As I'm sure you are all aware, tragedy struck Newtown, Connecticut last Friday. Everywhere you can see expressions of grief as the nation mourns the loss of twenty of the most innocent members of our society and six of their caretakers. Yet as horrible as this tragedy was, I cannot agree with all those who have labeled the shooter a monster.
Adam Lanza was only twenty years old - the same age I was when I had my own crisis with my depression. The pictures I have seen of him show a young man with wide eyes below an almost comically large forehead and full, slightly parted lips above a narrow chin, giving him a perpetually surprised expression. Some of the news reports suggest he might have had a mild form of autism, a disease which is poorly understood, at best. His family have expressed shock and regret for his actions.
This was a boy who reached a breaking point and did a monstrous thing, but I don't think that makes him a monster. For twenty years he was a "shy, awkward boy" who was loved by his family. A family that must now cope not only with the loss of their young relative, but also his mother, whom he shot to death before going on his rampage in the school. And unlike the families in Newtown, they must do it not with the support, but with the condemnation of the nation bearing down on them.
Very few people are truly monsters. So despite his monstrous actions, please, think twice before you label someone's cousin, nephew, or child a monster.