His hair is unchanging through the years, a little boy’s simple bowl cut. His eyebrows do not arch or smile. His lips are neither pursed nor puckered but always flat, giving nothing away. His eyes, year after year, pop out from the snapshots, open wide, connecting with no one.
This is what Adam Lanza’s pursuers are left with. In violent death as in isolated life, he gave away little. The 20-year-old who on a bright Friday morning killed 26 people at the elementary school he had attended, as well as his mother and himself, destroyed one promising key to his unspoken passions, hammering his computer’s hard drive into digital silence. He left no note, confided in no friend. His mother, the one person he was known to have spoken to in anything more than monosyllabic responses, he shot in the head, four times, while she was in bed, in her pajamas.
Like Jared Loughner in Arizona and James Holmes in Colorado, Lanza stares out at us, bug-eyed and disconnected, in the grainy snapshot that is our first window into his soul. Mass shooters, almost always loners, often look the part, meaning that the publicly available images of them portray them in no social context, looking but not seeing, seen but not known.