NEW: Expert: The caller is saying "there's a reason" sudden violence happens
NEW: Radio show host says the idea he may have talked to a mass killer is "chilling"
Adam Lanza may have called a radio show in 2011, N.Y. Daily News reports
The caller talked about a chimp's attack on a human, "random acts" of human violence
Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza may have called a radio show nearly a year before his rampage, drawing parallels between a Connecticut chimpanzee that mauled a woman in 2009 and a “teenage mall shooter or something like that,” according to a report published Thursday in the New York Daily News.
The newspaper identified the caller as Lanza, based on Internet postings and confirmation by two of the late shooter’s friends. CNN cannot confirm that the recorded voice is Lanza’s, but if it is his, it could provide previously unknown insight into the mind of the 20-year-old, who killed 26 people at the Newtown, Connecticut, school before killing himself as police closed in.
“This is (him) saying, ‘Hey listen, there is going to be another shooting, there is going to be another outbreak of violence,’” clinical psychologist Jeff Gardere told CNN, assuming the voice is that of Lanza. Continuing with what he believed the caller meant, Gardere added, “But it’s not as random as you think it is. There’s a reason that these things happen.”
The 2011 call to the show “AnarchyRadio,” which broadcasts on a University of Oregon campus station and streams on the Internet, focuses on the story of Travis, a chimpanzee shot to death by police after he mauled his owner’s friend at the Stamford, Connecticut, home where he lived.
The friend suffered devastating, albeit not life-ending injuries in the February 2009 attack. The chimp – who had been featured in TV commercials for Coca-Cola and Old Navy – was shot multiple times by Stamford police as he tried to enter a cruiser before returning to the house and dying inside, police said.
In the nearly seven-minute segment, the caller – who identifies himself as “Greg” and speaks in a low, clipped monotone – laments perceptions of the chimpanzee after the attack, which he said didn’t happen “simply because he was a senselessly violent, impulsive chimp.”
“Immediately before his attack, he had desperately been wanting his owner to drive him somewhere, and the best reason I can think of for why he would want that, looking at his entire life, is some little thing he experienced was the last straw, and he was overwhelmed by the life he had and he wanted to get out of it by changing his environment,” the caller said. “And the best way he knew how to deal with that was by getting his owner to drive him somewhere else.”
After the owner’s friend arrived, the chimp “knew that she was trying to coax him back into his life of domestication,” the caller added.
“He couldn’t handle that, so he attacked her and anyone else who approached him,” he said. “And dismissing his attack as simply being the senseless violence and impulsiveness of a chimp, instead of a human, is wishful thinking at best.”
That primate’s story can inform how humans act, and sometimes snap, the caller speculated.
“His attacks can be parallel to the attacks, the random acts of violence, that you see on your show every week, committed by humans which the mainstream also has no explanation for,” he said. “An actual human, I don’t think it would be such a stretch. He very well could be a teenage mall shooter or something like that. …”
The show’s host, John Zerzan, said Thursday the idea that he might have been talking to someone who would massacre young children was “really chilling.”
At the time, though, he thought the caller seemed rational in making a valid point about how anyone – whether they are animal or human – can feel pushed over the edge in modern society.
“This guy … was beyond the pale and yet, I think, he made an accurate point (about) these flipouts,” Zerzan – who bills himself as “an anti-civilization theorist” – told CNN’s Don Lemon. “Anyone who reads the paper now and then would have noticed that is happening. And maybe we should try to find out why, what it’s telling us about the society.”
While saying such conversation on a program called AnarchyRadio might not stand to most, Gardere said psychologists like himself might spot “red flags” like the caller’s “very robotic” and controlled voice and his referring to “society” and “humans acting out, not to mention the mention of mall shootings.
Criminologist Casey Jordan, a professor of justice and law administration at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, said she sees parallels between this call and Lanza’s later rampage.
“I think the subtext of what he is saying is that violence is innate and instinctual to humans and really should not be punished because it is their natural basis,” Jordan said. “That’s the message he’s trying to get across, and the parallel to himself is obvious.
“He feels possessed by this need, this compulsion to commit violence.”