Adam Lanza and the Search for Motive

Adam Lanza

Adam Lanza looking like a killer (courtesy of NBC/AP)

Details about the Sandy Hook Elementary School killer Adam Lanza continue to emerge as people struggle to make sense of this horrible tragedy. And the same question seems to be on everyone’s mind.

What led this young man to commit such a heinous crime?

In an effort to understand Lanza’s motive for killing his mother, school administrators, young children and eventually himself, investigators and reporters are interviewing everyone who knew the disturbed youth and his mother, Nancy Lanza.

Bob Skupa is a barber in Newtown who cut Adam Lanza’s hair for five years. He remembers Adam as being a shy, quiet and strange boy who rarely spoke. In fact, when Skupa would ask questions to try to spark a conversation with him, it was Adam’s mother who would respond.

When each haircut was complete, Nancy would grab Adam by the arm and yank him up. “It’s time to go, Adam.” And he always obeyed.

Incidentally, Skupa wishes that he had done something while he had Adam in his barber chair. “I wish I would have killed him then,” he recently told reporters. “It would’ve saved all those kids and parents the trouble.”

People who knew Nancy Lanza well have also been speaking to the media. Most describe her as an outgoing, likeable and generous woman who also collected guns and liked taking her sons shooting. However, they all make a point to mention that Nancy was very responsible with regard to gun safety.

If this is true, then shouldn’t her weapons and ammunition have been locked up and out of reach of her troubled son? I’m not accusing her of being irresponsible, especially since the poor woman was murdered, but it does seem odd.

The latest insight into Adam Lanza’s possible motive came from a lifelong family acquaintance, 25-year-old Joshua Flashman. He grew up near Sandy Hook Elementary School and knew the Lanza family well.

According to Flashman, Nancy Lanza was in the process of having Adam committed to a psychiatric facility. And he was not happy about it.

“Adam was aware of her petitioning the court for conservatorship and (her) plans to have him committed,” said Flashman. “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.”

Adam’s mother Nancy (courtesy of Facebook)

Flashman also mentioned how Nancy frequently volunteered with kindergarteners at Sandy Hook and how Adam “believed she cared more for the children than she did for him.”

Since Adam killed his mother first and in such a violent fashion, shooting her four times in the head while she slept, I am inclined to believe this motive. Shooting those young children was likely another way for Adam to lash out at his mother, destroying those she cared for the most.

Flashman also told Fox News that Nancy was close friends with the school principal and psychologist, both of whom were killed by Adam in the massacre.

Toss in the fact that Adam was the product of divorce and cut off communication with his father several years ago and the picture becomes even clearer: disturbed young man, mental problems, broken home, gun enthusiast… the pieces of the puzzle keep falling into place.

Of course, none of this evidence means anything since the only person who truly knew Adam’s motive was Adam, and he’s no longer with us. All we can do is speculate and try to prevent these same sorts of issues from affecting other young people. I’m certain that we will never be 100% successful, but even saving one life is worth the effort.

Posted on December 20, 2012, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Hello Mr Scott. This whole tragedy has been giving me nightmares and awaken all the fears and worries I have for my little guy. This world is not a safe place, and it seems that it keeps getting worst by the day.

  2. Great Post! Though the picture of Adam Lanza above is the one most shown in the media I wish they would actually focus on pictures of him looking more “normal” and less “maniacal.” People need to be able to look and say Wow, I never would have thought a kid who looked like that would do such a thing, instead of ” Yup, he’s a killer all right!” One makes them think, the other does not. I agree that if she knew her son was troubled she should have locked up her guns, That said, having grown up in a household with guns and whose extended family had guns. I understand her not locking them up as strange as that may sound. In my house growing up there was no gun safe (I do have one now) the guns were unlocked, the ammo was accessible and since age 8 I knew how to load and operate every one of my father’s and uncle’s guns, Rifles, pistols, and shotguns. What I do find troubling is his barber wishing he had killed him?!? Adam isn’t the only one in Sandy Hook with mental problems! That would be a very dangerous president “I killed him because I THOUGHT he might someday be a killer” I hope someone is talking to his barber…

    • I agree with you on all points, Marty. I included that picture because the media always finds the worst images to use. And that barber was nuts. No one could have predicted what this kid would do…

  3. Isn’t it strange how the press and authorities are slamming Joshua Flashman for speculating on a motive? Since when is it against the law to speak to the press? Since when is it against the law to speculate? If Fox printed something they shouldn’t have, then they should be investigated, not Joshua Flashman. If Joshua had privileged information, the loose lips that gave him the information should be investigated. In my opinion, his speculation of motive is entirely plausable and would absolutely make sense given Lanza’s emotional profile. What is everyone afraid of if this motive is true? I don’t get it.

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