A new controversy has arisen in the town of Newton, Connecticut; a community that was ravaged by the 2012 shooting which took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Residents have come forward expressing the opinion that the shooter’s home should be torn down in an effort to both physically and figuratively remove his presence form the small, recovering community. Despite this desire, it might not be a feasible outcome given legal setbacks and a current lack of interest from Newton officials.
A recent survey of 1,600 people inquired about the way in which Newton residents would like to see donations to the community utilized. With more than $11 million dollars donated by individuals world wide, items such as mental health counseling and funds for families were cited as top priorities.
Among these responses was a less common, yet controversial proposition to tear down Adam Lanza’s former home. Currently, the residence is still standing and unoccupied, serving as a reminder to many of the horrific events carried out by its former resident. In particular, people who live near the Lanza’s residence would like to see its precast concrete walls crumble in a symbolic gesture.
Despite these wishes, The Newton-Sandy Hook Community Foundation’s executive director, Jennifer Barahona, stated that this move is not a current possibility. She claimed such a project to be out of the foundation’s scope, as the Lanza’s former property is currently in probate court proceedings. Comments from Barahona predict that the property may be tied up in court proceedings for years to come.
Also, it has been reported that town officials haven’t expressed any desire to purchase the property or communicated any future plans for its use.
In my opinion, residents have every right to desire seeing the property bulldozed by heavy machinery and turned into something useful. While it has been passed along to Peter Lanza, Adam Lanza’s father and his deceased mother’s ex-husband, it is unlikely that he will end up living on the property with his current family. It seems particularly unlikely that the father would want to live in a building linked to the tragedy given his recent discussion regarding his troubled son.
Considering the small likelihood that it will be used as a future residence, purchasing it from the Lanza family and turning it into something new seems like a solid course of action. Building a memorial or a park in its place were suggestions from surveyed community members that would serve as positive steps forward for Newton. Not only would amenities of this nature remove a negative symbol from the community, they would also represent a step toward recovery and honoring those lost in the tragedy.
Sadly, for Newton citizens, the ongoing legal proceedings mean that these projects wouldn’t be completed for years to come. Despite this setback, these plans should certainly be considered when the time arrives to decide this controversial property’s fate.
Image by AndrewDallos