The first person that Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who murdered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary, killed on December 14, 2012, was his own mother. She was murdered in her pajamas, lying her in bed, with four bullets to the head. The New Yorker has a profile of Adam’s father, Peter Lanza, in their most recent issue. Written by Andrew Solomon, it is the first time that Peter Lanza has ever spoken to the press about his son’s crimes. However, what stuck out to me most was not Peter unfathomable trauma or even Adam’s cornucopia of possible illnesses — depression? OCD? schizophrenia? insanity? — but instead Adam’s mother and Peter’s ex-wife, Nancy Lanza.
In the mid-2000s, a Yale psychiatry nurse specialist named Kathleen Koenig met with Adam after a time period in which he had started and then abruptly stopped using the antidepressant Lexapro, due to negative side effects. Throughout his teens, The New Yorker describes, Adam would frequently have “meltdowns” and cry alone, sometimes for hours at a time, behind a locked door. Nurse Koenig wrote that she implored Adam to take medication: “I told him he’s living in a box right now, and the box will only get smaller over time if he doesn’t get some treatment.”
Reading that, it seems to me that Nancy Lanza was also living in a box that was only getting smaller if Adam didn’t get treatment. Keep reading »
It’s hard not to feel powerless in the face of the frequent gun violence (especially after today’s shooting at Los Angeles International Airport). Instead of just wishing she could help, Toby Milstein took action. Like countless others, Toby was distraught when she heard the news of the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012. She worried that her brother, who was in Colorado that summer, had been injured. She soon learned he was safe, but she couldn’t stop thinking about how often she’d been seeing mass shootings in the news.
Toby, a senior at Barnard College in New York City, also noticed the popularity of guns and skulls in fashion. The imagery, which she refers to as “aggressive iconography,” became her inspiration to create a necklace with the shape of a gun on the pendant. The words “Wear It: Don’t Bear It” are displayed on the pendant to remind those who wear it to be responsible with firearms. Keep reading »
The irony about people who cope with depression is that some of us are actually quite happy people. We are not, contrary to stereotype, slogging through life with the weight of one thousand sorrows dragging behind us. I may feel things intensely, sure. But I’m not someone whose blue-colored glasses see everyone screwed up and the world a terrible place.
That is, until the holidays come around. Keep reading »
This morning, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre held a press conference, meant to be the NRA’s response and “meaningful contribution” to the Newtown shooting that occurred one week ago. Rather than surprise the audience by actually taking some responsibility for promoting a gun-crazy, shooting-first-and-ask-questions-later culture, LaPierre did what was sadly expected: he denied any culpability for the incident and proposed that schools start hiring armed police officers to protect children. Keep reading »
I am not a mother. This fact has kept me from expressing my heartbreak over the shootings in Sandy Hook. In the aftermath of this horrifying event, I’ve watched countless friends — mothers, all of them — post wrenching status updates on Facebook. I’ve read them, feeling oddly ashamed inside. These moms talked of compassion for those poor little children, of the need to step up to the plate as adults, of the fear they have for the future, of roiling anger toward the government, and of utter helplessness. They posted pictures of the beautiful young faces lost to this insane tragedy. They urged others to take a stand, and to hold their own children close.
The same thoughts streamed through my head. Tears welled in my eyes, too. I texted my siblings and begged them to hug and kiss their little ones for me.
But something was silencing the part of me that wanted to join these moms in their outrage. I felt it wasn’t my place. How could I know, after all, what kind of fear these parents were expressing? How could I possibly relate to their protective instincts? I am not a mother. Keep reading »
Hello from out here in Man Card America, where proving your masculinity to the dude-friends who are vigilantly looking to revoke your “Man Card” if you get caught engaging in unmanly activities like being scared, doing what your girlfriend wants to do sometimes, enjoying a song by a woman, or drinking the wrong kind of cheap light beer is an ongoing campaign. If you look at the advertisements of the past several years, you’d think that having your Man Card revoked was, like, a real thing that could actually happen. Keep reading »