Sandy Hook Gunman's Father: I Wish Adam Had Never Been Born

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 10 2014 10:43 AM

Newtown Gunman's Father Speaks For First Time Since Shooting: "You Can’t Get Any More Evil"

Police block a road near the house of Nancy Lanza, mother of Adam Lanza, on December 15, 2012 in Sandy Hook, Conn.

Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

The New Yorker has today's must-read story, which includes a long interview with Peter Lanza, his first since his 20-year-old son Adam shot and killed 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012, a tragedy that began with Adam murdering his own mother at her home and ended with him taking his own life in the Newtown school. The pained interview covers a lot of ground but it's the final paragraph of Andrew Solomon's story that is probably the most harrowing:

I wondered how Peter would feel if he could see his son again. “Quite honestly, I think that I wouldn’t recognize the person I saw,” he said. “All I could picture is there’d be nothing there, there’d be nothing. Almost, like, ‘Who are you, stranger?’ ” Peter declared that he wished Adam had never been born, that there could be no remembering who he was outside of who he became. “That didn’t come right away. That’s not a natural thing, when you’re thinking about your kid. But, God, there’s no question. There can only be one conclusion, when you finally get there. That’s fairly recent, too, but that’s totally where I am.”

Peter Lanza released a statement the day after the shooting expressing sympathy for the victims' families but had otherwise largely avoided the press until now. He reached out to Solomon this past September, as the one-year anniversary of his son's rampage approached, and said that he was ready to tell his side of the story. During a series of meetings that followed, Lanza went into great detail about his son and said that he believes that Adam would have killed him, too, if he would have had the opportunity. (Peter and Adam's mother, Nancy, separated in 2001 and divorced in 2009.)

Lanza also said that even though he doesn't believe anyone could have predicted what Adam would eventually do, he nonetheless often wonders if there was anything he could have done differently in his relationship with his troubled son, who he said he hadn't seen in the two years that preceded the Sandy Hook tragedy. "Any variation on what I did and how my relationship was had to be good, because no outcome could be worse," Lanza said, adding at another point: "You can’t get any more evil. ... How much do I beat up on myself about the fact that he’s my son? A lot."

Plenty more of note in the lengthy piece, which you can read for yourself here.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

Yes, Black Families Tend to Spank More. That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for Black Kids.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge


The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 6:23 PM Bryan Cranston Reenacts Baseball’s Best Moments to Promote the Upcoming Postseason
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.