In my last post on this topic, I talked about features of the Sandy Hook shooting that may have suggested Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP). In this post, I pose the question…
Umpqua Killer A Sandy Hook Copycat?
The killer who committed the Umpqua Community College massacre in Oregon may have been a copycat. Only three days before he committed the massacre in Oregon, his last online activity involved viewing a documentary about the Sandy Hook shootings in Connecticut.
Both Killers May Well Have Had A Common Mental Diagnosis
However, the connection between the two may have gone even deeper. Both had an Asperger’s diagnosis. The Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, was diagnosed as a young teenager Asperger’s syndrome by a psychiatrist from one of the best medical services in the country–a psychiatrist at Yale.
From his very first session with Lanza, The Yale Daily News quotes the doctor as saying that he “found Lanza to have a “profound” case of autism and concerning isolationist and antisocial tendencies.”
In Spite of Doctors, Mother Knows Best
But both were kept from completing treatment for the condition by their mothers, which are facts in evidence that raise the question of whether these are cases of Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy that merit attention from a public health point of view. Lanza was also found to have obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression and was given a referral for treatment and medication. However, according to U.K.’s Daily Mail, his mother, Nancy Lanza, pulled him from treatment after only four treatment sessions and stopped him from continuing to take the medication he was prescribed. Lanza’s relationship with his mother was his key motivation in killing her and then going on to kill the children at the kindergarten where she volunteered, as Daily Mail reports that he was jealous of her care for them rather than for him. Indeed, despite his mother’s objections as to how doctor’s were treating him, Lanza was poorly cared for when he committed the massacre in which he died, being severely undernourished.
Isolated With Mom
Lanza lived an isolated life. He had little contact with his father or anyone else other than his mother. What is more, according to the Connecticut police report on the Sandy Hook massacre cited by the Daily Mail, even in the home he holed up in his room with trash bags taped up to black out the windows.
Mom Supplied The Guns And Shooting Training
Despite the fact that her son was isolated from the world and poorly fed, Lanza’s mother nonetheless devoted herself to making sure he made it to the shooting range and had generous access to firearms. The Connecticut police investigation, according to the Daily Mail, found direct evidence in a Christmas check written in Ms. Lanza’s handwriting from her account to Adam Lanza expressly for the purchase of a gun. In the home, police also found used practice target sheets from gun ranges.
Removing Adam Lanza from treatment against medical advice, isolating him in the home, and placing above basic care for him his access to guns and shooting training proved to be his mother’s own undoing, as she was his first victim.
All of which raises the question: with such an obviously dangerous pattern, is this not a case of Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy in which the care giver needed intervention to save her own life as well as the lives of others?
In my next post, I will pull these facts together and reflect on them, and we can ponder the answer to this question.
Images from Pixabay.
Do you see an MSbP pattern in other shooting incidents in the news?
If so, please comment here! We’d love to follow-up and look for these clues.