Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Debunking the Debunking of Sandy Hook Hoax Theory

An article recently written by Hunter Stuart of the Huffington Post attempts to poke holes in the growing concerns that the Sandy Hook shooting hasn't been reported as accurate and that there may be a more sinister plot by a collusion of the media and the government to push an agenda of stronger gun control.

Without taking a position myself (though I confess, even as a journalist, I have a healthy skepticism about any government account), I was struck by how flimsy the article was at being anecdotal in its attempts to turn away suspicions by lay people that the shootings may have been staged in some way.  The issue is really if something is true, wouldn't the empirical evidence be what is used to debunk the theories?  Why would selective points that are everybit as theoretical be considered sufficient to debunk.  I am more concerned as I have written in numerous places without my psuedonym about the seemingly wreckless performance of the media in this crisis that has actually fed the fires of doubt in the first place.  If the media had been skeptical out of the gate and then came around and said that they were wrong, that would be one thing.  However, the media's attempt to insert itself into the story by defending its position, its performance and trying to debunk the theories is not the charge of an impartial press., Huffington Press and Anderson Cooper of CNN have all made it a point to go out of their way to attack the conspiracy theories that have been spawned.  Instead of reporting the rise of the doubters and not making value judgements about them, these outlets have gone so far as to characterize people who espouse or question the official account as "internet trolls" that are "lurking" to find some flaw or item they can sensationalize.

I want to make it clear that I would embrace the media presenting empirical public release of the autopsies with photos...which up until recently was legal according to the Freedom of Information Act in Connecticut. 

Let me address the Stuart's article point by point....

Sandy Cox got her script wrong....
In Andrea McCarren's brief interview with Sally Cox, Cox reported that the Mrs. Lanza was a kindergarten teacher that she had known very well"  Stuart rightly reports that McCarren did not use Lanza's name.  However, Newtown isn't New York City.  I'm sure that Cox, a longtime resident would probably know every kindergarten teacher there and which ones had adult sons that she would know.  But even if that wasn't the most logical assumption (which it is), the fact that because Cox wasn't asked specifically about Lanza doesn't mean that she initially wasn't.  Remember, every homicide detective will tell you that the freshest information is that which is the most true.  Even if you accept that Cox may have been is not empirical data.  It is another theory that doesn't necessarily debunk the first theory.  Also, Andrea McCarren has not corroberated that an error took place or Stuart would certainly have published.

Adam Lanza didn't use an assault rifle....
Here again, media backpeddling is used as a mitigation for what was initially being reported as true.  Remember, the Connecticut State Police are on film correcting the media that there were four handguns used.  While, I will concede that seeing one photo or video of a long weapon being drawn out of a car (that isn't Adam Lanza's...a point not refuted by Stuart), that it doesn't mean that he might not have had one.  However, the initial reports from law enforcement...the earliest and freshest and therefore, usually most accurate, stated handguns.  This is corroberated by the fact that there are no survivors that saw Lanza with a rifle.  Additionally, from a gun owners personal experience, the Bushmaster .22 that he alledgedly had is a somewhat indiscriminate weapon with very small caliber bullets.  There should have been a remarkably larger amount of survivors with .22 caliber injuries.  In a panic, children are going to run in a panic.  Fast moving targets in an excited environment for an inexperienced shooter means that he shouldn't have had such a large kill ratio.  The Aurora Co. shooter didn't have the success that Lanza had with a better weapon and a more target rich environment.

Also (and what would really debunk this) where did the gun originate from.  Surely that can be traced and verified by the press.  Point being, that what officials release later doesn't mean that the theory is debunked since the theory is based on those officials being unreliable.  Initial reports therefore get greater gravity as they should in any homicide investigation.  Point neither confirmed or debunked.

Adam Lanza died the day before....
While I find this to be one of minutia compared to some of the more damning questions about the account, I can address it as I did before.  Stating that Newtown officials may have "made a mistake" falls under the auspice of officials being questioned about being part of the conspiracy.  Small town officials could easily be bullied into obedience.  Might have made a mistake is not empirical evidence that debunks the theory.

Memorial pages were up before the shooting...
While I have another journalist who is following up on people in the Newtown area who are witnesses who can corroberate that they actually were on the pages in question on the day before the incident but are afraid to go public, I would like to address this pragmatically.  I have been posting for over ten years and I have contacted Yahoo, Google, and MSN.  They confirm that while mistakes can happen on postings, that they are 98% reliable in their accuracy.  Further, that has been my experience...I have never had an error on any of my postings.  One page might be almost good enough to debunk this concern about the account.  However, there were several pages that all had errors.  Acham's Razor says that isn't a coincidence even with the margin of error.  Not Debunked!

Adam Lanza had his brother's ID...
This issue is also minutia in the greater account, but for arguements sake I will address it.  The statement that authorities didn't confirm that it was his brother's ID,  doesn't mean that it wasn't true.  Why else would they arrive at Ryan Lanza's door so quickly and put him into custody?  Might be wrong isn't empirical evidence. 

Multiple shooters....
I am the first to admit that it is easy to manipulate video to enflame a position and alot of theorists have been parking on the chase in the woods and the detention of what is now being reported was a parent who was fleeing the shooting.  Even if this was true, it doesn't address witness reports (before authorities arrived) of two shadows passing by.  Also, if the man fleeing was a parent who ran when he heard shooting inside the school, why were there police pursuing him.  That account flies in the face of the timeline since the official account was that the shooting was all but over by the time the first responders arrived.  Not Debunked.

Crisis Actors....
This is hardest to prove or debunk.  The Eric Parker video clearly seems contrived and the thought that a parent that has lost a child within the last 18 hours could look as composed, chuckle with officials seemed too contrived for even the most seasoned journalist, much less the lay public.  However, that doesn't prove the theory.  It doesn't debunk it either.  The coincidences of people involved in Newtown looking like participants in the Aurora shooting doesn't help.  Emelie not being in class photos the previous two years, the possibility that he photo with the family may have been photo shopped.  Photo errors of other kids made by ABC channel 7 and the Daily Mail don't help the media's credibility here.  Point being...theory not debunked.

There are even more much more dramatic theories that aren't addressed here.  Here is my favorite.
---Why, if when the first tv media arrived they were kept in a staging area some 1/4 mile away because there was concern for a second shooter around the school, was the remainder of the 600 students exposed to the danger of that shooter by walking them that long distance to the firehouse?  This fact has been confirmed by Kent Pierce of Channel 8 in Danbury to me.  All of the students were evacuated before TV media arrived.

---Other questions....where are the rest of the Newtown Bee's Shannon Hicks' photos of the evacuation and how was she able to get so close to the school?
....Why were there multiple witness reports of droves of federal vehicles in downtown Newtown on the way to the school a full half hour before the first 911 call came in?
....Why has the media not questioned the issue of emergency drills being scheduled that day by the school that day as confirmed by Facebook and other online sources?

The bottom line is truth and evidence.  A theorists is not obligated to have that evidence when questioning official inconsistencies (Though some have very effectively...see YouTube videos on Google Earth shadow analysis of Shannon Hicks' photo of the evacuation).  Debunking however does require empirical data and so far, Mr. Stuart's anecdotes would fail in any court of law.


  1. one thing you should check out is the view counts on the most popular sandy hoax videos on youtube. the most popular one had 12 million views a month ago, now it has 10 million.

    1. Google is one of the primary culprits in this and has been doing extensive back peddling in regards to time stamps and counts. Don't think for a minute that they don't have a stake in this and their sponsorship also wants this to go backward. I agree. That isn't the right number. I would guess that he's probably sitting at about 13 million this week. I am going to follow up with him about it. Thanks for the tip and thanks for checking out the blog. Please pass it around and make suggestions for me to investigate.

  2. the heli shots are extremely damning

    1. I agree, but they have to be taken into context. The argument that the man might have been a parent has to be considered...especially if the video doesn't come with a time stamp. However, the air view of the people walking in circles behind the tape, in one end of the building and out the other is suspicious. Also, there is an air view of Gene Rosen being at the firehouse walking around a little aimlessly. What's up with the sign outside of Sandy Hook which told everyone to "Check In"?

  3. thank you for your replies. another thing i find extremely interesting that i havent seen explored anywhere is nancy lanzas mini vacation to bretton woods in the 3 days immediately prior to the incident. combine this with the death certificate info, new hampshire is the place of record, the 13th the day of record. therefore, in the article you are refuting, why is he calling the connecticut authorities and not new hampshire?

  4. and has anyone spoken to the employees of the hotel she was at?

  5. The discrepancy between what WUSA reporter Andrea McCarren said Nurse Cox told her in an off camera interview, and what Nurse Cox says on Camera in later interviews with other reporters, seems glaring and clear cut. At first I figured that reporter McCarren was some local cable reporter who probably just got the story wrong, so I looked up what I could find about reporter Andrea McCarren.

    She works for channel 9 WUSA and is based in Washington, D.C. She “just happened” to be CT the day of the shooting and was thus in position to cover the story.

    McCarren is no ordinary cable news reporter. Her husband is Bill McCarren, the Executive Director of the National Press Club. After attending Vassar College McCarren attended the London School of Economics. She earned an anthropology degree, cum laude. Thereafter, she attended graduate school at the University of Southern California School of Journalism on a KCBS-TV Fellowship. She covered the presidency of Bill Clinton for ABC and served as DC correspondent for NBC. She has traveled to and reported on stories in El Salvador and joined Clinton multiple times on Air Force One. She also served as an investigative reporter for WJLA-TV in D.C. McCarren is also an educator. The first teacher of broadcast journalism at Harvard University, she taught a curriculum of her own design. Among other honors, McCarren is the recipient of an Edward R. Murrow Award and the Nieman Fellowship at Harvard.

    Since this discrepancy has come to light, numerous internet posters state that McCarren has not responded to their requests for clarification of her reporting of this incident, and has blocked them from her twitter account so they cannot ask even why she refuses to respond. Since I don’t believe everything I read on the internet, I tweeted McCarren the following simple question: “Hi. Do you stand by your report that Nurse Cox stated to you that she looked the Sandy Hook shooter in the eye?”

    I received no reply and within 24 hours Reporter blocked my Twitter account with no explanation.

    I sent an Email to the station manageron 2/20/13, who advised me he would get back to me. As of yet I have heard nothing more.

    There are several intriguing possibilities:

    1. Nurse Cox is telling the truth. She told Reporter McCarren, as she told at least two other reporters in video interviews I have seen, that the shooter entered her room and she jumped under her computer desk. Reporter McCarren innocently embellished her report of her off camera interview with Nurse Cox to add that the shooter “looked her in the eyes” before she hid under the desk. Reporter McCarren also added the details that Nurse Cox recognized the shooter to be the son of an endearing Kindergarten teacher who was present in a nearby classroom.

    2. Reporter McCarren is telling the truth. Nurse Cox told her that she did look the shooter in the eyes, and that she recognized him to be the son of an endearing Kindergarten teacher who was present in a nearby classroom. He did not shoot her and turned and left when she jumped under her desk. Nurse Cox then changed her story in her later broadcast interviews.

    It is interesting that the school has two kindergarten teachers: Janet Vollmer and Sue Perry:

    Janet Vollmer has a son named Scott who works for Bloomberg Media. Scott’s Facebook page has a picture of him with Presidents Clinton and Obama so it appears that he is well connected:

    Did Nurse Cox at first identify Scott Vollmer as the shooter? That might explain the persistent reports all day long that referenced the shooter having been the son of a kindergarten teacher.

    How deep is the rabbit hole? Or is it all just the "fog of war" and paranoia?