Why am I not surprised at the descriptions of Adam Lanza the Connecticut shooter who killed 20 children and six adults, including his own mother? He’s described as a smart honor student who was socially awkward, a loner who had no friends and who many saw as a very troubled young man. At age 20 he still lived at home with his mother and had no friends. Earlier in his life, he had no friends. Classmates in his high school didn’t think that he actually graduated with them since no one remembers him.
From this ABC article, “Family friends in Newtown also described the young man as troubled and described Nancy as rigid. “[Adam] was not connected with the other kids,” said Barbara Frey, who also said he was “a little bit different … Kind of repressed.”
“You could tell that he felt so uncomfortable about being put on the spot,” said Olivia DeVivo, also now at the University of Connecticut. “I think that maybe he wasn’t given the right kind of attention or help. I think he went so unnoticed that people didn’t even stop to realize that maybe there’s actually something else going on here — that maybe he needs to be talking or getting some kind of mental help. In high school, no one really takes the time to look and think, ‘Why is he acting this way?’ ”
“They weren’t surprised,” she said. “They said he always seemed like he was someone who was capable of that because he just didn’t really connect with our high school, and didn’t really connect with our town.”
She added: “I never saw him with anyone. I can’t even think of one person that was associated with him.”
Adam didn’t even have a picture in this senior yearbook. ”Camera Shy”. It’s not clear if he had Asperger’s syndrome or a personality disorder such as schizoid personality disorder. Both have problems with social interaction, making friends, and the latter can be connected to schizophrenia. Adam’s brother, Ryan, describes him as having a personality disorder.
More about Adam Lanzer here and here and here. According to this article, people knew when he was 5 years old that he had problems. Why didn’t he get help??? Why didn’t he get help throughout his life? What the heck was wrong with his parents that this kid wasn’t in therapy, if not locked up?
Doesn’t this all sound familiar? A loner who has had problems with relationships throughout his life and then goes on a shooting rampage? A very smart kid who never had any friends? A loner to the point that no one remembers him from high school? Why aren’t kids like this getting help very early in their lives when it’s obvious that they have problems establishing friendships, before they are spending their lives like Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski , in their parent’s basement or a cabin in the woods, where their behavior and thoughts become even more dangerous with their increased social isolation? When will teachers and parents realize that kids without friends, without social interactions, need HELP and get them the help that they need? Is it time to hold parent’s responsible for not getting their kids help? For not informing authorities that their children’s behavior is alarming?
We’ve heard this same pattern, over and over and over. It’s high time our society did something to help these kids, and help their parents to recognize the seriousness of a child without friends and one who is socially isolated. It’s an alarm bell! It’s also time to keep dangerous people away from the rest of us, even over their objections. Tech shooter, Cho, should never have been released from a mental hospital. His rights to not be kept in mental hospital should never have superseded the rights of 32 people to live their lives.
It’s time to change mental health laws in this country.