David Frum

12.31.12

Yes, We Can Blame Nancy Lanza

A high-school teacher who survived a school shooting says, yes, we can blame Nancy Lanza for keeping dangerous weapons in her home, apparently unsecured.

I won't soon forget the sound of the shotgun blasts that rang through our cafeteria four months ago, barely 100 feet from my classroom. I thank God every day for the courage of staff members who thwarted the attack on Perry Hall High School. I also realize how lucky we are that Robert Gladden's step-father kept his weapons under lock and key. Mr. Gladden fired on his fellow students with his father's rifle, which was neither semiautomatic nor capable of accepting multi-round clips.

And he still managed to send one of his classmates to the Shock-Trauma Center. I can't imagine what might have happened if he had gotten his hands on an assault rifle.

John Donne wrote "any man's death diminishes me," and in that sense, Ms. Lanza's murder at the hands of her son was a tragedy.

Still, anyone who takes it upon herself to own weapons that can cause the kind of slaughter the world saw at Sandy Hook had better make sure those weapons stay out of the wrong hands. Ms. Lanza had a son with a history of mental illness. She should have known better.

Perry Hall High School shooting.