In the frightening world of paranoia and conspiracy that exists for many of the zealots in this country so terrified of losing their guns, so anti-government that they fabricate every kind wild theory they can conjure, the theory that the Sandy Hook shootings are a grand hoax created by the Obama Administration to ratchet up enthusiasm for gun control has to be the lowest.
Particularly for the families of the dead.
With a new meme trending, one group of “Newtown Truthers,” (if there was ever a perversion of the word “truth” this would be it), who have given themselves the dramatic name, Operation Terror, have created a video titled, “Absolute Proof Sandy Hook Was Staged,” in which they posit that one of the children murdered at Sandy Hook is actually alive and has been photographed with President Obama since the shooting.
According to their posted video (see below), 6-year-old Emilie Parker appears, in the same dress worn in a school picture, on President Obama’s lap after the shooting. They also claim that Emilie’s father was coached and guided during a video appearance made after Emilie’s funeral. From Salon:
The crux of the theory is a photograph of Parker’s sister sitting on President Obama’s lap when he visited with the victims’ families. The girl is wearing the same dress Emilie wore in a pre-shooting photograph of the family shared with media, so she must be Emilie, alive and well. “BAM! I cannot believe how idiot these people are [sic]… That’s her,” one YouTuber exclaims as he watches the two images superimposed on each other. (Apparently missed by these crack investigators is the possibility that the sister wore Emilie’s dress and that they look alike because they are sisters, after all.)
The supporting details to the hoax theory explanation are reminiscent of the arcana of any well-developed conspiracy theory. What about the car? What about the rifle? Why does someone off camera allegedly tell Parker’s father to “read the Card” (as in a cue card) before he goes on CNN? Why is he laughing? Who is the guy running into the woods? Why is there police audio referring to multiple shooters? Why does one boy who survived the shooting tell Dr. Oz it was like “a drill”? Why was the principal quoted by a local paper after she died? Why do some of the parents look like some of the victims of the Aurora shooting — are they “all actors”? All of these questions have simple explanations, but in each case, the theorists have sided more with less likely, but more nefarious possibilities.
The group behind this latest video is also behind a claim that 9/11 was staged for a made-for-TV movie (named Operation Terror, from which they get their name); that the death of Osama bin Laden was a “cover-up for the fact that the President outed his long-awaited long form birth certificate, and the experts all agree it was made on Photoshop.” They’ve also managed to twist Alex Jones recent appearance on Piers Morgan as a boon for the gun faction (which, if you followed the story and saw the video, speaks volumes about their propensity for delusion). Quite a group, that Operation Terror.
As mentioned in the Salon piece, there have been other conspiracy theories put forth by the fringe looking to minimize the horror of Sandy Hook by claiming it’s something it’s not. Talking Points Memo ran a story in December detailing the theory that Peter Lanza, the father of the Sandy Hook shooter, who works at GE Financial Services and was supposed to testify before the Senate hearing on the LIBOR banking scandal, was somehow involved in an effort to hide financial wrongdoings.
“This rumor is 100% false,” a Senate Banking Committee aide, who asked not to be named, told TPM by email. “The Senate Banking Committee does not have any LIBOR hearings currently scheduled, and has never considered either of these men as potential witnesses.”
Nonetheless, this fiction is being used to fuel a range of conspiracies, many of which suggest the attacks were somehow coordinated by shadowy elites in government or business to hide financial wrongdoing or confiscate guns. And they’re getting real traction from commenters at liberal, conservative, and fringe sites all over the Internet.
A libertarian blogger, Fabian4Liberty, posted a video, which already has over 60,000 views, outlining the Libor claim and that quickly spread across social media. A post referencing the video on BeforeItsNews.com claims nearly 10,000 likes on Facebook and an Examiner post detailing the bogus connection has quickly garnered over 7,500 likes.
This particular fringe also attempted to connect this same theory to Robert Holmes, father of the Aurora, CO, Dark Knight Rises shooter, who also works in finance. The theory was debunked on his end, as well.
But that doesn’t stop the conspiracy thorists. There’s an entire site devoted to both these conspiracy theories and likely a few other slants (I didn’t have the stomach to spend much time on the site) @ Sandy Hook Hoax.
Fringe conspiracy theorists have been around for centuries and have flogged convoluted scenarios about everything from WWI, the Cuban Missile crisis, the Kennedy murders, right up to 9/11; but now, with the ease and reach of the Internet, their ability to propagate and stir frenzy among other like-minded paranoids has never been higher. And when their theories involve the deaths of children, deaths that have devastated families, a town, and the country-at-large, their perverse need to turn tragic events into diatribes against the government becomes profoundly immoral.
There is a parallel to be drawn between gun zealots who see any attempt to improve gun control laws as an attempt to “confiscate” their weapons – and who frame their often irrational passion for guns as a much-needed buffer between them and the government, the bad guys, the immigrants, the liberals, the monsters under the bed, the….anything and everything that might be coming after them – with those who attempt to twist tragedy into convenient conspiracy. If actual events shine a negative light on a shooter, a weapon, a high-capacity magazine, an assault rifle, or large numbers of gun deaths, trust the hoax meme to appear.
Tragedy multiplied by the insanity of zealots, whose refusal to face truth compels them to pervert it.
See the Operation Terror video on Sandy Hook “hoax” and judge for yourself: