Nancy Lanza: Mother and Co-conspirator- Right-Wing Hate Speech, Guns and Violent Computer Games Fan the Flames of Mental Illness

By: Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair


What Adam Lanza did on Friday morning, December 14, 2012, in the Sandy Hook Elementary School defies description or comprehension. We will not rehash the horrific details of the crime or the impact it had on the peaceful New England community where it occurred. The mainstream media has more than adequately fulfilled this public service.

No, our focus here is different.


Nancy Lanza, Adam Lanza’s 56-year-old mother, was an avid gun enthusiast who, besides regularly playing parlor games, was a regular target-shooting “end of times” survivalist. Born and reared in rural New Hampshire, Nancy Lanza had been around guns most all of her life. Her brother, in fact, became a police officer. Thus, a reasonable assumption can be drawn that Nancy Lanza was familiar with the purpose of guns and the danger they posed in the wrong hands.


Adam Lanza was a severely troubled young man. He always had been from the days when he attended the same Sandy Hook Elementary where he inflicted so much death and pain. His mother knew he had serious mental and emotional problems. She had to home-school him because he did not “fit in” with other kids. As Adam grew older, he became increasingly more difficult to manage. Nancy had expressed deep concerns about his mental and behavioral problems to friends and family in the months leading up to that tragic Friday morning when Adam put several bullets into her head as she lay in bed before killing 26 other people, including 20 innocent 6-and-7 year old children.


Nancy Lanza had small cache of weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in her home, including the 10 mm Glock, 9 mm Sig Sauer, and .223 Bushmaster semi-automatic assault rifle Adam Lanza took to the elementary school to carry out his murderous rampage. All three weapons, and others, were legally registered to Nancy, who taught Adam how to use these weapons. It has been reported that the mother frequently took her sons to the firing range for target shooting.


Let us be honest, the three weapons Adam Lanza took to the Sandy Hook Elementary School have one purpose—to kill human beings. They are not manufactured for any other purpose. And people who own them and frequently use them on the target range do so in order to be prepared to kill human beings, if necessary. They do not own and practice with them “for fun” or “for sporting reasons” or to “shoot a bear in the woods.” They purchase them and practice with them to be as skilled as possible to kill human beings under threatening circumstances.  We will not engage in a legal discussion about gun control or about the positive attributes of gun ownership.  We understand there are responsible gun owners and legitimate arguments on all sides of the issue.


What we do know is this: Nancy Lanza taught a mentally disturbed son—one with whom she was having serious difficulty managing—how to use weapons whose only purpose is to inflict violence on other human beings. She also knew that her son had become obsessed with violence, spending his entire day on his computer playing violent video games (according to media reports). So while Nancy was sitting with friends discussing landscaping and backyard gardening during which she often lamented about Adam’s mental health deterioration, the 20-year-old was in his mother’s home at the computer watching video games that glorified violence and served it up as a legitimate response to any social or personal difficulty faced by an individual. Those video games did for the mentally disturbed Adam Lanza what semi-automatic weapons, mountains of ammo and U.N conspiracies do for the fanatics getting ready for the “black helicopters” to come in the middle of the night and haul them off to “concentration camps.”  They fanned the flame…


We don’t like to “speak ill of the dead” but Nancy Lanza was an “un-indicted co-conspirator” in the terrible tragedy that occurred inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School. She not only made the weapons available but she taught a mentally disturbed individual how to use these weapons of mass destruction with proficiency.   Her fingerprints are on those murderous weapons, the very weapons that killed her and 26 innocent human beings.


It has been reported that Nancy Lanza purchased and kept the weapons for “self- protection,” that guns were her hobby.  It has also been reported that shewas a proud gun owner and “survivalist” preparing for economic collapse.  A brain washed adherent to the hate and fear that right-wing, end of times shock-jocks, like the fanatical Glenn Beck, spew with ever increasing vitriol.


Newtown has been declared one of the “safest” communities in America. While it is difficult for us to conceive of any real threat she may have perceived in Newtown, a pump shotgun would have more than sufficed to deal with any potential threat to her home. She legally owned five guns, including a assault rifle, two hand guns and a shot gun—coup d’états  have been carried out with fewer weapons and less bloodshed.


Granted, Nancy lived alone in a large house exposing her to some risks.


In July 2007, Steven Joseph Hayes and Joshua Komisajevsky invaded the home of William and Jennifer Petit in Cheshire, Connecticut—just 28 miles and 34 minutes from Newton—where they brutally murdered Jennifer and the two Petit daughters (11-year-old Michaela and 17-year-old Hayley). William managed to survive the attack and escape. Both Hayes and Komisajevsky were convicted, sentenced to death, and are now sitting on Connecticut’s death row awaiting their appointment with death.



The Petit murders attracted national and international media attention, especially throughout the State of Connecticut. Like Newtown, Cheshire is considered a peaceful community of 30,000 that did not have a single murder in it in 2006, the year prior to the 2007 Petit murders. In fact, the community did not have a single murder in the three-year period following the murders between 2008-2010.


We do not know when Nancy Lanza purchased her cache of weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition—before or after the Petit murders. But, considering the almost non-existence of violent crime in Newtown and the extremely low rate of violent crime throughout most communities in Connecticut, there was no reasonable “self-protection” need for military assault-type weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition to defend against a potential criminal home invasion.


Parents who give birth to seriously mentally disturbed children not only have a familial obligation to protect their children, but also an equal responsibility to protect the larger community from those children when it is obvious they pose a threat to others. Nancy Lanza knew her son was dangerous to himself and others. That’s why she kept him at home, and even there, it became increasingly obvious that he was becoming more dangerous. Rather than seek mental health intervention and/or institutional commitment, she trained him how to use weapons of mass human destruction, while he lived in a virtual world that glorified violence with the same kind of weapons she had trained him to use.  She also quite likely shared her irrational fears of the looming end of the American economy, the end of times, and the vivid horrors those living in America would experience.  This was obviously a cocktail for disaster.


Sorry folks, we believe there was more than one perpetrator of the heartbreaking, mass destruction of innocent human life that occurred in that Sandy Hook Elementary School. There is plenty of blame to spread around…


By: Houston Criminal Attorney John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair