I want to know why


Truly I am still finding it difficult to discuss running in the wake of what happened in Connecticut.

We went to the track on Sunday and ran some laps, followed by some planks.

Today I went out and ran 8 miles, the whole time recounting the horror of that tragedy in my mind while simultaneously trying to figure out why it happened.

Over the next few weeks I am sure we will hear many theories, but I think it is most important to see the big picture, to see that the cause not only lies buried deep in Adam Lanza’s dysfunctional mind,  but also in the dysfunction of our society.

What I love about books like The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner, is that they teach us about root causes, about digging deep for answers. 

In the Power of Habit, Duhigg cites a study in which Paul O’Neill was able to correlate infant mortality and a hole in teacher education.  He found that if teachers had a better understanding of Biology, that they could pass on their knowledge to teenage girls, who could then use it to make better nutritional choices as pregnant women.  When that need was filled, the mortality rate went down.

In Freakonomics, we learned that a reduction in crime was correlated to the Roe v. Wade decision.

So I have a hunch that academics and authors alike will want to study in-depth the relationship between video games and brain chemistry.  Perhaps growing up in a virtual world is pre-disposing children with developmental disorders to psychotic episodes during their shaky post-adolescent years. 

Perhaps they will keep going back further to early-childhood parenting dysfunction, or to the relative comfort which technology provides, creating an environment where psychopaths  can grow and proliferate?  I don’t know. 

But I want to know.

I want to know why a mother of a mentally ill son would isolate herself?  Why did her ex-husband feel comfortable moving to another town, relinquishing his parenting duties of a mentally unstable young man to a slight woman who was a bit paranoid and high-strung? (Financial support is great, but she had bigger problems on her hands.)

I want to know why she was worried about a financial crisis so terrible that she needed five guns to protect herself and was also hoarding food.  Did paranoia run in the family?  And if her ex-husband knew that she was a part of the so-called “preppers” movement and had assault weapons in her home, did he not worry about her ability to provide a stable environment for their disordered son?

(He should have worried.  The thought of the two of them living alone with those guns makes me shudder. Where was the voice of reason?)

But we don’t know the whole story.  By all accounts everyone was doing their best, but sometimes parenting is so freaking hard that we have to go beyond our best.  We have to get it together and ask for help and change our lives.

We have to take away video games and computers and send our boys out to do hard stuff instead of living in strange fantasy worlds. 

We have to hold them when they are infants, get to know them, so that we will see the signs of unrest or distress when they are older.

We have to do whatever it takes so that this never, ever happens again.


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