The father of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza told The New Yorker in a wide-ranging interview that he wishes his son had never been born.
Peter Lanza spoke extensively and frankly to New Yorker writer Andrew Solomon for his first substantial interview since the 2012 shooting. His son Adam killed school children and six adults in the Newtown, Conn. massacre.
Peter hadn’t seen Adam for two years before the shooting, but when Adam was a child the two were close and spent a lot of time together. Peter called Adam “just a normal little weird kid.”
But Adam always struggled, even from a young age. He was diagnosed with sensory-integration disorder and had a strong aversion to physical touch.
As a child, Adam had such difficulty expressing emotion that when he was cast in a school play he had to practice facial expressions in a mirror, according to the New Yorker.
In middle school, things started to change. Peter told the New Yorker: “It was crystal clear something was wrong. The social awkwardness, the uncomfortable anxiety, unable to sleep, stress, unable to concentrate, having a hard time learning, the awkward walk, reduced eye contact. You could see the changes occurring.”
Nancy, Adam’s mother whom he shot and killed before driving to Sandy Hook, has been criticised for not doing enough to help get him treatment. But Peter said Adam didn’t respond to treatment.
He told the New Yorker: “Adam was not open to therapy. He did not want to talk about problems and didn’t even admit he had Asperger’s.”
Peter also speculated about why Adam shot Nancy four times: “[it] was one for each of us: one for Nancy; one for him; one for Ryan; one for me.”
Peter is still haunted by the massacre. “You can’t get any more evil,” he said. “How much do I beat up on myself about the fact that he’s my son? A lot.”
He also said he can’t go an hour without thinking about the shooting and that he’s plagued by nightmares. A recent one was particularly violent:
[Peter] was walking past a door; a figure in the door began shaking it violently. Peter could sense hatred, anger, “the worst possible evilness,” and he could see upraised hands. He realised it was Adam. “What surprised me is that I was scared as s—,” he recounted. “I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. And then I realised that I was experiencing it from the perspective of his victims.”
Solomon appeared on the Today Show to discuss the Lanza interviews. He comes in at 1:50:
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