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Is Sandy Hook Father Asking the Wrong Questions?

In a recent article in the pressherald.com, father of Sandy Hook victim Avielle Richman, Dr. Jeremy Richman, is looking for answers, saying “we’re scientists. We ask ‘why’ for a living.” So one can only wonder why he’s failed to ask the questions that scream for answers.

As the father of one of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, Dr. Richman is on a broad, all encompassing mission to understand the workings of the brain of those who commit violent acts. Clearly this is a noble cause. But Ablechild cannot help but wonder what action Dr. Richman has taken to understand the murderous behavior of his child’s killer, Adam Lanza.

Specifically, it is well known that Ablechild sued the state of Connecticut in order to have Lanza’s medical/mental health records, autopsy and toxicology reports released for public review. Ablechild was denied this request as the state randomly concluded the non-profit was “not a stakeholder.” Ablechild believes that we all are stakeholders.

But it seems impossible that the state would deny a request by the family of one of the victims. Clearly the Richman’s would be considered “stakeholders.” Did Dr. Richman contact Ablechild to lend his support in these efforts? No. Has Dr. Richman ever requested that the state release this important information? Ablechild is unaware of any of the victim’s families requesting this information be made public.

It is no secret that Lanza had mental health issues. The problem, though, is that the State Police investigation of the shooting incident provides no information about Lanza’s mental health “treatment” after 2007 – five years prior to the shooting.

The public is aware that Lanza was “treated” at the Yale Child Study Center for OCD and was prescribed two antidepressants – Celexa and Lexapro – experiencing serious adverse reactions to both psychiatric drugs, as reported by his mother. But that was five years prior to the shooting.

What mental health “treatment” did Lanza receive after his “treatment” at Yale? It seems unrealistic that this grieving father would initiate this daunting brain campaign without having investigated every possible lead for answers about the man who killed his daughter.

After all if Lanza had been receiving mental health “treatment” prior to the shooting that consisted of psychiatric drugs, that information may be useful in understanding Lanza’s violent behavior. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed “Black box warnings” on all antidepressants as they may cause suicidal ideation and a host of other adverse reactions, including mania, psychosis and hallucinations.

Prior to the shooting was Lanza prescribed one or several psychiatric drugs to “treat” his OCD? Nobody knows. This information has not been made public. Has Dr. Richman made an effort to meet with Peter Lanza to glean information about Adam’s mental health “treatment?”

As a neuroscientist who has worked with pharmaceutical companies, Dr. Richman cannot ignore the fact that psychiatric drugs may actually cause violent behavior and, thus, information about Lanza’s mental health “treatment” may actually help understand his violent behavior. Failing to request specific, detailed information about Lanza’s mental health history seems odd.

Furthermore, has Dr. Richman, or any of the victim family members, requested information about the sealed, stamped envelope found in the Lanza home addressed “for the Young Students of Sandy Hook Elementary School?” Does Dr. Richman, or any of the victim families, know what was inside that envelope? Have the family members questioned the State Police about how the DNA of a convicted offender from New York was found on that envelope, while Adam and Nancy Lanza’s DNA was eliminated?   Do the family members wonder why, out of thousands of pieces of paper removed from the Lanza home, this particular envelope was fingerprinted and tested for DNA? What made this piece of evidence so important?

Additionally, has Dr. Richman, or any family members, questioned the State Police about the oddities of the ballistics report. For example, have any the family members raised questions about the weapon used to kill Nancy Lanza – the Savage Mark II rifle? Testing revealed the weapon has no fingerprints or DNA from Adam Lanza, but does have DNA for some unknown person.

Dr. Richman’s desire to understand the workings of the human brain of those who commit violent acts is a noble cause, but one cannot help wonder why Dr. Richman, and the other family members, appear to have no interest in the mental health records of the man who killed their loved ones or, for that matter, the ever increasing number of oddities in the official investigation of the shooting.

Ablechild believes these are basic questions that may help provide the answers that Dr. Richman is seeking and, also, make sense of the millions of dollars that were immediately appropriated by the State Legislature for increased mental health services.