More details are emerging about the home life of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza, though it's always best to take these things with a big grain of salt. The Telegraph is now reporting that Nancy Lanza, Adam's mother and first victim on Friday, was actively stockpiling guns and supplies to prepare for an economic collapse. Says her sister-in-law Marsha Lanza:
"She prepared for the worst. Last time we visited her in person, we talked about prepping -– are you ready for what could happen down the line, when the economy collapses?"
Nancy Lanza, according to police, had five guns legally registered to her name, at least three of which were carried by Adam Lanza into the school.
At this point, it's easy and natural to sensationalize and speculate into the happenings of the Lanza household. Adam Lanza was, without a doubt, unstable and Nancy Lanza was, at best, struggling to handle it (a week before the shooting, she reportedly told friends that she was losing her son, saying "it was getting worse" and she was "having trouble reaching him"). If we deem them as doomsday preppers, it becomes a little easier to separate their reality from our own, to make us feel that we know what the danger signs are and to help to help comfort ourselves into thinking that knowing all this could protect our children and ourselves from a similarly horrible event in the future.
Of course, there is some value in warning signs and quite a bit of value in understanding the types of environments that can exacerbate mental illnesses, especially the ones that can turn violent. Still, all of that understanding, speculation and sensationalism has to lead somewhere beyond the comfort of "this could never happen in my home." Hopefully (and probably), that's true, but the fact is that stigmatizing and alienating the homes that it could happen in does not help as much as, say, better access to mental healthcare, better support for the families of the mentally ill and, yes, better gun control undoubtedly could.