Although Adam Lanza is personally responsible for what happened at Sandy Hook, we are all complicit in the tragedy.
By Dean Kalahar
The question you hear most often in regards to the Sandy Hook shootings is “why?’ The usual linear “intentional causation” analysis as to why Adam Lanza became a killer is inadequate and intellectually lazy. This horrendous crime can’t be explained away simply by blaming guns, video games, or disabilities. If we truly want to honor the fallen, a systemic approach into the causes of the crime is necessary and may offer clarity, solace, and hope.
Nature played a vital role in the temperament of Adam Lanza. His unique biology created a human with developmental disabilities; possibly including Asperger’s, Autism, and anti-social personality disorder. Hallucinations & delusions must have also lived in Lanza’s psychotic mind. The gunman was in all likelihood, void of conscience or empathy and had great trouble with neurological processing. If he was “brilliant,” handicaps were a part of the package.
Nurture also played a role in the creation of the killer. The parental environment from birth to age 5 molded his neuroses where critical periods of development were impaired. The impact of divorce on worth was devastating. Teaching a disabled child how to use a gun, and allowing violent adult video games, spawned a set of learned behaviors that lead to tragic results. Poverty was not at play as the mother and her son lived in luxury. God only knows what happened in that household.
Society also offered a more subtle influence to Adam Lanza. Institutional decline since the 1960’s has removed the social constraints once taken for granted. The family institution has eroded the nuclear unit. Illegitimacy, divorce, “children’s rights,” feminism, parental negligence, and loss of values all weigh in on violence.
Religion’s role has been all but removed from society; replaced with a secular humanism of ego-centric narcissism. The community and church no longer act as co-parents watching out for all children and keeping them on track.
The education institution was destroyed by the self esteem movement, “student rights,” a lack of discipline, progressive education ideology, and a non-judgmental philosophy that says “anything goes.”
Lastly, the government has become an overpowering absentee nanny that offers a welfare culture of specific rules and laws that attempt to define freedom and create equality of results at the cost of losing personal responsibility.
The media is also a part of cultural decline, providing violent movies & television shows; while the 24 hour news cycle endlessly promotes criminals. Hollywood embraces morally corrupt anti-social behavior to boost celebrity status at the cost of human decency, decorum, class, and the golden rule. They willingly defined deviancy downward, coarsened language, desensitized, and embraced deindividuation.
Modern technology (internet, social networks, and cell phones) have created a situation where we communicate more but talk less. We no longer look people in the eyes. We have de-humanized interpersonal relationships; and hide behind screens, becoming ever more emboldened malcontents that lash out without the fear of accountability.
Although we have always been a nation of weapons, we have embraced a culture of violence. The six shooter and western rifle has been replaced with Pacino’s “little friend.” Rap lyrics aimed at killing “pigs” combined with ever more vivid video games, (where the word violent no longer can adequately define the carnage) embrace an alternative reality which has warped the brains of our youngest children. The “boob tube” generation set the stage for the video game to eat our children whole.
Lastly, we have chosen to ignore the fact that just under the surface of man is a barbaric animal that is susceptible to the darkest force of human nature, EVIL. Far too many in our therapeutic society of gum drops and lollipops, refuse to accept the brutal fact of man’s nature and the history of his actions against his fellow man. We must stop believing man is good because he does “good.”
All together, these factors created a neural, environmental, social, institutional, and cultural concoction of evil derangement, and destruction in the life and mind of Lanza. One can hope this recipe was a one-time event, but sadly, the cocktail has been served all too often as of late.
Nobody should say they are surprised the tragedy occurred, just that it happened at Sandy Hook. Because, truth be known, this could happen anywhere. And nobody should say that any one of the singular causes can be focused on in order to fix the problem our nation has with unspeakable immoral violence.
Although Adam Lanza is personally responsible for what happened at Sandy Hook, we are all complicit in the tragedy. We have allowed our society to devolve, and in doing so, have removed the cultural constraints that at one time inhibited this type of behavior. We are all torn apart by the senseless murder because our social fabric has been torn apart.
As we mourn the death of the children and their teachers at Sandy Hook, it’s time we, as a nation of individuals, look in the mirror and make some major changes to the way conduct our lives.