The mother of a mentally ill 13-year-old son — who blogged about her son’s violent threats hours after the Sandy Hook massacre on Friday — appeared on “The Today Show” Monday morning to talk about the attention her blog post has received.
“The Today Show” took the unusual step of not identifying the woman or her son by name, although the woman’s name is known — she’s an Idaho mother of four whose name is Liza Long. Among other places, her name appears here — on a Web page on which she is listed as the co-author of a follow-up “memo” she co-wrote in response to all the attention her original blog post received.
Here’s the background on all that: Last Friday, Long wrote a blog post in which she told the story of her 13-year-old son and his threats and violent outbursts. You can read it here.
As you’ll see if you read the piece, she was trying to ignite a discussion about mental illness, and how it often goes untreated, sometimes resulting in the kind of violence that erupted Friday when Adam Lanza, 20, murdered 20 schoolchildren in Connecticut.
Apparently, the blog post was picked up elsewhere, and over the weekend, it was read by an estimated 2.5 million people, according to various stories. The sentence that caught people’s attention most was this: “I am Adam Lanza’s mother,” she wrote, and then continued by referencing the names of some other notorious mass killers. “I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother [Columbine]. I am James Holmes’s mother [the Colorado movie theater massacre]. I am Jared Loughner’s mother [Tucson]. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother [Virginia Tech] .”
Then this other blogger, Sarah Kendzior, wrote her own blog post — here — blasting Long. And that post got considerable attention too. In the end, Long must have reached out to Kendzior because the two posted a joint “memo” declaring their unity on the subject of mental illness. You can read the “memo” here.
The “Today” show interview represented Long’s first appearance on national TV. “We have had a variety of diagnoses,” Long said in the interview, which played less like an interview than a monologue delivered on-camera by Long to an off-camera producer in Idaho. “And the latest is attention-deficit hyper-activity disorder — ADHD. He’s also been diagnosed with something called intermittent explosive disorder and oppositional defiant disorder.”
She described her reaction when she heard the news about the Sandy Hook massacre on Friday. “I closed the door to my office and started to shiver,” she said. “Every time I hear about a mass shooting, I think about my son. And I wonder if some day I’ll be that mom.”