A supposedly extreme thing about Adam Lanza that doesn't sound at all extreme to me: "He showed such hypersensitivity to physical touch that tags had to be removed from his clothing."
And what if your child showed talent for writing in a manner that seems like those popular slasher films and Stephen King bestsellers?
[In 5th grade], Adam and another boy wrote a story called “The Big Book of Granny,” in which an old woman with a gun in her cane kills wantonly. In the third chapter, Granny and her son want to taxidermy a boy for their mantelpiece. In another chapter, a character called Dora the Berserker says, “I like hurting people. . . . Especially children.” Adam tried to sell copies of the book at school and got in trouble. A couple of years later, according to the state’s attorney’s report, a teacher noted “disturbing” violence in his writing and described him as “intelligent but not normal, with anti-social issues.”And what if your child really loved the pop culture things from your youth that you showed to him?
When Peter took him to see Bill Cosby live, Adam laughed for an hour straight. He loved reruns of “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Get Smart,” which he would watch with his dad. One Christmas, Adam told his parents that he wanted to use his savings to buy toys for needy children, and Peter took him shopping for them.Wouldn't you think your child was rather brilliant if you asked what he would do if he had 3 wishes and he said he'd wish "that whatever was granting the wishes would not exist"?
The parents took Adam to a psychiatrist, and the diagnosis was Asperger's Syndrome, which seemed helpful and specific, something they could work with. It made sense to Peter. But:
“Adam was not open to therapy,” Peter told me. “He did not want to talk about problems and didn’t even admit he had Asperger’s.” Peter and Nancy were confident enough in the Asperger’s diagnosis that they didn’t look for other explanations for Adam’s behavior. In that sense, Asperger’s may have distracted them from whatever else was amiss. “If he had been a totally normal adolescent and he was well adjusted and then all of a sudden went into isolation, alarms would go off,” Peter told me. “But let’s keep in mind that you expect Adam to be weird.”AND:
When he was sixteen, [Adam] found a picture of Karl Marx (huge beard), Lenin (small beard), Stalin (mustache), and Mao (clean-shaven), and sent it around with a caption, “Comrades, we must rectify the faltering facial hair standards.”ADDED: It's obvious in retrospect that Adam Lanza needed to be institutionalized. Why didn't his parents do that?! It seems like a cartoon — a horror cartoon — of what happens when a child doesn't have a mother and a father together in his home. The mother seems to have appeased and comforted him constantly. And the fatherly judgment and discipline is exiled. But how much rationality is contained within Peter Lanza? He is responsible for the distance he took from what was a dangerous, hopeless relationship between mother and son. In this New Yorker piece, we get to read the story he's assembled for his semi-peace of mind, after the fact.
Peter was frustrated but felt that he couldn’t show up at the house in Newtown to force an encounter. “It would have been a fight, the last thing I’d want to be doing. Jesus. . . . If I had gone there unannounced and just, ‘I want to see Adam.’ ‘Why are you doing this?’ Adam would be all bent about me.” Later, Peter remarked, “If I said I’m coming, she’d say, ‘No, there’s no reason for that.’ I mean, she controlled the situation.”