On being Adam Lanza’s mom

Already read all sorts of things about Adam Lanza’s mom.  Clearly, she liked her guns and was a private person, but it is so easy to try and blame her for raising a monster.  In all honesty, she was probably doing everything she could to try and help her son.  Fabulous, fabulous essay by a woman raising a seriously mentally ill 13-year old.  Here’s a snippet:

Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.

“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.
“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”
“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”…
I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me…
I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am Jason Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
Now read the whole thing.  The upshot– oh, so little mental resources to help him or his mom.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

7 Responses to On being Adam Lanza’s mom

  1. Jeff says:

    Not sure if you also saw this post:
    http://sarahkendzior.com/2012/12/16/want-the-truth-behind-i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-read-her-blog/

    Offers an alternate perspective on the post that is making the rounds (I reposted it too)

    • Steve Greene says:

      I don’t think it takes away from the basic truth of the lack of resources for seriously mentally ill children. In part, her blog entries are just a hyperbolic take on the stuff all parents think. This particularly resonated with me as a friend just shared a story about a client of hers with a remarkably similar situation.

      • Jeff says:

        I definitely agree that resources for mentally ill children are sorely lacking. I’d go further and say that resources for those parents are also lacking, which exacerbates the situations we’ve seen in this area recently.

        It’s a defeating feelin knowing that progress requires the same people to agree that gun control and mental health resources both need to be improved, and they don’t seem to want to do either.

      • itchy says:

        Agreed. With a blog post title like this, I was expecting worse.

        If I collected the off-the-cuff updates of exasperated parents on my Facebook feed, I’d come up with lots of stuff that would seem far more damning and terrifying in retrospect. And it seems obvious that her degree in Classics drives her writing style.

        If you were to collect my mother’s writings, you’d find stuff way worse than this. And my brother and I are so far pretty decent people. (Well, I am, anyway.)

  2. itchy says:

    Good post, and it really does point out the emotional (and other) difficulties in raising a child with a diagnosis like this. But …

    “it is so easy to try and blame her for raising a monster.”

    A monster with easy access to automatic weapons.

    The mother in the blog you reference here seems to understand that her son is capable of violence, which makes it all the more important to minimize the damage he can do.

  3. Mike says:

    It seems to me if you have a problem child, you don’t keep firearms in the house. If you really must, you put them in a good quality safe with a keypad code, and you never let the child know the number.
    Never.
    You can also buy cable locks that attach through the barrels and trigger locks. Plus you should keep the ammo (and bolts) in a separate lock box inside the main box.

    But me, when my youngest started crawling I made the decision to get rid of my rifles. I don’t expect anyone else to, but I would expect them to use common sense for the situation they are in.
    At the very least, don’t make guns accessible to anyone else but the owner.

    The problem is in the US it seems many believe that might cost them an extra 30 seconds when they need to get to them. So they don’t lock them up. Then they disappear, get used by the children’s friends, or borrowed for killing someone else.

  4. Mike says:

    BTW, you can’t use a key safe because almost any kid will find the key. Or make a copy when the parent isn’t paying attention.

    Most kids can find almost anything you try to hide.

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