News24

Newtown shooter: Mother missing link

2012-12-18 07:16

New York - In a case full of perplexing questions, the mother of Connecticut shooter Adam Lanza is the mystery woman - but whatever secrets she had about her son were lost forever when he shot her in the head.

Nancy Lanza has been something of a peripheral, and confusing, figure in the massive media coverage of the Newtown shootings.

When the tragedy is discussed, whether by President Barack Obama or ordinary mourners, references are made nearly exclusively to the 20 children and six staff members shot dead at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. It's almost as if Nancy Lanza didn't exist.

Yet she was the first to die that Friday, shot in the head by her 20-year-old son - with one of her own guns, and in her own house.

Amid the many rumours and unsubstantiated media reports about the horror, one picture painted of Nancy is of a somewhat kooky figure with a double life, the typical suburban mom on one side, and a closet survivalist hoarding an arsenal of deadly weapons in her posh house on the other.

But there are also signs she was a devoted mother who, like many Americans, happened to love firearms, and who was killed by the very young man she'd devoted her life to helping.

What's sure is that there is little sure about Nancy Lanza.

No connection with school

In the first hours of the shooting, most of the world's media reported wrongly that she was a teacher at the school. In fact, officials now say she had no connection with the school, nor did her son.

It's known that she was divorced from an executive at GE Capital, that she lived in a detached house in a well-off neighbourhood of Newtown, and that she owned at least the Bushmaster assault rifle and two semi-automatic handguns that Adam would ultimately turn on her - and then on the school.

Why did she have the weapons?

Her former sister-in-law, Marsha Lanza, said in US television interviews that Nancy was a "prepper", someone preparing to defend themselves from social unrest "down the line if the economy collapses".

But other friends said Nancy was no wild-eyed gun nut, but a gentle and caring woman who happened to love shooting and - in supremely tragic irony - took her shy son Adam to learn on the range.

One friend, Russ Hanoman, insisted that "she used [the guns] very responsibly."

"She was a very responsible person, especially in terms of safety," he told CNN.

Sebastian Morrell, another friend of the deceased woman, described her "great moral compass".

What seems apparent is that Nancy Lanza cared for her son, whose profile appears to be one of the unusually clever, but socially awkward youngster whom no one ever really got to know before he snapped.

Hoping to leave Newtown

Unlike his 24-year-old brother who has already set up as a tax expert in his father's footsteps, Adam remained with his mother.

"She eventually wound up home schooling him," Marsha Lanza said on CNN, describing Adam as a "very, very bright boy".

Friends of Nancy Lanza also told CNN on Monday said that she was hoping to leave Newtown with him some time next year in order to be near a college that would suit her difficult child.

The friends took to the airwaves to push back against suggestions that Nancy Lanza was suspicious - almost a villain.

One friend, John Bergquist, called her "a lovely woman".

He said "she just made you smile when you walked in the room".

Comments
  • sandy.arundel - 2012-12-18 08:09

    Oh guys, leave the poor lonely attention seeking little bb to himself, he's only looking for a little attention whahahaha!

  • richard.strong.9026 - 2012-12-18 08:28

    I suppose Rwanda was just a rumour????

  • flysouth - 2012-12-18 08:35

    You know, the language used in such reports is ludicrous. Who says that the mother 'loved' guns? Yes she owned guns, does that imply 'loving' them? I own many things and often multiples of those things,but I do not love them since they are tools which I feel it is necessary to have for my own convenience. Given the state of things in the US after say, Hurricane Katrina, with lawless mobs killing,robbing and raping, is it not simply good sense to have the necessary means of protection, should anything like that happen where you live? This does not make one a 'survivalist nutcase' as implied by this article - it makes one a wise and prepared person in a world where law and order has effectively broken down, particularly at times of social stress and emergency.

      sarah.bouttell - 2012-12-18 09:27

      The fire arm used for the killings was a M16 replica. *That* is not a "wise" choice if you are trying to do the "self defense" argument. Now, if you are looking to kill 20 innocent children or start a war, that fire arm did the job just right. The point is fairly simple, I don't disagree with gun ownership, but a M16 or replica thereof is a gun for large volume destruction. If you are a regular person who believes you have the right to protect yourself, you should be able to get the job done just fine with a decent 9mm or something similar.

      flysouth - 2012-12-18 10:01

      Sarah - it matters not at all what the gun looks like, even as a replica of a military weapon it fires and operates the same as any other semi-automatic firearm, even the same as a 'decent 9mm' or similar!

      sarah.bouttell - 2012-12-18 10:21

      Ah, but that was not the point you were trying to make. You took the opinion that she was not "a survivalist nutcase" and argued that she was "wise and prepared". Wise and prepared people, don't own M16 assault rifles - angry, unstable people, or people in the army/navy or war business own/possess M16 assault rifles.

      michael.i.wright - 2012-12-18 13:04

      @Sarah, can you try to grasp the fact that this was not an M16? The term "replica" is being used disingenuously by the media hacks, to fool those who are unfamiliar with the item. Think of it this way, a formula one racing car with a lawnmower engine can be referred to as a replica, but is not actually a racing car. As to what firearm one keeps for defense. That is a personal choice, which must take into account your circumstance. A 9mm is not a one size fits all solution.

      ChronicDJ - 2012-12-18 16:20

      I agree with you @flysouth. All the news reports around this are riddled with synthetic descriptions to portrait people in a very specific way towards the public.

  • elna.latchman - 2012-12-18 08:48

    U are an ASS Bosepa. It is people like you that the world can do without. Grow up u Idiot. Why is it that the first thing that come to a silly mind such as yours is always race.

  • shannon.mcmurtrie.3 - 2012-12-18 09:48

    This shooting MAY actually have nothing to do with Adam Lanza. His father and Robert Holmes's father (Movie Shooter) were to testify in the biggest banking scandal, LIBOR. Is this a co-incidence?

      michael.i.wright - 2012-12-18 13:08

      If it is indeed a coincidence, it is a very interesting one. A quick search turned this up. http://www.examiner.com/article/libor-scandal-grows-as-the-fathers-of-two-mass-murderers-were-to-testify

      Aphrodite - 2012-12-18 15:00

      What's even more freaky is that in the Dark Night returns movie...there is reference to Sandy hook. The 1's and 2's on the map where it makes reference to Sandy Hook...if you type it into google gives you the code for gotham city!! Strange days indeed!!

      shannon.mcmurtrie.3 - 2012-12-18 18:44

      Her former sister-in-law, Marsha Lanza, said in US television interviews that Nancy was a "prepper", someone preparing to defend themselves from social unrest "down the line if the economy collapses".....Yup She KNEW what was coming.

  • funnyhaha - 2012-12-18 10:11

    Troll alert, this bosepa.bjampja puts is posting from a fake profile. He's probably not even black... Just some sad lonely moron who can't get attention any other way.

  • cindy.conradie.5 - 2012-12-18 10:26

    i really cannot see how this now had to end up in a rasict argument? This has nothing to do with colour, this man was sick. How do you get to.... it's because he ius white, or apartheids fault. WTF you idiot, wake the hell up and smell the roses. You are a sad little man that you made those comments and worst of all, you are a black racist. Get over the whole black and white thing, we did. Stupid sad little person.

  • ilze.joubert - 2012-12-18 10:54

    What a stupid, uninformed comment!! Holy blacks?? Where do you find them? Certainly not in South Africa... here the "holy" blacks don't just use guns... they also rape and murder innocent people, including 3 month old babies and grannies that can't see anymore... So Holy,hey!! Teach your children well.

      aphiwe.mayola - 2012-12-18 11:19

      So clearly u have decided 2 stoop down 2 his / her level. Smh! That kind of makes u a very sad person Ilze!

      thandazab - 2012-12-19 06:52

      So true Aphiwe. M sure u are a nice lady n u dnt have to resort to such. Ignore ppl who write stupid comments. If u offended by everything ppl say u gona live a very sad life. See yo comment didn't offend me it just made me feel sorry for u. I feel sorry for super sensitive idiots.

  • nikita.e.webster - 2012-12-19 08:10

    at the end of the day... yes maybe she is seen as a "good" mother but look how everything revolves around him.. she wanted to move closer to a college that would deal with her difficult child (there in itself says enough), she pulled him out of school to home school him because she didn't like the plans they had for him. While I can understand that maybe he needed special attention... this is a little bit too much.. if he was bright & could cope in a college level education & if nothing suited her precious little child... in my opinion he was a spoilt brat who she doted over too much & she should not have been the only one in this situation who should have been treating / attending to him if he had issues. Some parents can be too naive to their kids problems thinking that their precious children have nothing wrong with them creating a sense of narcism in the child. there are reports that she was constantly called into school for issues because of him. While maybe on the other hand he may have been extremely difficult & never cooperative we may never know yet... too much points to the fact that she protected him too much while he had a deep rooted bitterness toward her & possibly the school. Everything at this point is still speculation & opinion... it is just sad that the little kids & teachers had to suffer for a deep rooted bitterness that was never dealt with & nipped in the bud when it happened... it is a tragedy.

  • gus.fernandes.7 - 2012-12-19 09:02

    For goodness sake...I live in SOUTH AFRICA and DON'T have a gun. I've been shot at,(it's true,the bullet whisles as it flies past you) but the fact is that the low life piece of turd with the gun, is always at an advantage when he confronts you. One can just hope for the best in such a situation...

  • ryandavid.curling - 2012-12-19 09:12

    Really dont understand why so much media hype about this what about all the tragedies of kids being killed in Afganistan, YEMEN , DRC , Pakistan....to name but a few. Cause its the americans we are all taught to be sad and shocked!

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