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Why The Sandy Hook Massacre Spawned Conspiracy Theories

Posted by on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:03 AM
  • 7 Replies

I saw this on Yahoo news this morning and if someone has posted this already I do apologize. The whole conspiracy theory is horrible, but this article may help. I highlighted one very key point about people who believe this stuff in the article. 


http://news.yahoo.com/why-sandy-hook-massacre-spawned-conspiracy-theories-184323398.html

Why Sandy Hook Massacre Spawned Conspiracy Theories

One month after the Sandy Hook school shootings, the list of victims continues to grow. One man, Gene Rosen — who found six children and a bus driver in his driveway, brought them into his home, fed them and called parents to assure them that their children were safe — has been harassed by telephone, email and online by those who think he is lying about his actions, and is part of a conspiracy.

Rosen is not the first hero to be assaulted and insulted by conspiracy theorists with doubts. In 2002, when conspiracy theorist Bart Sibrel confronted astronaut Buzz Aldrin and called him a "coward and a liar" for faking the moon landings, the 72-year-old promptly punched Sibrel in the face.

A group called the Sandy Hook Truther movement has emerged from the dust and chaos over the past weeks to claim that the school shooting was all a staged event. Though many Americans are outraged and incredulous that anyone could doubt that the tragedy even happened, the Sandy Hook school shootings follow classic conspiracy thinking. Here are a few reasons why.

Poignant political implications

Shootings — even child murders — happen every day, several times a day, in America. According to UNICEF, America has the worst record of child abuse and homicide in the industrialized world, with an average of 27 children killed every week by their parents and caregivers. But those child murders don't have implications for enacting a national policy on gun control.

Most events producing conspiracy theories have important social and political implications, and the Sandy Hook shootings are no exception. No one, regardless of what side of the gun control issue they are on, can deny that guns played a key role in the Sandy Hook killings. So the conspiracy theorists must instead challenge the claim that the attack even occurred. They believe it's all a hoax to scare people into supporting more gun control and a step toward an outright repeal of the Second Amendment. [5 Milestones in Gun Control History]

'Holes' in the 'official story'

A common theme running through conspiracy thinking is that if you're smart enough, and just look closely enough at all the news coverage and available information, you can see lies and contradictions in accounts of the event. Truthers claim that they have found "absolute proof" that the shootings were a hoax, pointing to a 6-year-old girl named Emilie Parker, who was shot to death in the school massacre.

Or was she? They claim that the smoking-gun photographic proof that Emilie is still alive is that she was photographed after the shooting with President Obama during a visit with the families. The girl is actually Emilie's sister, wearing the same dress that Emilie wore in another photograph.

In the topsy-turvy world of conspiracy thinking, any little girl who resembles Emilie and is wearing the same dress as one she owned must be her. It could not possibly be her sister, who could not possibly be wearing either Emilie's dress or an identical one. Instead, it's obviously proof that the whole shooting was faked.

But this claim, even if it were true, raises more questions than it answers. For example, if Sandy Hook was indeed a "staged event" as claimed, with Emilie Parker alive and the president part of the conspiracy, why would the government be so careless as to release a photograph of Emilie, knowing that she had been reported dead in a carefully orchestrated national hoax? Is a widely published photo opportunity with the president of the United States really the best place to hide someone who is supposedly dead?

Conspiracy theorist websites offer dozens of other examples and pieces of evidence, ranging from real or perceived contradictions in eyewitness accounts to conflicting news reports. And indeed there are some contradictions. [The 10 Most Bizarre Conspiracy Theories]

The minds of conspiracy theorists

But what the conspiratorial mind sees as misinformation and lies, others see as merely perfectly ordinary incomplete and inaccurate information following a multifaceted tragedy. Especially in the hours and first days after such a chaotic and horrifying event, witnesses can be confused and mistaken. Police officers and reporters can misspeak, or be given incorrect information.

Not every single statement about what occurred, from dozens of different people in different places at different times, will agree in every detail. Three different witnesses to a minor car accident will often give three slightly different accounts of what they saw, so it's unrealistic to expect dozens of people who were involved in a chaotic school massacre to report exactly the same things.

Part of the reason that conspiracy theories linger is that any contradictory evidence — no matter how conclusive or compelling — can just be dismissed by claiming that it's part of the cover-up. There is ultimately no evidence that would satisfy most conspiracy theorists. Those who distrust the government will use any excuse to support their beliefs, logical or not. Conspiracy theorists prefer complex mysteries over simple truths, and find mystery where none exists.

Research has shown not only that a person who believes in one conspiracy theory is likely to support others, but also contradictions don't deter conspiracy theorists.

The idea that the Sandy Hook massacre was faked is not only absurd, but also an insult to the victims of the tragedy. The victims are really, provably gone; they are not safely hidden away somewhere until the Sandy Hook shooting has served its ultimate goal of taking away America's guns. The bullet holes are there. The children and adults are dead. Toxic conspiracies, however, will live on.

Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and author of six books, including "Media Mythmakers: How Journalists, Activists, and Advertisers Mislead Us." His website site is www.BenjaminRadford.com.


by on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:03 AM
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Replies (1-7):
Euphoric
by Bazinga! on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:36 AM
1 mom liked this

 People are crazy.

romalove
by Roma on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:36 AM
3 moms liked this

I did see this elsewhere but it's a good read.  The conspiracy people in this case are using dead children and grieving parents for their own political agenda, which is to keep people mistrustful of the government and try and preserve their gun rights as much as they can.

It is disgraceful.

ReadWriteLuv
by Silver Member on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:45 AM
1 mom liked this

I think all the conspiracy theorists in this instance prove is that they have entirely too much time on their hands. What kind of jobs do these people hold that they can spend all day long going over footage with a fine tooth comb and looking at still pictures with magnifying glasses? 

yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:45 AM

 I think conspiracy theories abound because people have a need to believe there is order..even to tragedies...that there must be something/someone  with control to blame....it is hard for our minds to accept such random acts of extreme violence.

 

romalove
by Roma on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:49 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting yourspecialkid:

 I think conspiracy theories abound because people have a need to believe there is order..even to tragedies...that there must be something/someone  with control to blame....it is hard for our minds to accept such random acts of extreme violence.

 

You won't like that I say this, but if I look at what you just said I think, well, that's the reason people posit God.  They are terrified of there being nothing and no one in control.


stormcris
by Christy on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Conspiracy theories abound because there are conspiracies. Conspiring is a part of politics and many industries, thus the reason we have spies. However, it seems a lot of people jump to the idea that someone mentioning one thing or another must mean they are creating a conspiracy theory when the person is simply trying to decipher the truth by stating discrepancy. Several actual conspiracies have come to light in the past four years that have to do with banking and corporations and it took people noticing these discrepancies to unravel the truth of the lies and manipulation. 

However, many people operate from a point of distrust of all. Some do it on the level that they are call conspiracy nuts, and others do it from a more personal stance such as men are all animals who only want to stick their penis into a something. All this distrust is learned through society. Some of it is healthy and a lot of it is over the top. At the bottom of it is that people feel the need to protect themselves from any harm. Yet, bad things happen and the fact that you are unsafe every minute of everyday no matter where you are is something the vast majority of humans just cannot accept and continue on with life and those who do sometimes get paranoid.

ReadWriteLuv
by Silver Member on Jan. 17, 2013 at 11:24 AM
1 mom liked this
Bingo, bazinga, boom!!!

Quoting romalove:


Quoting yourspecialkid:

 I think conspiracy theories abound because people have a need to believe there is order..even to tragedies...that there must be something/someone  with control to blame....it is hard for our minds to accept such random acts of extreme violence.



 

You won't like that I say this, but if I look at what you just said I think, well, that's the reason people posit God.  They are terrified of there being nothing and no one in control.


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