Sep 25 2014

Newtown and FBI Crime Statistics

On December 14, 2012, a disturbed shooter killed 20 children and 6 adult staff at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. This was a horrific event, and the community is still recovering.

Almost immediately after the shooting, and continuing to this day, conspiracy theorists have been shoe-horning this tragic event into their preferred narrative, calling the event a “false flag” operation. In other words, they believe that no children were killed on that day. The entire event was staged by the powers that be as a pretext to take away the guns of law-abiding citizens.

The claim is absurd on its face, but does provide an interesting window into how people can come to believe something that seems so “bat shit crazy.” It provides a lesson into the iron grip that a compelling narrative can have on someone’s mind.

The preferred narrative of the conspiracy theorist is that you cannot believe anything anyone in authority says. The government lies and only seeks to oppress us, so if the government says something it cannot be true. Anyone who believes the government is hopelessly naive.

So if “corporate media” is saying children were killed at Sandy Hook it must not be true, no matter how implausible the alternative might be.

The false flag narrative becomes an article of faith for the conspiracy theorist, who then engages in anomaly hunting, post-hoc reasoning, and confirmation bias to find any justification for their belief.

The latest anomaly to be enlisted in this task is the FBI crime statistics for 2012. InfoWars recently posted an article in which they claim that the FBI lists zero murders for Newtown, CT for 2012. This is correct, as you can see in the table which lists violent crimes by city.  InfoWars writes:

While those who question the official Sandy Hook story have largely been marginalized, the FBI’s own data is now seemingly substantiating their theories.

They have an apparent anomaly, and declare it evidence of their narrative, without even giving a token effort to consider other explanations.  For example, the FBI has a separate report on active shooters, which specifically lists the Newtown shooting with 27 deaths. Also, CT state reporting for 2012 lists the shooting and deaths (the document is, in fact, dedicated to the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting). So the deaths were counted separated under active shooters, rather than murders. That seems to solve the apparent anomaly.

One InfoWars commenter who is not convinced wrote:

Sandy Hook was a hoax. Why else did the state police lie & change their story 3 times, and why else did the coroner change his story, and why didn’t ANY of the “victims” family actually SEE a body….
The interviews, the shoddy coverage, the changing stories, etc etc… nothing but evidence existed that it was a hoax.

What conspiracy theorists provide is just a list of things that don’t seem quite right – anomalies. Sometimes the anomalies are not even real, just rumors. Sometimes they have perfectly normal explanations, like the FBI data. Sometimes they are just the quirky details of real life.

The InfoWars article also contains a video with an interview with Wolfgang Halbig who is presenting himself as an expert. He does a great job of anomaly hunting. Why were portopotties delivered to the scene 3 hours after the shooting? It must have been pre-planned. Yes – that is the level of his evidence.

An actual expert, a police officer with training in active shooter response, deconstructs Halbig’s arguments point by point.

Conspiracy theorists try to poke holes in what they call the “official story.” In their narrative, the government dictates the “official story” which is then disseminated by “corporate media” to the sheeple. What the conspiracy theorists can never seem to do, however, is put together a plausible alternate story of their own.

I would like to hear a Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists lay out exactly what they think happened. Tell us how the government hired actors, bribed and/or intimidated cops, and orchestrated all the events of that day. Tell us exactly how they hoodwinked an entire town into believing that 26 of their citizens, 20 of whom were elementary school children, were murdered when in fact it did not happen.

Thinking through the story in this way, of course, causes it to immediately collapse. The number of people who would have to be involved in the cover up would be massive. This is because the number of lives that were touched by this tragic event was massive.

I live in CT and I have family and friends who live in Sandy Hook. I have one degree of separation from people who were directly involved in the shooting – friends, a father of children in the school who was also a first responder, and his wife who was actually there at the school during the shooting. (Fortunately, none of their children were harmed.)

My point is, in addition to all the people who were directly involved, there must be thousands of people in the area who know someone who was directly involved in the shooting. A conspiracy of this magnitude is simply not possible, or would be almost a trivial exercise to unravel.

The conspiracy theorists, however, have nothing. They have no actual evidence of the incredibly massive conspiracy that would be necessary to pull off what they are claiming. All they have are superficial anomalies that themselves are easy to deconstruct.

The most interesting phenomenon to explain here is how so many people can become utterly convinced of a demonstrably absurd belief based upon the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence.

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