'He was a very, very bright boy'
The Telegraph has an outstanding article on Adam Lanza, the
alleged mass killer of 26 people last week in Connecticut. If we’re going to avoid these types of tragedies moving forward, we better
start understanding that a solution, or at least a partial solution, is going
to require a three-pronged approach: 1.) Sensible gun control laws. 2.)
Heightened security awareness and procedures at schools and other
large-gathering places. 3.) More societal attention to the mental health of perpetrators and potential
perpetrators of these attacks.
The last point is what I’d like to see us spending more time on
moving forward, or at least as much time as possible moving forward, as opposed
to getting immediately bogged down in a typically politicized
post-shooting debate over gun control, which I happen to favor in a similarly unenthusiastic fashion.
Take a look at this heart-breaking video of what it’s like to
suffer from autism, which last week’s shooter may have suffered from. Then read this very moving piece by Rod Dreher about how his autistic son reacted after viewing the video. And then
read this from an anguished mom who has to deal with a son with violent
tendencies. I am NOT saying all those who suffer from autism, Asperger’s
Syndrome and other mental illnesses are violent by nature. But I am saying we,
as a country, have a long, pathetic and sad history in dealing with the mentally ill. To
see what I’m talking about, all you have to do is walk down a typical street in
Boston and view all the homeless people who desperately need help. Some of them
need financial assistance. But most of them need medical help. But what do we do? You
know what we do: Not much and not enough.
No matter what his diagnosis was before the attack, Adam Lanza
was an obviously very disturbed young man who needed much more help than he
apparently got and deserved.
Update - From the Globe: 'Link between autism and planned violence discounted.' OK. I'm no expert on this -- and certainly and specifically not an expert on autism. But the point remains: He suffered from some sort of mental illness, based on just about every pre-shooting account of his life that I've read. Let's find out more -- and do more.