This post will be written far too rapidly, since the sun will rise soon and I have not yet slept. (One of those
projects kept me up all night.) Yet I feel compelled to dash off a few notes about the recent school massacre. Although I don't want to give any credence to the wacky (and predictable) right-wing conspiracy theories involving mind control and the Great Gun Round-Up, the Newtown school tragedy does offer some legitimate oddities worth pondering.
1. We still don't have any explanation for the early "second shooter" sightings! As I said on Day One, even if those stories were in error, we still deserve an explanation for disturbing on-site reports like this one
Police reportedly questioning someone. Witness says the man was led out of the woods by police in handcuffs.
2. We had more than the usual amount of misinformation in the early stages of this story. First the shooter's name was given as Ryan Lanza
; the gunman turned out to be his younger brother Adam. We also heard that the mother was a teacher at the school; she wasn't.
These are serious journalistic mistakes. How did they occur?
3. Adam Lanza was a 20 year-old computer nerd. Yet so far, it looks as though this guy has left no
internet traces. That's bizarre. Downright unheard-of.
4. We have conflicting reports about Adam's mother, Nancy Lanza. People who knew her have said that she was a wonderful person
who gave to charity and socialized with the neighbors. Yet other accounts have held that she was a highly reclusive individual who was hard on her son.
It seems clear now that Nancy Lanza was indeed a gun enthusiast. More than that: She reportedly was a "Doomsday prepper"
-- a survivalist. Most survivalists keep compounds in rural areas. Nancy set up shop in a mansion in an upscale Connecticut neighborhood.
Some have challenged the "prepper" account on the grounds that it stems from but one source -- an interview given by her former sister-in-law Marsha Lanza. However, the Washington Post and other sources indicate that Nancy allowed no-one inside her home
. She acted as if she were hiding something. The landscaper was paid out of doors, never stepping foot inside the house.Very unusual behavior, that. When Nancy showed off part of her gun collection to the landscaper, she did not invite him in. Instead, she brought the weaponry outside.
(Come to think of it -- what kind of person feels compelled to brag about her guns to a landscaper
Her strange, secretive behavior suggests that Marsha is telling the truth.
5. A friend of Nancy's has told reporters that she was a "responsible gun owner."
She kept guns in a home with a child she knew to be psychologically unstable. Instead of keeping firearms out of the clutches of her sick kid, she taught him how to operate semi-automatic weaponry.
I don't care what your stance is on gun control. Even the staunchest of Second Amendment fundamentalists must understand this point: Anyone who shelters a young man displaying psychotic behavior and violent tendencies shouldn't keep guns in the house.
Nancy clearly was not
a responsible gun owner. I suspect that she was so enmeshed in the survivalist mindset that she lost sight of her clear duty -- a duty owed to her son, to her community, and to herself. She paid dearly for that error.
The prepper community will not be able to spin away Nancy Lanza's behavior. This is bad for them.
6. Peter Lanza's background probably has no relationship to the his son's outbreak of mad violence. Still, it is worth noting that, according to a number of published reports, the elder Lanza was the
main tax guy for General Electric financial. One article reported that he earns a cool million a year. (When he divorced Nancy, he gave her that huge house plus a handsome annual payment.)
He is also the VP of G.E. Capital
Was Lanza involved with, or cognizant of, the G.E. accounting fraud scandal
that came to light in 2009 -- and which nearly everyone has forgotten about?
You may recall that G.E. shocked many Americans by finding ways to avoid taxes altogether
General Electric, one of the largest corporations in America, filed a whopping 57,000-page federal tax return earlier this year but didn't pay taxes on $14 billion in profits. The return, which was filed electronically, would have been 19 feet high if printed out and stacked.
Peter Lanza had
to be involved with that.
7. A number of sites report that Peter Lanza was set to testify in the Libor scandal. I don't know exactly what he was expected to say.
You know who else was -- reportedly
-- going to testify vis-a-vis Libor? Robert Holmes, the father of James "Joker" Holmes, the Colorado killer who shot up the theater showing The Dark Knight Rises
. I emphasize the word "reportedly" because I haven't yet seen mainstream confirmation. (The allegation has received a lot of play on conspiracy sites
.) However, it has
been established that the elder Holmes worked for FICO.
Again: I would advise against cobbling together any oddball conspiracy theories tying points 6 and 7 in with the shootings. I'm not out to get Pater Lanza. Obviously, I feel feel sorry for any father who has to deal with what he must be going through right now.
But...cah-MON. You gotta admit: A possible Libor connection to both
the Colorado and Connecticut events is just plain freaky.
One final note.
If Nancy really was a prepper, she was probably in communication with the kind of rednecks who would automatically presume Peter to be a tool of the Great Illuminati Conspiracy. I'd like to know more about that marriage. Did Nancy's firearms fetishism create the tensions that led to divorce?
UPDATE: Here's another source
for the story that Peter Lanza and Robert Holmes were to testify as part of the Libor scandal. (Thanks, Lambert!)
Both men were to testify before the US Sentate in the ongoing LIBOR scandal. The London Interbank Offered Rate, known as Libor, is the average interest rate at which banks can borrow from each other. 16 international banks have been implicated in this ongoing scandal, accused of rigging contracts worth trillions of dollars. HSBC has already been fined $1.9 billion and three of their low level traders arrested.
Fascinating. But I cannot come up with any comprehensible scenario connecting the Libor testimony with the shootings. And my imagination is as good as anyone else's.