On Dec. 14, 2012, a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. and killed 26 people, 20 of whom were children between the ages of six and seven.
Now, as the nation recovers from the horrific shooting, conspiracy theories are beginning to emerge from several sources. James Tracy, a Florida Atlantic University communications professor, has expressed doubts about the shooting on his blog, claiming that the extensive coverage was set up in order to promote the Obama administration’s desire for stricter gun control laws.
“While it sounds like an outrageous claim, 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,” Tracy wrote on his blog. “Regardless of where one stands on the Second Amendment and gun control, it is not unreasonable to suggest the Obama administration complicity or direct oversight of an incident that has in very short order sparked a national debate on the very topic – and not coincidentally remains a key piece of Obama’s political platform.”
ThinkOutsideTheTV, a YouTube channel, also posted a video claiming that the shooting was a fraud while presenting what they saw as valid and sufficient evidence. The channel’s claims include the existence of a second shooter and the theory that the White House hired “crisis actors” to act as the families of victims and as grieving Newtown citizens.
CU students weighed in on the claims made by the conspiracy theorists.
- “I don’t believe his conspiracy theory at all. It was just a tragic happening.” – Aly Dulaney, 18-year-old freshman business major
- “I heard that there was someone saying that it is a conspiracy. That’s impossible. That’s just ridiculous.” – Steven Kohnke, 23-year-old senior psychology major
- “If someone sees an opportunity to say, ‘Hey, people will listen to me because they need an explanation for why things are going so horribly right now,’ people will take that opportunity to say what they think. There have been conspiracies in the past. The fact that this one is about someone so insane goes to show how radical people get when they have the outlet of newspapers, the Internet, and media to go through. I think this is the fault of the media and crazy people.” – Jacqueline Kerr, 18-year-old freshman open option major
- “When something big happens, a lot of people are going to go out and come up with some reason as to why [it happened]. I do think that it is insensitive in a lot of ways. I have some friends who think that [the shootings] were staged. I’m a pretty big free speech guy so he can say whatever he wants. I’m pro-Second Amendment, but I think that [the shooting] made some gun owners or pro-Second Amendment advocates conspiratorial, which I don’t like.” – Arnold Lewis, 20-year-old junior international affairs major
- “I am for guns. I think guns are actually a good thing to keep and to have around, but what this gentleman is saying, that the shooting was just fake, is appalling, especially when it comes to little kids losing their lives. What he’s saying is just flat out wrong because of the lives that were taken. I don’t agree with many things that Obama has done, especially with the gun regulations, but at the same time, I don’t think anyone should be that extreme to make up a conspiracy about something that serious.” – Kyle Schiffman, 18-year-old freshman environmental studies major
- “The guy who is saying it’s a conspiracy is dumb. He doesn’t have any reason to doubt our government this much. I don’t know how you could seriously think that the amount of emotion and grief from the shootings could be fake.” – Bridget Doyle, 18-year-old freshman advertising major
- “I don’t necessarily believe it or not believe it. You need your own evidence, but my knowledge is limited. I feel like people should take the media into their own hands and form their own conclusions. Who is the other person who was running from the scene? Why aren’t they pursuing him?” – Natalie Johnston, 19-year-old freshman psychology major
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Alyx Saupe at Alyx.firstname.lastname@example.org.