UPDATE #1 Today's NYT preview of the entire week of PBS shows on guns does not give me a lot of confidence that they have used this time and money well to move the ball forward. False balance run rampant? But we will see.
Earlier: As we noted a few days back, PBS Frontline airing first of two-part series on Adam Lanza, Sandy Hook and the national and local debate sparked by the gun massacre. They are doing it with the Hartford Courant, which ran its first, lengthy, story on Sunday. It does a full job in tracking his childhood and school and social problems, also his collection of violent video games (which cost "thousands" of dollars) and his mom making some poor decisions and also leaving him alone a lot lately.
Here's an excerpt on the gun angle--but the reporters elsewhere seem to quickly accept claim that the mother, Nancy Lanza, was not a "gun nut," was not a "survivalist" or "prepper," despite some evidence to the contrary. Yet, if that's not true, they give zero explanation why she suddenly bought the four guns, including an assault rifle, in short order not long ago, and loved target shooting--not exactly common practices for women in the Northeast (although she had also done it years earlier). Or why she took Adam shooting when all of his life he was supposedly frightened by loud noise. Or what political or media views might have influenced her. If Frontline goes no further it will be doing a real disservice.
Adam was exposed to guns at an early age and he continued to shoot at target ranges with his mother through his late teens, friends and other sources said. Shooting weapons was something Peter and Nancy Lanza did with their children dating to the early days in Kingston. But after the killings, investigators would focus on Adam Lanza's involvement with firearms and his immersion in the video-game culture as they tried to unravel the riddle of Lanza's last two years.
Nancy Lanza purchased four firearms between 2010 and 2012, according to law enforcement sources. During that time, she told a friend, landscaper Dan Holmes of Newtown, that she took both sons target shooting at a gun range.
"She said she took her kids target shooting, that they bonded over that," said Holmes, who planted flower beds and tended the 2 acres surrounding Nancy and Peter Lanza's $500,000 home.
Since the Sandy Hook shootings, officials from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives have visited gun stores where Nancy Lanza is believed to have purchased the weapons, as well as gun ranges where she is believed to have shot with Adam. An ATF official told The Courant in December that the agency doesn't believe either Nancy or Adam Lanza engaged in target shooting over the previous six months.
Mark Tambascio, owner of the My Place Pizza & Restaurant in Newtown, which Nancy Lanza frequented, and a friend of hers since 1999, said a retired police officer instructed Nancy in the use of her firearms.
"She really took to it," Tambascio said. "I grew up target shooting myself and so we talked a little bit about it."