Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Yorker interview with Lanza's father touches on sensitive points

The New Yorker has published an article by Andrew Solomon, which he calls “The Reckoning”, giving an account of his interview with Peter Lanza, father of Adam Lanza, who perpetrated the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton CT on Dec. 14, 2012. 
The article certainly lays out the idea, that extreme nihilism and evil exist, although they may be related to some sort of genetic or biological issue.  
A couple of lines I took a little issue with.  Solomon writes, reporting what the father said, “Adam displayed the arrogance that Aspies can have.”  He also resented being force to deal with learning certain things he was not good at without a good explanation of why it was necessary other than someone else’s authority to demand it. 
The article seems a bit two-faced on the Asperger’s an autism issue, because later the father does imply that the evil was something that seemed apart from the self-focus, which only rarely can lead to violence.
The article link is here.
There is discussion of empathy, where “emotional empathy” notices the potential harm that others will feel.  It seems to me that this is more of an intellectual empathy, and there is no contradiction with personal aloofness and respecting the rights of others as part of a principled idea of personal responsibility.  “Emotion” to me sounds like being expected to bond with others when confronted with their needs.  And, yes, such an expectation can become quite challenging.   

Update: March 12

The case of the Columbia Mall shooting by Darion Aguilar seems to be similar as to the psychological background, as with a Howard County MD police report, here.  When young males feel they cannot keep up with what society demands of them and cannot "compete", sometimes, out of humiliation, they seem to go in this direction,  It doesn;t sound so far from religious terrorism to me.  

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