Sandy Hook Report: "No Clear Motive"

[Content Note: Guns; violence; disablism.]

The Office of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury, Connecticut, has released a 48-page summary [pdf] of the official investigation into the Sandy Hook school shooting in which 20-year-old Adam Lanza walked into an elementary school and killed 20 children and six adults. The report includes a passage that indicates there is no clear motive for the mass shooting:
The obvious question that remains is: "Why did the shooter murder 26 people, including 20 children?" Unfortunately, that question may never be answered conclusively, despite the collection of extensive background information on the shooter through a multitude of interviews and other sources.
Thus, there are a flurry of articles today that do little more than just rehash all the possible motives that were put forward in the days following the shooting. This Guardian article is firing on all cylinders:

* Mental illness? Check.
But the report makes it clear that there was no evidence Lanza had received formal medical treatment for any mental-health issues he might have had. In 2005 he was given a diagnosis of Asperger's, a syndrome on the autism spectrum, and was described to investigators as "presenting with significant social impairments and extreme anxiety". But he declined to take any medication for his condition and would not engage in therapy. The report concludes: "It is important to note that it is unknown what contribution, if any, the shooter's mental health issues made to his attack … Those mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior."
* Video games? Check.
One aspect of the report that is likely to be pored over by both sides of the gun control debate is the evidence of Lanza's computer game obsessions that was discovered in his bedroom in the basement of his Newtown home. The investigation report lists 12 video games, found in the gaming area of the room, which had violent content, including popular titles such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. Others included Left for Dead, Dead Rising, Vice City and Doom.

A computer game called School Shooting, which features a character controlled by the player who enters a school and shoots students, was also found.
* His mother? (Whom he also killed.) Check.
The report also highlights the tragedy of Lanza's mother, Nancy, who he killed at the home he shared with her before setting off for Sandy Hook school. All the guns used in the incident – the Bushmaster, a Glock pistol which he used to kill himself, a Savage Mark II rifle with which he shot his mother in her bed, and others – were owned by Nancy Lanza.

She took her son to shooting ranges, to learn how to use guns. She had also written out a check which she intended to give her son as a Christmas present – it would allow him to buy himself a CZ 83 pistol.

..."One witness indicated that Lanza did not have an emotional connection to his mother. Recently, when his mother had asked him if he would feel bad if anything happened to her, he had replied, 'No.'"
The report also details Lanza's fascination with school shootings. He "kept photocopies of newspaper articles on shootings of children dating back to 1891." Which suggests to me that perhaps his motive, or part of it, was as simple and gruesome as seeking infamy.

But if there's anything we want to speak of even less than gun reform, it's our cultural celebration of fame, even and sometimes especially the fame we grant to people who do harm.

We definitely can't talk about that. It implicates us all.

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