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Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:15 AM

Reports: Adam Lanza Smashed His Hard Drive Before Spree

Source: Slate


By Josh Voorhees | Posted Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, at 10:21 AM ET

As authorities continue to search for Adam Lanza's motive, it looks like they might not be able to rely on the 20-year-old's hard drive for help. Police tell multiple media outlets that someone—presumably Lanza himself—did his best to destroy his hard drive at some point before Friday's shootings that killed 20 children, six elementary school staff members and his mother.

The Hartford Courant with the details:

Two law enforcement sources said the hard drive had been removed from Lanza's computer and broken in pieces. They said that forensic electronics experts at the FBI will examine the drive in an effort to determine with whom Lanza corresponded electronically and how he otherwise used the device. One of the sources said that Lanza used the computer to play a violent video game in which life-like characters engage in graphic battle scenes.

Sources told ABC News, meanwhile, that the hard drive appeared to have been damaged by a hammer or screw driver.

Forensic experts don't yet know whether they'll be able to recover the lost files or not, although from the sounds of it they are cautiously optimistic that they'll be able to salvage at least some of the digital information. Given Lanza's apparent lack of an online presence, authorities hope that the hard drive's files, if recovered, will provide crucial details into Lanza's life and mental state in the lead up to Friday's tragic school shooting.



Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2012/12/18/adam_lanza_s_hard_drive_shooter_reportedly_covered_his_digital_tracks_before.html?wpisrc=newsletter_jcr:content

63 replies, 8803 views

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Arrow 63 replies Author Time Post
Reply Reports: Adam Lanza Smashed His Hard Drive Before Spree (Original post)
DonViejo Dec 2012 OP
Huskeerdo Dec 2012 #1
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #46
hedgehog Dec 2012 #2
Atypical Liberal Dec 2012 #14
BeyondGeography Dec 2012 #3
kooljerk666 Dec 2012 #4
ReRe Dec 2012 #10
snooper2 Dec 2012 #28
dixiegrrrrl Dec 2012 #44
tj_crackersnatch Dec 2012 #5
maxsolomon Dec 2012 #7
Fumesucker Dec 2012 #29
maxsolomon Dec 2012 #36
LanternWaste Dec 2012 #50
Fumesucker Dec 2012 #53
Scairp Dec 2012 #42
Posteritatis Dec 2012 #51
maxsolomon Dec 2012 #6
TwilightGardener Dec 2012 #18
Auntie Bush Dec 2012 #56
obamanut2012 Dec 2012 #19
rrneck Dec 2012 #27
patrice Dec 2012 #33
Nevernose Dec 2012 #43
slackmaster Dec 2012 #8
patrice Dec 2012 #9
Shivering Jemmy Dec 2012 #11
patrice Dec 2012 #16
sir pball Dec 2012 #17
JHB Dec 2012 #25
Eric J in MN Dec 2012 #32
JHB Dec 2012 #39
patrice Dec 2012 #30
Shivering Jemmy Dec 2012 #22
patrice Dec 2012 #31
obamanut2012 Dec 2012 #20
patrice Dec 2012 #35
4 more years Dec 2012 #12
Eric J in MN Dec 2012 #34
SemperEadem Dec 2012 #13
lbrtbell Dec 2012 #26
patrice Dec 2012 #37
dixiegrrrrl Dec 2012 #45
patrice Dec 2012 #54
dixiegrrrrl Dec 2012 #57
patrice Dec 2012 #58
dixiegrrrrl Dec 2012 #59
patrice Dec 2012 #60
dixiegrrrrl Dec 2012 #61
SemperEadem Dec 2012 #48
patrice Dec 2012 #55
Atypical Liberal Dec 2012 #15
patrice Dec 2012 #38
Atypical Liberal Dec 2012 #40
sir pball Dec 2012 #62
Atypical Liberal Dec 2012 #63
yellowcanine Dec 2012 #21
high density Dec 2012 #47
kentauros Dec 2012 #52
Xithras Dec 2012 #23
TwilightGardener Dec 2012 #24
Poll_Blind Dec 2012 #49
Sunlei Dec 2012 #41

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:18 AM

1. I wonder if his pre-sets to Rush were removed from his radio??

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Response to Huskeerdo (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 05:19 PM

46. Welcome to DU and I hope you enjoy the site.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:21 AM

2. Has anyone see any details/confirmation of reports that Lanza had

some sort of altercation with school officials in the days before the shooting?

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:46 AM

14. That was reported but later rescinded. n/t

 

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:22 AM

3. World-class monster

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:27 AM

4. NSA has all internet traffic of everyone...............n/t

 

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Response to kooljerk666 (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:36 AM

10. Bingo! n/t

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Response to kooljerk666 (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 01:34 PM

28. lol

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Response to kooljerk666 (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 04:35 PM

44. Good point..and I notice FBI never mentions THAT.

They indicate "examing the hard drive" but not " examining all his past emails for the last 8 years".
sadly, when the FBI DOES announce it has "recovered" some e-mail information, they will again NOT mention the spy files
but
very soon now some mouth piece will blare a reason for MORE overt computer tracking "because the Lawton shooter destroyed his hard drive to prevent vital information from being used by FBI"

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:30 AM

5. this kid was on a mission of obliteration

Creepy. Are nerdy, introverted young men the new threat?

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Response to tj_crackersnatch (Reply #5)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:31 AM

7. Nerdy, introverted is not the problem

Alienated is.

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Response to maxsolomon (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 01:47 PM

29. Which is why society in general tries so hard to alienate the nerdy and introverted n/t

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #29)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:44 PM

36. true-ish, but not all mass killers fit that profile

lots of them are simply Schizophrenic - including the recent Cafe Racer killer here in Seattle, and the quadruple cop-killer in Lacey, WA, the Giffords shooter, the Aurora shooter.

do you think that society consciously tries to alienate introverted young men?

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #29)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 06:08 PM

50. Really? I don't feel alienated at all...

Really? I don't feel alienated at all...


Maybe that's simply an excuse many of the nerdy and introverted use to better validate a conscious dismissal of social skills-- which is precisely what I did in my early teen years: blamed everyone else rather than addressing my lack of social skills and working on them. If you try, it works...

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #50)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 06:38 PM

53. Read some of the posts about mental illness here on relatively enlightened DU

I was doing fine, married for thirty years, kid, grandkids, home with white picket fence, the whole nine yards until the economy and my own brain stabbed me in the back about nine years ago.

Thanks for your advice though, the Horatio Alger school of psychiatry is an old and respected one indeed.




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Response to tj_crackersnatch (Reply #5)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 03:52 PM

42. He was after the kids specifically

That's the way I see it anyway. The adults just seemed to get in his way. I don't think we will ever know what made him target that school and those kids. They said he never attended there at all, had no known connection to that school in any way. It will never make sense and we need to accept that, if we can.

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Response to tj_crackersnatch (Reply #5)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 06:21 PM

51. No, we are not. Jesus. (nt)

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:30 AM

6. Here's what they'll find:

He was smart, he was genetically damaged, he was angry, hurt, humiliated, resentful, and wanted to lash out at the world, to make it hurt like he hurt, to make it remember his name and what it made him do. He wanted to kill himself in such a way that he would be infamous as the worst, most callous killer in mass killing history.

Mission accomplished.

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Response to maxsolomon (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:02 PM

18. I agree. I often wonder what these young men say and think when

they have read or heard about previous mass shootings. When Holmes did his deed in the movie theater in July, did Adam Lanza react in any way? Did he ever talk about Columbine, or Virginia Tech, with friends or family? I would think their reactions to such big news events would be very telling in terms of their mental/emotional state and capability for doing something similar.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #18)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 07:50 PM

56. He didn't have any friends and hadn't spoken to his brother in more than a year.

He didn't get along with his mother so he had no one to talk too.

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Response to maxsolomon (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:03 PM

19. Not a bad guess

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Response to maxsolomon (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 01:27 PM

27. I think you've got it there. nt

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Response to maxsolomon (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:38 PM

33. The winner. He bested us all at (what he thought was) our own game, using our own tools. nt

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Response to maxsolomon (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 03:53 PM

43. And a lot of conservative screeds

Family friends describe him as politically knowledgable for his age, and extremely politically conservative.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:32 AM

8. The whole thing was thoroughly planned and pre-meditated

 

Chilling.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:33 AM

9. Why did a murderer/suicide don a bullet proof vest? nt

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Response to patrice (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:37 AM

11. So he could last long enough

to inflict maximum damage.

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Response to Shivering Jemmy (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:53 AM

16. That's intentional & it's more likely caused by the gun factor than the video game factor, right?nt

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Response to patrice (Reply #16)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:58 AM

17. Probably the games, actually

Dunno what game he was playing, but in a lot of them, body armor provides a blanket layer of "extra life" no matter what - somebody with a knowledge of guns would realize that it's at best limited protection, even if you do take a round in the armor it's generally pretty unpleasant and potentially incapacitating (like a beanbag from a shotgun), and most of your body isn't protected. Not to say that knowing that would keep him from wearing it, just saying the perception could be vastly different from the reality.

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Response to sir pball (Reply #17)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:41 PM

25. On the other hand, I don't know any gamers who actually have a bullet proof vest...

...but Lanza did, or gained access to one his mother had.

Either way, it's still so much hot air. Recall that at this stage after Columbine, the talk was still all about trench coats, goths, bullying, cliques, etc. In the end, none of that was really a factor.

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Response to JHB (Reply #25)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:36 PM

32. What did motivate the Columbine killers? NT

NT

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Response to Eric J in MN (Reply #32)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:59 PM

39. A dangerous mix of mental problems

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-04-13-columbine-myths_N.htm

Harris, who conceived the attacks, was more than just troubled. He was, psychologists now say, a cold-blooded, predatory psychopath — a smart, charming liar with "a preposterously grand superiority complex, a revulsion for authority and an excruciating need for control," Cullen writes.

Harris, a senior, read voraciously and got good grades when he tried, pleasing his teachers with dazzling prose — then writing in his journal about killing thousands.

***

Klebold, on the other hand, was anxious and lovelorn, summing up his life at one point in his journal as "the most miserable existence in the history of time," Langman notes. Harris drew swastikas in his journal; Klebold drew hearts. As laid out in their writings, the contrast between the two was stark.

Harris seemed to feel superior to everyone — he once wrote, "I feel like God and I wish I was, having everyone being OFFICIALLY lower than me" — while Klebold was suicidally depressed and getting angrier all the time. "Me is a god, a god of sadness," he wrote in September 1997, around his 16th birthday.


See also the book Columbine by Dave Cullen (who is one of the sources to the article at the link), and other sources to be found on a Google search.

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Response to sir pball (Reply #17)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:28 PM

30. Is intentionality inherently rational? Yes. So the vest was a rational association with the danger..

associated with the guns and an accessory related to planning associated with those big magazines, for his chances of actually using those magazines would be increased by the vest.

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Response to patrice (Reply #16)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:10 PM

22. How would I know?

I can't assign probabilities with zero evidence.

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Response to Shivering Jemmy (Reply #22)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:32 PM

31. You can't assign probabilities without evidence, but you can hypothesize them in order to

orient information seeking in pursuit of what could turn out to be evidence.

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Response to patrice (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:03 PM

20. So he could control his own death

Much harder for a headshot to be accurate than a center of mass shot.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:43 PM

35. A rational estimate of danger created and applied by the specific weaponry involved. nt

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:39 AM

12. His mother taught him how to use that rifle.

They both went to the shooting range from what I read. un stable kid gets schooled on loading and shooting a AK 14 rifle. WTF was she thinking ? Rambo @ age 20 and people ask why?

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Response to 4 more years (Reply #12)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:39 PM

34. The mother was a survivalist who thought the economy was going to collapse.

Maybe she thought her son would protect her from mobs.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:44 AM

13. that speaks to premeditation

which means that young man wasn't so far out of his mind not to know what he was doing was wrong.

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Response to SemperEadem (Reply #13)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 01:00 PM

26. Mental illness doesn't mean you can't reason

It messes with a person's emotions. So you mix tortured emotions with the mind of an intelligent young man, and here's what you get.

That's why I really don't like it being called "mental illness". It should be "emotional illness" or "mood disorder".

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Response to lbrtbell (Reply #26)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:46 PM

37. Did you see the NY Times article on this subject? A fascinating read! link:

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Response to patrice (Reply #37)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 04:50 PM

45. Link wants a log in.....drats.

It did put me in mind of an old movie called "Bad Seed"
or maybe it was a tv show.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #45)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 07:42 PM

54. OMG, I have been thinking "Bad Seed" eversince I read that article. Oh heck!! I want you to read

that! It's an excellent rather detailed description, case study almost, of the issues in terms of the science that addresses this question. Does a lot of comparison and contrast stuff about the variations between ADHD etc. and full-blown psychosis, what they call CU (callous-unemotional) children. One of the best things I have read in a long time AND written by a relatively new comer there at the Times, Jennifer Kahn.

I registered to the NY Times some years ago and that registration has always just followed me from computer to computer, because I've never changed the email associated with it, so I forget, when I post that others, who can't or don't register for whatever reason, don't get to read this stuff. It's a free registration, btw.

I looked for a download, but can't find one. I wonder what would happen if I tried to copy & past, as long as I retain the attribution?

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Response to patrice (Reply #54)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 08:54 PM

57. If you post the headline of the story, exactly as it is

then often one can paste the headline into Google and get a cached copy of the story in the NY times, no log in needed.
I often do it that way to avoid havnig to register for sites.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #57)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:09 PM

58. Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Psychopath?

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Response to patrice (Reply #58)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:24 PM

59. As best as I remember

from my DSM 4....most definitions of disorders are age related, don't remember at this point what definition is for a 9 year old who shows symptoms for psychopathy.
Plus, the symptoms for sociopathy and psychopathy are fairly close to each other.

Do I think a 9 year kid can demonstrate a lack of consicience and disregard for the feelings of other people?
Yep.

But then, so can most politicians and Wall St. types.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #59)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:35 PM

60. That's the title of that NY Times article I was telling you about. I think you'll enjoy it. nt

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Response to patrice (Reply #60)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:45 PM

61. ohhhhhh..sorry, thoughtit was a question.

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Response to lbrtbell (Reply #26)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 05:55 PM

48. that's why I said

"he wasn't "'so far out of his mind'".

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Response to lbrtbell (Reply #26)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 07:47 PM

55. There's reasoning and then there's reasoning. Some similarities. Some differences. Both of which can

be important.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:48 AM

15. As long as the platters are intact, no problem.

 

If this was a rotating disk hard drive, and he did not crack the casing to get to the platters, it will be no problem to get the data off of them.

If it was solid state and he broke chips on the device, it may be difficult.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #15)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:47 PM

38. But that means that he'd have to crush each chip, one by one, right? nt

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Response to patrice (Reply #38)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:59 PM

40. I don't know how the nonvolatile memory in those things works.

 

Randomly smashing them may cause short circuits that cause problems, I don't know.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #15)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:59 PM

62. All things considered

I wouldn't be surprised if he just emptied a magazine into the drive. That would make it beyond "difficult".

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Response to sir pball (Reply #62)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 01:15 PM

63. This is my fear also

 

But initial reports were that he used a hammer or screwdriver.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:04 PM

21. Why not just heave the whole thing in a river? Would be more foolproof.

First it has to be found and if it is ever found any data would likely be irretrievable.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #21)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 05:27 PM

47. Simply running a program like dban on it would be even more foolproof

It wipes the drive and rewrites garbage over it multiple times, preventing forensic data recovery.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #21)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 06:37 PM

52. The FBI is known for its forensic data-retrieval.

I've read of them being able to recover data even from drives that have been partially destroyed by fire, or "wiped" by software. I don't know about 'dban' but would guess that unless you pull each platter out and feed it into an industrial grinder and then set fire to the bits, that someone somewhere knows how to retrieve the data anyway.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:10 PM

23. Heard an interesting alternate theory about the hard drives this morning.

We already know that the guy was mentally unbalanced. What if he went off after his mother found kiddie porn or something on his computer? It might explain why he killed his mother, why he smashed the drive, AND why he targeted small children in his shooting spree (it's relatively common for the more deranged pedophiles to blame children for "tempting" them).

It's pure speculation at this point, but it makes about as much sense as any other theory.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #23)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:16 PM

24. I suppose that's possible, but I tend to think that the smashed

hard drive was just to leave zero clues in his wake. I remember someone here showing a 4chan screen shot on the day it happened in which a young man from CT said he was going to commit suicide in a big way and that everyone should watch the news. Maybe he wanted the infamy, but wants his motives to remain a mystery?

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Response to Xithras (Reply #23)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 06:00 PM

49. Hunh! That's an interesting hypothesis. Nomatter what, I find the destruction of the...

...hard drives quite significant. Physically smashing a hard drive is also a bit difficult. It seems he put quite a bit of effort into that and, I suppose, it stands out because of that.

PB

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 03:44 PM

41. maybe his mom broke the computer or a medication side effect pushed him over the edge into the rage

Remember the aircraft pilot and employee that went crazy during the flight? They both had medication side effects.

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