Tag Archives: gun control

My view: Sandy Hook conspiracy theories. (Part 1)

On the day that I have chosen to publish this post, it is exactly six months since the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. It is a Friday, with one week until the summer break begins, marking the end of a traumatizing academic year for Sandy Hook. It was also a Friday, with one week left until a school holiday, when tragedy descended upon the Connecticut school. Half a year on, the painful memories remain.

In the days that followed the tragedy, many people began flooding on to social media sites, venting their angry and speculation-driven opinions about the truth behind the horrifying events of December 14th, 2012.

This is always the case after most global events, there were conspiracy theories appearing in the days following 9/11, the death of Osama bin Laden, and even after the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year.

All I can say is, scum rises to the surface. But now, six months on, it’s time to put an end to these conspiracy theories, once and for all. Hoaxers always condescend and belittle people for not believing their anti-media propaganda, yet they can never acknowledge the failings of their own ‘theories’. This blog post shows exactly how rubbish their claims are.

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Having read and (seriously) considered many of these ‘theories’ on the YouTube comments pages, I have come to the conclusion that they are not fact based. In fact each and every one of these theories can be attributed to opinionated speculation by Internet users who want some attention. The only people who genuinely believe these theories are clueless, the only reason they believe the conspiracy idea, is because they don’t want to believe the alternative. Most of the “hoaxers” are gun-loving Americans who call the Sandy Hook tragedy fake, because the only alternative is to admit that their assault firearms are overly powerful and dangerous for civilian use.

In this post, each of the main points behind the “Sandy Hoax” idea will be debunked, using impartial common sense, statistics, photos and FACTS to support my view of these shockingly offensive conspiracy claims (which are based on internet speculation, naivete and twisted information.

CONTENTS (Part One):

  1. No photos of Crime Scene
  2. No evidence of Bodies
  3. Contradicting stories from the media/eyewitnesses
  4. How many shooters? What weapons were used?
  5. Robbie Parker
  6. Was Sandy Hook a real/functioning school?

1) No Photos of the Crime Scene

Many conspiracy theories have been based upon the idea that because there is no photographic proof of the shooting taking place, it can’t have happened. It is true that no interior photos of the school during the shooting have been released by authorities. This contrasts the Columbine massacre of 1999, where CCTV footage was released of the suspects inside the college building. However this can easily be explained by looking at the plain obvious.

There was only one place in Sandy Hook school where a CCTV camera was running anyway. This was at the front of the school, in the reception area. People seem to have forgotten that within a couple of seconds of entering the reception area, Adam Lanza had shot dead two people already, Dawn Hochsprung (the school principal) and Mary Sherlach (the school psychologist). What with the distressing image of Lanza shooting his way through the locked glass entrance, and these two staff members being gunned down as they tried to apprehend the gunman, what sort of sick-minded person would want to see those images anyway? For the privacy and respect to the people who died in the reception area that day, that footage cannot be released.

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Dawn Hochsprung (left) and Mary Sherlach, died in one last, heroic effort to protect Sandy Hook Elementary school.

Elsewhere in the school, there are no confirmed reports of CCTV cameras being in place.

The conspiracy theories also bemoan the lack of crime scene photos, of the school after the tragedy. This is a point that can be simply debunked. According to the website of the Connecticut State Police, the investigation at Sandy Hook is still on-going. This is to be expected, the Columbine investigation conclusion wasn’t published until five years after the massacre.

Whilst Sandy Hook is still a crime scene under investigation, the police cannot publicly release crime scene evidence and information, this includes photographic evidence. Of course, in time, maybe we’ll see photos of bullet holes in the wall, blood on the floor, etc. But whilst the school is still being investigated that won’t happen.

There was an online petition last week, created on the request of the Sandy Hook victims’ families, to block the release of “gruesome crime scene photos and footage.” As far as I can tell, they were referring to photos of their loved ones’ bodies, which some hoaxers had wanted to see publicly, to prove that the investigation was real. Firstly, any person who wants to see a photo of a child’s corpse is a sick, twisted person, and they belong in the same group as Adam Lanza in my opinion. Secondly, the fact that these families are having to campaign to protect the dignity and privacy of their slaughtered loved ones, shows how desperate the conspiracy theorists are.

They are clutching at straws, trying to find anything that will support their case. But the government refusing the release photos of dead bodies is not a supportive point in their “hoax” story. May I just also add, that even if they did release photos of the deceased victims’ bodies, then all the hoaxers will simply say they were photoshopped. That’s the problem with hoaxers, they will keep their desperately false ‘theories’ alive, even if it is a blatantly lost cause.

Aerial footage clearly shows the smashed entrance of the school

Aerial footage clearly shows the smashed entrance of the school

The photo on the left is a snapshot taken from a YouTube video. It is aerial footage of the immediate aftermath at Sandy Hook, and it clearly shows the smashed-up glass entrance to the school. This is the visual evidence that many hoaxers have chosen to ignore.

 The full video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK0v4JhQ35Y

2) No evidence of bodies

Many hoaxers also believe that some of the victims’ parents weren’t allowed to see their children’s bodies, after they were murdered at Sandy Hook. Apparently this is a reason to believe that there were no bodies at all. The harrowing fact is, some of the victims’ remains were so badly damaged, that they were kept from the parents’ eyes, to avoid the mental trauma that may have followed. Many of the dead were shot multiple times, in fact some children were apparently shot 11 times. I am not a parent, but I can imagine that seeing my child’s little body, mutilated by 11 rounds of gunfire, would be a torturous sight.

A body on a gurney, outside Sandy Hook school.

But hoaxers are blowing this out of proportion, the families had the choice whether to see their children’s bodies or not. The funeral of Noah Pozner was open-casket, despite him being shot 11 times during the shooting. The lower half of Noah’s face was covered by a cloth (as his jaw had been destroyed by gunfire), but the rest of his body was visible for his family. This information is derived from an interview with that boy’s mother. The link to this is here: http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Angela-Carella-Grieving-mothers-who-wanted-the-4208256.php#ixzz2IkfkBrIL.

One of the more ridiculous hoaxer outbursts that I have seen, is that the final resting place of the victims is unknown, and therefore we cannot be sure they exist. To anybody who sees this as a sensible point, you are a moron, why should the victims’ families publicly disclose where there loved ones’ funerals were held or where they were buried/cremated?

3) Contradicting stories from the media/eyewitnesses

In the immediate aftermath of the tragic shooting, there was understandable confusion and a sense of chaos among those who had gathered outside the school building. The news crews and panicking relatives were arriving in numbers, and the police were desperately trying to control the situation and secure the area. At a time of utter turmoil, of course there would be confusion surrounding the true events of what had happened in Connecticut that morning, especially seeing as everyone had had a different experience of the shooting.

The post-shooting chaos is evident in this picture, taken a short distance from Sandy Hook.

The post-shooting chaos is evident in this picture, taken a short distance from Sandy Hook school.

For instance, there was confusion about whether there was one shooter or multiple ones. Confusion about how many people had died, what weapons had been used inside the school, what exactly the shooter had done during his rampage, where the bodies were positioned. The list of initial confusion and contradiction goes on and on, and if there was still so much contradiction now (six months later) then the hoaxers may have had a case. But this confusion is natural after such a momentous, disastrous and tragic event. No one outside the school knew exactly what had happened. Only later, when the official story was released, did things become clearer.

But hoaxers are ignoring all sense, instead they are claiming that all of this contradiction is a clear sign that Sandy Hook was staged. For a start, this makes no sense whatsoever. Even if the shooting was a hoax, then there still would have been a set course of events (in the Sandy Hook script) that people who were acting in this hoax would have to follow. There wouldn’t be contradictions. If anything the contradictions make it even more obvious that this wasn’t staged.

The contradictions themselves stem from the media’s presence outside the school that day. Naturally, each news crew would’ve wanted exclusive information as the tragedy unfolded, therefore they would’ve been asking all sorts of people for their account of the day’s events. Some of these people may have been survivors from the school, others may have been passers-by. Either way, the information these people provided was unreliable, because the only people who could have given a first-hand eyewitness account of the shooting were (by majority) killed in it. Only when the official story was later released, after the police had gathered all the evidence and reliable eyewitness accounts, were the falsities of the original media reports brought to light. Of course not everything the media said was false, but much of their ‘knowledge’ of what happened inside the school was speculation and not factual.

Therefore, the contradictions between the media reports and the official story is no reason to believe the hoaxers stories. It is natural for the media and other people to provide inaccurate information in the immediate aftermath of a major tragedy, and Sandy Hook was no different.

To quote another debunking page about the Sandy Hook conspiracy (link below), “It’s hardly surprising that some witnesses gave contradictory statements, that police initially followed up on the possibility of multiple shooters, or that some news outlets initially reported inaccurate information. All of this is typical in the crush for information…in the wake of disasters involving large numbers of deaths.” The official story is the only account worth reading today, as is contains the investigated information that police obtained from the tragedy.

Linkhttp://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/newtown.asp

Factual argument or YouTube speculation?

Factual argument or YouTube       speculation?

One account which is definitely not worth reading is the hoaxers’ accounts. Their account, unlike the official story, is merely Internet speculation, and also full of contradictions. For instance, some hoaxers say that there were multiple shooters, others state that Adam Lanza was the lone gunman. Some hoaxers say that people did die but the government did it, others claim that no one died at all. These contradictions, unlike the ones surrounding the official version, cannot be attributed to the chaos and confusion after the tragedy. Instead they show that the hoaxers’ stories are not fact-based, just misinformed speculation.

4) How many shooters? What weapons were used?

Two of the main points that have arisen from the contradiction argument was the idea of multiple perpetrators and confusion over what firearms were used in Sandy Hook. Both of these ideas have been explained in detail below.

The idea of multiple shooters and suspects can once again be attributed to the chaos around the school soon after the shooting. In their initial sweep of the crime scene, police detained four suspects in precautionary measures. All four of these detainees were released with no charges later in the day.

  • The man in the woods: According the the Newtown Bee, the well publicized case of the suspect in the woods is no reason to believe the theory of multiple shooters. This man was merely an off-duty police officer from another town, who had arrived at Sandy Hook to assist the Newtown police.
  • Chris Manfredonia: This man is the father of a 6-year old girl who attended Sandy Hook, and he was arrested by police as he ran around the perimeter of the school, desperately trying to gain access so he could find his daughter (who survived thanks to her teacher locking her in a closet).
  • Third unidentified man: This man was reportedly arrested by police, close to the Sandy Hook fire station (next to the school), however he was released when police confirmed that he was an innocent passer-by.
  • Christopher Rodia: This man’s name can be heard on a police radio transmission during the shooting, he had initially been wrongly identified as the owner of the impounded car outside Sandy Hook (which Adam Lanza had used). He was pulled over by police in a nearby town but was released when the police realized their mistake.

It was unhelpful that the media used these people in their coverage and the unfolding tragedy, a point which relates back to the idea of the media’s errors causing contradictions in the Sandy Hook story. However in reality, and looking at the detailed explanation of innocence for each detainee (above), it is clear that these four people had no part to play in the shooting that morning. There is therefore, no solid evidence that there was more than one shooter at Sandy Hook that morning.

The police remove a shotgun from the trunk of Lanza's car.

The police remove a shotgun from the trunk of Lanza’s car.

There is also apparent contradiction over what weapons Adam Lanza used during the shooting. The official story states that he used a semi-automatic rifle (AR-15) in the school, but hoaxers question this, because the same weapon was apparently found in the trunk of Lanza’s car (parked by the front entrance of the school).

However this can be simply explained: the firearms found on Lanza’s body inside the school included two handguns, and the AR-15 rifle. The firearm found in the trunk of the car was a shotgun, not a rifle (this is clear from the image above). Therefore there is no evidence to cast doubt over the official story’s claim, that two handguns and an AR-15 were used inside the school.

The Connecticut State Police confirmed this when they issued an update on their website in January this year. This can be found at: http://www.ct.gov/despp/cwp/view.asp?Q=517284. They also reveal that Lanza used the AR-15 to murder his victims, then one of the handguns to commit suicide. No other weapons were used in the shooting.

The guns used by Adam Lanza, inside Sandy Hook school

The guns used by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook. 

The media (once again) are to blame for the misinformation and contradiction that surrounded this part of the investigation. One day after the shooting (and over a month before the CT State Police officially confirmed what weapons were used), NBC News released false information about the guns which Lanza used. This news report has since circulated on the Internet, and hoaxers hail it as “proof” than an AR-15 was not used. Well, wrong again hoaxers, this is only one of many examples of poor reporting by the media soon after the Sandy Hook tragedy. There is no evidence or proof which states that an AR-15 rifle wasn’t used inside the school during the shooting, apart from one unconfirmed, erroneous news report.

5) Robbie Parker

Robbie Parker, with his wife, in shock after learning of his daughter's death.

Robbie Parker and his wife, in shock after learning of their daughter’s death.

One of the main points used by hoaxers to show that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax, is the image of Robbie Parker, father of Emilie Parker (aged 6, murdered during the shooting), smiling during a TV interview just days after the shooting. Out of all the hoaxer/conspiracy ideas, this was probably the toughest one for me to explain. However, after reading the opinion of a professional psychologist and several other explanatory articles, I have an explanation which even the most stubborn hoaxer should find credible.

Emilie Parker, 6, was killed in the shooting.

Emilie Parker, 6, was killed in the shooting.

The ‘suspicious’ TV interview took place two days after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook. Robbie Parker had been photographed in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, looking shocked and in disbelief, an expected reaction when receiving such life-changing and devastating news. 48 hours later, Parker appeared before the world’s media, as one of the first parents to publicly speak about their child’s death. He looked smart and tidy, and spoke in a measured manner about his daughter Emilie. He even offered his condolences to the family of Adam Lanza. However before he began talking about her, he smiled briefly and even giggled momentarily. Hoaxers instantly point to this and say that he isn’t a father, he’s only a crisis actor, but psychological fact and common sense, once again, proves them wrong.

Robbie Parker moments before his TV interview.

Robbie Parker moments before his interview.

Some hoaxers highlight Parker’s neat and tidy appearance, they say that if he had spent the last two days grieving, he wouldn’t look so well-kept. Well, Parker was speaking in front of national media about his daughter, on behalf of his family. With that responsibility, he wouldn’t turn up looking disheveled and unkempt.

Moving swiftly on, the main hoaxer argument is that a man whose daughter died two days earlier, shouldn’t be smiling under any circumstance. Well, firstly, it’s not as if Parker is laughing hysterically. It’s a nervous giggle if anything. Robbie Parker is a normal family man, he isn’t used to national media interviews, and in that nerve-racking situation, it’s understandable to let out some signs of your nerves. Human beings are very diverse creatures, some break down in tears when nervous, some show no emotions, others giggle and smile. It’s natural human behaviour!

The following explanation has been put together using the opinion of psychology professionals. After a traumatic event (e.g. the death of your child), you don’t just remain despondent and miserable for two solid days. Of course, there’s a lot of sadness involved, but naturally you try and cheer yourself and relatives up. Recalling happy memories you have of your children would be relevant to this idea. This is exactly why Robbie Parker would have been smiling. Aside from his nervousness, he was remembering all the happy memories he had of Emilie (for his interview). Whilst he was thinking about those memories, a little smile is natural, happy that he had a few great years with her whilst she was alive. Not to mention the fact that his emotions would’ve been weak after two days of grieving, so he’d have been prone to over-showing of emotion (humor for instance).

Robbie and Emilie Parker

Robbie and Emilie Parker

Parker’s smile can be attributed to his fond memories of his daughter and his nervous giggle was probably due to his nervousness and weak emotions (after two days of grieving). A final point that a hoaxer tried to put forward was the fact that Parker referred to Emilie in the present tense (“is”) during his interview, instead of “was”. This is inane, after Emilie’s recent death, it would’ve been difficult for him to acknowledge that she was no longer alive. So for him to refer to her as if she’s still alive is reasonable.

Finally, if the Parker interview had been part of a hoax, then surely it would’ve been scripted like the rest of the shooting. If Parker (the actor) had laughed during the filming of the interview, then surely it would’ve been eradicated, like a movie outtake. Otherwise, the people orchestrating the hoax would’ve worried about being found out.

6) Was Sandy Hook a real, functioning school?

There have been a number of suggestions by hoaxers that there is no evidence that Sandy Hook was actually a functioning school, since 2010 that is. This, in my opinion is the worst-researched of all the hoaxers’ claims, and therefore the easiest for me to debunk. There are two places on the Internet where this claim is proved to be false; the Sandy Hook school website; and the Twitter account of Dawn Hochsprung (the late principal).

The courtyard of Sandy Hook school, pictured in late-2012.

The courtyard of Sandy Hook school, pictured in late-2012.

Starting with the Sandy Hook website, it is plainly obvious that this is a website of an active institution.  Sandy Hook school is still functioning to this day (although in a new building) and so is the website. The staff list has been updated, and news from the school pours in every week or so. Furthermore, there are two online scrapbooks (one for this academic year and one for last year). There are numerous photos of the school in action, with students’ musical productions, Veteran’s Day celebrations, and more. The links fro these scrapbooks are shown below, and the photo here is a picture taken from the scrapbook for this academic year.

The photo that Dawn Hochsprung tweeted, of a fire drill at Sandy Hook.

The photo that Dawn Hochsprung tweeted, of a fire drill at Sandy Hook.

The other place on the Internet which quashes this hoaxer theory, is the Twitter account of the Sandy Hook principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who died during the shooting as she tried to apprehend the gunman. She reportedly adored her job and the school, and this is evident from the enthusiasm she showed by tweeting photos of the school in action, right up until the eve of the shooting. These photos included a fire drill at Sandy Hook in October 2012, and a photo of their Winter concert rehearsal (taken just two days before the shooting).  Several other photos are shown on her Twitter page, and the link to it is also shown below. The dates on these photos show that Sandy Hook school was very much open as usual, right up until the morning of December 14th. This idea about the school being closed since 2010 is nonsense, and it is yet more desperation from the hoaxers.

https://twitter.com/DHochsprung (Dawn Hochsprung’s Twitter page)

http://newtown.sandyhook.schooldesk.net/AboutUs/Scrapbook20112012/tabid/15581/Default.aspx (Scrapbook 2011-12)

http://newtown.sandyhook.schooldesk.net/AboutUs/Scrapbook20122013/tabid/18959/Default.aspx (Scrapbook 2012-13)

7) Next Time…

In the second and final installment of this debunking page, I will tackle the following conspiracy points:

  • Are the ‘victims’ still alive?
  • Was the deceased Sandy Hook principal at the Boston Bombing?
  • Is Adam Lanza still alive, and was he a real person?
  • Why were there ‘no tears’ in the aftermath of the tragedy?
  • Online memorial pages created before tragedy?
  • Wouldn’t frantic kids be difficult targets to hit?
  • Why is the entire Sandy Hook school being demolished?

That installment will be released in four days time, on Tuesday 18th June. Hopefully, that would give people a chance to read this first section before the second one is released.

But I’d like to invite all people, hoaxers and believers, to leave comments on this page and I’d be happy to discuss any of the points brought up on this page. Please respect everyone’s views!

There’ll also be a poll at the end of the next section of this page, inviting people to vote on what they think happened at Sandy Hook in December last year, six months ago today.

shvictimsR.I.P to the 26 victims.

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

 

PS- I’m sorry but I have had to disable comments on this page, as that section was being regularly abused by people who were not here for a discussion, rather they came to read 1-2 sentences of my blog, and then chuck hateful insults in my direction. I apologise to anyone who genuinely wished to have a proper discussion, I’m afraid that some of the conspiracy “hoaxers” ruined it for everyone.