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‘Do Something’? Well, What?

As more information about Adam Lanza’s family comes out, we’re learning that the troubled young man had an array of what we call “resources” available to him. His parents were rich, and his mother had the wherewithal, including the liberty, to do all kinds of things to try to help him.

 “She wasn’t afraid to be there for her kids,” Marsha Lanza, married to Peter Lanza’s brother Michael, said at her home in Crystal Lake, Ill. “She was involved. That’s why, when I heard that he shot her, that floored me. That just didn’t make sense to me, because your mom did all this stuff for you, what the hell were you thinking? Why did you take your revenge out on her? What did she do?”

It’s easy now to say what she shouldn’t have done: take Adam to the firing range. But how can any of us be certain what we would or wouldn’t have done in her situation?

A friend of mine wrote me the other day with the Newtown massacre is very much on his mind. In his neighborhood, there’s a weird, older, special-needs kid kind of like Adam Lanza. The kid has had some run-ins with the law. He scares people. Some are afraid to let their kids roam free in their own neighborhood because this big weird kid is out there. The weird kid’s family must know their son is problematic, but they don’t seem to be doing anything. Don’t seem to be; the truth is, nobody knows for sure, because they keep to themselves. But they seem to be clueless. And for all anybody knows, they’re the litigious type, the kind of people you don’t want to get mixed up with.

The police have been called on this kid over his strange, threatening behavior, but they say there’s nothing they can do at this point. My friend says the Newtown thing forces him to confront his fears over this kid, and his fears for his own children with this boy roaming free in the neighborhood. But what can he do?

Odds are that this kid will never pull an Adam Lanza, and never even do anything serious. But if he does, it will have been perfectly clear to everyone what they ought to have done to have stopped him. As it is now with Adam Lanza. But now? Not so much.

This stuff is harder than we think.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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