Was Sandy Hook a Hoax? Part 3

Analysis of the Snopes.com Debunking


In our last installment, we performed an unbiased critique of the newest YouTube video posted by a Sandy Hook Truther and, much to our disappointment, there appeared to be no hard evidence proving that Sandy Hook was a hoax.  However, we concluded that the Truthers do present a few points that are worthy of further investigation, even though most of their evidence is nothing more than innuendo and coincidence.

In this installment, we will analyze the Snopes.com debunking of the claims made by the Truthers, since this piece is often cited by those who endeavor to discredit the Truthers.

The Snopes.com debunking begins by stating that the information presented in the YouTube video was a mixture of misinformation, innuendo, and subjective interpretation, and then the author lays out several examples, beginning with the confusion in the aftermath of the shooting, which produced conflicting and inaccurate stories.  This, of course, does not provide any evidence of anything and does not bolster the claims by either side, since very few people would argue that inconsistent accounts are not the least bit unusual during times of chaos.

However, the next point made by Snopes.com involves the "man in the woods", who was later identified as an off-duty tactical squad police officer from another town.  Here, Snopes.com drops the ball, offering no information that discredits the Truthers: 

According to the Newtown Bee, a "reliable local law enforcement source" told them that a man with a gun who was spotted in the woods near the school on the day of the incident was an "off-duty tactical squad police officer from another town."

Snopes.com seems to think this proves that the man was not connected with Sandy Hook, since he was detained by police and then released.  Unfortunately, Snopes.com is just as guilty as the Sandy Hook Truthers on this point since no attempt is made to answer the following questions:  Just what in the name of Sam Hill was an off-duty tactical squad officer from another town doing creeping around the vicinity on the day of the shooting?  Who was the man?  What was his real motivation for being there?  Snopes.com does provide more detailed information pertaining to the other individuals who were detained that day, but failed to "debunk"anything pertaining to the "man in the woods".  Snopes.com failed to provide readers with the who, what, when, where, and why.

The author then addresses the contradiction over how Adam Lanza could have used a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle in the shootings when that same weapon was found locked in the trunk of his car afterwards.  Logic dictates that this discrepancy can be attributed to faulty reporting.  The Connecticut State Police issued a statement on Jan. 23 describing the weapons:

State police seized four guns when they responded to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in December, according to state police.

Police [said they had[ provided details in [previous] news conferences but wanted to eliminate any confusion or misinformation.

Police said they found a Bushmaster .223 caliber model XM15-E2S rifle with high capacity 30 round clips, a Glock 10-mm handgun and a Sig-Sauer P226 9mm handgun inside the school.

Police identified Adam Lanza as the gunman who shot and killed 20 first graders and six staff members.

Police also searched Lanza’s car, which was in parking lot, and found an Izhmash Canta-12 12-gauge shotgun.

This statement corroborates the earlier story given by the medical examiner, so it appears that Snopes.com was correct in this point.

Snopes.com then addresses the question about the demeanor of the parents who were seen smiling or laughing before addressing the media.  This again is not "evidence" of anything.  It shouldn't be used to give credence to the Truther argument, but neither should it have been used by Snopes.com to discredit the Truthers.  It is merely an observation and conjecture, and doesn't prove or disprove anything.  Just as the Truthers failed in their attempt to use this as "evidence", Snopes.com failed to debunk anything- the author merely gives his own opinion as to why some of the parents were seen smiling.  An opinion is not evidence.

However, Snopes.com does manage to discredit the allegation that Gene Rosen, who sheltered six of the students in his home after the shooting, was a member of the Screen Actors Guild:

Contrary to what is stated in the video, Gene Rosen, a retired psychologist, is not a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). The claim that he is a SAG member originated with a video showing the results of an Intelius search on a Gene Rosen who is listed as once having worked for the Screen Actors Guild. However, the Gene Rosen whose information is shown in that video is clearly a different person than the one who sheltered several schoolchildren in Connecticut, as the former is 62 years old and is listed as having lived in California, Texas, and New Jersey (but not Connecticut), while a similar search on the "real" Gene Rosen confirms that he is 69 years old and has not resided outside of Connecticut.
Snopes.com also provides the following narrative concerning the actions of Mr. Rosen:

[Rosen] went in his garage to feed the cats and when he came out he saw six children sitting in a circle on his front lawn.

The six first-graders somehow had escaped from Sandy Hook Elementary School as a gunman shot and killed 20 young students and six educators.

They ran down Dickinson Drive and around the corner to Rosen's house on Riverside Road — less than half a mile away. They had just seen their teacher die.

Rosen invited the children and a bus driver who was
with them into the safety of his home.

Two of the boys sat on a rug in front of the couch, Rosen said, and suddenly they began to talk.

"One boy started saying loudly, 'We can't go back to the school, we can't go back to the school, our teacher is gone. Ms. Soto is gone.'"

The other boy joined in, "He had a little gun," Rosen recalled the boy saying, "and a big gun."

A girl also began talking. She said she saw blood coming from Soto's mouth, then the girl fell to the floor, Rosen said, and the narrative stopped.

The children with Rosen knew their phone numbers, but [their] parents were not home. The bus driver called a supervisor and obtained emergency contacts for the parents and more calls were made.

Parents of four of the six children were reached and learned their children were safe. They rushed to Rosen's house, he said. After reuniting the children with their parents, the group walked to the firehouse next door, where students were being accounted for.

Unfortunately, the Snopes.com debunking does not answer the following questions:  If the children inside the school were allegedly locked in their classrooms, how did they manage to "escape" from the school?  How does the bus driver fit into the equation?  Since one of the children is quoted as having seen his teacher (Ms. Soto) shot, this would indicate that the six children escaped after the shooting began.  Why is there a bus driver sitting with the children on Rosen's lawn?  Wouldn't it have been easier for the bus driver to, you know, let the children on a BUS and then DRIVE away from the shooting?  Why did they end up running half a mile instead?  Snopes.com's debunking does not answer any of these questions.

The author then addresses the alleged photo of Emilie Parker posing with President Obama after the shooting- even though she was one of the victims.  Even most Truthers at this point accept that this claim has been debunked countless times by countless websites.

Next, Snopes.com attempts to debunk the allegation that two of the parents, Nick and Laura Phelps, are actually the Sextons- a husband-wife acting team from Florida.  The "evidence" given by Snopes.com is that these two parents couldn't possibly be the Sextons because the Truthers obtained this information from "a web site whose stock in trade is claiming that politicians, government officials, celebrities, and other people featured in media-covered events are actually imposters portrayed by actors, many of whom are supposedly members of the Greenberg/Sexton family."

Snopes.com should be ashamed of making this argument, since it in no way "debunks" the claims made by the Truthers.

This is like saying, "Well, George Washington couldn't have been at Valley Forge, because I read it on a website that claims the Holocaust never happened." So what?  Just because you don't like the source, that doesn't make the statement untrue.  This is like debunking UFOs by claiming, "UFOs can't be real, because my friend Larry believes in them, and he's a kook!"

Snopes.com then states that the Crisis Actors organization had no involvement in Sandy Hook.  This may be true, but what may be true of one group of actors may not be true of all of them.  Not every actor in the world belongs to Crisisactors.org.  The Truthers make a weak argument by claiming that the Sandy Hook participants were from this particular organization. 

The rest of the debunking involves facts which are no longer in dispute, such as the Facebook profiles which appear to have been made prior to the shooting.  Many credible experts have already debunked this claim.

In its totality, we were quite disappointed by the "debunking" conducted by Snopes.com, which comes across as sloppily researched, amateurish, and hastily published.  The Snopes.com "debunking" is just as filled with innuendo and opinion as the YouTube videos made by the Truthers, and fails to answer several of the questions posed by the Truther movement.