A call Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza made to an Oregon radio show in 2011 gives an eerie look into his mental state before his massacre.
The New York Daily News obtained audio from Lanza’s call to “Anarchy Radio,” an hour-long “anti-civilisation” show, that took place almost exactly a year before Lanza killed 20 children and six adults in the Dec. 14, 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.
On the show, Lanza discusses and appears to sympathize with Travis, a chimpanzee who ripped off a woman’s nose, hands, lips, and eyelids in Connecticut in 2009. The chimp was domesticated and raised like a human child. Lanza compares the chimp to a mass shooter.
Investigators are aware Lanza reached out to a radio show before the shooting, though they couldn’t confirm it was his his voice on the recording, a prosecutor told the Daily News. However, two of Lanza’s former classmates confirmed to the News that it was his voice.
Lanza used the name “George” when he called into the show, but in online message board postings discussing the radio call, Lanza posted under the username “Smiggles” — which police identified as one of his Internet aliases.
Here’s the part of the call where Lanza appears to sympathize with the chimp, Travis: “Travis wasn’t an untamed monster at all. He wasn’t just feigning domestication, he was civilized. He was able to integrate into society.”
Lanza notes that Travis acted like a human child by watching TV, enjoying baseball games, using a computer, and eating human foods. He also notes that Travis was taking Xanax. This narrative mirrors Lanza’s own life, in which he was an outsider living among people with whom he never quite fit in.
Lanza also talks about Travis’ owner, a woman whom the chimp regarded as a mother figure.
“After [the attack], everyone was condemning his owner by saying how irresponsible she was for raising a chimp like it was a child and that she should have known something like this would happen because chimps aren’t supposed to be living in civilisation, they’re supposed to be living in the wild among each other. … The implication is that nothing would have gone wrong if he was living in civilisation as a human.”
This is an eerie parallel to what happened after the Sandy Hook shooting.
After Lanza shot and killed his own mother at their home the day of the massacre, many people asked why Lanza’s mother Nancy didn’t see any red flags and intervene before the shooting.
Lanza continues by pointing out that Travis, much like Lanza himself, didn’t exhibit many obvious warning signs before the attack:
“If Travis had been some nasty monster all his life, it would have been widely reported, but to the contrary, it seems like everyone who knew him said how shocked they were that he would be so savage because they knew him as a sweet child. And there were two isolated incidents early in his life when he acted aggressively … he didn’t act really any differently than a human child would.”
Some people who knew Lanza spoke up after the attack to say he was odd but not openly aggressive. One friend of Nancy’s told The Washington Post: “She never mentioned that [Adam] was suicidal or violent. Nothing like that. Everyone that had spent any time around him, they knew he was a little bit different, but you never saw any major, major issues.”
In another analysis of the chimp’s motives that comes very close to describing Lanza’s own life, he says:
“Look what civilisation did to him. It had the same effect on him as it does on humans. He was profoundly sick … and he had to resort to these surrogate activities like watching baseball and looking at pictures on a computer screen and taking Xanax. He was a complete mess. And his attack wasn’t simply because he was a senselessly violent, impulsive chimp, which is how his behaviour was universally portrayed. … When his owner’s friend arrived, he knew she was trying to coax him back into his life of domestication and he couldn’t handle that so he attacked her and anyone else who approached him.”
In the months before the shooting, Nancy Lanza told friends she wanted to move out of state with Adam and was encouraging him to get a drivers’ licence and a job and continue his education.
Lanza posited on why the chimp was behaving so bizarrely before the attack: “Some little thing he experienced was the last straw and he was overwhelmed by the life that he had and he wanted to get out of it.”
The whole call is worth a listen:
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