That off-his-rocker conspiracy theorist at Florida Atlantic University has been fired, despite being tenured. I would defend the right of a professor to argue for whatever wacky idea he wanted — that’s the whole point of tenure — except that he crossed a line, and there really are lines that even tenure won’t protect you from.
A major factor in Tracy’s firing was an op-ed in the Sun Sentinel by Lenny and Veronique Pozner, whose 6-year-old son, Noah, was shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. The couple wrote that Tracy sent them a certified letter demanding proof that Noah had lived, and that when they refused to respond, he blasted them on his blog and accused them of accepting government payoffs to feign grief. In an angry Facebook post, Tracy wrote that the Pozners’ op-ed was an attempt tointimidate his employer into firing himbecause of theextensive researchhe’d done on the Sandy Hook shooting.The Pozners, alas, are as phony as the drill itself, and profiting handsomely from the fake death of their son,he wrote.
Believing that the slaughter of innocents at Sandy Hook was staged is totally nuts — it belongs up there with believing the moon is made of cheese, the earth is flat, and that there is a god that loves you. But you don’t get to fire professors for that; you also shouldn’t use their weird little hobbies as grounds for not hiring them, if they’re competent at doing the job they’re supposed to do.
But when your obsession turns into harassment, when you start hounding people who, with good reason, disagree with you, then it’s time to stop allowing you to use your position to launch these ill-founded crusades.
Secondarily, that he calls making up bizarre conspiracy theories
extensive research also calls into question his competence.