A popular video claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting was an elaborate hoax in order to promote tighter gun control in the U.S.
Note: We have no gun control agenda and in fact we are pro-gun, and want zero new restrictions placed on gun ownership. That said…
Sandy Hook “Conspiracy”
Several websites have appeared since the Sandy Hook shooting, with a variety of accusations based on half-truths and conjecture. One such video is entitled “Sandy Hook Fully Exposed” with millions of views on YouTube. Some conspiracy theorists say it didn’t happen at all, having been staged by actors. Others claim it did happen, but was orchestrated by the government in order to gain support for tighter gun laws. Below we’ll take a look at some of the accusations from that video and others sources.
Evidence for 2nd and 3rd Shooters
The video points to interviews with people at the scene of the shooting who discussed various suspects being “walked out,” handcuffed, or pursued by the police immediately after the shooting – and that this is “proof” that there were multiple shooters.
During a mass shootings when all of the details are not known, the police talk to – and sometimes isolate or even handcuff – people that fit the description of the shooter. These people are usually released after questioning. A police officer talking to someone fitting the description of the shooter – or even pursuing someone who is unknown to them – is not proof of anything. Officers sent to the scene of such a crime will hold anyone they don’t recognize until their identity and reason for being there is known. In the case of the man pursued into the woods, he was interviewed and later released. He was identified by the L.A. Times:
Chris Manfredonia, whose 6-year-old daughter attends the school, was heading there Friday morning to help make gingerbread houses with first-graders when he heard popping sounds and smelled sulfur.
He ran around the school trying to reach his daughter and was briefly handcuffed by police. He later found his child, who had been locked in a small room with a teacher.
The Weapons Used
A common technique for conspiracy theorists is to take initial reports from a chaotic scene and set them in stone as fact. Then when more complete facts came out later, these are compared with the initial reports and any discrepancy is deemed proof of a conspiracy. Because initial reports of the guns used were different than later reports, we are told this means there is something awry and indication of a conspiracy or hoax.
Reporters are known to flub early details of a breaking story, especially in their attempts at being first with any developments.
Again the video again holds initial reports as gospel in comparing later verified information. The fact that Lanza’s mother was reported to be a teacher, and then this information was later retracted, only means initial reports among the chaos were wrong. This is common in many developing news stories.
Much is made of reporter Andrea McCarren’s statements that Sally Cox told her that Lanza’s mother was a teacher. Video of Ms. Cox making such statements has yet to surface.
School Nurse Sally Cox
The video claims that the school nurse Sally Cox doesn’t show up on any searches that should show such a person in this position. The implication is that this must mean she was an actress who was part of the hoax. She wasn’t found in searches because her name is actually Sarah Cox. “Sally” is her nickname, as reported in this New York Times article. A search of Sarah Cox does in fact show her to be a registered nurse in Newtown, Connecticut.
Robbie Parker is an actor
It is alleged that Robbie Parker’s demeanor prior to giving a press conference is “proof” that he is an actor. A simpler explanation is that when Mr. Parker entered the room, he smiled to greet the people before him, then began choking up as he started to speak of the events. The video asks, “Even if this is real, why would you change character in order to appear sad?” As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, it is often when speaking about such tragedies that intense emotions surface. Mr. Parker walked in, smiled at the crowd, and then began tearing up as he spoke of his loss. This is not unusual behavior.
Emilie Parker Posing with Obama after the shooting
It is claimed that Emilie Parker accidentally posed with President Obama in an appearance he made after the shooting. A family portrait is shown with Emilie in a black and red dress, then a photo of the President with some children – including a girl theorists claim is Emilie in the same dress as the family photo. In reality, the photo is of the two other Parker children, including Emilie’s sister wearing the same or similar dress as the family portrait – along with some other children. It is not uncommon for younger siblings to acquire hand-me-downs from older children, or to wear matching outfits. The video implies that the family photo was taken the same day as the appearance with Obama, and everyone changed their clothes but Emilie. This is a flimsy attempt at linking the dress in the family photo with the picture with Obama. In the family photo posed with Obama, they are holding two children, one of whom the video claims is Emilie. If that were the case, where is their third child?
The official website for the Emilie Parker Fun, emilieparkerfund.com, was created on December 17, 2012.
We are shown an interview with local resident Gene Rosen, who took some children into his home during the shooting. The video poses a series of questions over the heavily-edited footage. One such piece of “evidence” is that Rosen discusses the children being upset that teacher Vicky Soto was killed, yet the video points out that the kids who tried to run from Miss Soto’s class were killed. This “discrepancy” is supposedly further proof of a hoax. There are, however, other explanations. What was the timeline of the children arriving at Mr. Rosen’s home? Did these children say they ran from Miss Soto’s class or perhaps they were former students, or simply knew the teacher but weren’t in her class.
Conspiracy theorists are now harassing Mr. Rosen.
McDonald Family Interview
The parents of Grace McDonnell were interviewed by Anderson Cooper. It is claimed that the McDonnells showed a lack of sorrow in the interview, which is supposedly unusual for someone who just lost a child. Imposing a right or wrong way for a grieving parent to act during a national interview is absurd.
Further, notice how the conspiracy theorists create a no-win situation with grieving parents? When a parent cries, the conspiracy theorists claim it is an “Oscar Winning Performance” yet when they don’t cry, the lack of emotion “proves” a cover-up. If a parent can’t remain strong or cry during an interview, what action would be deemed “appropriate” in this situation?
FEMA Drill Nearby
Claims that a FEMA exercise was set up a few miles away have been cited as a red flag.
There was in fact a FEMA class held in Bridgeport, about 20 miles away from Newtown. This class was held at St. Vincent’s Medical Center, and there were multiple dates and locations of the same class throughout the state over about a month’s time. Some pro-hoax sites are claiming that FEMA was running a “drill” down the road from the shooting.
A regularly-scheduled class held at a hospital 20 miles away is not the same as a FEMA active shooter drill, exercise, or camp.
Facebook Page Stamps
A huge issue for many is that the hoax video shows a Facebook page with Emilie Parker’s (or teacher Victoria Soto’s) name is dated prior to the shooting.
The page in question no longer exists, which means it cannot be scrutinized by an objective party. For this reason, no one knows who created it or who removed it.
It is possible to rename a Facebook page, which will retain the original creation date. So, for example, if you were to create a page on January 1 and there was a tragedy on January 2, you could rename your page after the tragedy, thus your page’s creation would pre-date the event. Page admins can go to facebook.com/username, which will state that you can rename a page once.
With the help of a friend, we have posted an example of a Sandy Hook-named Facebook page, entitled “RIP 12142012″ with a creation date of October 26, 2011 (see it here). How did we do that? Did we know about the shooting over a year in advance? Of course not. We simply had our friend re-name an older page.
Conspiracy theorists believe the page was taken down to cover up their mistake, but a more reasonable explanation is that the family complained to Facebook that a phony fund had been set up in her name and Facebook removed it.
Some have questioned statements made by Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver as to whether he presented conflicting information about the gunshot wounds of the victims.
Much of this appears to be a case of information presented by reporters unfamiliar with gun types along with official statements made by Carver. There also appears to be confusion regarding the video of an officer removing a gun from the trunk of the car. If we remove news reports from the discussion, most of the inconsistencies disappear.
We will, however, defer to this article and ensuing lively discussion, in which even gun enthusiasts aren’t in agreement as to what the video shows. It should also be debated whether or not the weapon in the trunk is even relevant.
Lack of Photos?
The video claims that a lack of photos or video of children, EMS workers, teachers, and parents proves the shooting is a hoax. Photos and video of survivors do exist. The “exposed” video itself shows footage from a helicopter of a large number of people at the school. Are we to believe that none of those people are teachers, parents, or children? A still photo of children being escorted off of the campus is dismissed without cause, but merely calling it a “hoax” and a “movie set.” No evidence to back up this statement is given. What evidence exists to prove this photo is a hoax? Interviews with a child eye witnesses are also dismissed. We are told there are no descriptions of people yelling or screaming, yet the school nurse – who the video inaccurately claimed was not a real nurse – made those exact statements. An issue is made of a child’s description that it sounded like someone was kicking down a door, and it is stated that the child should have recognized the sound of 100 rounds of ammo being fired. Perhaps this is the best way a young child can describe such sounds, based on his limited experience in life?
Also consider: If the child had simply been an actor, wouldn’t he have been coached to say he heard gunshots?
The narrator claims that there are no children at the school in the helicopter video, and the scene is “nice and neat” – with the implication that this was simply a movie set. What he doesn’t state is when this shot was taken. Was it during the incident? Immediately after? Hours later? It also isn’t mentioned that the children were removed from the scene as fast as possible, and much of the area was cordoned off because it was a crime scene. And when the video snidely discusses how slow the police are walking, again it does not give any sense of when the video was taken. Does the narrator expect the police to be running around for hours after the shooting while they investigate the scene? Shouldn’t one hope an investigation would be slow and methodical?
Here the video contradicts itself again. First it is implied that we have a movie set full of people calmly walking around, but it is also claimed earlier that nobody is there. Which is it?
Also consider: Were the children actors, or were there no children at all? The video claims both.
Dates of Sandy Hook Memorials Pre-Date Shooting
It is claimed that memorials and websites popped up online days or hours before the shooting. One highly-cited example is the Sandy Hook School Support Fund dated December 11 in Google searches – three days before the shooting. This must be “proof” that the entire thing was staged.
Google dates are not always accurate. To prove this, we did a Google search of articles dated before 1962 with the phrase “President Obama” – and received three matches dated December 31, 1969 (7 years after our selected date range). This is a good example of the “glitch” in dates that a Google employee claimed is responsible for the incorrect date on such Sandy Hook websites.
Since the above example hasn’t apparently been sufficient to those convinced that the Google date is a smoking gun, we’ll add a better example. Searching Google for “Sandy Hook” prior to December 14 will also yield the Snopes page debunking rumors on the incident. Are we to believe that Snopes is somehow “in” on the conspiracy, despite attempts to debunk it? The Google date is a red herring.
Fringe conspiracy theories claim that such people as Lance Armstrong, John Goodman, John Malkovich, and Matthew Broderick were paid actors at the scene, yet no reporters recognized these well-known celebrities (or perhaps no reporters mentioned it because the reporters were “in” on the hoax?). Others have claimed that crisis actors have taken part in the staged event.
Why would high-profile celebrities go on television posing as parents when their faces are known to millions and they would be easily recognized? Those promoting these theories appear to simply find the closest-looking celebrity to the people surrounding the incident as possible.
Lanza’s Car Belonged to Christopher Rodia
This completely false rumor is based on purely assumption. Rodia was pulled over the morning of the shooting in Greenwhich and given a verbal warning. His name was heard over police scanners just after Lanza’s plates were being run, and the story was born that somehow Lanza’s car was registered to Rodia.
State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance told the Connecticut Post, “The car confiscated at the scene, the black Honda with that license plate, belongs to a relative of Lanza’s and not to Rodia.”
The Gun Control Angle
The crux of the conspiracy theory regarding Sandy Hook is that it was staged (or orchestrated) by the government in order to justify tighter gun control laws. But not everyone in the government wants tighter gun control laws. Are we to believe that only the anti-gun lawmakers were in on this vast conspiracy which also included the national news media?
So somehow FoxNews was in on it – as they reported the incident as much as CNN or MSNBC – but their band of highly-conservative gun-advocate commentators were blind to it – or even in on it? Staunch gun advocates like Rep. Steve Stockman, who has threatened to file articles of impeachment against President Obama if he attempts gun control via executive order, would somehow be blind to a cover-up, or turn a blind eye to it?
The Real Hoax
The true conspiracy relating to the Sandy Hook shooting is conspiracy theory itself. This video and other conspiracy theories are snide, illogical, incorrect, misleading, and “proof” of nothing at all. They draw conclusions from cherry-picked information and conjecture.
If you follow all the facts and a little logic, these theories quickly fall apart.
Most of the popular internet hoax debunking sites have expressed opposition to this video.
- Hoax Slayer – Has not posted an official article but has stated flatly on their Facebook page: “It’s a load of crap.”
- That’s Nonsense – “When you are left with the inconsistencies that do still need answering you are not left with a massive government cover-up and conspiracy, rather just an example of sloppy mainstream media reporting and natural human error.”
- Snopes – “The information presented in that video was a mixture of misinformation, innuendo, and subjective interpretation..”
The true hoax is this so-called conspiracy, based on flimsy “evidence,” conjecture, and outright misinformation. Consider the “evidence” presented: Incorrect website dates, the registration status of a school nurse, “wrong” demeanor of grieving parents, and news that changed as information came in. Does this body of evidence prove, or even point to anything, much less a hoax or government-sponsored tragedy?
Have gun control advocates used such tragedies as Aurora and Sandy Hook to promote their agendas? Absolutely. The fact that some lawmakers may cite such tragedies to promote their agendas does prove they were involved in them.
This isn’t the era of media turning a blind eye or keeping secrets. We are supposed to believe that such foes as MSNBC, Fox News, Democrats, and Republicans either all banded together to promote (or were deceived by) this massive lie on the American people – without a single defector, or that none of them were smart enough to raise the questions posed in the “Exposed” video. Why hasn’t the NRA – which has the most to lose if these conspiracies were true – endorsed the questions raised by this video?
Here at Wafflesatnoon, we don’t want gun control, but we also don’t want the memories of the unfortunate souls lost in Sandy Hook to be desecrated by conspiracy theorists who care more about their agenda than the true facts.
Here is another extensive article debunking the video.