Adam Lanza provides motive for Chimp Attack – and his own

From schoolshooters.info:

On 20 December 2011, Adam Lanza called in to a talk radio program, AnarchyRadio, broadcasted on KWVA 88.1 FM out of the University of Oregon. 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.

LANZA: Because, uh, he brings up questions about this whole process of child-raising.

HOST: Yeah.

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.

HOST: Uh-huh.

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.

HOST: Mmm-hmm.

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.

HOST: Yeah.

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.

HOST: Mmm-hmm.

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-

HOST: No.

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.

HOST: Yeah. Yeah.

LANZA: And—

HOST: Wow. Thank you, Greg.

LANZA: Yeah.

HOST: That’s quite a story. That’s, uh, really apropos, isn’t it? Travis the chimp.

LANZA: It’s just that I’m a little surprised that I haven’t heard you bring it up all because… (laughs) maybe I’m just seeing connections where there aren’t any, but—

HOST: Not at, I uh, think not. No, I just… I didn’t catch that one. I didn’t uh… maybe I was out of the country  or something, I don’t know, but I missed that it. Thanks very much, man.

LANZA: Thank you. Bye.

HOST: Take care.

(Lanza hangs up)

Nancy Lanza’s email to Adam Lanza [01:05 August, 2008]

I appreciate your effort to be a comfort to me. I apologize if I seemed angry or antagonistic. I was simply over emotional and as it is often the case worrying about the future. I admit that I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed by my circumstances lately, but in no way do I regret having raised two wonderful children. I have high hopes for you both and will consider my life a success if you and Ryan live happy and productive lives.

There are a few things that I do regret . . . one of the biggest is that I dropped out of college, believing it to be more important to help your father get through college. Financially, it was impossible for us to afford a college education for both of us, and it seemed more important that he receive a diploma. In some ways I regret leaving the workforce as it has severely limited my prospects for the future, but again, it was a decision that I made to take more responsibility for the house and the children, and to allow your father to concentrate on his career. I do feel that I was able to be a better mother and have been able to put great effort into raising you and your brother, so that regret is mitigated in that respect. On the occasion that Ryan or you show some appreciation for my efforts, I feel completely justified in that choice and dually rewarded.

I know that it is harder for you to show appreciation, and that it does not come as a natural response. I really do not want you to feel obligated in that way. I do not expect any help, financial or otherwise, from you or your brother, and would not accept it if it were offered. I am certain that I will not be homeless or begging on a street corner, as your father is obligated by law and morality to see that my 30 years of service and sacrifice are compensated for.

He has assured me that I will live a comfortable life and that my health expenses are covered. He is an honorable man. I am grateful that I was married to someone who honors his responsibilities. He has also taking [sic] responsibility to provide a college education for both you and your brother, so that neither of you will have to struggle and sacrifice as we did.

If you choose to, you will emerge from college with a master’s degree of your choice, debt free, to pursue any career in life that you wish. When I think of what I would like to do for the future, I think I would like to get my college degree first. I just thought of that tonight, as a direct result of my conversation with you. I think it would be possible as I dropped out only a year shy of my degree, and it seems as I might be spending quite a bit of time on campus waiting for you to take classes, so why not take advantage of that?! I suppose I could take classes at the same time you are taking classes.

I agree with you when you say that I should try to think positively of the future and what I want to do today. There is nothing that I can do about my diagnosis, and I do try to be as healthy as I can, despite the prognosis. I am sure that you noticed that I exercise regularly and do my best to stay in good shape. It’s not like I have the attitude that since I will be crippled anyway I may as well give up and get fat and sedentary now. I am working hard to stay as healthy as I can, for as long as I can.

At some point, I might like to start a business. I sometimes toy with the idea of an internet business like my friend, [L], owns. (Did I punctuate that last sentence correctly?) Her website is [xxx]. You should have a look at it sometime and let me know what you think of it.

Anyway, I would like you to know that no matter what, I am very proud of the person you are. I have no preconceived notion of how you should react or respond. I know that you tend to be more reserved and less emotional and I do not perceive that as condescending malignant, or callous. You are pragmatic and stoical. These are fine attributes. I am glad to know that you are glad to be born and appreciate being taken care of. I love you very much and am more than happy to take care of you in any way I can. I suppose I have felt that you didn’t even notice how hard I try to make things as tolerable as possible for you and that has made me feel sad in a way. I am much happier now, knowing that you do not despise me for bringing you into this world. Above all, I want you to be happy, no matter what you choose to do.

You may not think I notice, but my computer is working faster and I have been able to download bank statements faster and search the websites quicker. I was able to get baseball scores for all the games in a split second, and watch a video clip that a friend sent without any freezing. I didn’t know that you had worked on it, so I thank you for your efforts. You should let me know when you do thoughtful things so that you can get credit! As an aside, I am having a problem that has been ongoing for months. The cursor abruptly moves to a different place in text now and again when I am in the middle of typing a sentence. It is very strange and annoying. Maybe you can have a look at it sometime? Thank you for taking the time to send me this e-mail. I now understand your motive and meaning, and I truly appreciate it!