says:

    An update on Lanza: he was a creepy devil worshiper.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2250608/Adam-Lanzas-classmate-reveals-Sandy-Hook-gunman-online-devil-worshiping-page.html

    from the article:

    “Lanza’s worshiping page had the word ‘Devil’ written in red, Gothic-style letters against a black background, Trevor L. Todd told The National Enquirer, something which he said was ‘weird’ and ‘gave him the chills’.

    The FBI are trying to piece together his smashed up hard drive to see if his online footprint will reveal any motive for the killing, but they strongly believe he made use of devil-worshiping and suicide sites and boasted of his murder plans on message forums.”

    • avatarAharon says:

      Thanks for posting that story and it provided even more background than the interesting ‘devil worship’ part.

    • avatarLow Budget Dave says:

      The whole “Devil worship” story has the sound of a fake news story to me. It could turn out to be true, of course, it just sounds fake.

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