Web Letters | The Nation

Roots of a Rampage > Letters

Roots of a Rampage

Shattered mirror

“Rampage shootings” is too generic to be helpful when, as in this case, there is defining singularity in the symbolism. “He blew his mother’s face off,” did Adam Lanza. Neurobiology has established that Mother’s fond gaze imprints the earliest connection between pre-frontal cortex function and response to amygdalan fear memories from fetal origins and birth trauma. The symbolism of Adam’s act blows away all rational protection against return of earliest terrors of helpless ‘persecution’ in the birth canal. The “motive”, in the sense of instinctual compulsion, is to obliterate the image of himself mirrored in her eyes. Or: hatred of the self he sees in her face. This motive, to obliterate the bond to reality through that image, continued to rule the slaughter of the schoolchildren, also reminders of himself through her.

And that is how it went through and affected all, through consciousness of sympathy, already raised at Christmastime.

In the symbolic narrative, the world of oppressive Mother (unnaturally amplified by son’s functional defict) is blasted by pre-Oedipal male protest (undifferentiated development). And that is how it existentially generalizes to threat to Nanny State Government, posed by similar immature males with guns.

Sid Thomas

Binghamton, NY

Dec 29 2012 - 9:15pm