Asking Why after Newtown

Resident of Newtown are asking why along with the rest of the nation.

As the New York Times reports here:

Seeking solace amid overwhelming grief, residents of Newtown flocked to church services and vigils on Sunday, struggling to comprehend a tragedy that left so many children dead, even as the national conversation turned sharply toward gun control.

Seems to me the question here is not why. The answer to this question will never be satisfactory. Even when the killer is “normal,” his answer to the question why he killed is most of the time in my experience insufficient. That is to say, the reason is usually bad. I’ve prosecuted and defended murder cases where the reason why the killer killed was: a push, twenty-five cents, a look.

In the Newtown massacre, does anyone really care what this sick pos Lanza was thinking? How would that explain anything, even if we knew?

If the question why does not matter, is the “answer” greater gun control? We do need stricter gun control, absolutely, but we will never regulate guns out of the hands of people like Lanza. Even if we could, they would find some other way.

The better “why” to ask is why Lanza was left evidently uncommitted to some mental institution about three years ago, never again to see the light of day. I’m reasonably certain that in the next few weeks it will develop that a raft of people saw this coming and did nothing other than wring their hands. Don’t we hear the same refrain after every one of these incidents? Here you have an evidently deeply disturbed kid who lives alone with his heavily armed mother. Do we seriously believe no one saw a potential problem with this? Certainly his mother should have foreseen this possibility, and evidently — instead of having the kid civilly committed — she served as her son’s armorer. Not saying she got was she deserved. I’m just saying.

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