Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theories – Debunction Junction
You people need to stop.
I have listened as respectfully as possible for the last four years when you claimed that the President of the United States wasn’t actually from the United States. I let it slide when you called him a Socialist and a Communist, I laughed at you when you said Obama was coming to take away your guns despite no actual evidence to justify that claim. Secret Benghazi cover ups, fake concussions, I’ve rolled with the right-wing punches.
Let’s start with an easy one to debunk, shall we?
I generally do not give any type of attention or credibility to the “9/11 was an inside job” type conspiracy nuts but in this case we are talking about the Sandy Hook Massacre where 26 people (including 20 six and seven year olds) were brutally slaughtered by a lunatic. This is NOT a column on gun control – I’ve written extensively about that topic and my only real hope is that as a country there still remains the possibility of a meaningful gun debate.
That is of course if the government stops organizing mass murders to push their agenda to strip away the Second Amendment.
Several of my friends on Facebook (People that I generally consider to be bright, insightful people) shared a video that examines a bunch of theories about the “real” story behind the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. Using the Glenn Beck “Hey, I’m just asking questions!” model of journalistic integrity seems to be effective because millions of people have viewed this tripe and some actually give validation to this line of thinking. Here is the video:
And now, I proceed to make each and every one of you who watched that video and entertained even a moment of doubt over the validity of 26 innocent people being murdered feel like gigantic assholes. I’m sorry that I have to be the one to do it, but I can’t have you walking around thinking that the victims of this tragedy do not deserve every bit of respect, sympathy, and prayers that we should all be offering them. This is not partisan, this is not politics, this is about being human beings and for a moment putting ourselves in the shoes of a mother or father who had to identify the body of their six year old son with half of his face shot off. (Link to Interview with David and Francine Wheeler, who lost their son Ben in the shooting.)
We all know the story, on to the ripping conspiracy theories to shreds. I’ll try to go in order through this terrible video:
Conspiracy Theory #1 – Multiple Shooters
We will start nice and slow here. The explanation here is simple – the second man is Chris Manfredonia, who was briefly detained by police when they arrived to secure the crime scene. He’s actually the father of a student at Sandy Hook. Once the “suspect” was identified and no evidence of him being involved in the shooting could be found, he was released. Believe it or not, this is pretty routine when investigating a crime. It doesn’t represent multiple gunmen, or some massive coordinated attack – It just was a concerned parent trying to check on his child. We aren’t supposed to believe that the man doesn’t exist, we are supposed to believe that he was identified as Chris Manfredonia and was released after questioning. Also, he liked baking gingerbread houses with his wife and daughter, which is why he was at the school. (article)
Conspiracy Theory #2 – What Guns Were Used?
I’m not sure why it matters except to gun-nuts but this one is also pretty easy. In the competitive media environment outlets are always trying to be the first one to have the “scoop” on a story. However (and you Benghazi nuts will love this point) as an investigation continues, often more accurate and complete information is available. The primary weapon used in the attack was a “Bushmaster AR-15 assault-type weapon,” said Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance. Right after the story broke there were grainy videos of police pulling a gun out of the shooter’s car that they tried to identify as the AR-15 (it was the shotgun, per police reports) and autopsy and police reports afterwards found that again, the primary weapon used in the massacre was the Bushmaster AR-15. The shooter did take his own life with one of the pistols that he also brought into the school. If you don’t believe that news organizations can sometimes have inaccurate information at the beginning of breaking news, ask Ryan Lanza how he feels about the possibility. There were not 4 handguns, there were 2 and the segment ends with the medical examiner verifying the autopsy report that the rifle was the weapon used in the killings.
On a sidenote: The “conspiracy” that this is some effort to get the Assault Weapons Ban re-instituted? Let me hit you with THIS COUNTER-CONSPIRACY THEORY. The Sandy Hook Shootings were organized by the NRA and Wal-Mart to create record gun sales in the past month.
Conspiracy Theory #3 – Where are the Survivors?
This is where you should REALLY start to feel sick to your stomach. It’s a conspiracy that 6 year olds trapped in a classroom didn’t do a better job of surviving a gunman firing a semi-automatic weapon at them in confined, closed quarters? Really pause for a second just to feel bad about thinking this.
Conspiracy Theory #4 – Nancy Lanza’s Employment at Sandy Hook
The media screwed the pooch on this one. From further investigation (You know, to get those pesky facts!) it appears as though at the time that her son shot her in the head four times en route to Sandy Hook that she was not employed, and was collecting somewhere around $250,000 a year in alimony from her ex-husband. I’m shocked that the traumatized nurse didn’t answer the reporter’s question accurately minutes after fleeing from a gunman. She must also work for the government.
Conspiracy Theory #5 – Emilie Parker and “How to Grieve”
I pray none of you reading this have had to bury your child. Regardless, you do not need a psychology degree to realize that people grieve differently. Furthermore, public speaking is scary for a lot of individuals and PERHAPS having to focus on his recently deceased child caused Mr. Parker’s mood to change. To “smell BS” in regards to a dead child is pretty deplorable. Yes, this is another moment where you can pause and feel bad for doubting that this man lost his daughter.
Now to the Facebook “timestamp” issue. Look, we all use Facebook: Does it always work EXACTLY right for you? My timeline disappeared for a whole week. Sometimes posts do not show up, it’s certainly not an exact science – Or a science at all. (I’m sure I’ll talk more about web searches in a bit, so let’s move on.)
Conspiracy Theory #5a -Emilie takes a picture after she is dead with President Obama.
This is going to strike those of you without children as weird but believe it or not, sometimes parents give what they call “hand me down” clothing to a younger child. It saves money, and often 6 year olds aren’t TOO concerned with the latest fashion. The fact that the video guy outright claims that Emilie is not dead is disgusting.
Here’s another picture from that photo shoot that isn’t the one the conspiracy nuts are using:
And now here is a family picture where you shockingly Emilie’s little sister looks kinda like her, eh?
Are you starting to feel silly? By now, you should.
Conspiracy Theory #6 – Gene Rosen
Again, it’s pretty sick that a man affected by this shooting is being attacked and demonized by the tinfoil hat wearing community. It’s an interview with an emotional guy for television, it’s NOT a sworn deposition. I guess if there is anything to take away from this, it’s that you should never trust a grown man who owns cats. (Article)
Also, he’s really an actor, anyway.
Conspiracy Theory #7 – Medical Examiner
This might be news to you but oftentimes people who have jobs where they primarily deal with dead people generally may not have the best social or public speaking skills. The medical examiner is weird, absolutely. If you listen to what he actually says, there is nothing that is inconsistent or “fishy” beyond people still trying to pretend that the gun pulled out of the trunk of the car was the AR-15 and NOT the shotgun, as all credible reports conclude.
No description of screams of terror or people running around? Yup you guessed it – You should feel bad about this part, too. There should have been more children running around, and less teachers locking their doors and shielding them and hiding them the best that they could. Solid theory. PS – They don’t often release 600 kids into the parking lot after a crime scene. For my teacher friends out there, I believe they call this “locking down” the school. So we are to believe that there are NO police or EMT’s inside the school checking on the status of the children? On a sidenote, I’d like to congratulate you all on watching enough episodes of CSI to know how a crime scene is supposed to look at a mass shooting.
Conspiracy Theory #8 – International Cover-Up
By now even the most skeptical among you should have your bullshit meter flashing pretty brightly. If you believe that FEMA death camps exist and they just so happened to be that very area and just so happened to bio-terror-kill a bunch of kids, maybe this isn’t the country for you? I can’t believe that government organizations run drills to be better prepared in the case of crisis! We just airlift our troops to Afghanistan and wish them the best, right? And how DARE they pay special needs to the unique needs of children in disasters!? Government agencies exist in Connecticut, and within 20 miles of a school? It MUST be part of the cover up!
Conspiracy Theory #9 – Websites Created Before Massacre
Here’s the bad thing about the Internet wrapped up in a grand finale: 30 years ago when crazy people had crackpot theories that didn’t seem to jive with reality they were generally that weird guy who smelled kind of funny sitting at the corner of the bar. Nobody really paid him attention, because they knew he was insane while he rambled on about the moon landing being staged. Now, these loons can find like-minded loons and all of the sudden, this video has 8 million hits on it and reasonable people begin to doubt the very foundation of humanity.
Google (and Facebook) timestamps are incredibly inaccurate, especially when dealing with pages that use dynamic content – what we mean by this is the dates next to the search results do not accurately reflect the date that webpage was created. The easiest way to debunk this theory is to test it yourself. Go to Google and type in “Sandy Hook Massacre” and used Google’s Advanced Search to search only between the dates Jan 1 2012 and Dec 10 2012. Too lazy to do all that high-level tech stuff? I’ve got you covered.
So there you have it. My hope is that you look at this in a rational, logical manner and take the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting for what it was: A senseless act a violence committed by a mentally disturbed person. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s not a government cover-up, and it’s not an excuse for our politicians to start invoking Martial Law or to come and try to disarm all Americans. It is a tragedy, and treating it as anything else diminishes the magnitude of the event, and tarnishes the lives of the teachers and children who were murdered. Let’s stop giving these crackpots any attention, and focus on trying to make things better for our children, and all children.
Let’s be better Americans.
-Sean Kemmerer is a freelance writer, administrator of Politics Without The Crazy Pills, can be followed @Walkofshameband and believes that if you think Sandy Hook is fake, you must think professional wrestling is real.