“Why would a woman who had a son like this, who clearly had serious issues, keep assault rifles in the house and teach him how to shoot them?”
President Obama named twenty-six victims when he spoke at the memorial service in Newtown this week. Twenty-six Christmas trees stand at the foot of the street leading to Sandy Hook Elementary School. Yet there were twenty-seven victims. The 27th, of course, was Nancy Lanza, Adam's mother. There are, apparently, very mixed feelings about her:
Nancy Lanza apparently broke no laws and suffered a violent, tragic death. People who knew her — those who played in her regular dice game and those who saw her at her regular restaurant — said she was devoted to her son and kind and generous to others. They see her as a victim like any of the others.
But for some, how to refer to her — and what to think of her — is a subject of much conversation. While some call her the first victim, many think she bears at least some of the blame.
“Maybe somewhere there is a deep thought that the shooter’s mother could be responsible for leaving the guns available,” said Himansu Patel, the Newtown Convenience and Deli owner, who decided to leave Nancy Lanza out of his memorial to the victims.
“How could he reach those guns?” Patel said. “If she had kept them in a safer place, this thing might not have happened.”
This goes right to the heart of the gun ownership debate. It's something we'll be hearing more about, for sure.