Three years ago yesterday, 20 children and six adults died in the massacre that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. It was a tragic event, as all such events are, with the added poignancy that always accompanies a child’s death. There are apparently people who think that the whole thing was a hoax that was perpetrated for who knows what reason, but they think that the government and president Obama are behind it
People having delusional beliefs are nothing exceptional but it turns out that some of these Sandy Hook truthers have gone further and are attacking parents of the dead children, claiming that they are part of the conspiracy. A man named Wolfgand Halbig is a leader in this effort. One parent Lenny Pozner has tried to fight back but it is of course hopeless to think that you can counter the determined spread of falsehoods on the internet.
Mike Spies writes about Pozner’s quest and says that these kinds of truthers emerge after almost every tragedy.
Ever since his son’s death, Pozner had been dealing with the hoaxers. It was his habit to regularly post photos of Noah, a happy boy with soft blue eyes and a wide smile, on his Google Plus page. He would put up pictures of Noah hugging his twin sister, or playing on the beach, or showing off the tooth he lost less than two weeks before he was murdered. The hoaxers would see these images and offer comments: “Where’s Noah going to die next?” read one. Another commenter, seemingly believing that Pozner had been recruited to help perpetuate the myth of the shooting, asked, “How much do you get paid?”
Halbig became known for asking a set of 16 questions that he argued proved the event was staged, carried out by “crisis actors,” whom the government pays to pose as victims during emergency preparedness drills. Halbig claimed the authorities could not provide him with answers that, in fact, were available to the public in the Connecticut State Police report on the shooting. For instance, he wanted to know why paramedics and EMTs weren’t allowed to enter the school (they were), and why helicopters weren’t used to transport victims to the hospital (with the exception of four wounded individuals, who were taken by ambulance, the rest were dead). Supplied with those facts, he and the hoaxers insisted they had to be fiction, given their source. The whole point, after all, is that the government can never be trusted.
Frustrated by their inability to rattle government officials, Hoaxers began attacking the families of victims, accusing them of being “treasonous” government operatives. To press their case, they designated themselves authorities on the physiology of grieving. The parents didn’t appear sad enough in interviews, they argued; therefore, they could not possibly have lost children. “They aren’t behaving the way human beings would act,” conspiracy theorist Jay Weidner said on his radio show. Hoaxers also latched onto time-stamping errors on certain victims’ memorial pages, which, due to a common Google bug, made it seem like they were set up the before the massacre. The hoaxers found a photo of a little girl taken after the shooting. Mistaking its subject for her dead sister, they held it up as proof that the victim was still alive.
The conspiracy movement’s personal attacks show no sign of abating. Early this November, a 32-year-old man was arrested for accosting the sisters of Vicki Soto, a slain teacher, at a Newtown charity event; he wanted to ask them whether a family photo of theirs had been photoshopped.
I honestly cannot fathom people who would do these things. People who have lost loved ones in senseless tragedies are really suffering. Even if you have a pet theory that the whole thing is a fraud, why attack them personally since the needless additional pain you are inflicting if you are wrong is so immense? Why not limit yourself to exposing the supposed conspiracy by the government, the first responders, school officials, and the media that must be necessary to carry out such a major fraud?