On December 11, 2011, “Anarchy Radio” host John Zerzan took a call from someone who called himself Greg. He told Zerzan he was a fan of his writing. Then Greg discusses a 2009 Stamford Connecticut incident involving a domesticated chimpanzee named Travis. A police officer shot and killed Travis in self -defense after Travis facially disfigured and nearly killed a woman. Zerzan was completely unaware of the incident and just listened as Greg explained why Travis, the chimp, was not a monster.
Greg believed that the actions taken by Travis could also have been taken by a human. He stated that Travis was raised as a human and was taking Zanex, a prescription tranquilizer used by humans. Greg suggested that Travis was a product of his environment. He believed that civilization caused Travis’ problem. Greg believed Travis was no different than a mentally handicapped human. He surmised that some little thing Travis experienced was the last straw. Greg suggested Travis’ actions paralleled the actions of a teenaged mall shooter. Zerzan thanks Greg for his comments and notes how articulate he is. “Greg,” as it turns out, was Adam Lanza, calling a year before the Sandy Hook massacre. It is clear as one listens to the tape of the call that Lanza identified with Travis.
The Daily News reported the Sandy Hook Report verified that as of December, 2009 Lanza began posting online under the screen name “Smiggles” to the “Shocked Beyond Belief “website which focuses on the Columbine massacre and related topics. As Smiggles, Adam Lanza praised Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik in an Aug. 28, 2011 post for “topping the handiwork” of Woo Bum-Kon.
On April 27, 1982. Woo Bum-Kon, a South Korean police officer killed 56 people and wounded 35 others in an 8-hour siege. He killed himself and three hostages by detonating grenades as the police approached. Lanza was impressed that Woo Bum-Kon killed people simply to kill. This incident occurred 10 years before Lanza’s birth, yet he was aware of the most heinous mass murder in the modern age.
On July 22, 2011, Anders Brevik set off a bomb in the government district of Oslov, Norway killing 8 people and then gunned down 69 others, mostly teenagers, at a Labor Party youth camp. Initially, Smiggles was impressed with Anders Breivik’s achievement. Smiggles acknowledged that Woo Bum-Kon had been outdone. Once Smiggles realized Breivik’s motivation was based on his political beliefs, he thought less of this achievement since the actions taken were not that of a “pure” mass-killer. Smiggles also discussed Una-Bomber Ted Kaczynski and others, yet his chief interest seemed focused on Woo Bum-Kon and who would surpass him, since in Smiggles’ eyes Brevik failed to do so.
The Connecticut State Police (CSP) investigation revealed that Lanza extensively researched the 2006 Amish School shooting of 10 girls in Pennsylvania. Charles Carl Roberts IV held the girls hostage until he shot them and then turned his gun on himself. The girls ranged in age from 6 to 13. Five girls died in the one-room schoolhouse. The investigation also uncovered that Lanza had played a computer game called “School Shooting” in which “the player controls a character who enters a school and shoots at students.”
Adam Lanza had mental health issues since elementary school. The investigation revealed he refused to take medication. Lanza locked himself in the basement where he played violent video games and communicated to his mother only by e-mail, while living in the same house. Lanza’s interpersonal skills had deteriorated. All of these actions are warning signs. Although his mother’s concern about her son continued to grow she didn’t reach out for intervention. Adam Lanza lacked necessary parental supervision, social skills, and medical attention, ultimately leading to a transformation to a mass murderer.
An Active Shooter Incident (ASI) develops over time. Lanza was fascinated with the Columbine massacre, the actions of Woo Bum-Kon, Anders Brevik, the Amish School shooting, and other incidents. This is the time when police should have been called for assistance. If the police had been notified, Lanza could have been taken into custody and held for medical attention.
Usually, a potential Active Shooter (AS ) evolves from experiencing a fantasy to developing a plan. In Lanza’s case, it appears that preparation preceded the formulation of a plan because his parents introduced him to guns at an early age and spent time with him target shooting even though he was dysfunctional. Brevik’s failure to top Woo Bum-Kon on July 22, 2011 disappointed Lanza since he had been waiting for someone to come forward to kill more people. Is this when Lanza put his plan together while locked in his basement practicing on a school shooter video game? Only Lanza knows what happened.
On December 14, 2012, Lanza’s fantasy about killing ended when he acted out. He executed his mother, destroyed his two computers, and killed 20 students and 6 adults at Sandy Hook. However, Lanza was prepared to kill many more. He was carrying 30 pounds of ammunition.
As of December 30, 2011, Adam Lanza (posting as Smiggles) joined the Shocked Beyond Belief website and wrote 296 posts. The Sandy Hook incident remains a shock beyond belief. The Internet provides new challenges for law enforcement. Pedophiles have been arrested after arranging on the Internet to meet minors. Domestic terrorist incidents have been overcome by Internet monitoring resulting in foiled terrorist actions. It’s time to monitor social media to circumvent potential ASIs in the developmental stages.
Jim Gaffney, MPA is Law Enforcement Today’s risk management /police administration contributor. He has served with a metro-New York police department for over 25 years in varying capacities, culminating with Executive Officer and PIO. He is a member of ILEETA, IACP, IACSP, and FBI – LEEDA. Jim is a Certified Force Science Analyst. He mentors law enforcement’s next generation as an adjunct criminal justice professor in the New York City area. Jim brings the street into the classroom to prepare students today for their roles as police officers tomorrow. He is CEO of Bright Line Consulting and can be reached viawww.brightlinepoliceconsulting.com
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