Over the weekend, I posited on Facebook the notion that perhaps the mother of Adam Lanza, reportedly a Catholic, might have enlisted the help of a priest in treating her son. I was particularly thinking of an exorcism. Yes, exorcism. It wasn't a joke. The Facebook thread's audience consisted of mostly Catholics, some of whom I've linked to in the past. My opinion was largely ignored and in fact, someone mildly chastised me for not distinguishing the need for an exorcist from the need for professionals who deal in mental disorders.
So I chalked it up to my simply not knowing what I need to know on that possibility and responded somewhat meekly that perhaps I ought to read more about exorcism.
Now comes this from a former FBI profiler about the shooter and it's telling:
In stockpiling ammunition, smashing his computers and killing his mother as she slept, Adam Lanza undertook considerable preparation before shooting up an elementary school on Friday, a former FBI profiler said.
"He didn't just snap. This takes a lot of planning," said Mary Ellen O'Toole, who worked for 15 years in the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit where she studied psychopaths and helped capture killers.
O'Toole still assists law enforcement and has written a book titled "Dangerous Instincts." She says the Sandy Hook shootings are worse than any case she has dealt with before.
"I have not seen a case with callousness of this extreme," O'Toole said of Lanza's shooting rampage. "It's off the charts."
Multiple reports have painted Lanza, who lived alone with his divorced mother, as being socially awkward but very intelligent, especially when it came to computers.
O'Toole said the way Lanza carried out his killings suggested a high measure of control, including damaging the computers.
"His computers were very important him. They were a window to his world," O'Toole told Yahoo News. "He didn't want them to survive. He knew that they would give insight into him and didn't want people to have it."
Friends and family of Lanza's mother, 52-year-old Nancy Lanza, have said she dedicated her life to helping her son, who reportedly had Asperger's syndrome or other medical issues.
O'Toole said people with Asperger's, which is a neurological disorder, aren't known to commit such violence and that too much is being made about Lanza's mental health.
"It's time we stop putting out the mental health issue as an excuse that he didn't know what he was doing," she said.
Lanza brought three guns into the school, all owned by his mother. He killed his victims with a high-powered semi-automatic rifle, but he also carried two pistols, one of which he used to take his own life. Police say he sprayed hundreds of bullets inside the school and had considerably more left over to use.
Shooting his mother while she slept and preloading numerous rounds of ammunition into the gun clips signals that Lanza was on a mission, O'Toole said.
"He wanted to accomplish maximum lethality," O'Toole said. "He was not out of touch with reality. I think he put some security measures in place so he wouldn't be stopped."
Which unfortunately meant choosing the most helpless of victims, she added.
"If you pick older people you are going to have some blowback," O'Toole said. "He didn't want people to interfere. When people take security measures like that, you know what you are doing is wrong."
In the eyes of many I'm sure, the notion that Lanza's issues were demonic in nature is ludicrous. And perhaps it is, I don't honestly know.
What I do know or at least, certainly have faith in, is the reality of the existence of evil and nothing seems more evil than the cold blooded killing of your mother, 20 innocent children and 6 adults.
If the secularists are discounting the idea that Lanza was suffering from mental problems and instead knew exactly what he was doing... in what way would the notion of his being directly under the influence of evil forces be all that strange... particularly for the faithful?
Help me out.
The fact is that exorcism is an accepted part of Catholic doctrine and, again, as I understand it, the Lanzas were Catholic. They could have easily availed themselves to the help of a priest. Of course, the possibility is huge that, like Catholic teachings on abortion, gay marriage, natural family planning, etc, it was seen to be something more easily ignored.
If that is the case, should it have been?
Color me curious.
To me, the notion that Adam Lanza was unduly influenced by an evil spirit, from a perspective of someone attempting to faithfully follow the teachings and doctrines of Catholicism, makes more sense than anything else I've seen.
Someone help show me where my thinking, as a Catholic, is flawed.
UPDATE: I sought the private wisdom of some folks I respect who've been faithful Catholics much longer than yours truly. Two things were brought to my attention. First and foremost, nobody knows whether or not the mother sought the help of her or any priest, and though that wasn't my intended focus, I can see where some might've drawn that inference. My intended focus was the validity of actually raising demonic influence as a possibility. I should've made that clearer.
What should have been even clearer, particularly in the light of the post I put up just hours before putting up this one, is that now is probably not the best time to bring this whole thing up. Apologies to all for doing so.