Peter Lanza, the father of Sandy Hook mass murderer Adam Lanza, was interviewed for this lengthy New Yorker piece.
The case remains a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. My guess, when all is said and done, is that Lanza was a rare combination of Asperger’s and psychopath, and it was the psychopath part that made the difference.
People like to think they could have done better parenting a son such as Adam, but hindsight allows us to think we’re smarter than most of us would be. In retrospect it’s easy to say he shouldn’t have been around guns, for example, but Adam Lanza seems to have shown not a hint of violence in his life until his rampage. His estrangement from his father was at Adam’s instigation, not Peter’s, and if you read the article you will see that Peter had been very involved in Adam’s life prior to that.
There are many many victims of this tragedy. One of them is Peter Lanza, although he’s not asking for pity:
Peter does not think that Adam had any affection for him, either, by [the day of the killings]. He said, “With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he’d had the chance. I don’t question that for a minute. The reason he shot [his mother] Nancy four times was one for each of us: one for Nancy; one for him; one for Ryan [Adam's brother]; one for me.”
…[E]ven with hindsight, [Peter Lanza] doesn’t think that the catastrophe could have been predicted. But he constantly thinks about what he could have done differently and wishes he had pushed harder to see Adam. “Any variation on what I did and how my relationship was had to be good, because no outcome could be worse,” he said. Another time, he said, “You can’t get any more evil,” and added, “How much do I beat up on myself about the fact that he’s my son? A lot.”…
Peter has dreamed about Adam every night since the event, dreams of pervasive sadness rather than fear; he had told me that he could not be afraid of his fate as Adam’s father, even of being murdered by his son. Recently, though, he had had the worst nightmare of his life. He 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 realized it was Adam. “What surprised me is that I was scared as shit,” he recounted. “I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. And then I realized that I was experiencing it from the perspective of his victims.”…
Peter declared that he wished Adam had never been born, that there could be no remembering who he was outside of who he became. “That didn’t come right away. That’s not a natural thing, when you’re thinking about your kid. But, God, there’s no question. There can only be one conclusion, when you finally get there.”