FOR THE RECORD: Newtown Shooting and Adam Lanza

Today’s LA Times story is about Adam Lanza, the shooter in the Sandy Hook Elementary School horror in Newtown, Connecticut….

Here’s what didn’t make it into the story, from Olivia DeVivo, a thoughtful junior at UConn, who was kind enough to share her thoughts about the kid with whom she shared an English class when they both were sophomores at Newtown High School:

“…For Olivia DeVivo, Adam Lanza was a mystery throughout her sophomore year.

The two were in an Honors English class, reading Catcher in the Rye, Huckleberry Finn and Of Mice and Men.

Lanza sat in front of DeVivo, now 20, who remembers a young man who was thin, heartbreakingly shy and friendless.

“It was almost painful to have a conversation with him because he felt so uncomfortable,” DeVivo said.

DeVivo remembered a youth who was not “slacking off in the back of the classroom. He appeared to be paying attention, but when it came to class participation or any kind of interaction, he was not capable.”

“I’m not sure who his friends were. You can tell when there’s something a little off about a person. You could tell that it was more than just being shy,” she said.

Still, she said, “I never associated him with, or knew he had, any kind of disability.”

For a while Friday morning, five years later, DeVivo said she had trouble placing the name when she heard it for the first time connected to the shooting. It was only when she saw his photo that the memories of that sophomore English class came flooding back.

“I spent so much time in my English class wondering what he was thinking,” she said.

DeVivo is now at the University of Connecticut, double-majoring in Spanish and in psychology – the latter a long-time interest of hers.

“I think it was more because I was interested in psychology that I paid more attention and thinking maybe there was something more going on with him,” she said. “I didn’t want to reach out to him because he didn’t seem like he wanted to be approached and I didn’t want to put him in an uncomfortable.”

4 Comments

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4 Responses to FOR THE RECORD: Newtown Shooting and Adam Lanza

  1. Bom

    and done.The police canont help you here. And guns are already banned at school. Banning them further wouldn’t help that particular situation. You could put armed guards at schools..and the killers would more than likely pick another target, but it won’t stop people from doing something like that. Further, so long as their are high capacity weapons or weapons capable of mass damage they’ll use them. And again it would be impossible for the gov to limit these weapons to the point that crazy people who were unsupervised and otherwise had access to them wouldn’t use them. EVEN if they tried to confiscate all weapons in the country. Impossible. So, it would seem to me that what’s gonna have to change to make any’ impact on this is focus more on the people doing it. In Riwanda they killed hundreds of thousands of people with machetes and axes. Entire villages hacked to death. Was it the machete that did it? Or cause them to be able to do that? OR was it depravity of the human mind and spirit that caused that? If you removed every machete there you’d still have people who were intent on killing others any way they could. Perhaps it might take longer. But, does that really address the issue? I think arguments to say..that if all weapons that existed today had only a few bullets that in such situations where it’s too late (ie., the kid goes ballastic and ends up at a school with the gun) that he might have had a few less reloads or rounds to shoot off in the 10 mins he had before police even arrived at the scene and that this somehow would have inherently meant that he wouldn’t have sat there with police at bay .shooting those kids even if it took longer to do it. (ie., maybe there would have been 5 or 10 dead instead of 26). I find that argument a little short sighted. But, even if I didn’t the premise is impossible. If someone is trained in reloads even a 7 shot clip (last ban limit was 10) .can be changed in a few seconds. It would have made little difference to those waiting their turn to be shot. And all it would take is two of those (one in each hand). I’m not really seeing how that makes much difference to the outcome. And it surely would not prevent nor deter those people intent on committing such acts. Recognizing and keeping a deranged, mentally unstable young person bent on killing as many people as he can away from guns and schools and malls, etc would probably be the better route to take to have any impact on this situation. I share everyone’s grief over the horrific crime.Reply

  2. maureen

    I read in the NY Times that it was rumored that he may have had aspergers or autism

  3. Thanks Sam. Excellent bit. Glad you preserved it and shared it.

  4. Alexis Rhone Fancher

    It is about far more than gun control. It is about the state of disrepair of our mental health system. One cannot be addressed without addressing the other.

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