Nancy Lanza and I shared a hobby: guns.
I first picked up a gun in 2004. I was 25 years old and had already gone through all sorts of heinous tribulations that I had convinced myself were female rites of passage—a date rape in Newark, N.J.; an assault by two men in Martha’s Vineyard; and three violent muggings in New York City. I’d walked in and out of therapy and enrolled and dropped out of several self-defense classes when I realized my physical prowess did not match my mental brawn. But in 2004, I was living in Chicago and hanging out with a lot of tough guys, or so they liked to pretend. And a boyfriend took me to a shooting range for the first time—me in my long layered hair, glasses, and white lacy sweater, whining about what recoil might feel like while in aisles next to me men shot photocopied Osama bin Laden targets. I put on the goggles and earmuffs, took the .22 as if it were a snappy puppy that might bite, and I fired.