When blogger Liza Long first came out with her thoughtful post Thinking the Unthinkable pursuant to the senseless carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary school courtesy of Adam Lanza her post was widely received and regarded as a poignant regard of the challenges of raising mentally ill children (which for all intents and purposes fits the identity of Adam Lanza). Nevertheless the tide has now turned and Liza Long has now found herself on the battering end of commentators who now regard her as a failed mother.
Wrote Long initially on her blog the Anarchist Soccer Mom : “I love my son. But he terrifies me.” She wrote of her 13-year-old, pseudonymously called Michael, describing both his violent episodes and tender moments of genius: “I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys — and their mothers — need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.”
Noted writer writer Sarah Kendzior explored previous entries on Long’s website, calling her dispatches from motherhood “vindictive and cruel” and worrying about the attention Long was drawing to her teenager, “who has already had his reputation destroyed and who may be facing serious harm.” She added, “This ‘national conversation’ on mental illness needs to include the mental illness of mothers and the online privacy of their children.”
“A child does not deserve to have his mother embark on a media tour promoting him as a future mass murderer,” Kendzior said in a follow-up. “The Long family deserves help and understanding, but above all, her children deserve privacy. Long seems to have little interest in this and is embarking on a media tour tomorrow. I hope she changes her mind for the sake of her son.”
gawker: Writing yesterday on her own blog, academic Sarah Kendzior points to a number of overlooked aspects of Long’s parenting style that “tell a different story” than that of an overwhelmed mother dealing with a mass murderer in the making.
Linking to blog posts written by Long in 2010, Kendzior attempts to paint a portrait of a woman with her own history of mental illness and violent tendencies.
Long’s “Adam Lanza” — then 11 — had already been incarcerated four times at the behest of his allegedly abusive father, at least once “for not doing his chores.”
This naturally elicited a plethora of rebuke towards Kendzior which then led to her releasing a response which avowed that Long’s latest post must be read in context to her previous posts.
But unlike so often in the real world, the two authors momentarily ago reached a settlement with both appearing to settle their differences and releasing a a joint statement calling for “affordable, quality mental health care for families” as well as “support for families who have a relative who is struggling.”
The statement reads, in part:
Our nation has suffered enough in the aftermath of Newtown. We are not interested in being part of a ‘mommy war’. We are interested in opening a serious conversation on what can be done for families in need. Let’s work together and make our country better.
Reflected a variety of commentators on the web:
I hope her son and everyone like him gets the help they need. But, I had a creepy feeling that she was enjoying the attention a little too much.
I applaud Sarah Kendzior for beinf brave enough to challenge the bullshit of Liza Long. People don’t want to hear the truth. They love a “victim” and who are you to dare question them. I know it from personal experience. I dared to post a comment criticising Long and have recived more than 600 rabid responses from faux-outraged people.
It’s unfashionable these days to expect parents to actually parent their children. Anyone who dares to criticise parents’ unwillingness to take responsibility is savaged by a pack of “liberal” attack dogs. None of us live in a vacuum. Our choices have consequences, not just for us, but for the broader community in which we live. That means we each need to take responsibility. It’s not fun. It’s not fashionable. But it’s reality.
Thank you, Sarah Kendzior.
I find both women’s perspectives fascinating, actually.
And is there a part of me that loves the idea of this culture finally discussing mental illness in a serious way? Oh, yes. Yes.
People need to be VERY CAREFUL projecting their problems on to others. We know little to nothing about the Lanza family. I have heard contradictory things about the mother: She feared for her safety so she had guns in the household versus she was a gun enthusiasist so she collected guns. These are two different things. She lived in an affluent, crime free neighborhood. Why was the fear so extreme that she kept assault weapons? I also heard on CBS and only on CBS from a report by contributor John Miller that people had stated that the mother was afraid that the economy would collapse and so she kept a large number of weapons for defense. Was this woman who taught her dysfunctional son how to shoot and made a large number of weapons available to him paranoid? Was she a doomsday-crime obsessed-anti-government gun fanatic? Was she mentally ill? I don’t know. But to assume that her son was mentally ill and that she was fine is not right. To assume it was just poor judgment on her part is not right. It doesn’t add up. Why teach a dysfunctional individual how to effectively kill? Because that’s what guns are for. Love guns or hate them or be indifferent. That’s what they are for – to kill. With respect to what went on in that household, we don’t know yet and perhaps never will But to label the mother a victim is not totally accurate. She enabled him to do what he did. And when people raise their children as she did with her youngest son, they become everybody’s problem.
This lady needs help alright, she needs a therapist. She’s an attention whoring opportunist who is latching onto this tragedy for attention and notoriety. Shameful. She blogs terrible things about her children for all the world to see, for attention. Did they give her an academy award after her performance in that video? She sure deserves one.