Sunday, Dec 16, 2012, 8:40 pm
On Being, Or Not Being, Adam Lanza’s Mother
On Friday, as the nation grieved the mass shooting in Newtown, a mother blogged about her fears for her 13-year-old son, Michael:
I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.
Michael's mother, who blogs as "Anarchist Soccer Mom," described what it's like to fear that your child is going to kill people, and have nobody take you seriously:
I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
Finally, Mr. Teen Hero in the front seat, blasting your music through your Skullcandies, if you take the name of Our Lord in vain one more time, I will tell all your facebook friends that you are really listening to Justin Bieber instead of Linkin Park.
Why then do we choose not to summit a mountain? That question is more difficult for me. We choose because when we reach the moment of decision, we find ourselves insufficiently aware, informed, prepared. We choose not to succeed at some things because the risks outweigh the benefits. To give up something that you value greatly for those you love is to know the meaning of sacrifice in the Biblical sense. As I turned back from Mr. Regan’s taunting summit, as I wedged my body between sheer rock faces with vertical drops of more than 30 feet, as I scavenged for handholds in flaking granite, I thought of Abraham, knife poised above the body of his innocent son. Why does God give us these urges, then tell us not to act on them?
Kendzior went out of her way to malign a parent in crisis, a woman who's already living in fear that her son will kill her or her children.
Is this some sick manifestation of the "just world hypothesis'? Does Kendzior assume that only a bad mom would end up with a violent, mentally ill son?
It's ironic that the real Nancy Lanza's corpse wasn't even cold before people started attacking her for failing to control her son. With zero evidence, strangers were ranting and raving about how she didn't do enough to stop Adam.
Conservative pundit Ann Althouse even speculated that Nancy conspired to kill school children:
Why did Adam, after killing his mother, travel to the school where she worked? Shouldn't some suspicion fall on the mother? She looks like a victim, but could she and her son have been operating together?
ASM is afraid that her son might be violent. She had the courage to voice her fears. Now she's being vilified for trying to prevent another tragedy. Total strangers, again with no evidence, are lecturing her about her own son.
A mom just can't win.
Lindsay Beyerstein is an award-winning investigative journalist and In These Times staff writer who writes the blog Duly Noted. Her stories have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, Slate, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. Her photographs have been published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times' City Room. She also blogs at The Hillman Blog (http://www.hillmanfoundation.org/hillmanblog), a publication of the Sidney Hillman Foundation, a non-profit that honors journalism in the public interest.