Peter Lanza, the father of Adam Lanza, spoke for the first time since his son killed 20 children, six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School, his mother and ultimately himself in Newtown, Conn. in Dec. 2012.
The guilt-ridden Lanza told the New Yorker that although there's no way anyone could've predicted his son's actions, he wished he would've done more to be a part of his son's life during his final years. "Any variation on what I did and how my relationship was had to be good, because no outcome could be worse," Lanza confessed, adding "You can’t get any more evil."
Peter and Adam Lanza were close when Adam was younger, but Peter's divorce from Adam's mother, Nancy, when he was nine-years-old took an obvious toll on his son. By the time he reached middle school, Peter said it was "crystal clear" there was something wrong with his son:
The social awkwardness, the uncomfortable anxiety, unable to sleep, stress, unable to concentrate, having a hard time learning, the awkward walk, reduced eye contact. You could see the changes occurring.” It is hard to be sure whether new problems were setting in or old ones were becoming more apparent. Michael Stone, a psychiatrist who studies mass murder, said that, as children grow up and tasks become more difficult, what seems like a minor impairment becomes major. “They’re a little weird in school. They don’t have friends. They do not get picked for the baseball team,” he said. “But, as they get to the age when kids begin to date and find partners, they can’t. So the sense of deficit, which was minor in grade school, and getting to be a little bit more in junior high, now becomes very acute.” He added that, without the brain getting worse, “life challenges nudge them in the direction of being sicker.”
The last time that Peter Lanza saw his son was in September of 2010, when he took him to visit Norwich University. Earlier that year, Nancy told Peter that Adam no longer desired to carry on a relationship with his father. The last time he talked to Nancy was a month before the shootings, and Peter said his ex-wife had no idea what was brewing inside of Adam:
“She never confided to her sister or best friend about being afraid of him. She slept with her bedroom door unlocked, and she kept guns in the house, which she would not have done if she were frightened.” About a week before the shootings, Nancy reportedly told an acquaintance, “I’m worried I’m losing him.” But losing him seemed to be a matter of his withdrawal, not of violence. The cautiousness with which Nancy responded to her son’s demands indicates anxiety rather than fear, and it must have made her as lonely as it did him.
The most harrowing revelation of the interview is that Lanza is frighteningly confident that he would've met the same fate as his ex-wife if he was still in his son's life at the time of the shootings:
Peter does not think that Adam had any affection for him, either, by that point. He said, “With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he’d had the chance. I don’t question that for a minute. The reason he shot Nancy four times was one for each of us: one for Nancy; one for him; one for Ryan; one for me.”
[via The New Yorker]