The Corner

The Rush to Blame the Mother

There is much we don’t know about Adam Lanza, but apparently it’s not too early to blame his mother, Nancy. The headline on a Daily Mail story reads, in part, “Dysfunctional relationship of Sandy Hook gunman and his mother.” Well, yes, if Adam was becoming completely withdrawn or was becoming psychotic, the relationship would be dysfunctional.

Now, perhaps Nancy herself was somehow blameworthy (there is much we still don’t know), but it sounds like she was utterly devoted to Adam.

And she was the first victim of his madness or rage. This is not an unusual phenomenon. My understanding is that parents are the most likely victims of the mentally ill. For a description of what it is like to be a committed, loving parent to a child like this, read this moving account that has justifiably gotten a lot of attention by a mom of a 13-year-old with a psychiatric condition:

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.


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