What leads one to purchase a small arsenal of assault style firearms unless you are part of a militia in a war-torn country or a member of a drug cartel? What drives some of those in the U.S. to purchase an excess of guns to feel secure in their homes?
As more information evolves from the tragic killings of twenty 1st-graders and 6 adults at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, a profile has emerged of the mother of Adam Lanza, who herself was killed by her son prior to the school massacre. Nancy Lanza was killed with an assault rifle she purchased along with two other semi-automatic handguns, a shotgun and a hunting rifle.
Away from her house, friends characterized the 52-year old sandy-haired mom of Adam Lanza as a generous soul, who was willing to share the substantial income she received in an amiable divorce from her husband, Peter, in 2008. She was well-liked by her neighbors and many of the friends she played bunco with, a favorite parlor game of this small, affluent New England community.
But hidden beneath the surface was a woman who not only dealt with the looming threat from ever-increasing behavior problems of her young adult son who had Asperger’s syndrome, but one who had come to assimilate the fear that an economic collapse in this country was just around the corner. This latter state of mind drove her to start making preparations for such an event and in so doing, led her to purchase an assortment of weapons she perhaps felt were necessary to fend off those who hadn’t prepared and would thus come after those who did.
Nancy Lanza, whose gun collection was raided by her son Adam for Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook school, was part of the “prepper” movement, which urges readiness for social chaos by hoarding supplies and training with weapons.
“She prepared for the worst,” her sister-in-law Marsha Lanza told reporters. “Last time we visited her in person, we talked about prepping – are you ready for what could happen down the line, when the economy collapses?” SOURCE
As this revelation manifested itself, I couldn’t help but think how this “survivalist” seed that was planted in her mind was the origins of a crime that would shock a nation that was already becoming numb from the growing number of mass killings in this country. Who would have thought that the fear that gripped people like those at Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidians in Waco would be a causal factor that has now changed the way we look at gun ownership.
What was always a part of the end-timer fears found amongst small contingents of anti-government and zealous religious groups – usually blue-collar types with no more than a high school education at best – became a way of life for Nancy Lanza who was more a part of upper middle-income lifestyles that included a college education and an income derived from Wall Street activities.
There is a veritable smorgasbord of personalities and cults who preach that end-time conditions are upon us. There has been for as long as I have been alive. But it seems that such groups have become more pronounced over the last few years, ever since that “socialist” Obama was elected, implementing policies that some people have concluded will lead to economic ruin.
Though many of the people who take this tact genuinely feel that prophecies regarding an Armageddon are in place, there are those who raise this level of paranoia to take advantage of people’s fear simply to turn a buck for their own self-gain. People like self-proclaimed survivalist movement “pioneer” Miles Stair.
Stair has written a series of booklets and newsletters on such a movement and created a website, the End-Times Report where he warns adherents that “Time is fast running out to get preparations done for hard times.” One of the booklets he hawks on this website is entitled Survival Reloading that tells readers to “Keep your rifles and handguns shooting with properly reloaded ammunition using portable reloading equipment.” It comes as no surprise either that Mr. Stair also has another business he calls the Wick Shoppe that just happens to sell “the world’s largest selection of … quality kerosene items since 1999.”
I have no idea where Nancy Lanzer’s source of information came from about preparing for economic hard times that likely suggested arming herself. Nor do I want to dwell on this subject matter that has led many to spend what resources they have preparing for a dark day that exists more in the minds of people who are too easily convinced of such fears than planning for a future of promise and growth.
But I do raise this aspect that is now related to the tragedy in Newtown to demonstrate that guns in this country, once viewed as a source gathering food and a defense against unknown threats in frontier regions, has evolved into a culture that now makes this country the primary marketer of firearms around the world.
In 2011, US corporations sold 75% of all the arms sold in the international weapons market, some $66 billion of the $85 billion trade. Russia was the runner-up with only $4 billion in sales.
It is this culture of guns and their destructive capabilities we have developed along with other factors that create a fertile medium where the seeds of mass killings are planted in the minds of vulnerable people like Nancy’s son Adam. Most people who own guns to feel secure in their homes likely pose no threat to their community.
Not counting the innocent deaths of children who get ahold of their parents’ poorly secured guns and accidentally discharge them, guns are relatively safe until they get into the hands of that small percentage of people who are not legally qualified to own firearms and fall through the cracks. Background checks are required only with licensed dealers. Roughly 40% of the guns sold in this country are sold through gun shows and individuals who are not required to perform essential background checks. In the harried minds of such sick people who may also have been overwhelmed by socio-political tensions common today, guns will kill more people much easier than any other weapon at their disposal.
It is in this understanding that the efforts to regulate guns in American society needs to be addressed. Personally I would have no problem with it if guns were no longer a part of our lives. I did my share of game hunting as a youth and qualified with the M-14 rifle while serving in the Marines. I know their deadly capabilities when operated by thoughtful owners. I shutter at the death and destruction they exact in the hands of desperate criminals and mentally imbalanced individuals.
The insane notion aroused in many by the gun industry’s handmaiden, the National Rifle Association (NRA) that any all firearms are legitimate wares to offer the general public, has proven to be a nothing more than a deception to increase the profits of some 114 manufacturers in this country. Though on the surface they argue the more benign view that Americans have a right to feel secure in their homes, there is that underbelly of fear promoted by the other for-profit groups that create an unwarranted urgency to stock pile weapons in the events of economic collapse brought on by political upheavals or long-held prophecies of spiritual Armageddon. Alleged threats that often peter out shortly after they’re declared but which constantly keep some people on edge.
It is this frame of mind that Nancy Lanza apparently found herself a part of several years ago. A belief that required the purchase of deadly weapons and found a home in a place where a child with serious mental disorders would eventually get his hands on them and end the lives of 26 innocent people, most of them still years away from experiencing the joys of adolescent love and building a life around their dreams.
…the evidence is clear: we have the current gun laws — ineffective as they are — because we have neglected a right even more important to Americans than the right to bear arms: the right to be safely unarmed. SOURCE
The belief that the 2nd amendment was meant for anything other than forming a “well-armed militia” to feel secure in our communities or personal ownership of a simple firearm to feel secure in our homes is a false belief fostered by people who see potential earnings in the fear-gripped minds of otherwise normal, decent human beings. That their passions for profits would lead to a siege mentality in this country and put deadly weapons in the hands of people who cannot function rationally in everyday society is something that needs to be exposed.
The public debate on this issue should not be focused on taking guns away from the majority who own them, but to ensure that those who do are the least likely people to walk into a crowded mall, theater, school or public square and fire off multiple rounds in seconds, ripping flesh and bone from people who simply had the misfortune of being in what most would consider a safe environment. This is the conversation we need to start having now so those who complain that the blood isn’t yet dried from this recent tragedy won’t be making similar absurd remarks the next time it occurs.