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Doris Lin

Was School Shooter Adam Lanza Vegan? Does it Matter?

By December 18, 2012

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In the wake of the horrific school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on Friday, one friend of the shooter's family claims that the shooter, Adam Lanza, was vegan.

Russ Hanoman, who says he was a friend of the shooter's mother, Nancy Lanza, has told several news agencies that the shooter was "an organic vegan" because he "didn't want to hurt animals."

I'm sure as the investigation goes on, there will be some debate as to whether Lanza was vegan, both in the literal sense of whether he avoided animal products and in the idealogical sense of whether someone who commits a violent crime can be considered vegan. Since people are animals, and vegans strive to avoid harming all animals, I'm sure some will say that he couldn't have been vegan.

But it doesn't matter whether Lanza was vegan. As we try to find answers and make some sense out of the senseless, every aspect of his life will be dissected. Was this massacre related to the fact that his mother was a prepper? Arguably he had more access to guns because his mother had collected the weapons as part of her "prepping," but guns facilitate crimes, not cause crimes. Was it caused by his autism? No. And, if he was vegan, it's not related to his veganism either.

People sometimes argue that Hitler was vegan or vegetarian (he was neither), and use this point as an argument against animal rights. But whether any specific individual is vegan or vegetarian has nothing to do with their heinous crimes and nothing to do with whether animals deserve rights.


December 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm
(1) Angela says:

Yes, it matters he was a vegan because vegans are high in copper, the copper/zinc ratio will be severely imbalanced and that will cause all the symptoms he suffered from. From being withdrawn, anti-social and violent to autistic like symptoms. Check out dr Lawrence Wilson’s website about copper toxicity. I’ve been there. I had many of the same symptoms.

December 18, 2012 at 2:50 pm
(2) Docdribble says:

Does it matter that he was a vegan? Of course it matters. With all of the hateful rhetoric that is spewed about the human race by the Animal Right extremist groups, it doesn’t surprise me that someone that supports your cause would do this.

Here is an example of some of the hateful, ignorant and racist things that one group, the NJ Bear Group that Doris is a member of, has to say about people that don’t support Animal Rights extremism.


So does it matter that he was a vegan? It most certainly does.

December 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm
(3) Bruce says:

If he listend to Rush Limbaugh, would you say it didn’t matter? If you can say yes, then I will agree with you!

December 18, 2012 at 4:46 pm
(4) S3 says:

Great article Ms. Lin, I couldn’t agree with you more. The other commentors thus far do not understand what veganism is. To explain things further, there are ethical vegans who do not believe in hurting any animal, including humans. There are also people who are vegans for their health (and vegans must be informed about their diet Angela, just as omnivores must be to be healthy). Since the shooter was rumored to have eaten organically, he may have been on the diet do to his health issues. Perhaps his mother even put him on it. Who knows at this point and we may never know. Jumping to conclusions without verification and attacking veganism and vegans is purely small mindedness and agenda driven. These other commentors have come to this site simply to berate something which they don’t understand and feel threatened by for some reason.

December 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm
(5) Doc Dribble says:

I understand one thing and that is the woman that wrote this article is involved with people in NJ that are extremists and constantly call for violence on their Facebook page. In case you missed the link, here it is again:


You can say that our motivations are agenda driven, but I have to ask, if this psycho turned out to be a hunter do you think that would of been ignored by the animal rights extremists? Of course not. T

December 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm
(6) Melissa says:

Curious why the quick dismissal of the idea that he committed this heinous act because he has Asbergers Syndrome? I think it had almost EVERYTHING to do with it. People with Aspergers Syndrome can be extremely bright and gifted at one or two things, and completely inept at others. They are often very literal thinkers — no shades of gray — with extremely sensitive senses (smell, touch, taste, hearing and sight) who shun closeness and bodily contact,. They are awkward socially and can sometimes pass by in school without a diagnosis. Nancy Lanza took Adam out of school after middle school and home-schooled him. She also taught him all about assault weapons and he had access to her arsenal in the home. If anyone’s at fault, I think she is for negligence. But the country is at fault for not regulating guns and owner responsibility far more than is currently required.

December 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm
(7) Brian says:

Of course it matters. Does anyone remember how quickly the media reported that the Colorado shooter was a Tea Party member. Totally wrong by the way but it doesn’t matter does it. Double standard? Typical liberal double standard.

December 19, 2012 at 2:19 am
(8) Elizabeth says:

Melissa, none of the things you named about ASPERGERS have anything remotely to do with what might make someone go on a shooting spree.

I have sensitivity to light and sound and do not socialize like NT’s (nor do they socialize like Autistics, but then, they are not considered “wrong” for it) therefore I kill a bunch of kids?!

Bad logic is bad.

December 19, 2012 at 11:43 am
(9) Abby Bean says:

Unfortunately, many people are under the false impression that vegans care more about animals than people. Not so; veganism is based in total compassion.

As for you, DocDribble; we “missed” your link on purpose.

December 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm
(10) DocDribble says:

So Abby why do vegans, like Doris Lin, surround themselves with people like the NJ Bear Group that constantly say humans are the ones that need to be controlled, not animals? These people over and over again, as you can see from my link, call for violence, law breaking, and use hate speech against anyone that dares to disagree with them. You might call that “compassion”, but I think it’s probably closer to extremism. I don’t see anything published by Ms. Lin that is any way critical of these extremists and she even claims membership in their BEAR Group.

If these people are bold enough to publish such heinous things on a public webpage, I shudder to think of what they do behind closed doors.

December 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm
(11) Nickolas says:

high copper intakes do not affect your zinc nutritional status, according to the Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/504502-nutrition-the-zinc-to-copper-ratio/#ixzz2FXMYNlqp

December 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm
(12) Doris says:

Doc Dribble, I’m so glad you’re interested in learning about these important issues! There are good reasons people should control their garbage. Did you know that the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife also says that people should control their garbage? You can read more about garbage control here.

I’m sorry you choose to read this site selectively. A simple search of the site will show that I condemn violent tactics here, and here.

And that I condemn hate speech here, here, here, and here.
As you correctly point out, those remarks were posted by the public on a public website. But you are incorrect in attributing those comments to the BEAR Group. None of those comments came from the BEAR Group. To learn what the BEAR Group says, please visit the official website.
Throughout all of this, I haven’t seen you defend bear hunting. It’s a common tactic. When one holds an indefensible position, it’s common to make personal attacks instead of trying to defend your position. I encourage you to examine your own motives in calling animal advocates “extremists.” Please check out this article about why people feel the need to call animal advocates “extremists.”
If you’d like to learn what’s wrong with the NJ bear hunt, please read this article. And if you’d like to understand why the NJ Appellate Division held that the 2005 NJ bear hunt was illegal, please read this article.

December 19, 2012 at 8:06 pm
(13) Marcella Smith says:

Oh dear confused Angela, tell that comment to half of India

December 19, 2012 at 8:56 pm
(14) Jamie says:

It’s irrelevant if he called himself a vegan because he clearly wasn’t one. It’s an unfortunate trend that people who eat fish call themselves vegetarians and everyone believes them, ignorant of what real vegetarians do and don’t eat. Many people who claim to be vegan crumble every time they’re around a muffin. He could call himself whatever he liked, but ethical vegans don’t harm any sentient beings, so there’s no real debate here.

December 20, 2012 at 3:36 am
(15) John says:

Does it matter he didn’t eat saturated fat when his brain is 70% saturated fat? Does it matter he doesn’t get any B12 when B12 is vital for human [mental] health? Is it any surprise that America is obese, diabetic, cancerous, mentally ill, and suffering froms hosts of unnatural diseases like MS, Alzheimers, and CHD? Thisis exactly what happens when you spurn the food you are designed to eat. This is not a story of gun control or mental health, it’s a story of a sick civilization because of its food folly.

December 20, 2012 at 5:48 am
(16) Anne says:

Being a vegan is a beautiful lifestyle and understanding when rightly contemplated and applied, in my opinion. But like all humans, we all have egos and opinions and preferences and so are a varied bunch.

I don’t understand how whether this young man was or was not a vegan plays into the broader debate. If he was your regular ‘omnivore’, would be be considering that a factor? If he was obese would be saying all overweight ominivores (or overweight vegans) are potential murderers? Well only in so far as we all are I guess.
It is surely a multi-factorial issue, with many, many elements at play that led up to this tragic moment in time. It is facile and foolish to look for ‘one’ part of the puzzle to blame … and tragic if that one thing that seems ‘different’ and so threatening to many turns out to be this boy was a vegan. Smells of a witchhunt to me. It is a time to keep a level head, look in a balanced way at the facts … and look at our own hearts, our own culture too, wholistically … not look for scapegoats. xx

December 20, 2012 at 7:23 am
(17) Stephen says:

It is hard for people in the UK (or in western Europe more generally) to understand how this can be an issue for you in the US. The need to promote animal welfare (not animal rights, I’m not claiming that) is so much more accepted in Europe (not perfect by any means) that it does not seem weird (or even dangerous, as some people seem to imply) to most people that some make moral choices to try to reduce levels of animal suffering. Nor that a vegan diet might make you mad – yes, you have to . Maybe it’s a distraction because you don’t want to face up to issues around gun control and completely mad notions about what might happen in the future?

December 20, 2012 at 7:29 am
(18) Marmatt says:

Addressing ‘Drivel’ specifically.

Ms. Lin is a highly regarded attorney who happens to represent animal protection organizations. The only radical and extremist comments here may be attributed to you.

Whether Lanza was vegan is irrelevant. It’s obvious that Adam Lanza was a very disturbed individual who slipped through the cracks, and all the facts are not in.

Keep your hate filledl and ignorant opinions to yourself.

December 20, 2012 at 8:06 am
(19) runnergirl says:

To suggest that Adam killed because he is a vegan is the height of ignorance and stupidity! With that logic, we can say that all the other people who committed such massacres did so because they ate meat! The assinine statement is just for right-wing gun nuts to take jabs at Animal Rights folks!

December 20, 2012 at 8:34 am
(20) Jo Tyler says:

Lanza could not have been vegan since veganism is a philosophy of non-violence. If we’re interested with labels that might indicate Lanza’s propensity towards harming others, why not look for connections in the fact that he was male? Or that he was American? Or even Christian? All of those groups have a long history of violence, after all. (Suggesting this as a devil’s advocate, of course, to illustrate the absurdity…)

December 20, 2012 at 9:05 am
(21) ManAmongTheRuins says:

Before vegans conveniently absolve themselves of responsibility, I’d like them to consider their rhetoric, and how it could effect a fragile ego like Lanza. “Meat is murder.” “Corpse muncher”. Comparing KFC to the Holocaust.
When you combine a smug sense of moral superiority, with this type of hyperbolic rhetoric, violence is nearly inevitable. No normal human would harm a First Grader. But a murderous corpse muncher? Heck, sign me up.
Vegans delight in painting 99% of the human species as murderous sadists who run concentration camps. Once you are convinced of that, it is only a tiny psychological leap to “Someone has to DO something about it…something drastic.”
The use of similar tactics…murder language, gross-out pictures and extreme hyperbole have been used by the pro-life movement, and have led directly to clinic arsons and doctor assassinations. Ms. Lin (and all vegans) can hide behind the “no true Scotsman” fallacy all they want – but in the end, they really need to examine the more extreme and violent rhetoric coming out of their movement.

December 20, 2012 at 9:08 am
(22) YTK says:

Whether he was Vegan or not, Adam’s MOTHER was a major problem to start with — she was one huge enabler. This is the woman who told the baby siter when Adam was young, never to turn his back to him– THAT in itself was a HUGE RED flag. Then she takes Adam SHOOTING with her? And if I am not mistaken, he also played violent video games? This woman was a HUGE enabler. Adam should have been committed when he was young.

December 20, 2012 at 9:19 am
(23) risa m. mandell says:

Human behavior doesn’t follow laws of logic although there could be consistent logic within segments of his behavior, for example, he could have been vegan because he didn’t want to hurt other-than-human animals, who never hurt him, but if he felt hurt and shamed by humans, he either had no conflict, rationalized that conflict and/or had deficits in empathy and common decency, let alone empathy to act on what should have been contained in fantasy. I read that he had a high tolerance for physical pain but haven’t seen anything about how this might have played out in feeling emotions in himself or for others, since feelings are psychosomatic events. Thank you, Ms Lin and all commentators for the opportunity to have this discussion

December 20, 2012 at 11:30 am
(24) Doc Dribble says:

Doris nowhere in anything I wrote did I mention garbage, how it needs to be handled, or that I’m interested in learning about issues that you feel are so important. I’m also not here to debate the hunting issue with you. I’ve heard all of the arguments from your side and much of it is based on emotions and very little facts. You won’t change my mind about it and I’m sure I won’t change yours, so it’s a waste of time to even engage in a debate.

This article is about Adam Lanza and whether it matters if he was a vegan or not. Maybe after an investigation of exactly what happened in CT is completed, we can judge whether his animal rights stance played a part in what took place there. After some of the things I’ve read by animal rights extremists on the web, it wouldn’t shock me if it played a part in his decision making.

My concern are the calls for illegal activity, violence, and racism that I read on the web by some animal rights activists and in particular the NJ Bear group FB page. You say that none of those comments on my blog came from Bear Group members, but that matters little. I don’t have a membership list to know if that is true, but even if it is, they allow that type of disgusting rhetoric to take place on their FB page. Also, my blog attributes those comments to the Bear Group AND it’s supporters, not solely to Bear Group members. By allowing those types of comments it shows that they aren’t offended enough by them to remove them.

You can condemn law breaking, hate speech, violence, and write as many articles about it as you like. Fact is you involve yourself with a group that does not always obey the law. One individual that comes to mind has been arrested on numerous occasions for interfering with F&G and baiting bears herself. I saw pictures of her at the last protest in December. So you are involving yourself with people that are willing to break laws and have no problem with hate and violence on their Facebook page. Not smart.

December 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm
(25) Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

B12 deficiencies for those who choose a vegan diet are a real concern. (This is not an issue for “half of India” as their typical approach to vegetarianism is a lacto-ovo one.) B12 deficiencies may cause severe irreversible neurological damage that progresses before B12 deficiency is clinically detectable. Symptoms may include confusion, paranoia, mania, and psychosis. Unfortunately, B12 needs may not be fully met with supplements or fortification as the artificial forms of B12 are not identical to the form provided by nature.

I think we can all appreciate the concern that vegans have for animal welfare and the ethical issues involved in eating animals or animal products. At the same time, we must be honest about the possible implications that this approach to eating may have for those whose diets are not meticulously planned and supplemented.

December 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm
(26) Adele Hite, MPH RD says:

I am reposting this as, for some reason, my first post did not appear. My apologies if it appears twice:

B12 deficiencies for those who choose a vegan diet are a real concern. (This is not an issue for “half of India” as their typical approach to vegetarianism is a lacto-ovo one.) B12 deficiencies may cause severe irreversible neurological damage that progresses before B12 deficiency is clinically detectable. Symptoms may include confusion, paranoia, mania, and psychosis. Unfortunately, B12 needs may not be fully met with supplements or fortification as the artificial forms of B12 are not identical to the form provided by nature.

I think we can all appreciate the concern that vegans have for animal welfare and the ethical issues involved in eating animals or animal products. At the same time, we must be honest about the possible implications that this approach to eating may have for those whose diets are not meticulously planned and supplemented.

December 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm
(27) YTK says:

ManAmongTheRuins — Holocaust was first used in the bible to singify the slaughter of animals as a sacrifice in the temple. What happens to the anmals slaughtered for KFC products is actually worse than what happened to the animsl in the biblical holocausts

December 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm
(28) em says:

I think that if a person’s diet, however healthy and well-meaning, is devoid of vital nutrients, (such as b12) issues can arise regardless of cognitive reasoning.
There could be other underlying problems within that individual’s physiology, and if that factor could be, even in PART, behind this, then don’t we owe it to ourselves, our vegan counterparts, and our own society to explore the possibility?
Whatever Adam’s labels, his beliefs or motives or challenges, the outcome is what it is. OUR challenge now is to make sense, come together as a whole, and find ways to heal.
The fact that some want to take offense to the insulation they glean from a few words, rather than explore the FACTS and the toxicology reports and CHEMISTRY behind the act defies logic. .
I cannot believe that a vegan lifestyle CAUSED this, but if it is true, and his diet caused an imbalance or deficiency, then it is ONE factor, that has to be included in the whole equation in order to have the entire picture.

December 21, 2012 at 2:21 am
(29) Bob says:

Angela your comments are severely deficient in validity.

James Holmes was not a vegan, and neither were any of the other shooters in previous mass shootings.

Whether any of these people are vegans or not, is not relevant to the crime.

December 21, 2012 at 6:22 am
(30) A says:

It’s funny how everybody jumps on the first vegan to do something bad in history as the proof they’ve been waiting for that vegans are bad people.
Are you listening to yourselves?: He murdered because of excess Copper?, or B12 deficiency? or because he may have liked animals?. Although even even a militant vegan is more humanitarian than the average potential psycho walking the street these days.

Have you all suddenly forgotten all the psychos in history and the criminals in prison of whom the vast majority eat meat; are you saying that conversely meat eaters are prone to violence because the majority of killers are meat eaters?

December 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm
(31) Melanie says:

Being vegan had nothing to do with this nor did having Aspergers. Neither of these cause violence and there is no such things as all vegans having too much copper. Everyone eats differently. What caused this was the fact that Adam has been MENTALLY ILL for years and he just found out that his mother is trying to get a conservatorship over him through the courts to put him in an out of state mental institution. He had been bullied as a child in that school and his mother is a long time volunteer there.

December 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm
(32) chrisgee says:

I like how Doc Dribble now says it doesn’t matter that the hateful comments didn’t come from the nj bear group. Dude you brought it up in the first place! That’s pretty weak.

December 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm
(33) Hunter P says:
December 22, 2012 at 5:55 pm
(34) goren says:

so glad we finally found that one (1) root cause which directly, solely caused Adam Lanza to go on his killing spree. what a relief!

December 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm
(35) Sophia says:

Vegans can be highly copper toxic due to low zinc status. Copper toxicity leads to high levels of aggression. Try drinking some water out of a copper cup with a drop of lemon juice for several weeks and watch what happens to your personality..

Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true” …Buddha

watch the world open up to the truth when you google this combination of words “copper toxicity aggression”


December 27, 2012 at 3:27 am
(36) marie says:

Ask PeTa – they expresed publc opinions and offered free Vegan meals for prisoners in Colorado after the movie theater shooting. Maybe they have some thoughts?

January 17, 2013 at 2:53 pm
(37) Roberta Cerra says:

The shooter could not have been a vegan because people are animals too. Vegans believe in the right to live.

January 18, 2013 at 7:53 am
(38) Pamela says:

Docdribble, why do you lump ALL vegans and vegetarians together just because of one krank group? I do not agree with hunting but not all hunters are the same. There are those who are ‘responsible’ hunters and those who hunt because of bloodlust!
Sounds to me like you have a guilty conscience!

April 22, 2013 at 6:04 am
(39) WTF? says:

Veganism makes no difference.
(1) Angela says:

“Yes, it matters he was a vegan because vegans are high in copper, the copper/zinc ratio will be severely imbalanced and that will cause all the symptoms he suffered from. From being withdrawn, anti-social and violent to autistic like symptoms. Check out dr Lawrence Wilson’s website about copper toxicity. I’ve been there. I had many of the same symptoms.”
Vegans are high in copper so that makes them do dumb shit? I’m in utter disbelief that ignorant bullshit has thrashed my brain. What is seen can be unseen, what a shame.

April 24, 2013 at 7:07 pm
(40) Technorati.Com says:

Halloj vilken nobel blogg du har!

May 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm
(41) Steve Jones says:

I suggest you all Google ‘Sandy Hook Actors’ and then come back here. We have no idea whether Adam Lanza even existed, and the fact that the fools behind this psy-op told us he was vegan makes it even more unbelievable. How can somebody who has never shot an animal, and never WOULD shoot an animal, suddenly be capable of shooting children? Have a long, hard think about it.

Where is the CCTV footage of Adam Lanza entering the school? There were CCTV cameras at the entrance of the school, where is the evidence that any of this ever happened? Just look at the so-called ‘parents’ all over Youtube, who never ONCE actually cry tears, even though their children were shot dead the day before the interviews!

May 20, 2013 at 6:42 am
(42) Daniel Manahan says:

Is it relevant what an ethical vegan does?

this proves that being an ethical vegan does not prevent someone from killing the innocent who are deprived of their ability to fight back, and their ability to run away.

this proves that an ethical vegan is capable of what you cause happen to innocent animals, unlike in the wild where they can fight back, and unlike in the wild where they can run away.

The terror these innocent must have felt, must have been identical to what the animals that meat eaters eat must feel.

the real relevant question here is, what are you going to do about it? cause more innocent to die, like this ethical vegan did? or are you going to be an ethical vegan yourself and teach the world how an ethical vegan should behave.

Take a look at yourself before you take a look at others.

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