Nancy Lanza Is Rarely Counted As a Sandy Hook Victim

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Nancy Lanza.
Nancy Lanza. Photo: Rex/Rex USA

With few clues to explain why 20-year-old Adam Lanza went on a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week, much of the speculation — and blame — has fallen on his mother. Though police have not released any information on how Nancy Lanza's guns were stored or what treatment she sought for her son, many are furious at her for teaching him to shoot in the first place and failing to foresee that he was capable of an act of horrific violence. Police say that Nancy was found in her bed with four bullets in her head, making her Adam's first victim. However, the Washington Post notes that memorials in Newtown, Connecticut, only list the 26 victims — twenty children and six adults — who were killed in the school.

"I am feeling that there is more anger toward the mother than there is toward the son," said one Newtown parent. "Why would a woman who had a son like this, who clearly had serious issues, keep assault rifles in the house and teach him how to shoot them?" she wondered. "To deal with that, there’s a feeling here that we’re just going to focus on the 26 innocent people who died at the school."

"Maybe somewhere there is a deep thought that the shooter's mother could be responsible for leaving the guns available," said another local, who opted not to include Nancy Lanza in his store's memorial. "How could he reach those guns? If she had kept them in a safer place, this thing might not have happened."

A gun-shop owner who sold Lanza a weapon is cooperating with police, and told a local ABC affiliate that he is "absolutely appalled that a product we sold several years ago would be used in this type of horrendous crime."

Reports now indicate that Nancy Lanza spent from Tuesday afternoon to Thursday afternoon of last week on a "mini-vacation" in New Hampshire, about four and a half hours from Newtown. The following morning, after returning home, she was shot dead by her son as he began his assault. Her body has been claimed by family in New Hampshire.

But across the country, there are those opting not to acknowledge her death. When President Obama spoke in Newtown on Sunday, he said, "We gather here in memory of twenty beautiful children and six remarkable adults." According to the Post, as people watched his remarks on a television in My Place, the restaurant where Nancy Lanza was a regular, one of her friends muttered, "Seven."

This post has been updated throughout.