Nancy Lanza let Adam use guns to "teach him responsibility"

Newtown gunman reportedly hadn't talked to brother or father in two years, relationship with mom was deteriorating

By David Daley
Published December 23, 2012 4:06AM (EST)
Adam Lanza        (AP)
Adam Lanza (AP)

Adam Lanza's days leading up to the Newtown massacre remain shrouded in mystery because he was so cut off from the rest of the world. And according to a new Wall Street Journal report, that very isolation is a frustration to investigators trying to determine why he killed his mother, Nancy, and then murdered 26 more people last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary.

The Journal, in what may be the deepest account yet of the inner workings of the Lanza family reports that:

* Adam Lanza stopped talking with his father, Peter, during summer 2010, which coincided with the time a relationship with Peter Lanza's now-wife turned serious.

* That Christmas, Lanza stopped communicating with his older brother Ryan.

* Nancy Lanza let Adam use her guns at a local shooting range in order to bond with him and "teach him responsibility."

The story suggests Adam Lanza's problems started in first grade, at Sandy Hook (where he attended classes through fourth grade). After a stint of home schooling, he was back in the Newtown system for middle school, but remained shy, socially awkward and isolated from classmates.

As the paper tells it:

As a freshman at Newtown High School, Mr. Lanza's socially maladroit behavior attracted attention from school officials but he managed to make friends in the Tech Club and through videogames. Mr. Lanza didn't keep those connections. Later, Gloria Milas asked her son, Josh, why he hadn't returned a videogame console that belonged to Mr. Lanza. "No one knows where he is," Ms. Milas said her son told her.

Mr. Lanza's mother had again taken him out of public schools. He enrolled in classes at Western Connecticut State University. She "wanted him to have college classes," Marsha Lanza said. In Nancy's view, "he was brilliant."

But as one of the youngest people there, he was an outsider. "We tried to say hi to him every so often, and he just seemed nervous," said Dot Stasny, a classmate in an introductory German course in spring 2009.

The Journal suggests that Nancy Lanza may have been ready to leave Newtown. Friends told the paper she was worried about him, and knew their relationship was "deteriorating."

In her final days, Ms. Lanza told friends she was preparing to move across the country, to Washington, where there was a school she believed would be the right fit for her son. She told her friend Mark Tambascio she would be selling her beloved Red Sox season tickets. "She was ready to move," he said.

David Daley

David Daley, former editor-in-chief of Salon, is the author of the national bestseller “Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count” and “Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy.”

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Adam Lanza Gun Control Nancy Lanza Newtown Shooting Sandy Hook