What you’re about to hear, reportedly, is the voice of the person who killed 20 children and six of their caretakers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
The New York Daily News is claiming that it’s obtained a recording of Adam Lanza from a call-in he made to an Oregon radio talk show in December of 2011 — exactly a year before the Sandy Hook shooting. In the call, an eerily detached voice discusses mall shootings and ties the psychology behind them to the conflicted emotions felt by Travis the chimp, who had supposedly been civilized and domesticated before finally returning to his animal instincts and attacking a woman in early 2009. The caller says:
“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. I 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.”
The Daily News says that former friends of Lanza confirmed that the voice on the recording is his. It can just about go without saying that to Lanza himself, his rampage was never something that came out of the blue; it had likely been inside him for years. The kid was a time bomb — it’s just that no one seemed to notice. This call, however, shows that he wanted to make it clear to someone what he was thinking. It’s not surprising that this someone was the host of a show called “Anarchy Radio” — a man named John Zernan — who claims that he uses the program to express his “anti-civilization views.” The disturbed seek out those who speak their very specific language and who will understand and coddle them.
That may be the most unnerving aspect of this call: that it went to and came from a conspiracist fringe radio show, proving everything we could already be assured about the kind of breeding ground and meeting place for potentially dangerous people such media outlets have become in our society. And yet the key word is potentially. In most cases, you can’t infringe upon freedom of speech and expression because a troubled loner who’s barely hanging on to reality might be pushed just a little bit closer to making his violent fantasies a reality by listening to you or having a conversation with you. And yet how many of these outlets exist now — these nihilistic voices that preach the impending collapse of civilization and that help to fill the minds of the unbalanced with terrifying nonsense?
Admittedly, there’s no way that John Zernan could have known that the young man calling in to his radio show would, a year later, kill 20 children. But I would be willing to bet that now that he does know, it won’t give him pause in the slightest moving forward. Who knows whether a show like “Anarchy Radio” encouraged Adam Lanza or Adam Lanza simply sought out and found kinship with “Anarchy Radio.” Either way, it feels like it hardly matters because so little is going to change. The same people spout fringe lunacy. The same guns exist on the streets. The next kid is out there right now, waiting for his chance to outdo Adam Lanza, maybe because in his mind he has to. A year after Sandy Hook, not a thing has changed. We should, as a country, hang our heads in collective shame for that.