As the world grieves for a loss of innocence that reaches far beyond the carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, authorities continue their desperate search for the meaning and motive behind the unprecedented school attack this month, meticulously planned and perpetrated by a twenty-year-old sociopath named Adam Lanza.
That investigation is being hampered by the destruction of Lanza's computers sometime before he set out to massacre defenseless children and their teachers on December 14th 2012.
Regardless though, what is slowly emerging is a troubling picture of a deeply disturbed youth with a long history of explosive behavior, and one who practically held his mother hostage in their mini-mansion with his bizarre quirks and deadly rages.
It's a portrait of classic psychosis, the mental unraveling of a killer whose tendency toward aggression became fully manifested in recent years through marathon sessions of life-like, single-shooter videogames conducted behind locked doors.
Adam Lanza, who not only slew 26 others in less than ten minutes, but also took his own life when he heard the sirens approaching the scene of his horrific crime, was a ticking time bomb, everyone acquainted with him says. A bomb destined to go off close to home, which had a very short fuse.
As a culture that has seen too many of these kinds of mass assaults now, we want and need to make sense of such a heinous act of brutality. Especially when the victims are so clearly blameless for what happened to them--children less than seven years of age who've wronged nobody are, without a doubt, innocents.
But what if there is no sense to be made of it?
But what if there is no sense to be made of it?
The Message Is the Media
Dig as we may and for as long as we might, we'll never find a logical explanation for the Sandy Hook Massacre. Not hidden among shattered hard drives yet to be reconstructed and deciphered, nor in some rambling suicide note or manifesto -- neither of which were left behind by this young killer, or so the police have claimed.
That's because there really is no rational reason for this latest show of hate: The bloodbath itself is the sole motivation.
Adam Lanza, and others like him in the past, as well as those malevolently poised to strike in the near future, are simply homicidal maniacs. They fantasize about murdering people with the same unquenchable thirst as an alcoholic has for a bottle of liquor.
But where once upon a time such lunatics may have sat in a dark corner and impotently seethed and howled in madness, now their murderous longings and killer skills are being cultivated and expressed through nonstop violent videogaming.
And as film studios struggle to keep pace with the gaming trend, these perverse obsessions are also being supplemented by an intensely graphic barrage of similar movie themes and motifs.
We don't want to hear this, naturally, and it's not a popular premise, what with so many millions of people from all walks of life and mental makeups engaging in this form of recreational homicide. Still, it's a truth we must embrace now, if we ever hope to stop all this senseless violence.
And, rest assured, it is totally senseless.
Controlling Your Guns
Yes, please do that. Don't make the mistake that Nancy Lanza made, hoping for the better from her dangerous son and, instead, being shot to death by him with her own firearms as she lay in bed sleeping...
Many parents are coming forward to share their grief with the world this week. Not just those in Newtown Connecticut who have had to put their little ones into small graves without their being able to open their holiday presents. But parents who, just like Lanza's murdered mother, are secretly housing someone in their homes who they dearly love, but who absolutely terrifies them.
In bygone eras such scary individuals could be, and would be, "put away" by their relatives. Especially if, like Mr. and Mrs. Lanza, who both worked in the world of finance, they were from a wealthy family.
Asylums turned out to be abusive places though, we sadly learned, and too often victims of familial abuse and those wronged by people in positions of power were being whisked away to such houses of horror in order to silence them.
As a result, most of these institutions have been emptied and boarded up in recent decades, and newer facilities have replaced these which are run much more humanely, and with greater emphasis on the human rights of those who suffer profound and incurable mental illnesses.
As Adam Lanza did.
Families with youngsters like the Sandy Hook slayer, whose school and medical records show was mentally defective from birth, know there is nothing they can do these days to permanently keep their lethal loved ones locked away someplace where they might be prevented from harming themselves and others.
That's an issue then which needs to be revisited in the massive probe currently underway by officials seeking to pinpoint the source of rage behind the mass murder of Sandy Hook's first-graders, and of the women who tried to save them.
However, keeping firearms and knives and other dangerous devices out of reach of unstable individuals is obviously a priority, too. Not doing so is the lapse of good judgment that not only cost a gun enthusiast her own life, but which also shattered the lives of the good people she called her friends and altered a community she deeply cherished forever.
It's not exactly the legacy Nancy Lanza envisaged for herself, nor, apparently, one such a famously generous person deserved. But it was predictable, nonetheless.
Product Safety & Quality Controls
Who knows that, in the weeks leading up to this gruesome event, Lanza's mother may not have suddenly realized the role videogaming was having on her son's already worrisome behavior. Perhaps, in that moment of enlightenment, she had sought to thwart the inevitable by destroying these "play" toys of his, or maybe even disabling all his computers.
If so, it was too late for that simplistic approach--there are many documented accounts of parents mistakenly addressing escalating hostilities in this similar manner, only to be murdered in retaliation by their vengeful offspring very soon thereafter.
So prevention is going to be the only answer now. Recognizing the inherent health risks that virtual-slayer products pose, especially to young consumers still in the developmental stages of life, and then restricting their videogame usage and access to real weaponry is the only practical solution available.
Will morbid moguls of the billion-dollar gaming industry someday be required to include these known risks in bold type on all their packaging? Will lawmakers, scrambling belatedly now to address this rising crime wave, finally demand that distributors of media mayhem alert buyers to the dangers of prolonged use of these products before they purchase them?
Yep, no doubt about it. Tobacco companies and similar manufacturers were eventually forced to do the same, despite spending untold billions of dollars on misinformation campaigns and on dubious "scientists" dolling up dire health statistics.
It's just a question of time then, and how soon that time will come depends entirely on our own honesty and resolve.
And on when the body count finally reaches a level no one in their right mind can tolerate.