Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mother-Blaming Nonsense: National Tragedy Edition

How quick we are to judge. Young man commits an unspeakable crime, and what's the media's knee-jerk reaction on the very day of the atrocity, before the facts are in? Blame the mother!

Note the mother-blaming tone of this reporting, from two male journalists for Good Morning America via Yahoo:

"Adam Lanza of Newtown, Connecticut was a child of the suburbs and a child of divorce who at age 20 still lived with his mother...
A relative told ABC News that Adam was "obviously not well."
Family friends in Newtown also described the young man as troubled and described [his mother] Nancy as very rigid. "[Adam] was not connected with the other kids," said one friend.
State and federal authorities believe his mother may have once worked at the elementary school where Adam went on his deadly rampage, although she was not a teacher, according to relatives, perhaps a volunteer.
Nancy and her husband Peter, Adam's father, divorced in 2009. When they first filed for divorce in 2008, a judge ordered that they participate in a "parenting education program."
Peter Lanza, who drove to northern New Jersey to talk to police and the FBI, is a vice president at GE Capital and had been a partner at global accounting giant Ernst & Young..."

Let me get this straight. These male reporters have sprinkled some appallingly inflammatory allegations about their story, so let's check their unspoken pseudo-math here:

"Child of the suburbs" + "child of divorce" + "still lived with his mother" + "'family friends' described mother as 'very rigid'" + "divorce-court-ordered parenting education program in 2008" supposedly = This Whole Tragedy is The Mother's Fault??

Ugh, I get that at horrible times like these, which defy all explanation, people want to desperately cling to their narratives about what they think caused the problem. Perhaps it helps us psychologically deal with the harsh reality that bad things happen.

Broken families and "rigid" mothers seem to be the easy target du jour. ("Rigid?" How dare they? With so-called "family friends" like that, who needs enemies?) How about: WE JUST DON'T KNOW. It's too soon to tell. We may never know.

I don't know, and I suppose I don't have the words either.


Cloud said...

I am not allowing myself to go read the news until the kids are in bed, which I find is also helping my mental state. So I haven't seen this yet. It is far too early to draw conclusions about why this young man did what he did. But we do know how he did it. I think a lot of the focus on why is because we've been bullied by the NRA into avoiding the topic of HOW and the obvious conclusions to be drawn from that.

hush said...

Agree with you on the NRA bullying, and I heard it said today that the NRA is actually a gun manufacturers' lobbying group that has managed to fool private citizens into thinking it is looking out for their best 2nd Amendment interests. The power of the NRA is the reason we've never seen a viable tort/products liability case against guns and ammo makers of inherently dangerous products.

The right-wing blogosphere has been oddly silent during this tragedy - a few columns with the appropriate level of sympathy but refusing to call out the obvious gun issues for rear of offending their NRA benefactors. Again, we can blame the NRA for that. Will things ever change?

hush said...

About the obvious mental health issues raised, I really learned a lot from this eloquent article (thanks, @y81 via Apt 11D):