Medical professionals and school staff missed multiple opportunities to help Adam Lanza with his severe emotional and psychiatric disorders before he burst into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012, and shot dead 20 children and six educators, a Connecticut state review panel has concluded.
The Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate released a lengthy report Friday detailing Lanza’s troubled history and recommending systemic changes in the public health system to better identify and support children with multiple mental health challenges.
But the authors cautioned against drawing a direct line from Lanza’s mental illness — or the inadequate response to his needs — to the brutality at Sandy Hook. “Authors do not conclude that [these factors] add up to an inevitable arc leading to mass murder,” they write.
The “inevitable arc” statement is nonsensical. There will never be a way to look at a set of behavioral factors and claim that they will inevitably lead to a certain outcome. It’s a dodge. Yes, this is a guessing game but it is supposed to be a well-informed guessing game. If the information isn’t treated seriously enough to at least consider a tragic outcome then everyone has failed.
This kid was telegraphing some sort of meltdown for quite a long time and it was ignored. In many (most?) recent mass murders this has been the case. Mass murderers are sociopaths, and that’s not something you just wake up with one day. Somewhere after the fiftieth or sixtieth red flag, the professionals need to take serious note and whatever action they can, rather than just leave it up to subjective parental decisions and hope for the best.