Thursday, January 17, 2013

Newtown Conspiracy? Bupkis!

More than a month after the tragic deaths of children, teachers, and administrators in Newtown, Connecticut, several unanswered questions remain. However, a small minority of conspiracy theorists are asking Americans not to believe the "official narrative."

A now popular YouTube video is asking viewers to believe the shooting in Newtown was some sort of secret action perpetrated by the federal government. Why would our nation's leaders do such a despicable act? According to the video in question, our current leadership needed a tragic gun event (or string of them) to persuade Americans that more stringent gun regulation is necessary to preserving a safe environment. Of course, the premise develops into a broader issue of disarming the public completely, as to prevent any type of armed resistance in the future.

Let me be blunt about my thoughts on this video -- it's nothing short of pathetic. Before examining the individual pieces of this so-called conspiracy, I would first like to suggest that depriving the citizenry of their firearms is implausible. The United States is an ocean of guns, where firearms outnumber people. Even if gun production stopped today, the number of guns is so pervasive, a century would need to pass before any significant 'dent' would be made in disarming America. And that works under the presumption no new guns would find their way into the hands of private citizens (because prohibiting alcohol worked so well).

So, with the far-fetched notion of disarming America, I am asked to believe that our government would be part of a conspiracy that either condoned the killing of over 20 children, or somehow magically shuttled all these kids away to some undisclosed location where they would later be reunited with their families.

If a person would be so bold as to accuse the federal government of plotting and carrying out a tragedy, I'm betting they have hard proof to back their case. Or not. The 'evidence' and 'proof' promised at the beginning of said video turns out to be a circumstantial mess of random questions, what-ifs, and odd coincidences. Not one credible shred of evidence is produced from 30 minutes of the video.

The first oddity from the Newtown scene was the capture of a strange man in a black shirt and camouflage pants in a nearby wooded area. Who was this strange man? According to news outlets, the man was Chris Manfredonia, a father of a 6 year-old child at the Sandy Hook School. What was he doing in the wooded area? After hearing of the reported shooting, he was attempting to make his way to the school. Odd? Perhaps, but mystery solved.

Another fascinating question brought to light was the fact that police mistakenly identified the shooter Adam Lanza as his brother, Ryan. Authorities claim Ryan Lanza's identification was found on the shooter's body. So why was Adam carrying his brother's ID? I have absolutely no clue and despite being strange, I can't see how that would connect to any government conspiracy.

The video also questions how Adam Lanza could be so proficient in shooting his victims because children present as 'small targets'. I am admittedly not an expert on firearms, but I doubt it would take an expert to open fire at defenseless people and successfully hit them. Additionally, several friends and neighbors noted that Lanza's mother had taken him to a local shooting range on multiple occasions. While he wasn't a crack shot, he wasn't inexperienced in firing a gun.

The next turn the video takes is commenting on an interview given by Robbie Parker, the father of one of the victims at Sandy Hook. According to this video, we're asked to believe that Parker is taking cues about how to conduct an interview and is laughing as he's approaching the microphone. The laughing, even if it was real, is hardly discernible. This of course, presumes any person with free software didn't add a sound clip onto the existing video.

As Parker prepares to speak, he takes several deep breaths. This, we are told, is Parker 'getting in character'. Or perhaps he's a father who needs to collect himself before talking about the death of his daughter.

Additionally the video asserts the interview is a sham, as Parker's daughter is mysteriously still alive somewhere. The proof? A video of young Emilee with none other than President Barack Obama, supposedly taken after the shooting. Wow! Only one problem -- the video itself shows several children with the president, including a little blonde girl that cannot be positively identified because her face is hardly seen.

Rumors have also circulated about memorial websites and Facebook pages about those who died in the shooting were created before the actual shooting took place. The evidence provided is a few momentary (and somewhat grainy) screen shots of websites with dates preceding the shooting. According to the narrator of the video, all the sites he magically acquired screen shots of have been since taken down. The viewers are left to simply take the word of the narrator (the creator of the video) that these sites did indeed exist at some point and his screen shots were not faked.

How ironic that the creator of a video insisting we not believe everything we see asks us to take his word about what's being presented on his video. In fact, the creator of this video asks viewers to accept several pieces of evidence as 'truth' because, well, he says so.

In fact, the following facts about the Newtown shooting are suspicious and point to a larger conspiracy.

- Hardly any video footage exists of the children exiting the school and only a few still shots were available to the press. I don't doubt this is true, but it's not as if the media or random folks happened to be near the Sandy Hook School with cameras prepped just in case of a mass shooting.

- The narrator didn't see any pictures of parents, families, or friends crying in the interviews after the shooting. I'm not sure what channels he was watching but I saw several emotionally fragile people on television. Yes, some people collected themselves long enough to answer questions or make statements, but that's suggestive of nothing.

- We are treated to the 'bombshell' revelation that only one ambulance is at the crime scene and is located at a distance from the school. Few EMTs seem to be present. Yes, only one ambulance is noticeable in the video footage captured by the major networks, but it's likely that emergency personnel received a call that the situation did not call for more than one ambulance. Lanza shot each victim multiple times in an attempt to kill, not to wound. After Lanza took his own life, the police would have notified other first responders that ambulances weren't needed. As for the lack of EMTs, the aerial footage is far enough away to make no determination about what people may or may not be emergency personnel on the ground. I doubt you could distinguish the emergency personnel from the parents and citizens in the area.

- The narrator also claims the parents of the victims were not allowed to see the bodies of their children. Okay, so how does he come by this information? Because these families never made such a claim. And wouldn't this (if true) point to the parents of these children not being involved in the massive coverup as supposedly was the case with Robbie Parker?

In fact, in many instances where no real evidence is present, the narrator teases the viewer with lines of text imploring us to 'do our own research.' Perhaps that's because there's nothing to find.

The narrator and other 'truthers' (I use that term loosely) also critiqued the story of Gene Rosen, a resident near the school who claimed to have hurried six children into his home after they had fled the school. The claim is Rosen is a paid actor who is also part of the Screen Actors Guild (we are reminded to look it up) and he crafted this story as part of the bigger conspiracy. Indeed, Rosen is a member of SAG, but wouldn't it be foolish of 'conspirators' to use someone as an actor who would be easily identified? Just because the man is an actor doesn't mean he's making up a story.

Finally, the 'smoking gun' is revealed in the last five minutes of the video. The morning of the Sandy Hook shooting, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was holding disaster training drills in Connecticut, specifically dealing with a crisis dealing with children. Yes, it is true that these drills were being held by FEMA. What does that mean? Nothing substantial other than strange coincidence. Examine the training briefing yourself here.

The training itself is vague and only details with how to help children in the event of a disaster. The description discusses involving non-governmental organizations such as churches and other community groups to see to the needs of children in case of disasters -- natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy or Hurricane Irene. Oh, and the class size was limited to 30 people.

So, if there were 30 people at this training, what does that have to do with a nearby shooting? Maybe it's just a strange coincidence. Have you ever seen the odd coincidences between the assassinations of President Abraham Lincoln and President John Kennedy? Quick searches on Google will reveal a strange set of eerie coincidences between the two events. Will these 'truthers' now attempt to convince us of a time traveling conspiracy by Southerners who wanted to take out the two men who championed the cause of African-Americans? Hey, it's probably more likely than a government conspiracy at Sandy Hook.

The sad truth is that a mentally disturbed 20 year old had some sort of psychological break and murdered men, women, and children. Conspiracies always play into the minds of people over events like this -- the JFK assassination, 9/11, etc. Humans don't want to believe the truth because it's too simple. It's difficult to wrap our minds around the concept that someone so insignificant such as Adam Lanza could have such a devastating effect on so many lives.

The whole concept of a conspiracy around Sandy Hook is akin to an archer who fires an arrow first, and then paints the target around his shot. Don't buy into the notion of a conspiracy that has no shred of truth.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for writing this. This topic has come up in my classrooms. But I had a hard time dealing with my students remarks because I refused to watch the whole video (it made me sick to my stomach when it critiqued the grieving parents). We are teaching children who are growing up believing the information they are watching on YouTube and other websites where it is conjecture and not hard facts. Getting them to take the time to look at all sides of a situation is becoming more and more of a challenge.