Sandy Hook 911 Tapes Released

The Hartford Courant is excerpting the just-released 911 tapes from the Sandy Hook school shooting. You can listen to them here.

Also at the Courant: A Chilling Window into Adam Lanza's World. Photos from his bedroom and computer room are here. An analysis of Adam's "chilling" book he called The Big Book of Granny, is here.

The summary report released by police last week is here. No motive has been found. While Lanza had mental health issues, those who knew and/or evaluated him saw no indications of violence.

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    No indications of violence (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 02:35:05 PM EST
    Did his mother mention to these evaluators that he had guns? That might be a tad important. And, well, most people are clueless and keep their heads in the sand about things that are too difficult for them to deal with. Mentally ill people are just about the best way to get a person to stick that head in the ground. As such, they missed everything in this case. Family giving him weapons wasn't a sign? Living in a blacked out bunker, only communicating via email wasn't a sign? Egad. EVERYONE failed here, his family, mental health workers, everyone.

    Right... (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 04:08:48 PM EST
    ...this "no indications of violence" is a bunch of BS.  A manual revealing extremely violent fantasies would have surely been a sign had anyone cared to look at what their kid was going holed up in his room.

    I get that the kid wasn't a normal kid, but how does a parent cater to his ever whim, most of what seems to be obvious compulsive behavior, and allow him to be holed up in the house for a year communicating only by email ?  I mean jesus, if there was a manual on how to raise a violent sociopath, several chapters would be word for word what happened in that house.

    It's not one piece of material, the kid not only had violent fantasies, he wrote about them on paper and online.  He has all kinds of files indulging in these fantasies, not including whatever the hard drive he destroyed, contained.

    IMO, the mother had to knowingly turn a blind eye to what was coming.  Maybe not a mass shooting, but surely giving a kid with violent fantasies, violent games, guns, with absolutely no parental supervision, wasn't going to end well.  She must have convinced herself that all these violent fantasies would somehow be cured by shooting guns.  The fact that was one of the only things the family could do together is red flag number one.  Did she never think, "Why is my kid only happy/sociable when he's firing a gun, the rest of the time I am only allowed email communication from his in-house fortress that I am not allowed to enter ?"

    With the quantities of stuff found and probably destroyed on the hard drive, I will never believe she had no idea.  It also seems possible that she may have had mental issues as well, otherwise her behavior and is simply inexcusable and if she were alive, she would IMO be charged with more than a few crimes.

    Reminded me of the boys at columbine and their parents who were simply clueless to what their kids were up.  IMO even a bad parent would have realized what was going on and tried to curtail the violent tendencies.  At the very least, not bought their kid guns.  

    I mean GD, this is why we some sort of gun control, not because most people are irresponsible, but because the fraction that are so over the top negligent, that when something happens, it's larger than life. literally.


    Your judgmental comment (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:11:56 AM EST
    is not only unfounded, it's embarrassing to read.

    Equating mental health issues with propensity for violence is woefully uninformed.

    None of the experts who examined or treated him and none of their relatives or friends saw any indication of violence in him. They didn't see his book or what was in his room.

    If you are going to blame the dead mother who isn't here to tell her side, please do it elsewhere.


    That Was Most of My Point... (none / 0) (#20)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:58:43 AM EST
    ...willfully ignoring what is happening in house doesn't equate to not know what is going on.  No one knew about any of it because his primary caretaker didn't seem too interested in finding out what was he was up to.  She takes him to doctors for treatment, them let's him barricade himself in her home, won't even speak to her.

    How does a person only communicate with their own kid through email, for a year, or never enter his bedroom.  All the while catering to his every whim, that may not be clinically insane, but it's not mentally stable behavior from a parent.

    I did not equate violence to mental health issues.  And while Lanza may not have been physically violent, he clearly had violent fantasies, which to me is clear indication of violence to come.

    But nice to see your come-back is to rip on me, you were missed, and I am not joking, good to have you back posting.


    One part that I don't think I've (none / 0) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:15:55 AM EST
    read anything about is what the doctors who were treating him recommended. If someone has information on that I would be interested in reading it.

    We don't know what advise the mother was given on how to interact with her son.


    On the guns (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:24:25 AM EST
    from CNN on the report (which you might want to read yourself before playing judge and jury on Nancy Lanza:

    Lanza's mother "tried within her limits" to help her son live a normal life, Jordan said, but "we have a society that shames mental illness."

    "The mother was overwhelmed, did not know what to do with him and did allow him to isolate," Jordan said. "She tried to bring him out with the one activity they had in common, which was going to the shooting range."

    Nancy Lanza grew up with firearms and "thought it was good to learn responsibility for guns," the report states. Both she and Adam Lanza shot pistols at a local range, where Adam "was described as quiet and polite."

    I stopped looking at the photos after (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:32:40 AM EST
    about the first 10 or so.  I realized that whatever my reactions to them  were, they were based on coming to this whole thing after the fact.

    There's also something else people aren't taking into consideration: when you live with something, it becomes your normal, even if, on some level, you may know that it's not as normal as it should be.  If the person in question has a good day, or even if you have something as seemingly minor as a good conversation, there's so much hope for the kind of normal everyone else seems to have that we put off doing more or taking more action, going outside the family circle.

    Looking from the outside in, it's easy to judge the mother for not doing more, or for all the gun stuff, but I would guess that none of what she did was for any purpose other than to help her son, in some way.  I'm sure had she lived, she'd be agonizing over all the decisions she made that might have moved this situation to a bad place, and all the ones she didn't make that had the same effect.

    As much as Nancy Lanza may have tried to help her son, who was trying to help Nancy?  Who reached out to her, who tried to intervene?  

    I'm sure we could make a long list of failures, individual and institutional, but I think people need to take a moment to realize that whatever we know about this family, we only know after the fact - we didn't live it, it wasn't our normal.

    Sure, there may be protocols that need to be examined, measures that should be taken, but beating up on a woman who loved her son, and probably desperately wanted him to be the kind of normal we all want for our kids, serves no purpose, in my opinion.


    Where were other people? (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:46:08 AM EST
    The other son?  The father?  Grandparents?  Wasn't there SOMEONE who said, "Hey, this kid has some serious issues, including behavior issues.  Do you think the best way to bond with your son is through guns?"

    And lots of people knew about his fascination with violence, so it's just silly for those who say his mother was probably unaware.

    Adam Lanza's fascination with violence was apparent to teachers and other acquaintances, investigators said in their report. He collected materials on mass killings and kept a spreadsheet ranking of mass murders.

    But his mother was not allowed to enter his bedroom, according to the report, and it was not clear how much she knew about his obsession.

    Really?  You are my son and live in my house and I can't go in your bedroom??

    Is she to blame in all of this?  Partially, I say.  No, it doesn't matter how much you do for some people, they will find ways to engage in criminal and violent activity.  But I think it's pretty clear she showed very poor judgment in this matter and I'm very sorry it cost the life of 20 children and teachers, her life, and the life of her son.


    I'm not trying to get anyone off the (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:13:24 AM EST
    hook, here, just trying to bring some perspective to something that was far larger than the events that happened that awful day last year.

    As a parent myself, as someone who has wondered over the years if the way my husband and I handled this or that with our kids was going to plant seeds of trouble for later in life, I can't even imagine the totality of what Nancy Lanza was trying to deal with.  I have no idea what she was being advised or counseled to do with respect to reaching Adam through the Asperger's, but guns wouldn't seem to have been the best decision.

    If I were the parent of one of the dead children, I can't imagine I'd be able to be this detached, this willing to put myself in Nancy Lanza's shoes, not if I'd had to bury one of my babies.  Not if my life would never, ever be the same.

    I also wonder about the rest of the family, and where they were in all of that and how much more stress that must have put on Nancy.  

    I don't know, jb - it's so easy for people to look at her income and say she had the means to do more, or that she made the wrong decisions, to ask why she was allowing him to dictate when or whether she could go in his room (who knows?  Some "professional" may have said that Adam needed to feel he had one place where he was in charge and in control).

    The whole thing's just incredibly sad, and I guess I'm just not in the mood to judge someone whose life I wasn't on the inside of.


    I get it (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:24:56 AM EST
    I'm not a parent and it's easy to second guess.  And my comment wasn't really directed at you - it's just this whole "We can't ever blame ___" mentality.

    1. As I said, there WERE people who noticed he had an unusual fascination with violence (Jerlayn's comment above that "no one" knew is factually incorrect);

    2. He had Asperberger's, which while normally wouldn't make one any more violent than anyone else, but he also had behavioral issues and that should have had someone on high alert; and again

    3. Your son only communicates with you for months at a time through email (even though you are in the same house), and you don't do a little investigating into what's going on his world? If anything - just to find something else to connect with him (besides guns)?

    Of course, I find this just as hard to believe as the parents of the Columbine shooters - they really had no idea their kids were building pipe bombs in their houses?

    It is a very sad situation, but maybe by looking at this (and "judging"), we can get through to someone else who is living with a "kid" who has these issues.  Maybe it will make the next person actually pay a little more attention and try to bond over guns.  


    I'm pretty sure that if that had been (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:20:51 AM EST
    my kid, I'd have snooped around plenty to make sure the self-imposed isolation wasn't brewing something more malignant.  Was she afraid to look, fearful she would find things that would make her have to take things to the next level?  Was she thinking that he'd do better in a home environment than in an institutional one?

    I have no idea.  

    But I think what tends to happen is that everyone connected to a situation thinks someone else is taking care of it, and assumes that they must already know the things that are of concern.

    And so many people are still reluctant to get "involved."  Or they don't want to add to whatever worry or burden someone is already dealing with.  Sometimes people play along with the facade of normalcy that someone like Nancy Lanza might have erected around herself.

    I just can't imagine that she would have tried connecting to him through guns if she knew - on any level, however minimal - of his violent fantasies.  But if she was deliberately trying not to know - if that makes sense - well, that's pretty bad.


    I have Read Plenty... (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:23:37 AM EST
    ...and this is simply us disagreeing about guns.

    For someone who hates others making assumptions, please don't make assumptions about me.

    Don't confused disagreement with being uniformed, please.

    For example, we interpret this entirely different:

    "The mother was overwhelmed, did not know what to do with him and did allow him to isolate," Jordan said. "She tried to bring him out with the one activity they had in common, which was going to the shooting range."

    I read it as she lured him out with guns because nothing else worked.  Which as someone who doesn't like guns, but grew up with them, and owns them, seems crazy, literally.  

    And not to point out the obvious, but looking back I don't know how you can ague that the mother acted in the best interest of her kid.  We don't have her story, true, but IMO no one should be buying a person seeing doctors for mental health issues, guns.  Period.



    Y'all have no idea (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by DebFrmHell on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:33:47 AM EST
    the lengths people with mental problems will go to keep their family in the unawares.  After my suicide attempt, the family members/friends were the most shocked.

    I do feel some sort of sympathy for Nancy Lanza every time they mention the 26 dead at Sandy Hook.  She was a victim of her son, too.


    Just looking at the photos of his bedroom... (none / 0) (#3)
    by gbrbsb on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 05:34:50 PM EST
    is imo enough to see something wasn't right. There is an absence of anything humanising. Sparsely furnished with stark ugly furniture, with a complete absence of photos, posters, pictures, ornaments and decorations on the walls or surfaces and mono colour clothing in the cupboard. There is no warmth, no welcoming sheets and covers. Indeed, no motherly influence or loving touch whatsoever. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, homely or redeeming about a room which is in what looks like a fairly substantial family home for well off folks.  

    To me it looks more like a cheap hotel room of the kind those inclined could use to commit suicide!


    The whole house looked like that, imo. (none / 0) (#4)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 05:56:03 PM EST
    Stark and baron. I've been in homes like that before, of people who were house poor. The mom got the big house in the divorce, but maybe she didn't have much actual income.

    I agree the house is "baron" even if... (none / 0) (#5)
    by gbrbsb on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 06:12:31 PM EST
    methinks you meant "barren"!

    Jokes aside, yes it could be what you refer to as "house poor" , but why not to downsize to a smaller and/or cheaper and cosier property ? And it appears she was travelling a lot for work which surely means "expenses" which over here are usually quite profitable.


    Ha, I thought "baron" didn't look right! (none / 0) (#6)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 06:18:43 PM EST
    You made me google, she actually had had substantial income:
    Nancy Lanza, received $289,800 in alimony this year. It was to continue until December 2023, with slight increases each year for cost of living.
    So I can't explain why the house looked so un-lived in.

    Oh yeah, where is "over here?" (none / 0) (#7)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 06:19:56 PM EST
    I believe that commenter resides in (none / 0) (#8)
    by caseyOR on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:10:54 PM EST
    Great Britain. So, my guess is that "over here" means GB.

    Thank you. (none / 0) (#26)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:48:40 AM EST
    Good question... Where is "over here"? (none / 0) (#29)
    by gbrbsb on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:06:27 AM EST
    I suppose one could say "over here" is basically where it all started for you lot "over there". You know, where the castle doctrine, the right to bear arms and the story of "How the west was won" really begun just that Mr Ford forgot to tell our part in it all ; - )

    Excellent! Thanks. (none / 0) (#30)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:47:00 AM EST
    she was not employed (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:05:13 AM EST
    outside the home. She was not poor.

    Where did you see the whole house? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:22:06 AM EST
    Did you see the kitchen, dining room, living room, family room? I haven't. The rooms he controlled were barren -- one of his mental health issues was his inability to feel emotion. He couldn't deal with people touching him and didn't want light inside. Maybe the rest of the house was furnished nicely.

    CNN on the report:

    As a child, Lanza had seizures and washed his hands excessively. In 2005, he was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, with doctors noting he "lacked empathy" and showed "extreme anxiety and discomfort with changes, noise, and physical contact with others." In high school, where he took part in a school tech club, Lanza never spoke of violence, but "was also remembered for pulling his sleeves over his hand to touch something," the report states.

    I'll bet when it came to bedding (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:33:37 AM EST
    It had to be very specific too.  Things that felt strange to him I'm willing to bet couldn't be tolerated.

    I live with people who have food texture issues, my husband and my son.  I have no comprehension of dealing with anything like that but some people have brain wiring and sensation issues that others don't have and from what I can tell they are born with them.  No matter how delicious something is though, if it has a texture they cannot tolerate they will starve before eating it.


    I am a potter and worked at a (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by MO Blue on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:25:48 AM EST
    community clay studio that taught classes to all ages.

    A young girl (9 - 10 yrs old) who signed up for a sculpture class had Asperger's syndrome. She was highly functional but the teachers had to come up with a plan for her to work in clay without actually touching it. She was very talented and did great work once they found gloves with enough mobility to do the work but would keep the clay from direct contact with the skin.


    just the photos you linked to. Those photos looked pretty stark and barren to me.

    Maybe I've watched too much hgtv, but the carpets, walls, doors, closets, etc., looked like generic "contractor-installed-standards." It doesn't look "lived in," which means not only personal belongings but also decorations, pictures, etc.

    Surprising, to me anyway, for someone who had lived in the home with her son for, what, 10-15 years and had around $290,000/year in alimony income.

    Your point is well taken though, I did not see photos of the living room, dining room or kitchen, etc, so perhaps other areas of the home were much more "homey."

    None of this, of course, is meant by me to indicate in any way any insight into Adam's psyche, in case there was any confusion.


    His windows are blacked out though (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:13:03 AM EST
    It didn't look to me like he enjoyed his bedroom.  Maybe he had sleep issues.  His gaming area looks just like my son's.  It is nicely set up, comfy chair, and he has action figures on the upper shelf. He was playing all the current very popular games too, and they aren't cheap.

    Thinking an assault weapon won't (none / 0) (#16)
    by jondee on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 07:36:25 AM EST
    stimulate power and violence fantasies in a troubled young man is like thinking a centerfold won't stimulate sexual fantasies..

    Lets not play dumb and prentend that guns aren't saturated with a cultural mythology in this culture..


    I have no idea how an assault weapon (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:50:16 PM EST
    Has anything to do with a sparsely furnished bedroom that some think is an uncaring mother.  But okay

    I can't even read this stuff. Fie upon (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 06:07:59 PM EST
    mothers of reclusive, messy adult children. There oughta be a law!

    I have no idea what (none / 0) (#32)
    by jondee on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 10:53:31 AM EST
    a sparsely furnished bedroom has to do with all those dead children. But I think if the interior designers of America had a more powerful lobby, that wouldn't be up for discussion either.

    Do you just get up in the mornings (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 05:48:55 PM EST
    Determined to be irrationally acidic?

    Well no I don't (none / 0) (#36)
    by Mikado Cat on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:00:06 AM EST
    Guns don't infect people with evil intentions, just as centerfolds don't infect people with a need for violence. Many find the opposite that guns and organized shooting events promote discipline and a respect for others.

    Its like saying getting in a car makes you think who could I run over and kill.

    There is a cultural saturation with the misuse of guns, but that comes from our culture, not the gun or the gun culture. A big part of that mythology is that it isn't the 100% fault of the person doing the evil act, its that dam gun that made him kill.


    We know too little (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Lora on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 12:57:22 PM EST
    Speculation only (what else do we have?), but given his extremely violent "Big Book of Granny," it is reasonably possible that something happened to Lanza in fifth grade that was extremely traumatizing.  Given his diagnoses, it is also a reasonable speculation that this event might not have appeared to be anything that would cause concern among those who knew him; it might not even have been on anyone's radar.  We do know that certain inputs which would be normal or unnoticed by most of us were experienced in the extreme by Lanza.

    I have sympathy for his mom.  While I think it was very poor judgment on her part to allow her son to shoot guns, OTOH she may have merely been trying for some semblance of normalcy and chose to do something that they could do together as a way of spending time with him.  When striving for normalcy, it is probably very common to screen out awareness of disturbing behaviors.  You are looking for positives and just shutting out the negative aspects.

    cultural mythology in this country.. (none / 0) (#17)
    by jondee on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 07:43:02 AM EST
    And I would add: cultural mythologies are narratives; narratives influence behavior, as the advertising industry has known for decades..