Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theories Go From Idiocy to Active Harassment

First 9/11, now Sandy Hook — internet conspiracy theorists are tripping over themselves to allege that the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that killed 20 children and six kids is actually a false flag operation designed to take their guns, or worse.

Over eight and a half million people have watched a video on YouTube which compiles a list of "evidence" suggesting that the Sandy Hook shootings were secretly carried out by shadowy government organization to slander the gun-owning population, that Batman or or Hunger Games predicted the massacre, that recent mass shooters’ parents were scheduled to testify in a banking scandal, or now, that the shootings never occurred at all and that the whole thing is a hoax.

But the same crowd that questioned whether the government or Zionists or whatever flavor-of-the-week group hit the top of their rolling paranoia index carried out 9/11 has gone one step further, harassing citizens who were victims or bystanders and spreading vicious lies about them online.

Gene Rosen of Newtown, says that he has been hounded at all hours of day and night by conspiracy theorists who have spread his personal information online, created fake social media profiles to slander him, and persecuted and intimidated him via phone and email.

His crime? Helping four children who had ran from the school during the shooting and hid in his driveway. Images of Rosen’s pained face were carried on media outlets the world wide.

“I don’t know what to do,” Rosen, a retired psychologist, told Salon. “There must be some way to morally shame these people, because there were 20 dead children lying an eighth of a mile from my window all night long. And I sat there with my wife, because they couldn’t take the bodies out that night so the medical examiner could come. And I thought of an expression, that this ‘adds insult to injury,’ but that’s a stupid expression, because this is not an injury, this is an abomination.”

Conspiracists have assembled a laundry list of easily-explained questions that nonetheless demand an irrational and complicated answer, such as what about shooter Adam Lanza’s car? What about his rifle? Why did some of the parents and victims look kind of alike, were they all actors? Were Holmes and Lanza’s fathers both scheduled to testify during the LIBOR scandal hearings?

In each case, their supposedly urgent "questions" can be reduced to a combination of gutter-variety speculation on zero evidence, or simply misconstruing the earliest and most panicked reports of what happened at the school with later, more accurate reports confirmed by hundreds of reporters and law enforcement officials.

One man, Jay Johnson, has compiled all of the theories at SandyHookHoax.com, reasoning seemingly that if each conspiracy is statistically very unlikely to be true, surely one of them is.

Take a look, but first check out his credentials: he told Salon, “I am the only person in the world to solve LOST” (the, uh, TV show) and on a similar website he constructed for the 12/12/12 date (which notably passed without incident) Johnson described himself as “the New Age Messiah, with My Look Your Heart in the Mirror™ as the new revelation from the Goddess Tefnut, aka Ma’at, of Egypt, I thought the date was significant.”

With qualifications like those, who can doubt his conclusions?

Conspiracy theorists are free to believe whatever they want, but when it crosses the line from ridiculous and vaguely offensive speculation to active harassment (as in Rosen’s case), a clear line has been crossed.


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Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

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