The Big Book of Granny Might Not Be Anything

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I know it’s tempting .

From the moment I saw the title “The Big Book of Granny” in the appendix of the Sedensky Report , my sensors went off. We’re all looking for a psychological Rosetta Stone to explain Adam Lanza to ourselves. Then I read the summary — the gun violence and the eerie phrase “Let’s hurt children” — and I wanted to make the leap, along with everybody else. Sedensky obviously thought it was important.  As I observed in today’s column, he redacted all kinds of very basic information from his report, but included this creepy nine-year-old project. The Courant also thinks it’s important. This is their second page one story on Granny. 

Hats off to Hank Schwartz and the other expert in this article who both cautioned against drawing a bright, solid line from one thing to another. This was the work of two fifth grade boys. It’s clearly an attempt to be parodic and comic, in a “South Park”-influenced way (a grandmother who uses time travel to kill the Beatles seems like something Parker and Stone might very well tuck into an episode). If you took every instance of this kind of thing seriously, you’d have to convert Idaho into a prison camp for fifth grade boys. It’s what they do: make up gross, weird, random, violent stuff that they think is funny. I’ll get in trouble for saying this, but meeting up with another kid and making up the Granny tales might be one of the more normal things the very abnormal Adam Lanza did. Certainly the notion that he incubated these images for nine years and then suddenly acted on them is a stretch.

It’s the same fallacy that dogs the JFK assassination. You look backward from this one momentous act, and all the things you find seem like prophecies, smoking guns, explanations, critical anomalies or confirmations of pattern. Sometimes they are. Maybe this is. Or maybe it’s just some dumb thing two kids did on a rainy day. And nine years went by and a thousand other things happened.

The Big Book of Granny just seems so much less important than, say, what Adam’s father and brother said about him that I can’t imagine why one thing was singled out and so many other things were suppressed.

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