Sandy Hook conspiracy theories confound
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 23:01
I used to find myself fascinated by government conspiracy theories not because I found the theories themselves compelling, but because I think some of their proponents often serve as case studies in cognitive dissonance. Whenever I hear people try to tell me that 9/11 was an inside job, the moon landing was faked or that the transition to DTV a couple of years ago was a veiled attempt by the government to keep tabs on us, I am always reminded of Commander Jack Ripper’s impassioned speech from Dr. Strangelove about communists being behind the idea of water fluoridation to “impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.”
I really used to believe this sort of thinking was innocuous and offered rationally minded people like me a good laugh in the face of sometimes unsettling or distressing news. But recently, my thinking has changed.
In the past few days I have noticed a video being shared by friends and family members suggesting that it has “fully exposed” details about the Sandy Hook massacre last month. I don’t feel the need to go into details about the blatant lies the video espouses because Snopes.com has already done that for me. What unsettles me most about this “Newtown Truth” movement is how quickly it seems to be spreading.
Victims’ parents, friends and family have repeatedly been harassed in the past few weeks, with internet trolls blasting the bereaved for apparently being paid actors in cahoots with government officials. These “truthers” (a term that could not be used less correctly) apparently believe that the Newtown tragedy was orchestrated by the Obama administration so that our “fearless leader” could get enough public sympathy to pass comprehensive gun control legislation.
From a certain perspective, I think I can understand why people might promote such ridiculous theories like this. It might help some make sense of a completely senseless situation. For most of us, the Sandy Hook murders are unfathomable. What could possibly make a human being so deranged as to want to end the lives of these innocent young children? It’s easier to think that the evil Czar Obama planned the whole tragedy to enact his radical leftist agenda than to think that a psychologically disturbed human being would murder his own mother in cold blood, steal her weapons collection and go on a rampage.
It makes sense to search for answers in the midst of these atrocities. The murders at Sandy Hook rightfully ought to make us question our place in the universe as human beings. However, I will not stand for what these conspiracy nutcases have been peddling. These victims have suffered enough and lending credence to these ridiculous theories only causes even more unnecessary grief for them. They can pretend that they’re “just asking questions” or “looking for the truth,” but the fact of the matter is that these “truthers” are causing unconscionable social harm. Moreover, if these are the people most afraid of Obama taking away their weapons, then I’m glad I can call myself a gun rights advocate as well. If these people get to arm themselves to the teeth, I damn sure want to be able to defend myself from them.
Bub is a junior majoring in English, history and political science.