You knew it would come. You just didn’t know how vile it would get:
Yes, there really are Newtown truthers.
But in the crazy world of Sandy Hook conspiracy theories, this one may be the worst yet.
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.
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.)
Here’s the thing about conspiracy theories: they never make any fucking sense. The 9/11 Truthers had an elaborate plan involving missiles, remote control planes, explosive charges and secret planes to Canada. If you were going to stage 9/11, the easiest way would be to actually do it. But their theory was built on misunderstanding pieces of evidence and trying to shoehorn something into those lacunae. So they needed missiles to explain their misunderstanding of the Pentagon damage. But they still needed planes to explain the actual footage of the towers. And thus the Demented Rube Goldberg 9/11 Truther Theory was born.
The Sandy Hook theories already debunk themselves. For example, they can’t seem to decide if the kids were killed or not. That should be pretty straight forward, right? Dozens of people saw and handled the bodies and hundreds knew the victims. Hard to get out of that. But suddenly the victims are alive again so the theorists can explain their inability to understand a picture of the President. And if our President is so brilliant as to fake a shooting, how is he so stupid as to pose with one of the victims? Why would you have her around anyway if it was all staged?
It gets worse. I tweeted a story about a 69 y/o man who found and comforted six kids the night of the shooting. Man was one of the many heroes of that night, in his small but important way. They’re going after him too:
“I don’t know what to do,” sighed Gene Rosen. “I’m getting hang-up calls, I’m getting some calls, I’m getting emails with, not direct threats, but accusations that I’m lying, that I’m a crisis actor, ‘how much am I being paid?’” Someone posted a photo of his house online. There have been phony Google+ and YouTube accounts created in his name, messages on white supremacist message boards ridiculing the “emotional Jewish guy,” and dozens of blog posts and videos “exposing” him as a fraud. One email purporting to be a business inquiry taunted: “How are all those little students doing? You know, the ones that showed up at your house after the ‘shooting’. What is the going rate for getting involved in a gov’t sponsored hoax anyway?”
Someone sent me a link to one of the truther videos. I won’t link to it but it was pretty easy to see through. It relies heavily on the uncertain and sometimes contradictory reporting in the early hours of the shooting. It also includes a bad morph of Emilie Parker and psychic insight into the minds of people talking to cameras. It’s obscene.
I don’t want to spend too much time on these assholes. Every time I think the conspiracy theorists reach the bottom, they manage to find a new low. Accusing the Administration and others of taking advantage of the shooting to advance a political agenda is one thing (indeed, New York just passed a gun control bill with a haste that makes the Patriot Act look thoughtful). But to accuse parents who have suffered the most awful loss imaginable of being actors?
There are no words.