As if having to deal with the senseless slaughter of their children by someone who has easy access to high-powered military style weapons is not enough, the bereaved parents frequently have to then deal with people on the internet who will say that the whole thing did not happen and was staged by gun control groups. The gun lobby and their supporters clearly fear that so many mass shootings, especially of schoolchildren, will result in at least some action being taken and so they will unleash these conspiracy theorists who will accuse the parents of being ‘crisis actors’ and will proceed to put their names and addresses and other contact information on the internet to encourage others to target and harass these parents individually, making their lives an even greater hell than it has become. Those parents who speak out publicly against the lack of gun control, in an effort to try and prevent other parents from having to endure what they are experiencing, will be particularly targeted for this treatment.
This kind of parent harassment may have been going on for a long time but it really took off after that pathetic excuse of a human being Alex Jones promoted the hoax and crisis actor idea on his show in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre. This sick mentality now seems to have spread like a virus and in the wake of all mass shootings, those it has infected spring into action to advance Jones’s despicable agenda.
It is really hard to comprehend how sick a mind must be to do such a thing. Even if they are deluded enough to believe that the whole thing was a hoax, how warped must you be, how devoted must you to be to the cause of preventing any restrictions on gun access, to spend so much time and energy harassing people whom you do not know. The word ‘ghoul’ is an accurate metaphor to describe such people.
But some parents are fighting back. On a recent episode of the radio show This American Life, they looked at two particular cases. In the first clip, they profile the parents of one victim. “Sandy and Lonnie’s daughter, Jessi [Phillips], died back in 2012, when a gunman opened fire in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Since then, they’ve organized their whole lives to be able to reach out to other parents like themselves.”
It should be noted that:
The Phillips are actually gun owners too. They have a 12-gauge shotgun. They believe in the Second Amendment. But they’re also advocates for universal background checks, and tight regulations on the types of guns, ammunition, and accessories– like bump stocks– a person can buy.
The Phillips are retirees living in a 245 sq. ft. trailer and though having very limited means, at their own expense they travel to the scenes of other mass shootings, just to be available to the newly bereaved parents and others, to talk with whoever wants to talk, and provide comfort. In the process, they warn them to brace themselves for the harassment they might endure from the ghouls like they received. The Phillips were told to their faces by Jones that their daughter was living a life of luxury in the Bahamas and they were being paid for by the Obama administration, and they warn the newly bereaved parents to brace themselves for similar accusations.
Lonnie got into it with Jones, stood right in front of him. It looked like a shoving match was about to start, until Sandy stepped in and broke it up. I reached out to Jones through one of his lawyers, who declined to comment. The conspiracy theorists, known as truthers or hoaxers, troll families of victims on social media immediately after any mass shooting.
This can get dangerous. After the Phillips’ son gave interviews in Aurora, he got death threats and had to get the FBI involved. The man who was threatening him ended up in jail. So hoaxers are one of the things the Phillips warn parents about. They tell families to brace themselves.
In the second clip, the show told the story of Lenny Pozner, whose son Noah was murdered at Sandy Hook, just five months after the Aurora shooting. Pozner was outraged at the ghouls who emerged at Jones’s urging to argue that he never had a son and that he was an actor. He decided to take the fight to these people and has waged a determined internet war against them. As a result, he has had to endure deaths threats and had to move multiple times because he gets repeatedly doxxed. He is one of the people who is suing Jones.
So what is it that makes these ghouls act the way they do? Undoubtedly some of them are so determined to attack any attempts at gun control, so much so that they have lost all sense of reason and even basic human decency. It is clear that they realize that these mass shootings, especially of children, are spurring efforts to limit the insanely easy access to guns in the US and think that anything goes when trying to preserve access. Hence they are willing to believe anything they are told by the conspiracists that they think will further their cause.
But there is an even more cynical motive at work, if you can believe it. Some of this is due to trolls who actually think it is funny to cause mischief by spreading false information, even if it as the expense of grieving people. Hence in the wake of such tragedies we see false information rapidly spread, such as that the Uvalde shooter was a ‘transsexual leftist illegal alien’, thus seeking to blame the murders on another marginalized group, the transgender community, rather than the powerful gun lobby and their political enablers. These trolls know that brainless, conscienceless, and ethically void people like congressperson Marjorie Taylor Greene will seize on such rumors and use their media platforms to spread them as fact as part of their crusade against the transgender community.. For such trolls, it is all ‘for the lulz. and they know that the the gun nuts will defend or at least shield them from any repercussions.
These trolls think they are being ever so clever, edgy, and ironic in persuading some people to take seriously what they say. But it does not take cleverness to dupe the gullible. To do so just reveals that far from being edgy and ironic, they are merely pathetic losers who need to get a life.