Sandy Hook dad Peter Lanza, I want to hear, "I should have been there"

The father of the Sandy Hook shooter, Peter Lanza, told the New Yorker his son was “evil” and he wished “he had never been born”. Oh sure, says the absentee dad who hadn’t seen his son in two years. I guess he just shrugged and scat, despite his son’s obvious needs beyond legal “childhood”. I just don’t buy he tried hard enough to relieve Mrs. Lanza of burden. She was there. Where were you, Peter Lanza? What no one seems to be talking about are parents’ continued responsibility into adulthood of mentally and physically disabled people.

Look, I was the first to say directing the national conversation to mental illness (and consequently, away from gun control) was the wrong move after the atrocious, heartless killings at Sandy Hook in 2012, but that doesn’t mean mental illness is not a problem. Apparently the shooter suffered from Aspergers and, speculates his absentee father who hadn’t seen him in over 700 days, also, maybe schizophrenia. An arm chair diagnosis 15 months too late is SO HELPFUL, there, Mr. Lanza senior. Way to go on skiddadling the moment your legal obligations were over and leaving Mrs. Lanza holding the bag.

Emily Miller, an editor at the Washington Times, wrote, “We can’t blame lax gun-control laws, access to mental health treatment, prescription drugs or video games for Lanza’s terrible killing spree. We can point to a mother who should have been more aware of how sick her son had become and forced treatment.”

A mother. It’s always the mother.

Maybe instead of playing up to what the world wants to hear from the shooter’s dad (remember the  reaction from the Boston Bombings brothers’ father was one of grieving for his dead son and support of his son in custody – met with public anger) maybe Mr. Lanza senior could criticize his own parenting.

You know what I want to hear from the shooter’s dad? Not “my son is evil” and “I wish he was never born”, but “I should have been there”.

Peter Lanza says he wishes his son was never born. Well guess what? He was. Deal with it instead of just abandoning your son and exacerbating the problems. You don’t just get to walk out on a mentally ill child, leaving the rest of the family to deal with it.

The shooter’s dad goes on to criticize his ex-wife by saying she slept with an unlocked door and had guns in the house. Those might not have been smart or responsible moves, but guess what, Shooter Dad? She was there. That is more than anyone can say for you. Adult children with mental illness who are still under care of their parents are just as in need of both parents as they are in need of their mothers.

Calling the shooter “evil” is a convenient cop-out for Peter Lanza. Why take responsibility for your lack of involvement and failing as a human being when you can just dismiss your problem child as “evil” – as if some underworld clown with a pitchfork is to blame instead of your own absence?

Mrs. Lanza, even though she herself was a victim, has received horrendous blame for the actions of her adult son. I’m not saying she should rightly dodge all criticism, but at least she was there, trying. If we give Peter Lanza a pass simply because he renounces his son (in life and in death), it reinforces the double standards we have for mothers and fathers. Perhaps we need to examine the responsibilities of parents of a mentally ill child past adulthood because it appears Peter Lanza jetted the day he was legally able to, while Mrs. Lanza paid the ultimate price with her life.

Fathers are more than paychecks. You don’t get to quit your emotional involvement with a special needs child when they blow out 18 candles. Nope, I’m not letting Peter Lanza off the hook.


[UPDATE – My critics are saying that Peter Lanza did try to be a part of Adam’s life, but the exact quote is, “I should have pushed harder to see my son”. Yes, he should have. One has to wonder how hard he really pushed to begin with and what were the reasons he was so vehemently estranged if he did indeed push. I stand by my post.]


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