Jim Leff and the Chowhound-Newton Sandy Hook Massacre Connection

[The picture that previously appeared in this space misidentified the figure as Jim Leff. We are sorry for the mistake, and have removed the photo.]

Jazz trombonist and Chowhound co-founder Jim Leff - who long ago sold the website to CBS Interactive - apparently knew the Sandy Hook Elementary gunman's first victim: Adam Lanza's own mother.

In a piece put online Saturday, the New York Times interviewed Leff on the subject of Nancy Lanza. He described her as a generous woman he'd sometimes see at a bar in Newton, CT, while visiting other friends in the neighborhood. He'd frequently sat next to her on a bar stool. "She was really kind and warm...but she always seemed a little bit high-strung," the Times quoted him as saying.

Later, on his website Jim Leff's Slog, which he has filled mainly with political content ever since he gave up Chowhound, Leff complains bitterly about the Times interview with him on the subject of Nancy Lanza: "The [NY Times] reporter was the first who contacted me, and I made the mistake of returning the call to say, essentially, 'no comment' to all his questions, which gave him leeway to claim an interview with me and to lift quotes from the blog piece."

The day before, he'd put up a piece on the blog called "Personal Thoughts on Newton", in which he describes the place as "pretty much the Platonic ideal of a small town."

The essence of his observations about Lanza and her son appear in one paragraph: "I never really befriended Nancy, though we exchanged greetings whenever we crossed paths. What held me back was my impression that she was a little high-strung. But now that I've been filled in by friends about how difficult her troubled son (the shooter) was making things for her, I understand that it wasn't that Nancy was overwrought about the trivialities of everyday life, but that she was handling a very difficult situation with uncommon grace. Plus, she was a big fan of my trombone playing. My next jazz solo's for you, Nancy."

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

Time for the USA to face up to the horrible mess they have allowed their country to get into. Their President is valiantly leading the way with the international arms treaty, and it is up to the people to put pressure on the Senate to make sure it passes through. Simultaneously, they need to start on cleaning up their own back yard. This is not a case of their right to bear arms under the 2nd amendment at all, but a case of basic human rights and children's rights as outlined in international charters on human rights, to which the US is a signatory.  The human rights issue overrides the 2nd amendment issue, no question about it.  People, particularly children, have a right to feel safe in their place of work, schooling, when walking the streets, in public buildings or in their homes. In the case of Newtown, there can be do doubt that the mental health authorities and current system plus Nancy Lanza’s ridiculous and irresponsible attitude to letting Adam carry 3 of her guns at the time she was extremely worried about his  mental health, were the primary causes for these fatalities.  However, his father is not exempt from blame. I have seen a picture on the Internet of Adam Lanza at one year of age or possibly younger, playing with a real gun, surrounded by an arsenal of weapons. His Dad now says he wishes he had never been born. I am sure Adam also wishes this now, in retrospect, that he had never been born, certainly not into that family. They, the crazy gun culture of America to which they ascribed and contributed, combined with the absence of tight gun laws in the USA are entirely responsible for this incredibly cruel tragedy. There is no psychological test that can adequately safeguard the community against such a crazed gunman, and no way of knowing when they will strike, where, or at whom.  The only answer is to ban the guns out of the hands of the general populace, especially heavyweight military hardware, for whom such guns were not designed in the first place.  An ultra right wing agenda, the Doomsday Preppers movement, idolization of neo-Nazi Anders Breivik and economist Ron Paul were among the key elements that also need to be addressed in relation to the the Newtown shootings. Time for a serious re-education program in the schools and universities. Ethics, morals and community responsibility need to be addressed in a big way in regard to combating the damage being done in the homes by some parents. A time for a national symposium too on mental health, particularly as regards gene mutation for Fragile X Syndrome accompanied by Autism, and the current treatments being metred out to patients. There may be a need for a closer look at how administration of drugs is monitored and by whom.  Gun advocates, please do not reply to my post; I will not reply to you. There is nothing you can say to me in the face of this kind or horror that can possibly justify your stance. Thank you.

Adam Lanza and the Newtown Massacre ebook