(Note 09/18/2014: the issue of gun-purchase dates, and who exactly owned the guns in the Lanza home, is more clearly explained and examined in this more recent post.)
The most alarming posts by Adam Lanza’s “Smiggles” account on ShockedBeyondBelief all occur at around the same time: December of 2011.
“Smiggles” was nearly always sarcastic in his posts, and rarely talked about himself. When he resurfaced at the ShockedBeyondBelief mass shooters forum late that fall, his writings took a particularly dark, and significantly more personal turn.
On December 16th, in a thread where users relate dreams they had that involved the Columbine shootings, his contribution was a detailed:
Today I dreamt a Columbine reference for the first time. I’ve probably never had one before because I’ve scarcely ever cared about Columbine. I began my dream by waking up at age 14 in my extremely dark bedroom during a power outage.
The dream itself involves “ghoulies” attacking his home, and is mostly insignificant, save a few passages:
As I was about to go into the kitchen, a huge purple monster with long arms leapt forth. […] I realized that it was some student I knew when I was 12. […] He said something to the extent of, “Everyone picked on me for being a huge purple monster, and so now I’m going to go Columbine. I already went to a bunch of other kids’ houses to find a partner, but they refused my offer, so I ate them. You’re next on the list. Do you want to join me?“
I ran down to the basement […] and I saw my brother soundly asleep.
Indeed, Lanza’s brother did live in the home’s basement, up until roughly four years before Adam’s dream. At the time of the dream, they hadn’t had any contact for almost a year. Later in the dream story, Adam expresses a fear that his brother became a different person (literally, in the dream) when he moved out of the house to go to college.
Lanza also recalls encountering his “nonexistent kindergarten-age sister” and, after his attempt to kiss her results in her crying, throwing her over a railing.
Shorter entries throughout the month suggest an increasingly erratic and hostile state of mind. In the popular “You know what I hate?” thread, Lanza’s December 7th entry answers simply:
Culture. I’ve been pissed out of my mind all night thinking about it. I should have been born a chimp. I would even settle for a post-language hunter-gatherer society.
Three days later, he openly wonders about calling John Zerzan’s radio show, with the aim of discussing the same subject (the “Travis the Chimp” call). The next day, he again returns to his hatred of culture, and describes his depressed mental state:
I spent all day ruminating over how much I hate culture. Now I’ve calmed down and am left lying on the floor, numbly perplexed over the foreign concept of loving life.
One week later, on December 17th, Lanza contributes to the thread “Teachers on power trips”, where he dismisses the phenomenon of “bullying” as symptomatic of a larger problem:
The power trips that you describe are going to be so prominent because of the entire philosophy behind education: the brutal indoctrination of pristine minds so as to propagate some delusional system of cultural values.
Is it really so ideal to have good and efficient citizens? All they’ll do is be more effective at propagating the system you hate. Power trips and bullying are just symptoms, not the disease itself.
Earlier in the month, he was uncharacteristically inquisitive about another poster’s memory of hearing about the Virginia Tech shooting when they were only in elementary school:
I was just thinking this morning about Virginia Tech and your age group. It feels strange how vtreviewpanel.org has been offline for months as if everything about the shooting is over and done with and no one would notice its absence. It still seems so recent, but it happened 1/3 of your life ago. Do you know how aware your peers are of it? Do you personally have any memories of it?
Eerily, just several posts above Lanza’s entry in the same thread, two other users converse about the lack of a need for security at elementary schools, with one arguing “that’s retarded. Why the fuck would some HS or JHS kid shoot up a fucking elementary school? Nothing like that has even happened before.”
On December 20th, Lanza made his now-infamous call to AnarchyRadio.
Four days later, in the late hours of Christmas eve, Lanza’s mental state had deteriorated even further. He posts twice:
Value is such a crazy thing.
I hate going through these extremely rare instances of wild mood swings that I have. I think this was the only time this year for me. I was as depressed as I get during my last post, and I’m fine with the interminable depression that I normally have, but now I’m incoherently giddy with glee. Well, relative to my baseline… Except now that I’m giddy, I can’t really say that I hate it because I think everything is delightful.
If depressives cut themselves to feel better, I wonder what cutting a happy-go-lucker would do. Santa’s supposed to be jolly. I hope he visits me tonight so I can find out.”
The posts are dated December 25th, but Lanza references a visit from Santa “tonight” – which would indicate Christmas Eve, the 24th:
Perhaps the time zone on the forum isn’t local; just as likely, Adam didn’t remember how the details of the Christmas scenario, and thought Santa Clause was traditionally supposed to “visit” on Christmas day.
After all, Christmas was a holiday that he refused to recognize or participate in in any way, refusing to allow a Christmas tree or any present exchange. It was a demand to which his mother generally acquiesced by this point. But for 2011 there appears to have been one exception.
When authorities searched the Lanza home in the days after December 14th, 2012, they found a check made out to Adam Lanza, from Nancy Lanza. The date read “Christmas day” and the memo field read “CZ 83”, a common model of semiautomatic pistol.
(note that the “C138” is a typo, corrected in the full report to “CZ 83”)
Although Nancy’s formatting of the date meant that no year was specified, an ATF records search included in the full report would show that Nancy completed a purchase of a Glock handgun less than two weeks later (Here there is also some degree of confusion, as a CZ83 is a different – although comparable – firearm from a Glock 20SF. Perhaps they hadn’t yet settled on which gun to buy, or perhaps Nancy thought they were the same thing; regardless, no CZ83 was ever purchased, so this must be the same transaction):
(January 5th is only the date that purchase completed; other paperwork found in the home shows that Nancy purchased the Glock online as early as December 21st.)
Just why Nancy would give her son a check for the purchase of a weapon that she herself would purchase anyway is also unclear; perhaps Adam had given her cash to make the surrogate purchase, and Nancy reimbursed him with the check, as if to say “no, I’ll pay, consider it a Christmas present.”
Regardless, the conclusion is the same.
For 2011, Nancy Lanza’s Christmas present for her mentally ill son was the handgun with which he would take his own life just a year later.
(Note: the official report suggests that the the investigators believed the “CZ 83″ checkcheck was for Christmas 2012, when Adam would have been even more unstable, having not left in his room in 3 months by this point. If this is so, presumably he never knew about the check, or his mother’s intended gift; neither lived to see that Christmas)
Screenshots of the posts quoted above: