One thing that stands out about Sandy Hook for me—given my experience as a former Deputy Public Defender in the juvenile justice system—is while I've seen a good number of young people who've done horrible things, there always seems to be one commonality—emotional isolation.
My take on Adam Lanza is summed in saying that, "I've never met a bad kid though I've met many who've done bad things." I've discovered that--without exception--they share a common experience. That is, I as their lawyer might have been the first person to ever have sat down and really talked with them in a long time, possibly in their entire life.
We should all stop to think about the emotional torment that Adam Lanza must have found himself in to understand how it is that he could have been driven to such a heinous and disparate act.
If we, as a society are unable to put ourselves in the shoes of Adam Lanza, then we will have failed to learn--in what should be a teaching moment—what is to be learned from this tragedy. Importantly, the pain and memory of these lost young children will have been in vain.
Mental health and the emotional isolation that feeds into this illness is a subject that is too easily dismissed and financially discarded in today’s trend toward austerity. The shallowest discussion that could follow this tragedy is “gun control.”
Those that suffer from emotional illness almost never have insight into their illness and are almost always isolated. The stigma that is associated with seeking help only makes this more problematic.
Where are the real reporters, politicians, scholars and responsible leaders who should be speaking to this? I personally want to recognize fellow musician Mel Martin who was the very first person I noticed to speak to this. I hope each of you can look to his wisdom and follow in those footsteps.
The most responsible reporting I’ve found thus far and an important reason to fund NPR is shown in this piece: Adam Lanza: What We Know, by Wright Bryan.