Just as there are people who still think that JFK and Elvis are still alive, the moon landing was a hoax staged like Capricorn One on a Hollywood set, that George W. Bush planned 9/11, and that Barack Obama’s parents plotted in 1961 to take over the world in 2008, there are those who believe that the Newtown massacre didn’t really happen and that all those children weren’t really murdered; it was all staged as an intricate plot by the Obama administration to take away our guns.
In the latest angle, theorists think they have found “absolute proof” of a conspiracy to defraud the American people. “You reported in December that this little girl had been killed,” a reader emailed Salon in response to a story. “She has been found, and photographed with President Obama.”
The girl in question is Emilie Parker, a 6-year-old who was shot multiple times and killed at Sandy Hook. But for conspiracy theorists, the tears her family shed at her funeral, the moving eulogy from Utah’s governor, and the entire shooting spree are fake. Welcome to the world where Sandy Hook didn’t really happen.
There are dozens of websites, blog posts and YouTube videos extolling the Emilie Parker hoax theory. If you Google her name, the very first result is a post mocking her father for crying at a press conference after the shooting. One popular video, which already has 134,000 views, was made by the producers of a popular 9/11 Truther film. “Just as the movie ‘Operation Terror’ shows the 9/11 attacks were a made-for-TV event, so too were the mass shootings … There can be no doubt that Sandy Hook was a staged event,” the narrator intones. He goes on to say that the adults who participated in the media coverage of the shootings “should be prosecuted as accessories after the fact in a mass murder” — i.e., the parents whose children were murdered in the massacre should be thrown in prison.
The common thread in all of these plots is that the proponents would like to re-write history. It’s the ultimate in denial, and I suppose if you were to take an objective look at it, you could understand why people would want to change the events into a more palatable — or at least explicable — reality. It’s a lot easier to say that the tragedies of life are all the result of an intricate plot at the hands of someone far beyond our reach than it is to accept the harsh cruelties of life. (That would also explain a lot of religion.)
There’s no point in trying to convince Truthers of the reality because the more you point out the inconsistencies in their theories, the more they are going to believe it because everything you tell them can be explained as a part of the ever-more entwined plot.
It’s easy to dismiss these Newtown Truthers as harmless cranks, but then you’re left with the mindless cruelty that they inflict on the survivors and the memories of the people lost and left behind.