It was not an hour after I opened my new blog about being an Aspie that I learned the news on the theory that Adam Lanza had Asperger Syndrome; I recall a feeling that my legs were going to go from under me and my heart sank, not only were the media (without actually saying it) sensationalising this persons psychological setup but also grabbing at straws to try and fathom how a young man could create such devastation and death, without even the decency of following it through with proper investigatory examination.
Now unless you are a tribes man in the Amazon rain forest then by now I would have thought that every person on Earth has heard of what happened, that 20 year old Adam Lanza took it upon himself to murder his mother, then steal 3 of her weapons, 2 pistols and a rifle, drive to Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut and proceed to wipe out 20 young children as well as 6 teachers. So in all he murdered 27 people, an event of which will take many years for those parents and local community persons to try and fathom if ever at all.
However, one thing that certainly cannot be entertained is that those on the Autistic Spectrum are indeed all violent or all have violent premonitions to wish to cause harm to those around them. I am of the opinion that if you segregate Aspies from the A-typical NT populous you’ll discover that there are equally nice Aspies as there are bad ones, similar to NT’s, but of course I am only loosely hypothesising.
Similar to the way we can only assume Adam had AS was observed only by those around him, who ever witnessed him in action of being alive, like all diagnosis's which are obtain theoretically & posthumously it’s only guess work and in my view rather unreliable.
So with that out the way I wish to move onto the specific subject of this entry; that is, to at least offer something in the way of a theory as to what caused a bright, intelligent 20 year old, young man, to one day snap and cause unprecedented carnage upon innocent lives.
Adam did not just have Asperger syndrome, he also had a condition which meant he could not ever feel pain; he had to be watched carefully as one man who looked after Adam as a babysitter was told; “Never turn your back on him” not because he would grab a knife and stick it in your back if you did, but purely for his own safety; he wasn’t able to handle equipment without constant supervision in case he caused injury to himself and wouldn’t be aware of it. Possibly similar to a condition called CIPA (Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis) an inability to feel pain, heat or cold.
Adam could have dropped a hammer on his toe, burnt his hand on the cooker reaching down to pick it up, bang his head on the way up and never realise he’s hurt himself. Imagine a world where you have an incurable condition as to not being able to feel anything.
As well as this; Adam was reported to walk in a fashion where as he would cling to the walls and sides of the school corridor, clutching either a leather briefcase or his laptop, whilst every other students would walk down the middle with their fashionable bags/rucksacks with little or no care in the world, a far departed principle that Adam could ever had recognised. Why the briefcase, probably as it was square, where within items fitted neatly into their place, if part of their routine Aspies will do that; I for one have a strict routine of how I form an email in work, how I write data into the CRM system, everything is squared and neat using the same shorthand or code while I watch others write rampant paragraphs which to me I find dazzling and sometimes ineligible.
This behaviour, for Adam, did not go unnoticed and more than likely people would have teased and mocked him for it, as is often the case, as almost all of those on the Autistic Spectrum can tell a story or two about being bullied; I should know, I’ve been there, many, many a time; I don’t have the scars of a broken nose for nothing.
A top of this Adam was a brilliant technician; one of the most intelligent members of his schools Tech Club, again the classic of being an Aspie, finding the one or two subjects that appeal and almost obsessively follow it showing incredible knowledge and recognition toward that subject.
So we have a young man, who can’t feel anything, afraid to be in open spaces such as the middle of a corridor, kept to a strict order of going about his day and yet be highly intelligent and gifted. Your probably wondering where this is all going, I’m getting to it, trust me.
As if any of the above wasn’t enough, Adam’s mother was paranoid; in this case she was Doomsday Prepper, a group of people that even in my view are complete paranoid loonies. They believe that this world is soon to end and so thus make these radical plans to stockpile goods, buy weapons, dig big holes and live in a very security conscience environment. It is, as of yet, unclear how much Adam was involved in this; his father had been out of his life completely for over 2 years and had witnessed a divorce losing one half of his parental family, being left with the idea via maternity that his world was about to end and around him was stockpiled supplies and weapons. As well as this, Adam’s mother wasn’t happy with the school he was attending and was making plans to move; which would only have served to heighten his paranoia as Aspie’s don’t do well with change.
How would Adam have felt? Paranoid? Afraid? Lonely? Isolated? Probably all things without the socially accepted know how of how to express any of this and more.
Adam didn’t just snap one day, there had been a build up of odd occurrences, he withdrew deeper into himself, he wasn’t getting along with his mother and had started to self injure, as if desperately trying to feel something, according to a friend of Adam’s mother.
It is here with this evidence that I think Adam lived in a world of almost complete isolation, zero feeling, paranoia and not the means to communicate it effectively enough to enable any sense of reprieve. A top this with the need for Adam to be monitored by supervisors, this is a world I can imagine would have been a nightmare.
I think Adam was almost from day one of his; “life” was silently, deeply and slowly being driven completely insane. Unable to feel, unable to communicate in a socially acceptable manner, unable to reach out, returning home to guns, stock piles and paranoia, a daily theory the world was going to end, a highly gifted intelligent mind with a brain that didn’t work correctly. It would have been enough to break even the hardiest of us all.
As to why he killed his mother, probably because he blamed her somehow, why did he kill these children, probably because he wanted to wipe out the very thing he never was nor could ever be – a normal happy loved child, why did he kill those teachers, probably because he saw them as the start of all his unhappiness, his sense of complete isolation and total lack of physical feeling.
Do I feel sorry for Adam Lanza, yes I do, but we live in the world that would not dare make a victim out of a killer, what Adam did was inexcusable and abhorrent in the extreme, but not out of cold, calculated evil, but complete and utter madness.
So the question remains, did Asperger Syndrome cause Adam to become a raging, cold blooded killer? Absolutely not, but did the world he lived in contribute along with all these other factors, oh most certainly it did. The bottom line remains; everyone is a victim here in a tragedy that I pray will never be forgotten. As also we have got to get good at dealing with mental health issues; but that’s a blog for another day.
Thank you for reading.