(It doesn’t appear that the Connecticut State Attorney’s Office was aware of this recording’s existence when they wrapped up their official report last month. Or if they were, they left it out. Which is a shame, because the Sandy Hook shooter practically spells out his motive here, in his own words and voice.)
On December 20th, 2011, Adam Lanza called in to a talk radio program, “AnarchyRadio,” broadcasted on KWVA 88.1FM out of the University of Oregon. Here is the portion of the show that contains the entirety of his call (although he claims his name is “Greg”, it is in fact Adam Lanza, which I will establish later in this post):
The show is hosted by John Zerzan, a writer described by The Atlantic as “an intellectual leader of the anarcho-primitivist movement, an ideology that regards technology as a destroyer of human communities.”
The reason for Lanza’s interest in Zerzan’s writings is plainly evident in the call itself; Lanza calls to share a story about Travis the chimp, a domesticated chimpanzee that in 2009 “snapped,” and viciously attacked 55 year-old Charla Nash, a friend of the chimp’s owner. The attack was seemingly random, nearly cost the victim her life, and ended when the chimp was shot by police.
Lanza outlines how the chimp’s violent episode can be explained by his upbringing “as if he were a [human] child”, and argues that Travis’s “civilized” upbringing was what led to his attack.
Here I have transcribed the most relevant portion of the conversation (all emphasis, and any errors, are mine):
(starting at 2:56)
LANZA: And…(chuckles) um, it might not seem very relevant, but I’m bringing it up because afterward, everyone was condemning his owner for, saying how irresponsible she was for raising a chimp like it was a child, and that she should have that something like this would happen, because chimps aren’t supposed to be living in civilization, they’re supposed to be living in the wild, among each other. But, their criticism stops there-–
LANZA: —and the implication is that there’s no way that anything could have gone wrong in this life if he were living in this civilization as a human, rather than a chimp.
HOST: Ah, indeed.
LANZA: Because, uh, he brings up questions about this whole process of child-raising.
LANZA: Civilization isn’t something which just happens to gently exist without us having to do anything, because every newborn child — human child — is born in a chimp-like state, and civilization is only sustained by conditioning them for years on end, so that they’ll accept it for what it is, and since we’ve gone through this conditioning, we can observe a human family raising a human child –and I’m sure that even you have trouble intuitively seeing it as something unnatural– but when we see a chimp in that position, we immediately know that there’s something profoundly wrong with the situation. And it’s easy to say there’s something wrong with it simply because it’s a chimp, but what’s the real difference between us and our closest relatives?
Travis wasn’t an untamed monster at all. Um, he wasn’t just feigning domestication, he was civilized. Um, he was able to integrate into society, he was a chimp actor when he was younger, and his owner drove him around the city frequently in association with her towing business, where he met many different people, and got along with everyone. If Travis had been some nasty monster all his life, it would have been widely reported. But, to the contrary, it seems like everyone who knew him said how shocked they were that Travis had been so savage, because they knew him as a sweet child, and… there were two isolated incidents early in his life where he acted aggressively, but… summarizing them would take too long, so basically I’ll just say that he didn’t really any differently than a human child would, and the people who would use that as an indictment against having chimps live as humans do wouldn’t apply the same thing to humans, so it’s just kind of irrelevant.
LANZA: But anyway, look what civilization did to him: it had the same exact effect on him as it has on humans. He was profoundly sick, in every sense of the term, and he had to resort to these surrogate activities like watching baseball, and looking at pictures on a computer screen, and taking Xanax. He was a complete mess.
LANZA: And his attack wasn’t simply because he was a senselessly violent, impulsive chimp. Uhm, which was how his behavior was universally portrayed. Um, immediately before the attack, he had desperately been wanting his owner to drive him somewhere, and the best reason I can think of for why he would want that, looking at his entire life, would be that… some little thing he experienced was the last straw, and he was overwhelmed at the life that he had, and he wanted to get out of it by changing his environment, and the best way that he knew how to deal with that was getting his owner to drive him somewhere else.
LANZA: And when his owner’s… owner’s friend, arrived, he knew that she was trying to coax him back into his place of domestication, and he couldn’t handle that, so he attacked her, and anyone else who approached them. And dismissing his attack as simply being the senseless violence and impulsiveness of a chimp, instead of a human, is wishful thinking at best.
LANZA: His attack can be seen entirely parallel to the attacks and random acts of violence that you bring up on your show every week, committed by humans, which the mainstream also has no explanation for-and-
LANZA: –and, actual humans… I just- just don’t think it would be such a stretch to say that he very well could have been a teenage mall shooter or something like that.
I am, of course, in no way suggesting that John Zerzan bears any responsibility for Lanza’s actions, only that Lanza’s motives may have been based on beliefs found in, or supported by, Zerzan’s writings. In fact, it’s likely that Lanza’s interest in mass shootings is what led him to John Zerzan’s philosophy, rather than vice versa; in the interview with The Atlantic, published in October 2011 (two months before Lanza’s phone call), Zerzan gave his view on the phenomenon of mass shootings:
You have these extreme sociological phenomena like mass shootings that seem to occur with some regularity now. It seems to me that when you no longer have community, and you know longer have solidarity, then almost anything can happen. And the technology is not helping. It’s no substitute for real cohesion and connection. Everybody uses that term – every politician, every developer – talks about community, but it’s disappeared with the advent of mass society.
Part II: How do I know that “Greg” is Adam Lanza?
It all starts with the Connecticut State Police’s search warrants. The two key facts are that Adam Lanza used the online alias “Smiggles”, and that “One of the internet blogs on which the shooter posted focused on mass shootings and in particular the Columbine shootings.” Both of these references are found in the Sandy Hook final report, released by the Connecticut State Attorney’s office:
In the course of my own investigation, I have determined that this Columbine focused “blog”, or at least one of them, was in fact Shocked Beyond Belief, a forum which has the full title “The new home of the Super Columbine Massacre RPG Discussion Forum” – and his username was Smiggles.
A frequent subject of Smiggles’s posts were the merits of wild chimpanzee society, an interest of Lanza’s also noted numerous times in the Sandy Hook report:
Then, on September 13th, 2011, Smiggles posts a thread to SBB entitled “RIP Travis the Chimp!”:
(here is a link to the cached post)
Smiggles re-visits the thread several times, posting new replies.
Then, on December 10th, 2011 (ten days before “Greg” makes his call) he posts again:
I should call in on John Zerzan’s radio program about Travis. I’m really surprised that I haven’t been able to find anything he’s written or said about the incident, considering how often he brings up random acts of violence. It seems like Travis would be a poster-chimp of his philosophy.
Finally, on December 20th, the day after the call from “Greg”, Smiggles posts a link to the show, reviewing his performance:
My call starts at 38:00.
It didn’t go as horribly as I anticipated. I wish that I hadn’t spoken nonstop about Travis for so long, but I didn’t want to seem crazy by randomly bringing up a chimpanzee for unknown reasons. And despite my failed attempt at having a normal voice, I at least sounded less incoherent than usual. I normally speak much softer and swifter, with less articulation, less inflection, and more mumbling.
So, that is my source for proving that Adam Lanza and “Greg” are one and the same: Adam Lanza himself.
Part III: Supporting Evidence
The above information, I submit, shows conclusively that “Smiggles” and “Greg” are both Adam Lanza. However, in researching this topic I’ve come across many other signs that this is the case, mainly consistencies between the information in the official report (or just known facts about Lanza) and posts by Smiggles. I will post several here, and update as I go (links will be to the quoted cached forum threads):
“I’m still waiting for a mass shooter who eschews 9mm pistols and instead buys an AK-47 pistol, 30 30-round magazines, and 1000 hollow points….” (while Lanza did not use an AK-47, he did bring copious 30-round magazines with him to Sandy Hook, and this is generally consistent with with his fixation on firepower)
“How about how Mad_Bomber has been here for three years and he still hasn’t gone on a rampage? I thought he would’ve been on my catalog of mass murderers by now. 😦 ” (the “catalog of mass murders” is a spreadsheet on Lanza’s hard drive, noted in the full official report on Sandy Hook and frequently cited in news stories)
“I don’t have any clue what transhumanists are thinking. My wet dream is living in the wild with apes, and theirs is living in a computer with AI.” (consistent with official report re: chimp society, and “Greg’s” radio appearance.)
“Gay marriage is legal in my state.” (Same-sex marriage was legalized in Connecticut in 2008)
“I don’t like holidays, but I would say Halloween. It marks the beginning of my favorite time of the year, November-December, when the sunlight always seems to be its dimmest. Because of the snow, January and February always seem to be intolerably bright. I hate the sun so much. In any event, it’s neat that Halloween is the only widely-observed holiday which sort of has the potential to be tied to despair.” (according to the official report, Lanza hated holiday, was sensitive to light, and all of the windows in his room were completely blacked out, as show in crime scene photos:
(from the thread entitled “Moments that restore your faith in humanity, and in reference to another poster who had cited Anders Breivik, the Norway mass killer) “In a “My political ideology finally gets some attention” sense, a “Someone finally outdid Woo Bum-kon” sense, a “He looks so cute in those compression jammies” sense, or what?” (Woo Bum-kon is another mass-killer, and Breivik “outdid” him by killing more people, consistent with Lanza’s “high score” spreadsheet)
“I used to think that I was asexual, but the primary reason why I thought that was because my BMI was 14.” (see: any photo or description of Lanza)
“I hate how life-apologists say (or rather, the very few of them who do anything other than mock you), “Life isn’t all suffering. What about the simple pleasures, like eating ice cream?“They always use that example. Even if I didn’t recognize the flaws in their assertion, when I think of ice cream, I can only see a repugnant lump of pus crushed out of cows’ bloody nipples, who spend their entire lives confined in filth, where they’re periodically raped so that they’re incessantly pregnant, after which their calves are seized from them, destined to live the life of veal, with their only relief being an early death. From there, I always ride the pessimism train down different tracks until it inevitably leads me to contemplating over 500 million years of animals cannibalizing each other. Excuse me for not being thrilled by the extra jimmies on my ice cream cone.” (Lanza was a very strict vegan, and his disgust at the textures of animal-based foods is noted in the official report)
“I looked up a bunch of Hoarders episodes earlier this month. As a compulsive organizer, I like to imagine how much pleasure I would get from throwing out everything in those places. My favorite hoarder was Andy.” (Lanza was obsessively, compulsively cleanly)
And, finally, some random insights into the shooter’s warped psyche:
“American mass murders were less prevalent before Richard Speck precipitated their rise in 1966. My best estimate for the -absolute- minimum amount of mass murders in the US since 1966 is 960. I would be surprised if there weren’t a minimum of somewhere around 1500 in reality, but we’ll just vaguely say that there have been over 1000. If you were trying to measure alienation in a society, what could be a more blatant indication? And it’s glib to dismiss them as not being indicative of anything just because there have been over a thousand of them instead of over a hundred thousand, or however many you think are necessary, because mass murdering is so ridiculously over-the-top of a response that very few people are prone to do it under any circumstances. But just look at how many fans you can find for all different types of mass murderers ”not just the [Columbine killers]”, and beyond these fans are countless more people who can sympathize with them; and beyond these are millions more who never think of relating the circumstances of their lives to anyone else but instead just go through the motions of life incessantly dissatisfied with their environment. Thinking of this society as the default state of existence is the reason why you think that humans would be “not well” for “no reason whatsoever”. Civilization has not been present for 99% of the existence of hominids, and the only way that it’s ever sustained is by indoctrinating each new child for years on end. The “wellness” that you speak of is solely defined by a child’s submission to this process and their subsequent capacity to propagate civilization themselves. When civilization exists in a form where all forms of alienation (among many other things) are rampant, as can be seen in the most recent incarnation within the last fifty years which AS55 talked about, new children will end up “not well” in all sorts of ways. You don’t even have to touch a topic as cryptic as mass murder to see an indication of this: you can look at a single symptom as egregious as the proliferation of antidepressants. And look in your own life. You’ve said that you’re afflicted by unrelenting anxiety and that you’re afraid to leave your house. Do you really think that the way you feel is not symptomatic of anything other than your own inexplicable defectiveness?”
“I can’t stop thinking about how much this [Pumped Up Kicks song] annoys me. Even if it wasn’t so lame, it would still bother me that they used the name “Robert”. Now one of my favorite mass shooters has been turned into a trendy stereotypical poster child of school shootings just because of his age, despite having nothing to do with the school shooter archetype. They could have used Michael, or Evan, or Barry, which would literally fit in with the whole “cowboy kid” thing.”