Plus, a Logical But Immoral Argument

12.16.12

Nancy Lanza's Questionable Parenting

Obviously, one must feel badly for Nancy Lanza on two bases--first, that raising a troubled child like that has to be impossibly difficult in ways I can't imagine; second, of course, that her last thoughts on this earth were something like, "My God, my own son is killing me." I certainly can't imagine that by a long shot.

But these reports that she often took Adam to a firing range...like, what the f---. I guess no mother is capable of looking at her son and seeing a future mass murderer, but for God's sakes, he met the classic definition of a future shootist to a tee. A loner full of resentments. And she reportedly spoke regularly to friends of her concern for and about him. Teaching a young man like that to be a marksman, of all things--a fly fisherman, a numismatist, anything, sure--but teaching a young man like that to be a marksman strikes me as pretty questionable parenting, I am sorry to say it.

Also on the topic of Nancy Lanza, the argument that since the guns were registered to her and were legal and she was by all accounts a law-abiding citizen and therefore stricter background checks would have made no difference here is logical on its face but immoral. True, stricter background checks might not have prevented this killing. But it could prevent others in the future.

I find it amazing that so many people's minds, in the face of an event like this, can as their first instinct seek to find excuses to do nothing. We don't treat any other policy area that way--that is to say, we know we're not going to end poverty or pollution or what have you, but the fact that we're not going to end them doesn't mean we shouldn't attempt measures that will ameliorate their damage.

And finally, even though they were legally registered to her, one has to ask: Why did a person like Nancy Lanza need firepower like that anyway? It's completely obscene. Here's an idea: If people really have a need to shoot Glocks and Sig Sauers at a firing range, how about the firing range own them and keep them, and enthusiasts drop in and rent the firearm of their choice for an hour or whatever? I know this violated the capitalist principle of ownership, and yes, it impinges on "freedom," but it seems to me to slake the thirst in a way that maybe people could get accustomed to over time.