From the New York Times this morning:

Mr. Lanza, 20, then drove his mother’s car to Sandy Hook Elementary School. Outfitted in combat gear and armed with semiautomatic pistols and a semiautomatic rifle that had been purchased by his mother, Mr. Lanza forced his way into the building and then chose his victims with a brutal efficiency, according to law enforcement officials.


A federal law enforcement official said the three guns recovered at the school — Glock and Sig Sauer pistols and an M4 .223-caliber Carbine — were bought legally by the gunman’s mother and registered in her name. Other weapons were recovered from her home, the official said.

Absent a total and draconian ban on weapons, how do you write a gun control law that can prevent a middle-aged suburban Connecticut woman who enjoys target shooting from buying guns?

People talk about the lack of mental health services as a potential factor here. We don’t yet know enough about Adam Lanza’s condition, and how it might have played into his killing spree, to make this diagnosis. That said, it should be noted that Adam Lanza was an adult, and with his status as an adult comes certain rights. I am friends with a family in which the adult son became mentally ill, and went to live on the streets. His parents couldn’t force him to take his medication, and couldn’t control him at all. He was, and is, free. I suppose we’ll know soon enough what Adam Lanza’s particular situation was, but it’s entirely possible that the services were there for him, but his mother either did not avail themselves of the services on her son’s behalf, or she tried to get him to do so, but could not.

It could be the case that the dead Nancy Lanza was a negligent parent, keeping guns in the house around a mentally ill young man. If so, how are you going to pass legislation to prevent that from happening? It can’t be done. Besides, even if there were such a law, there is no worse punishment than death, which is what Nancy Lanza suffered yesterday at the hands of her boy.

Should security be better at our schools? They had a good security system at Sandy Hook Elementary. The doors were locked and visitors needed to be buzzed in. Somehow, Adam Lanza defeated the system and forced himself into the school. From the Times:

Outfitted in combat gear, Mr. Lanza forced his way into the school, apparently defeating an intercom system that was supposed to keep people out during the day unless someone inside buzzed them in. This contradicted earlier reports that he had been recognized and allowed to enter.

“He was not voluntarily let into the school at all,” Lieutenant Vance said. “He forced his way in.”

We all want to do something, anything, to keep this from happening again. Some measures might make sense, others might be less reasonable. Still, we shouldn’t lie to ourselves about our diminished capacity for control. In a sense, we are condemned to be free.