YEARS AGO, I met a woman at a neighborhood pool party. She was an older mother who gave birth to twin sons in her forties. I remember her two boys. They had dark black hair and were jumping in the pool with all the normal energy and playfulness of their age. They were four years old at the time. This woman’s husband, who was not present, was in his sixties. The age of the parents was unusual and struck me as odd, but they seemed pleasant people. I occasionally saw them over the years at local events.
Two years ago, one of the twin sons, now in his early twenties, murdered his mother, his father and his twin brother with a samurai sword in their home in an otherwise normal suburban neighborhood.
For years, this son had been acting strangely. While his brother went to college, he remained home. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and, apparently, the family was attempting to cope on its own with this disorder. Aside from the gruesomeness of their deaths, I imagined hellish years as they encountered his increasing irrationality and paranoia. Their isolation was haunting in retrospect. Why had no one stepped in and institutionalized this young man? Did this couple, because of their love for their son, entertain false hopes? Where were the doctors to confine him to a mental institution?
In interviews after their murders, extended family members and relatives seemed detached from the situation, as was reportedly the case with the relatives of Adam Lanza.
Also, in retrospect, the age of the father of the boy who murdered his parents is telling. He was possibly too old and effete to take care of his family and to institutionalize his son. He was one of those fathers who was more playmate and soccer coach than authority figure. See Ed H.’s excellent comment at VFR on the effects of the weak, feminized father and the “feminization of everything.”
Read More »