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December 18, 2012

Can’t Bear to Look: Why the Media is Full of Distorted/Freak Photos of Adam Lanza

NewImage
#1 via HuffPost Crime

NewImage
#2 via Mirror UK

NewImage #3 via andrewazzopardi.org. Photo apparently cropped to place Lanza at the periphery.

NewImage
#4 via Herald Sun

NewImage#5 via andrewazzopardi.org.

Screen Shot 2012 12 17 at 1 29 18 PM

#6 via Examiner.com

NewImage

#7 via cbslocalnyc

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#8 via REX USA – ghoulish black-and-white photo from People, among other places.

Screen Shot 2012 12 17 at 1 24 40 PM

#9 Misidentified with this picture (the hand gesture terribly easy to misconstrue) from his brother’s Facebook page. via El Diario.

If you examine the limited set of pictures available of Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, you will notice the media has been consistently blowing the photos up beyond normal resolution, cropping them in irregular styles or otherwise tweaking their display so the kid becomes distorted in all kinds of ways. I can only guess at the reasons, ranging from speed and carelessness; cheap editorial payoff (in other words, making Lanza look more like a freak, a monster or an apparition from another-world) or to just equate “unknowable” with fuzzy.

…And then, to the extent site after site seems obsessed with excessive cropping and zooming till Lanza becomes a moiré pattern, I’m guessing there’s an editorial instinct out there that jamming him under a magnifying glass might somehow makes this sense- and information-defying figure more accessible somehow.

Now I understand some people, maybe most people will read this and say “so what,” seeing Lanza (shape-shifted, or not) simply as the anti-Christ. But I have a simple point to make. If we’re going to learn from this tragedy, especially with all the question marks that exist surrouning mental health, distorting Lanza’s image beyond his already thoroughly internally-distorted self is a bad idea. Rather, it is incumbent on us to try and see him as clearly as we can.

I should add that there are several photos also circulating (mostly from a younger age - 12) that show Lanza as less of a freak. The photo below, in particular, shows Lanza at the oldest and most expressive, complete with details in the background that one can speculate about. (Click for full size.) Because you can’t encounter this expression without have to actually relate to the kid, though, I guess it’s not surprising the media is mostly opting for the weirder stuff above.

Postscript:

With all the distortion in mind, below are what I’m assuming to be the best/most original versions of the permutations/mutations above, with captions:

(click for full size)

caption: This undated photo shows Adam Lanza, third from the right, posing for a group photo of the technology club which appeared in the Newtown High School yearbook. Authorities have identified Lanza as the gunman who killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, inside an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself. Richard Novia, a one-time adviser to the technology club, verified that the photo shows Lanza. (AP Photo)

Adam Lanza

Photo circulated by local law enforcement via NBC News/AP.

Adam Lanza blue shirt

This 2005 photo provided by neighbor Barbara Frey and verified by Richard Novia, shows Adam Lanza. Authorities have identified Lanza as the gunman who killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, inside an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself. Novia was the school district’s former head of security and he advised the school technology club that Adam and his older brother belonged to. (AP Photo/Barbara Frey)

(linked photo 1: Enterprise News and Photos. linked photo 2: 12/15/12 Photo of Adam Lanza that was taken when he was a middle school student at St. Rose Catholic School. in Newtown. Photo courtesy Kate Foy  -Photo courtesy Kate Foy / December 15, 2012. Lanza with poster photo: found at via glasistre.hr)

  • black_dog_barking

    I don’t want to know his back story. I know what he did and I know he couldn’t have done it without having control of a machine that delivers death at the touch of a finger — by design. Those who believe such machines should be ubiquitous are simply deluded.

    • unconscioussubconscious

      sheep boy

    • woof!

      Well, what do you expect from Massachussettesians, who have already been fully disarmed? I suppose there are zero deaths in Mass., right?

      Remember, the Second Amendment is there for a much more important purpose: to preserve Liberty in our great Republic. If Liberty doesn’t matter to you, please leave. Those who would give up essential liberty for a little temporary faux safety, deserve neither.

      The Media are propaganda machines.

    • Tom Griswald

      People like you, who come along with your condescending attitude are the worst. You don’t know better than others. You are no more special than I, what gives you the privilege to take away fellow citizens rights ? The 2nd amendment is one of the most important of rights. It was the purest form of checks and balances to our system. You will whole heartedly take these firearms from us knowing damn well the government is stocking up on even deadlier weapons.

    • aw

      Well which machine did he have? Are you sure about what the media is telling you? Maybe you should do some research before you go on believing all the bs. The newtown crap was all set up by the government just so they would get more votes to get rid of the guns. How can you and everyone else not see this? Open your eyes to what’s really going on around you in this world today. It’s all a plan to have it ran the way Obozo wants it.

  • janis edwards

    similar issues to the florida (racial?) shooting
    and depictioms of the perp, right? accentuate the preferred, received interpretation.

  • dfsdfsd

    You are using pictures of his brother.

    • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw

      The post is pointing out how El Diario, and other sites, have mistaken Adam Lanza for his brother.

  • bystander

    The media choice of distorted, or distorting images colludes with the parents who desperately want to believe that Adam Lanza is nothing like their own children. He needs to be different in an easily identifiable way. Else, we all run the risk of hav[ing] to actually relate to the kid, just as you said. And, if we can relate to him, to see even glimpses of people we know or (heaven forfend) ourselves, then we are unable to hold him at arm’s length. We lose our defense. Our certitude that no one we know is at all like Adam Lanza and could never do what Adam Lanza has done. Our desire to make sense is confronted by the nearly inexplicable. Best to make Adam Lanza an “unrecognizable other.”

    • Sickobaby

      Well, what’s funny is that the kids who always do this type of crime ARE everyday, relatable, sons of respectable parents etc.. kids who ARE like people we know. Most kids have some type of social awkwardness, play video games, keep to themselves, listen to metal, rebel, or are intelligent and picked on for it at high school, scrawny, acne ridden, loner etc.. The media wants to distance Adam from everyone else, but in truth he is very much like everyone else (besides the fact that he went on a mass shooting spree murdering multiple children). Point is, it could have been anyone’s kid.. We miss the warning signs all the time. Unless the kid has a violent past and threatens this type of shit all the time, it’s hard to tell who, in fact, will actually get up and do this type of crime.

  • acm

    I dunno — my rate of photographing my child had already dropped off at age 5 — I imagine that when scrambling for a photo of a kid not yet old enough for yearbook ubiquity, you’d have few choices (especially without Mom to ask), most of which are low-res and poor shots to begin with. I agree that the cropping things are odd, but blowing up a tiny group pic to solo picture size is going to make them a mess, so that part doesn’t really surprise me, especially for early reports.

  • LanceThruster

    What would any of us give up for of complete safety? How about the promise of complete safety? How about what you would give of for someone else for the promise of complete safety? These are the issues that need to be addressed in addition to the somewhat convoluted question of how deadly must we allow deadly eapons to be, and who should be allowed to have these deadly weapons of whatever degree allowable?

    At some point it’s almost if you have to ask, “Are bullets too deadly?” I’m not saying I know the answer, it just seems so much of the approach deals with fiddling around the margins.

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  • Ryan Wilson

    “The
    photo below, in particular, shows Lanza at the oldest and most
    expressive”

    You posted a picture of innocent relative RYAN Lanza. An apology is in order.

  • Jay Smith

    Who ever wrote this article is a fucking idiot. Adam Lanza is a freak. Everyone knows it. He makes me think evil, evil thoughts on how I would torture him if he was still alive. The only good that has come from this, is that the freak that is Adam Lanza is off this earth for good. May he rot in hell forever and ever.

  • LunchBunch

    Do a search for James Holmes and compare to the Heaven’s Gate Cult leader, and see how their eyes look in comparison with each other and Adam Lanza

  • LunchBunch

    I wonder if this could be evidence that certain drugs were being administered to these people.

  • Frank

    “The photo below, in particular, shows Lanza at the oldest and most expressive, complete with details in the background that one can speculate about. (Click for full size.) Because you can’t encounter this expression without have to actually relate to the kid, though, I guess it’s not surprising the media is mostly opting for the weirder stuff above”

    THAT picture you refer to is of his brother. You don’t seem to be making the point that others have mistaken the photo for Adam, but rather that the news media is deliberately opting not to use this one for some nefarious reason. (The actual reason, of course, is that it’s not a picture of Adam Lanza.)

  • NoNo

    Guns per 100 capita:

    US: 89
    Canada: 30.8
    Germany: 30.3
    Australia: 15
    UK: 6.2
    Japan: 0.6

    Gun homicide rate per 100,000

    US: 3.6
    Canada: 1.79
    Germany: 0.2
    Australia: 0.13
    UK: 0.04
    Japan: 0.06

  • NoNo

    You are welcome to have a flintlock gun..

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