Dr. Helen

If the Second Amendment is to Blame for Mass Murder, Then the First is to Blame as Well: Do We Get Rid of Both?

Not surprisingly, mass murderer Adam Lanza was a deeply disturbed kid:

Lanza’s strange behavior was well-known among his well-heeled neighbors in leafy Newtown, Conn. His antics irked several residents.

Mass murderer Adam Lanza, 20, was a ticking time bomb, people who knew him told the Daily News.

“This was a deeply disturbed kid,” a family insider told the Daily News. “He certainly had major issues. He was subject to outbursts from what I recall.”

Lanza, who friends and officials said suffered from Asperger’s syndrome or a personality disorder, had a tortured mind.

“Adam Lanza has been a weird kid since we were 5 years old,” a neighbor and former classmate named Tim Dalton wrote on Twitter. “As horrible as this was, I can’t say I am surprised . . . Burn in hell, Adam.”


Apparently, his mother was often home to check on her son, despite him being 20 years old. Ann Althouse had this to say:

But why isn’t there more talk about institutionalizing the mentally ill? Adam Lanza’s mother needed to be home with him? What 20-year-old needs pervasive supervision from his mother? I suspect the mother, who is now dead, had very serious problems of her own. I can’t understand her keeping those 3 weapons — pictured at the link — in the home along with a 20-year-old man who — in her view — required her stay-at-home motherhood.

We’re so sympathetic to children, and now we’re distracted by our sympathy for the dead children, but what about all the deeply troubled young people? Why are we so sympathetic to them up until the point where they act? Or… I mean… why does our sympathy toward the mentally ill take the form of regarding them as socially awkward and weird and leaving them alone?

Good question. As you read this, there are hundreds if not thousands of mentally ill people and their families across the U.S. who have nowhere to turn for help or guidance — or the help they get is not enough. There are few mental health institutions left to take in these individuals, and our society leaves them and their families to fend for themselves. Left to their own devices, some of the mentally ill either lose touch with reality or their thought processes become so distorted or delusional that they think violence is the only answer. This distorted thinking, combined with the 24/7 news coverage of these mass shooting events, distorts the disturbed person’s mind further, often leading to a feeling that his anxiety, frustration, and anger must be acted upon. Seeing other shooters showered with media coverage leads to a possible copycat effect, as outlined in the book The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow’s Headlines.


There are many areas of blame that can be explored in a mass killing. I think that much of it has to do first with the perpetrator and also with deinstitutionalization, but others think differently. If some idiots want to blame the Second Amendment for the recent killings, go ahead. But if you do, you will also have to blame the First Amendment, which allows freedom of the press and which has just as much to do with these events. If citizens’ rights to bear arms is in question here, then so is the right to a free press. Are we really willing to give up our freedoms that easily? Wouldn’t it make more sense to figure out how and when to treat the mentally ill so that murder isn’t an option?

Also read: Bloomberg Uses Tragedy to Tell the 99% How to Live

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