November 26, 2013

One Person Might Have Made a Difference. ~ Michelle Marchildon

The report is in.

After nearly a year, Connecticut authorities have determined that Adam Lanza acted alone when he walked into the Sandy Hook Elementary school and murdered 20 first graders and six more adults.

I disagree.

I believe that when mental illness affects a person, who then affects his family, who then affects his community, it is not one person acting alone. Rather, we are in this together.

Here in Colorado we are, tragically, familiar with the effects of homicidal insanity. While prosecutors seek the death penalty for the shooter in the Aurora movie theater, the trial has been postponed indefinitely to determine if he is too mentally ill to be prosecuted.

The delays and motions and legal wrangling can’t bring back the lives of the 12 victims or the 70 others who were left permanently maimed.

Then, there is Columbine High School.

Enough said.

Do these individuals truly act alone? Or could someone have stepped in before it was too late?

In the case of Adam Lanza and the Sandy Hook Elementary School, I think there is more than enough blame to go around starting with his mother, Nancy Lanza. Her son was mentally ill, detached from the world, anti-social and deeply disturbed, so she thought it would be a good idea to buy him guns. They amassed an arsenal at their home which included semi-automatic weapons and more than 300 rounds of ammunition.

I am speechless. Really, I am speechless.

My completely unfounded and undocumented theory is that Nancy Lanza also had some kind of mental illness. I am just guessing that she might have cracked under the pressure of caring for her son, so because it made him happy, she bought him guns the way a mother might capitulate and buy a candy bar at the grocery store.

Could we have done better? There were bystanders to the family that noticed things were not right. There were kids who noticed that Adam spent a lot of time playing violent video games, and then later, shooting guns. There was a father, somewhere. And isn’t anyone at the shooting range concerned when a developmentally disabled boy starts muttering about sci-fi games and killing people?


It takes a village to raise a child, but in these times we seem to be unclear about boundaries. I am tired of hearing, “I don’t want to get involved.”


Years ago, I witnessed a child being bullied by adults. We were sitting outside at a restaurant and the boy’s father, so I presumed, started slapping and hitting him. I was in shock and in my youth, I just sat there dumbfounded. What I wish I could do now if I only had that day back.

When I count my regrets at the end of my life, this is one of them.

We teach our children to be kind and considerate and stand up for what is right, but as adults we often turn away. When we see others who are ill, who are being mistreated, even in something as simple as when one person is unkind to another, we say, “It’s not my business,” or, “I don’t want to get involved.”

Well, we are involved now. When 20 innocent children and six adults die, we are in this together.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter,” said Martin Luther King Jr.

A part of me died the day that child was being mistreated, and I did nothing.

The power of just one person who might have seen something, who might have spoken up or called the authorities, who might have gotten these people some help, could have made the biggest difference of all.

I hope that next time I see something wrong, I will be that power of one who can make a difference.


Want 15 free additional reads weekly, just our best?

Get our weekly newsletter.

Editor: Bryonie Wise

Read 1 Comment and Reply

Read 1 comment and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Michelle Marchildon  |  Contribution: 12,400