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What was the 52-year-old mother of the shooter really like?  According to some, Nancy Lanza was a survivalist monster who relished teaching her son how to use guns, but to some of her closest friends, that is totally inaccurate.

“She was a wonderful, beautiful, elegant woman who loved life,” Russ Hanoman, said, ” and most importantly she loved her son, Adam.”

Hanoman met Nancy Lanza six years ago at My Place, a popular bar and restaurant in the heart of Newtown. He described himself as a close friend of Nancy Lanza’s. As far as he knew, Lanza had no connection to Sandy Hook Elementary School. Having retired from the financial world and gotten a good settlement in her divorce from Peter Lanza in 2009, she was a stay-at-home mom who worried about her younger son, Adam.

“He was clearly troubled. He did have issues. He was not violent in any way,” Hanoman said. “He was a vegan because he didn’t want to hurt animals.”

As for the weapons Nancy Lanza legally kept at home, including a Glock, a Sig Sauer and a Bushmaster, another friend said shooting guns was just a recreational sport for her, not a way to protect herself.

“Nancy was not afraid of living alone in a large house,” Ellen Adriani, another close friend said. “I used to visit her there. She had guns. She used to go with other friends of ours and go shooting.”

As for what lessons can be learned from this horrific shooting, Nancy Lanza’s friends say more attention must be paid to mental health issues.

But for now, Hanoman said they are “just numb.”