Who Was Adam Lanza? Live Chat Transcript

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February 19, 2013

How do you make sense of a seemingly senseless act of violence? How do you help the country begin to process the trauma of 20 small children shot dead in their classroom?

That was the challenge FRONTLINE and the Hartford Courant took on in the aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Hartford Courant reporters Alaine Griffin and Josh Kovner decided to investigate two central, elusive questions — who was Adam Lanza, and what was the nature of his relationship to his mother, Nancy? FRONTLINE producer Frank Koughan followed Alaine and Josh as they searched for answers, tracking down family friends and digging up revealing artifacts from the Lanzas’ past.

The article they wrote — and the film — reveal “a portrait of a mother, apparently devoted but perhaps misguided, struggling to find her son a place in society, and a boy, exceptionally smart in some areas, profoundly deficient in others, who never found a place in the world.”

Two months after they began reporting, what can we say for sure about Adam’s life and what could have motivated his shootings? What was Nancy’s approach to raising her troubled son? How difficult was it to report in the midst of a media-frenzy and a town worn out by the attention? And what’s next in this story?

Alaine and Josh have spent months asking questions. Now, we’ve invited them to take yours.

They’ll be joined by the film’s producer, Frank Koughan, as well as our guest questioner Yahoo! News reporter Liz Goodwin. Follow her on Twitter here.

You can leave a question in the chat window below, and come by on Wednesday at 2pm. ET to join the live discussion.


In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

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