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Nancy Lanza’s Household May Have Been Prepping For End Times, And Why We Should Care

nancy lanza

Commentary | Nancy Lanza was the first victim of the Newtown tragedy, mother to the man who authorities believe killed 20 first-graders and six Sandy Hook Elementary employees before taking his own life as cops and troopers stormed the building.

Nancy Lanza was originally reported to be by some accounts found dead in her home and, by others, a slain teacher herself. The former turned out to be true, and, in the horror surrounding the event, Nancy has become sort of a footnote.

In the absence of information, speculation takes hold — one blog post went nearly immediately viral, reprinted in full on many prominent blogs and titled “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mom,” a rumination on having a mentally ill child. (Since Liza Long’s post gained massive exposure, other bloggers have questioned her framing of the subject in the wake of the tragedy.)

“The media,” a less-definable problem in and of itself, also came into play when a viral hoax attributed to Morgan Freeman began circulating, urging Americans to not watch the news and stop talking about gun control after the tragedy in Newtown. The quote was later denied by Freeman, but the meme resonated nonetheless as many struggled to find a platitude to explain away the multi-layered rot that led to a young man gunning down an elementary school on a December morning.

In my earlier post on the Morgan Freeman hoax, I (in the words of some commenters) “defended” the media in as much as there is no way around telling the story in a factual matter. If you believe that the press can suppress the name of the gunman in a killing this large, or that by simply ignoring these killers they will go away, that is a delusion outside the scope of this post.

However, delusion is the eventual thrust of this post — more accurately, the delusion Nancy Lanza may have infected her son Adam with before his horrible actions.

A free society cannot exist without a free and open press, and, with social media all around us, information cannot be suppressed in this manner. But there is something that can be said for responsibility and not the sort that revolves around glory or notoriety.

Nancy Lanza, it is now reported, may have been a “doomsday prepper.” Many segments of the media have espoused a fear-based narrative to achieve their political goals, and an alarming number of Americans feel the end of times will come during their lifetime.

Even now, ahead of the Newtown school shootings, we had a spate of Americans calling for all out war, for secession, for an event that the last time it occurred, tore our country apart and decimated our population, killing three percent of all US citizens.

And the idea that we are on the brink, that tomorrow may never come, that America is a heartbeat away from murderous destruction is a common theme in scaremongering cable news. As we sit here talking about whether the killer should be named in press, Glenn Beck is still hawking a year’s worth of “food insurance” for families that fear the coming gunmaggedon.

According to sister-in-law Marsha Lanza, her brother’s wife had been taken in by the doom and gloom preaching on cable TV. When Marsha remembers her last conversation with Nancy, it was not a matter of “if” the world ends, but “when,” she recalls:

“She prepared for the worst … Last time we visited her in person, we talked about prepping – are you ready for what could happen down the line, when the economy collapses?”

Like much of the story, we don’t know that Nancy Lanza was one of these types. We know Mrs. Lanza stockpiled weapons, weapons that later were used to murder 27 people, herself included. We know that, far from making the home of Nancy Lanza safer, the gun led not only to her death, but the death of several innocents in a tragedy that has broken the hearts of America.

And again, like many aspects, not one single fix would have saved Sandy Hook Elementary School from the horror that visited it. Media has been blamed. Mental illness blamed. Gun control. God in schools.

But if the report Nancy Lanza was one of the people who believed the world would imminently fall into chaos — and, bear in mind, then likely steeped her already mentally unbalanced son in the fears she had — we can also have a conversation about inflammatory, fear-based rhetoric as a precipitate, too.

One post on The Daily Beast questions why Nancy Lanza — a blonde first wife in a Connecticut suburb — had that sort of arsenal in a home that appeared to house just her and Adam. But the question seems readily answered if it is confirmed that the constant suggestion the destruction of America is mere weeks away was in any way influencing morale and mental health in the Lanza household.

No, Glenn Beck and his ilk are not to blame for the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, but maybe it’s time to shelve fear as a political persuasion tactic lest fuel is thrown on the fire in an already volatile situation.

Nancy Lanza didn’t kill those people, but she may have been an unwitting conduit for factors that spurred on Adam Lanza’s break in sanity. And that’s worth considering.

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10 Responses to “Nancy Lanza’s Household May Have Been Prepping For End Times, And Why We Should Care”

  1. Patrick Frye

    To be fair some economists who correctly predicted the housing collapse and the current recession are also calling for a potential economic collapse to be triggered in 2013. Not an apocalypse, mind you, but an event similar to the Great Depression. Whether or not that warrants doomsday preppers is another matter.

  2. Kim LaCapria

    I agree that there is a reasonable chance more financial turmoil is ahead. But this particular brand of commentary is not about reasonable caution, it's about whipping people into a terrified frenzy.

  3. Michael Salmons

    Incredibly ironic… doomsday preppers arm to defend themselves against a conflict which they could ultimately cause.

  4. Joe Taylor

    He had three of her guns, she had at least 5. I am very curious what is in that house. Who has a house like that and won't let anyone even see inside? I bet it looks like an episode of hoarders. She was definitely into this doomsday crap and was teaching it to her odd son. The cops learned a lot on that house, after they searched it they were confident questions would be answered. It takes more than a smashed computer to conclude that. I bet that gorgeous mansion was a lot different on the inside. She didn't just keep people out, she wouldn't open the door. She would come out the side and walk around to the front door. Why? I would understand if it was a dump and she was ashamed, but its a mansion.

  5. Joe Taylor

    Anyone that thinks they can hoard supplies in the event of the apocalypse and protect it with machine guns is nuts. What's that gun going to do when desperate people burn that house down? What message is that, we are going to have all this stuff for ourselves and everyone else will die? OK then you die last in the best case scenario. I'd rather die first. No wonder the kid lost it. That is just sick. And he had issues on top of that?

  6. Christopher Mako

    Is it crazy to think that maybe the people who are afraid of other people attacking them and taking their stuff in the event of a societal breakdown are they type of people who would start attacking other people and taking their stuff in the event of a societal breakdown?

  7. David Harrison

    You should be ashamed to blame the mom who got murdered. EVERYTHING you said was blind speculation. It is legal to stockpile food and weapons – millions do that and no one gets hurt. The person at fault was the son. You must be one of those critics of parenting with no kids, since every parent knows that, as hard as you try, by teenaged years, kids go their own way. Sounds like poor Nancy did her level best. But that is often not enough.