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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Opinion

Town to demolish former home of Sandy Hook gunman for closure


A large, white house sits silently in a grassy field, encompassed by crime-scene tape. For outsiders, there is nothing special about this house. But for those in the know — for those who have to pass by that house daily — it is a reminder of the monster that once resided in it.

The house in question was the home of Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who shot and killed his mother, 20 children and 6 staff members on Dec. 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn. before turning the gun on himself.

According to The New York Daily News, the house has been vacant ever since the crime. On Jan. 22, the Newton Legislative Council voted to tear down Lanza’s house.

The town of Newton agreed to take the house in December from a bank that obtained it in September when Ryan Lanza, Lanza’s brother sold it, according to the New York Daily News.

First Selectwoman Patricia Llodra said the house is going to be converted into open space. It is said to be a “constant reminder of the evil that resided there.”

The decision to demolish the house was not made solely by the council; the families of these victims were asked for their opinion as well.

“We sought considerable input from the (victims’) families, and the overwhelming sentiment was to tear down the house and leave it as open space,” Llodra said, as reported by The Washington Post.

The house slowly became a tourist attraction. Individuals would stand outside, snapping photos — an act that did not resonate well with the town’s inhabitants, such as Dave Ackart, who wrote the following message to the Newton Legislative Council, as reported by The New York Daily News.

“Not only is the property a constant reminder of the evil that resided there, those of us who walk, run, drive, ride or otherwise must pass it multiple times a day, are having a hard time moving on,” Ackart said.

Chairman for The Newton Legislative Council Mary Ann Jacob agreed with Ackart and praised the removal of the house.

“I think it was the right thing to do for the families who live there and have to deal with the curiosity seekers,” Jacob said, according to CNN. “I think they should have their neighborhood back.”

Llodra suggested proceeds of the land and property be put into helping the victims’ families. Furthermore, according to the New York Daily News, Llorda is adamant that the entire town will not make any profits from “any future sale or development of the land.” Everything would be solely for the families.

According to CNN, investigators found over 1,600 rounds of ammunition, 10 knives and three samurai swords in the Lanza house — it was believed that Lanza spent a large amount of his time plotting his murders at home.

This is yet another valid reason to destroy the house: not only did it shelter the horror that was Lanza, but it also served as a domain for him to prepare his terrible attack.

Back in 2013, Sandy Hook Elementary School was also demolished. According to the school’s website, it is being rebuilt, but tearing down the original school where the attacks took place was the first step in gaining closure for the victims’ families.

Currently, no decision has been made as to what to do with the open space, and Newton’s residents can’t seem to agree on the matter.

No matter what, if Newton truly wants to honor the victims of this horrible massacre, the Newton Legislative Council should decide to use that space wisely. It is important to remember that although it housed the monster that carried out these attacks, it was also home to one of the victims: Lanza’s mother.

It is important to not deem her as any less of a victim because she was the perpetrator’s mother, and the decision on what to do with the open space should be made with all the victims in mind. Most importantly — just as they had input on the decision to demolish the home — the families should be able to decide what to do with the open space.

Opinion columnist Trishna Buch is a print journalism senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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