A Letter To The Late Adam Lanza
Copyright © by Norman Ball, 12/19/12

  As the years go in, I realize to my horror I am becoming an elder within this travesty we still flatter—by dull habit, world-weariness or lack of follow-on description—with the ennobling term, SOCIETY. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t die.
  Many weird scenes confound on today’s Shining City on a Hill. There is a Popsicle stand manned by some NAFTA backswimmer from Salvador propped in the shadow of a shuttered factory. Okay, maybe that was the Illuminati’s plan. I don’t want to diminish our common peril, or our common grief, by polemicizing the unspeakable. After all, LBJ, an early ‘blue guy’, was without peer as a perfect psychopath. Salvadorans are diligent hard workers. Do you know they walk over two thousand miles through an inhospitable Mexico just to get here? Whereas you Mr. Lanza traveled no great distance to deposit your sedition.
  Don’t ask me how it all happened. Though I will always maintain society was meant to be something more than what I was called to live through. I cannot prove this. Perhaps you shared this sense of dull collapse ever more keenly. Nonetheless on behalf of this society, I apologize to you for whatever it was that made you as sick as you were --preservatives, video games, schoolyard bullies, supply-side economics, steroids in the milk, a depleted ozone layer, porous borders, shrinking glaciers, Jenna Jameson, inadequate mommy-love precipitating  fatal recourse to Jenna’s empty embrace, et al, et al. While we can entertain reasons and excuses, we can never BECOME them. That may be the very definition of depravity: becoming our illness. You sank to the bottom like a perfect coward—and in 20 short years. Couldn’t you have put up a better, longer fight?
  As the world turns, I note with dread how you are sicker still than all those who preceded you, God help us. You and Batman’s own Mr. Holmes, your precursor by mere months, and all the up-and-coming commandoes we seem to incubate with fearsome aptitude, who have yet to grace us with their bloodbaths, confirm my belief in the progressivity ONLY of depravity. I shudder to contemplate the terminus of this parade route.
  Too many things have happened too fast to localize the source of your enormous human abdication. Yes, we allowed these ‘developments’ to swarm us. Much was installed before you were even born. I missed Eden by a millennia or three myself. So, you resided like all of us somewhere between victim and perpetrator, poor baby. Because I arrived before you I bear some responsibility FOR you. Of course part of my responsibility was
to find you before you found those who might have lived to put us both to shame. Oh well, yet another nail for my coffin.
  While I pity you, I make no excuses for you. Even an indefensible society must take steps against the indefensible, making us all indefensible hypocrites. So be it. Pardon my French, but you were a poor sick little fuck. As an article of faith and before the clinicians arrive to muddy the waters, I KNOW there was a sanctioning voice within you that you willfully chose to ignore. Otherwise I couldn’t agitate in good conscience for your proper place in hell. I place little credence in Manchurian Candidates, an omnipotent Illuminati or a chip-implant that circumvents the soul. If you want, the Big Bang was a conspiracy launched against the void.

  All-eclipsing mental illness is a myth. The Old Testament’s ill-tempered clarity tempts anew. It seemed to know us best of all.
  I would gladly have cast a preemptive stone or fired a bullet into your brain had I discovered you before you discovered our six-year-olds who were too young yet to partake of our advancing illness. We will never know whether a transformative soul was incubating within their midst. Yes of course, the chance of that was slim; Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed—all in their own way fell grievously short. I hold us, the stone-eared futures that arrived, responsible for their shortcomings. You on the other hand chose to blame the next children.
  I saw the little faces in the paper as they must have looked before twisting towards your fear. Mostly it’s an optical illusion. Each of us resembles the tiniest redeeming angel until we don’t. But faith is improbably slim at the best of times. You had no right to impose your illness on the world’s late, great tiny hopes as they skittered off beneath Scooby-Doo book-bags towards their own collapsing futures. They offered up their PERFECT TRUST when we sent them off to school against all hope. We had enough to loathe in our accommodations already without packing our toddlers off like Second Amendment fodder. I cannot imagine their improbable squeals as you hunted them down, their sudden education as you schooled them on all we seek to protect them from until we are no longer able to hold up our fathers’ lies and keep the world at bay. Sure, they would have lived only to lie to their children too. We inherit our fathers’ sins.  But how do you know one might not have changed the world?
  Santa Claus was just days away, you sick little bastard! All those trees harboring presents now bound for the Land of Lost Toys. You knew EXACTLY the lengths and depths of your violation. They say you were a bright kid in school. I can believe it. The whole thing reeks of abject calculation. Somewhere the Mayans are choking on their calendar. The present age has overstayed. I don’t believe in New Ages. I see no evidence for them. What would you call yourself, Exhibit A, of the new millennium? We merit
nothing but more of the same.
 Cause for hope? Flesh and bone stalk armor-piercing cowardice. For every one of you the universe reveals a VICKI SOTO. Does God allow the likes of you to remind us there remain heroes in our midst? I cannot see into the cupboard where these rare vessels are drawn. Why must we test its reserves so senselessly?
  Since you gallantly checked yourself out, leaving us all far more than one day older, allow me to paint the picture of our Day After…
  We woke up with twenty less chances to save the world at a moment when the slimmest chance looks improbable enough. If there is a hell, you should languish in it until a better future sees fit to forgive you. But beware. You declared war on the very future that might have championed your redemption. Should that future never arrive, eternity is the term you set only for yourself.


Return to Bylines

Bookmark and Share