As this heartbroken town tries to process Friday’s horror, there is considerable anger toward Lanza’s mother. Her name is noticeably absent from many of the impromptu shrines, memorials and condolence notes placed around town.
At the foot of the street leading to Sandy Hook Elementary, 26 Christmas trees stand to honor the dead at the school, each bearing the name of a victim, but no Nancy Lanza.
Outside the Newtown Convenience and Deli in the town center, 26 small plastic Christmas trees with twinkling blue and purple lights stand next to a sign that says, “In loving memory of the Sandy Hook victims.”
The University of Connecticut honored the shooting victims Monday with a ceremony before a men’s basketball game, with 26 students standing at center court holding lighted candles.
“I am feeling that there is more anger toward the mother than there is toward the son,” said Lisa Sheridan, a Newtown parent.
“Why would a woman who had a son like this, who clearly had serious issues, keep assault rifles in the house and teach him how to shoot them?” she said. “To deal with that, there’s a feeling here that we’re just going to focus on the 26 innocent people who died at the school.”
Emotions in Newtown are painfully raw. A half-dozen more funerals and remembrances were held Wednesday, creating almost nonstop funeral processions. Black hearses and limousines drove through the streets, led by police escorts. Nearly 50 police motorcycles, from departments all over the state, were parked outside St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, waiting to escort the next funeral.
Firefighters and police in formal dress uniforms lined the church driveway as a funeral procession arrived. A man in jeans and a flannel shirt watched from a nearby Starbucks parking lot, wearing a green-and-white ribbon in honor of the Sandy Hook colors.
Men in black suits filed out of the funeral, many of them wearing white shirts and green ties. Women wept as they walked out of funeral services for yet another child.
Nancy Lanza apparently broke no laws and suffered a violent, tragic death. People who knew her — those who played in her regular dice game and those who saw her at her regular restaurant — said she was devoted to her son and kind and generous to others. They see her as a victim like any of the others.
But for some, how to refer to her — and what to think of her — is a subject of much conversation. While some call her the first victim, many think she bears at least some of the blame.
“Maybe somewhere there is a deep thought that the shooter’s mother could be responsible for leaving the guns available,” said Himansu Patel, the Newtown Convenience and Deli owner, who decided to leave Nancy Lanza out of his memorial to the victims.