Tag Archives: Newtown

Newtown school board greets Sandy Hook skeptics with silence

By Nanci G. Hutson via Connecticut Post

Wolfgang Halbig, a former Florida State Trooper and school principal, asks questions about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting during the public participation section of the Board of Education meeting at the Newtown Municipal Center Council Chambers in Newtown, Conn. Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Photo: Tyler Sizemore

Wolfgang Halbig, a former Florida State Trooper and school principal, asks questions about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting during the public participation section of the Board of Education meeting at the Newtown Municipal Center Council Chambers in Newtown, Conn. Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Photo: Tyler Sizemore

NEWTOWN — They came and they spoke, but their words fell flat with a respectful but thoroughly disgusted audience.

A dozen or so self-described skeptics of official accounts of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting appeared Tuesday night at the Board of Education meeting, each taking the allotted three minutes to address pointed questions to board members.

Wolfgang Halbig, the most prominent member of the group, raised questions about everything from the scale of police response that day to their refusal to accept his expert help in analyzing the event. He suggested that his legitimate efforts to get answers have been thwarted, and accused board members of toeing an official line.

“Board members, these are your children,” Halbig said. “We want answers. We want truth.”

But board members refused to take the bait, remaining silent throughout presentations by Halbig and several of his supporters who followed him to the microphone. The audience, which included First Selectman Pat Llodra and several other town officials who had come to support the board, also stayed silent.

The only public response came from Newtown resident Jim Fitzpatrick, who was the last to speak. Unable to let this group have the last word, he said, “It’s a shame to see this circus come to town, and I’m offended by the people who have come, and these conspiracy theories. Newtown has conducted itself wonderfully.”

He was greeted with a round of light applause, quickly waved silent by board Chairwoman Debbie Leidlein.

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The Trouble with Conspiracy Theories

By Lee Harris via The American Magazine

Perhaps the problem with conspiracy theorists is not that they have gone too far, but that they haven’t quite gone far enough yet. But, if James Tracy is any indication, they are getting very close.

Samuel Johnson once heatedly remarked to a man he was conversing with in a coffeehouse, “I can give you an argument, but I cannot give you an understanding.” There is no evidence that the great sage made this comment to a conspiracy theorist, but I have often been tempted to repeat it when I am talking to one, especially after I have exhausted every argument I can think of to show the conspiracy theorist the error of his ways.

tin-foil-hat-3Today I would like to offer Johnson’s remark as a word of caution to anyone who has encountered the various conspiracy theories that have cropped up in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. Of these there have been several, but I would like to focus on the theory put forth by James Tracy, a media professor at Florida Atlantic University, who on his website Memory Hole has argued that the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, did not really happen.

Normally when you hear this kind of thing, you are tempted to argue with the assertion, to adduce evidence to show Tracy, for example, that he is wrong. But if you yield to this temptation, you will quickly find yourself at the same point to which Samuel Johnson was driven. For no matter how many arguments you may give him, you cannot give the conspiracy theorist even an ounce of understanding.

The first obstacle you will encounter in your effort to refute the conspiracy theorist is his maddening habit of sly equivocation. Here’s an example of what I mean: “While it sounds like an outrageous claim,” Tracy writes on his website, “one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place — at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation’s news media have described.”

Please note the force of Tracy’s qualifying phrase “at least” and consider how one might apply this caveat to what is among the most uncontested facts in world history, namely, the assassination of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March in the year 44 BC.

FeaturedImageNow the ancient historians have told us that Caesar said to Brutus the famous words “Et tu, Brute?” as his former friend plunged his dagger into Caesar. But suppose the ancient historians got this wrong. It may well be that Caesar did not utter these touching and pathetic words, but something akin to “You dirty bastard! I always thought you were a slimy piece of donkey dung” — except, of course, in Latin. This would be sufficient grounds for asserting that Caesar was not assassinated the way ancient historians have told us — but it doesn’t in the least mean that Caesar didn’t end up lying just as dead beneath the bust of Pompey as the ancient historians all reported him. By the same logic, both the law enforcement authorities and the nation’s media may have gotten many facts and details wrong about the Newtown massacre, but that is hardly reason for concluding that no massacre ever happened.

But there I go talking about logic and reason, which is precisely what the conspiracy theorist wants you to do. Because that is where the conspiracy theorist will trap you. Since this sounds like a bit of a paradox, I had better explain it, and to do this, I will assume the role of Tracy. Ahem.

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Newtown harassed by conspiracy theorists

Anderson Cooper 360

A tenured associate professor is making outrageous claims that the Sandy Hook shooting massacre did not happen the way it was reported and may not have happened at all. Families who lost loved ones and residents in Newtown have been inundated with hateful messages by people who believe they are part of a government and media conspiracy related to a gun control agenda. One family had to remove the Facebook memorial page created for their little girl because it was bombarded with negative and offensive comments. Anderson Cooper is Keeping Them Honest.

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Exposing Newtown conspiracy theory

via Anderson Cooper 360 – Keeping Them Honest

Some people are actually claiming the Newtown school shooting was staged by the government and media who are in support of stricter gun control laws. One of those individuals is James Tracy, a tenured associate professor at a Florida university. Anderson Cooper is Keeping Them Honest.

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Conspiracy theorising in the wake of the Newtown shooting

The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

On December 14th, 2012, 26 people, most of them young children, were killed in a shooting spree at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Unconfirmed rumours about the identity and motives of the person responsible immediately began to be passed around, and later retracted, by the news media; however, as I write this, police are still trying to piece together exactly how the tragedy came to happen. It will likely be some time before the relevant authorities are able to gather and verify all the facts, and make the details available to the public.

For some conspiracy theorists, though, no further explanation is needed. They already know what caused the shooting: It was the U.S. government – the same government which, they say, was behind other horrific shootings such as those at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, a Sikh…

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