The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sandy Hook

December 19, 2012

In Newtown, shooter's mom a subject of sympathy, anger

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Firefighters and police in formal dress uniforms lined the church driveway as a funeral procession arrived. A man in jeans and a flannel shirt watched from a nearby Starbucks parking lot, wearing a green-and-white ribbon in honor of the Sandy Hook colors.

Men in black suits filed out of the funeral, many of them wearing white shirts and green ties. Women wept as they walked out of funeral services for yet another child.

Nancy Lanza apparently broke no laws and suffered a violent, tragic death. People who knew her — those who played in her regular dice game and those who saw her at her regular restaurant — said she was devoted to her son and kind and generous to others. They see her as a victim like any of the others.

But for some, how to refer to her — and what to think of her — is a subject of much conversation. While there are some who call her the first victim, many feel she bears at least some of the blame.

"Maybe somewhere there is a deep thought that the shooter's mother could be responsible for leaving the guns available," said Himansu Patel, the Newtown Convenience and Deli owner, who decided to leave Nancy Lanza out of his memorial to the victims.

"How could he reach those guns?" Patel said. "If she had kept them in a safer place, this thing might not have happened."

Police have not said where they believe Nancy Lanza stored her guns or how her son gained access to them.

When President Obama came to Newtown this week and spoke at an interfaith memorial service, he went out of his way to mention the names of all 26 students, faculty members and staff members who died at the school. He never mentioned Nancy Lanza.

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