Newtown has many suffering, grieving families right now. These are sad events for everyone concerned. My deepest sympathies go out to each and everyone of the victims, including Adam Lanza. Before you remind me Adam was the perpetrator of this crime, let me remind us all that he was also a victim of suicide. As I said in a previous post about this tragedy, suicide leaves a person with no chance to ever turn from his sin, repent, or clear his name. He will be laid in the grave; branded as a murderer forever. Regardless of the life a person has lived; suicide is a tragedy for any human being. Adam served as his own executioner; even without a trial. While I am not handing out sympathy, I just want us to remember he was a suicide victim as much as anyone you know who committed suicide. I have committed crimes in my lifetime. And, I have been caught in some of those crimes, and punished. Regardless of your personal record, none of us are without sin. Jesus never defined the limits for who was worthy of murder. He said that whoever was without sin should throw stones of punishment.
"He would sit for a haircut about every six weeks — but never speak or look at anyone.
He was always accompanied by his mother, said stylists at the salon in Newtown.
Lanza gunned down 27 people last week, before killing himself.
His first victim was his mother, Nancy, widely described as doting and concerned for her autistic son.
She was shot four times in the head with a .22-caliber rifle, the state medical examiner, H. Wayne Carver, said yesterday.
She was killed in her bed, and was likely asleep when he opened fire, the ME told the Hartford Courant.
The rifle was left at the house.
Lanza stopped coming in for haircuts a few years ago, and employees at the salon thought he had moved away, said stylist Bob Skuba.
“It’s just weird that I actually touched him,” Skuba said.
“I’d tried to joke with him. He wouldn’t even look at me,” the stylist told CNN.
“I wish I would have killed him then,” Skuba said.
“Or he should have killed himself a long time ago. He would have saved us all the trouble,” the stylist said.
“He should have run in front of a bus, or some other type of terrible death. He should have done it to himself. It would have saved all those kids and parents the trouble.
“I should have slit and stabbed him by accident. It would have been a lot better for those people.”
Cutting Adam Lanza’s hair “was a very long half an hour. It was a very uncomfortable situation,” stylist Diane Harty said. She said that she never heard his voice and that Nancy, a divorcee, also hardly spoke.
If a stylist would ask Adam a question, Skuba said, his mother would answer.
“He would just be looking down at the tiles . . . the whole time,” Skuba said." -TARA PALMERI, DAN MACLEOD and LAURA ITALIANO New York Post Columnists
I explained to Travis earlier this week that even though only Asperger's was being talked about, Adam apparently had multiple problems. It would seem that any adult would understand this concept. I, for instance, have transverse myelitis. But, other people who have transverse myelitis may not necessarily have the myriad of medical complications and implants that I have, because my situation is unique to me. Likewise, Asperger's is a highly functioning form of autism. Medical Science refers to it as being on the "Autistic Spectrum." This means simply that people with autism may display a range of behaviors or symptoms anywhere along the spectrum. Some seem to be at the low end and it is extremely difficult to communicate with them. Some are on the higher end, and even hold down jobs. The rest can fall anywhere in between on the spectrum. But, each person always has some winning qualities and personality elements that make them loveable. Each human being has a gift given from God to benefit this world. They may need more help finding their gift than other people.
Travis graduated from high school with a regular diploma. This is a fact I take great pride in living to see him accomplish. Even though it took him two extra years, he stuck it out and graduated. I admire his gumption to stay in school, despite his challenges. How many children do you know with "average" social skills who dropped out of school? You see, as with any handicapped child, each step or milestone is a celebrated accomplishment. My love for my child is not conditional on his grades, his achievements, his rank, or his social position. I have always pushed him to be all that he can become. But, I see him as having a high sense of morality, good ethical development, and he believes in God. If I had to choose; I would rather he be lacking in social skills and communication, and yet have those inner qualities, than to have all the personality in the world and be hard-hearted. We can't all be Mother Theresa, Abraham Lincoln, and Albert Schweitzer all rolled into one can we?
The problem here lies in the stigma projected on special needs children and adults everywhere. I couldn't count the times Travis and I have sat silently and listened to well meaning adults make jokes about people having ridden "the short bus," or being in special ed. I pressed charges against a child in public school once for leading an attack on a child. They broke the child's finger in that attack. On the witness stand, the prosecutor asked the child why he led the attack. His answer was, "Because he was white and because he was in special ed." The special ed class the child was in was simply Speech class for pronunciation problems. Yet, he was perceived as different because he left the regular class for a speech class. The school had done nothing to discipline the child, which was why I pressed charges myself.
You see, children with special needs are often seen as "different" by other people, just as much as some people are prejudiced against other races. But, my child is not different. He is the same boy he was when I carried him in my womb. He is the same child I rocked in the rocking chair, and to whom I sang lullabys. He is the same young man who made my meals, washed my laundry, and took care of me after school ...both times I came home from a week in the hospital post-surgery. And, what's more, he is the same as the rest of our children who are hearing the gruesome details splattered across the television screens daily. He is just like your young person, who sees death on a daily basis. As human beings, we strive to make some sense of how this could have happened with a 20 year old young man like Adam. We want to make sure that it will not happen to us or ours. Do we think, perhaps, that because Adam Lanza had Asperger's that our other children who are free of Asperger's are murder/suicide-safe?