The Ethics of Publishing "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother"

BlogHer Original Post

At the same time, he said, the essay opens up an important but long-ignored aspect of the national conversation about these kinds of violent incidents:

"I think [the essay is] a valuable contribution. It's first-person, not an anonymous source talking to a newspaper." It helps us, he added, "To have empathy for even the killer and even the murderers' family."

Indeed, Time magazine's Susanna Schrobsdorf agrees:

"Parents of mentally ill children and young adults can’t say they are afraid of their own children or admit that they know what it’s like to have bright children whose rages could, under circumstances they can’t predict, lead them to kill innocent people the way Adam Lanza is alleged to have done at Sandy Hook Elementary."

Hoffman said he knows ASM and her family and has been aware of their struggles for some time. "I worry abour her son a lot," he said. ASM has been contending openly with these issues for a long time, often writing about them on her blog. "It's not like this came out of the blue," he added. He used the author's name because, as a former newspaperman, "I'm a big advocate of transparency and putting your name on stuff. I understand privacy, but I believe in social and public commentary."

ASM appeared, unnamed, on the TODAY show this morning, reading parts of her essay. A discussion followed about the difficulties parents face in getting help for mentally ill children. Hoffman says that's exactly what he and ASM hoped. "I'd like to see this continue to be discussed. I think it should be something that our country takes seriously, a discussion on mental health and whatever public policy elements we need."

I second their hopes. I just wonder whether, with a bit of editing, the point could have been made and this child's privacy could have been more protected.

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Kim Pearson


Blogher is non-partisan, but many of their bloggers are not.


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