Amidst the final funerals for the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, the older brother of shooter Adam Lanza posted a tribute of his own.
“I am a victim,” Ryan Lanza, 24, told The New York Post Saturday in a Facebook chat. “I loss [sic] my mom and brother.”
He went on to share a smiling image of his 20-year-old troubled brother, lounging in a long-sleeved tee.
“R.I.P. I will miss you bro. I will always love you as long as I live,” Ryan posted.
He also posted a photo of his mother, Nancy, 52, looking carefree and happy.
“I miss you mom. I love you so much. You will be always in my heart,” Ryan wrote.
In the second-deadliest school shooting in United States history, Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children, 6 adults, his mother and himself on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.
While it might seem difficult to empathize with the Lanza family, I’m reminded of the inspirational message from Robbie Parker, the father of Emilie Parker, 6, who was murdered in the school shooting.
Just two days after his beautiful daughter was killed, Parker extended his support to the Lanza family.
“It is a horrific tragedy and I want everyone to know that our hearts and prayers go out to them. This includes the family of the shooter,” Parker told The Guardian on December 16. “I cannot imagine how hard this experience is for you. Our love and support goes out to you as well.”
And Ryan, who once attended Sandy Hook, grieved for his brother’s youngest victims.
“You all will be truly be missed,” he wrote. “God Bless.”
While Ryan’s use of the term “victim” really rubs me the wrong way, I can definitely sympathize for his loss. He does not deserve to hear that his late brother should “rot in hell” and he was the “scum of the earth.” Ryan says these hateful messages via Facebook are hurtful and he loves his late brother.
“I am so tired of people blaming me for something my brother did. I love Adam, his [sic] my brother,” he wrote. “But you have no right to call my brother names when he isn’t here no more. Just let my brother rest in peace. Please. Respect that.”
And to Emilie Parker’s father Robbie, I am humbled and inspired by your greatness. To have the capacity to empathize and send love to the family of the gunman who killed your precious girl leaves me weeping and at a loss for words. I aspire to be as forgiving and loving as you in the face of tragedy — and on a daily basis.
What do you think? Is Ryan a victim? Do you empathize with him?