The Newtown killer

Yesterday evening the only thing that had come out about the Connecticut killer, Adam Lanza, was that he was "troubled." That adjective is often used to describe young sociopaths as well as other types of misfits, so it didn't really convey any useful information.

Yesterday's mass killing sounded more like the work of a crazy person than a sociopath. (Serial killers are always sociopaths, whereas mass shootings are often committed by people who are genuinely crazy.)

Last night one news service reported that Lanza's mother, whom he had murdered at home before going on his rampage, had been described as "extremely rigid." Rigidity is one of the defining characteristics of autistics, and it is often runs in families. And then someone else was quoted as describing Adam as "shy," which pretty much ruled out sociopathy.

Sure enough, this morning it emerged that Ryan Lanza, Adam's brother, had told authorities that Adam was autistic.

Adam lived with his mother in Newtown. His brother lived alone in Hoboken and worked for a financial firm. His father, who works in finance for GE, had divorced his mother in 2008. So it was just Adam and his mother, who sounds as if she too was somewhere on the spectrum, living together.

Just as two sociopaths will almost never get along (each prefers pliable victims he can bend to his will), two autistics will not get along either. Each will have his own set of rigid beliefs and habits which he will not bend to accommodate the other, and explosive arguments will ensue.

Yesterday's argument tragically ensnared a lot of innocent bystanders.