It has been more than a year since Adam Lanza killed 20 children, six school employees and himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., but more details about the 20-year-old continues to emerge as his story is the center of many ongoing discussions about mental illness.
The New York Daily News recently obtained audio from a radio call Lanza reportedly made in which he compares the violent attack of a domesticated chimpanzee to “a teenage mall shooter.” The Daily News reported that the audio was confirmed to be Lanza by two people who knew him.
If it is in fact Lanza, he called to the University of Oregon’s radio station KWVA 88.1 FM on Dec. 11, 2011, and identified himself as “Greg.”
On the “Anarchy Radio” show hosted by John Zerzan, Lanza complimented Zeran’s writing and brought up what he called “an old news story…that seems relevant to your interests.” The topic was Travis the chimpanzee, a domesticated animal who lived with a family in Connecticut for more than a decade before he violently attacked a neighbor in 2009.
“Basically, I think Travis wasn’t any different than a mentally handicapped human child,” Lanza said, after noting that the chimp was about 100 pounds overweight and taking Xanax.
“This might not seem very relevant, but I’m bringing it up because afterward everyone was condemning his owner about how irresponsible she was for raising a chip like it was a child,” he continued after describing the chimp’s human-like behavior and then aggressive outburst.
“But their criticism stopped there and the implication is that there’s no way anything could have gone wrong in his life if he had been living in civilization as a human rather than a chimp,” Lanza continued.
Lanza said that this “brings up questions about about this whole process of child raising,” especially when you consider that the chimp was in fact raised and civilized.
“If Travis had been some wild 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.”
In short, Lanza concludes that the chimp “didn’t act really any differently than a human child would, and the people who would use that as an indictment against humans having chimps…wouldn’t apply the same thing to humans. So, it’s kind of irrelevant.
“His attack wasn’t because he was a senselessly violent impulsive chimp,” Lanza continued, saying it was clear he had previously wanted his owner to drive him somewhere (the chimp had been in the car honking the horn).
To Lanza, wanting to go somewhere in the car showed that he wanted to get out of his life situation. The friend who arrived to the owner’s house to help coax the chimp out of the car and back inside, Lanza thought, indicated to the chimp someone who wanted to take him back to his life of domestication. So he acted out so violently that the woman, Charla Nash, needed to have a face transplant and is blind.
“Dismissing his attack as the senseless, violent, impulsiveness of a chimp, instead of a human, is wishful thinking, at best,” Lanza said. “His attack can be seen entirely parallel to the attacks and random acts of violence that you bring up on your show every week, which the mainstream also has no explanation for. I just don’t think it would be a stretch to say he very well could have been a teenage mall shooter or something like that.”
Lanza admitted on the show that he might be seeing connections where there are none, but the host agreed with his reasoning.
Listen to the clip from the call:
The New York Daily News reported the now 70-year-old radio host, Zeran, remembered the call.
“The only thing that seemed odd was his voice seemed kind of robotic … but what he was saying made sense,” he told the Daily News.
Zeran said he doesn’t think anything indicated Lanza “was considering something so heinous and inconceivable” as the mass murder he committed a year and three days after the call on Dec. 14, 2012.
Kyle Kromberg, 21, who was in a Latin class with Lanza, said the voice on the call belonged to Lanza.
“I talked to him every day for about an hour each day from freshman to junior year, so I know his voice,” he told the Daily News He’s a very soft-spoken kid, but very articulate.”
The Daily News also reported finding evidence on chat forums by Lanza, using a screenname, about going on the radio show.
Investigators of the Sandy Hook shooting were aware that Lanza had called a radio station, but Danbury State Attorney Stephen Sedensky told the Daily News he does “not specifically know whether or not that is Adam Lanza” on the recording.
Check out the New York Daily News’ full post for more on the call and what Lanza wrote about it on online forums.