Monday, March 13, 2017

Sandy Hook Massacre And The Unconscionable Silence Of President Trump

"What the hell do you want from me?"
An awful, awful Florida woman, Lucy Richards, just took a plea deal for making repeated death threats against Lenny Pozner, whose six-year old son was brutally slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Thankfully, she will be sentenced at the end of this month. What is both infuriating and chilling is how the article ended: Others linked to the Sandy Hook massacre have reported harassment by conspiracy theorists who argue it was staged to erode support for Second Amendment gun rights.
All last year, I kept waiting for somebody to ask Donald Trump this question during the debates or numerous interviews, because it was obvious. No one ever did.
After Trump’s insane Twitter rant about his latest bizarre conspiracy theory about Obama wiretapping him, I wondered again why no one had ever asked him. Why has no one, and I mean no one, ever asked Donald Trump: Do you believe the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax? Of course, we already know the answer to that question. He thinks it is fake. 
How do I know this? For one, Trump is obsessed with conspiracy theories and the one person he said he believes is Alex Jones, a conspiracy loon who says gun massacres are staged by the government. (Alex Jones also stated that tornadoes are controlled by the government and there is a chemical that turns frogs gay.) Jones is the king of the Sandy Hook Hoaxers, saying the whole thing was staged. Recently, he doubled-down, saying a “blue screen" was used.  On December 2, 2015, which happened to be the very same morning of the San Bernardino shooting, (which Jones said was another “false flag” operation), Donald Trump told Jones: “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.”
For another thing, Trump made no mention of Sandy Hook on the four-year anniversary, which occurred when he was President-Elect. (However, he had time that day to tweet about Bill Gates and get upset about Vanity Fair.)
Further, Trump completely dismissed Erica Lafferty’s open letter asking him to cut ties with the Sandy Hook deniers. (Lafferty is the daughter of the principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who was shot to death trying to stop the killer, Adam Lanza.)
Donald Trump’s acceptance has allowed the Sandy Hook hoaxers to become an actual force, one with which the NRA is happy to encourage. The NRA could help the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre by coming out against these nutty conspiracy theories, but they instead egg their members on to believe that the government is always one tiny step away from overturning the Second Amendment. Their whole organization is based on keeping their gun nuts paranoid. (It also doesn’t help that Adam Lanza and his mom had NRA certificates.) 
In fact, during a recent televised town hall debate in Pennsylvania, David Keene, former president and current board member of the National Rifle Association, dismissively referred to the Newtown massacre as the “Sandy Hook thing".  
Donald Trump and the NRA are giving clout to the worst of the worst of the worst people
 in the world.

If you can't imagine anything more horrible than losing your precious elementary school child to gun violence, then imagine having to protect your remaining family members from lethal idiots who can’t be reasoned with: “They’re such a force, it’s frightening,” she told me. “They’re bullying and tormenting families who’ve been torn apart by this tragedy.”

Lenny Pozner tried to placate the hoaxers by posting Noah’s birth certificate and death certificate on his GooglePlus page. They were derided as fakes. He joined a private Facebook group called Sandy Hook Hoax, where he offered to take questions, but was told, “Fuck your fake family, you piece of shit.”
It’s gotten worse: It took nearly a year to remove a video that featured photos of Noah over the soundtrack from a porn movie. He is currently pressing YouTube about a video with maps and directional arrows pointing to an apartment where he used to live, chillingly zooming in on him through a balcony door as though a sniper was aiming a shot.
Fearful for his safety, he has moved six times since Noah’s death (he now lives in Florida) and has all mail sent to post office boxes.
The conspiracy theorists have shown unflagging energy. The most persistent, Wolfgang Halbig, a 70-year-old Florida man who describes himself as a retired school safety expert, said he had made 22 trips to Connecticut, wiped out his pension and spent more than $100,000, which he raised online.
If someone had ever asked Trump if Sandy Hook was real, then he would have had to explicitly deny or try to justify his acceptance of the hoaxers. I asked a friend of mine in the newspaper biz why he thought no one had ever asked, and he told me a question like that would come across as “combative” or “impolite.” 
(I guess that’s the same reason the media let Trump off the hook for claiming he sent private investigators to Hawaii to research Obama’s birth certificate and repeatedly stating they “can't believe what they are finding.") 
If Trump believes it to be a hoax, make him say it. If he is smart enough to deny it, then one statement from him condemning the conspiracy could go a long way to stopping violence against the Sandy Hook survivors, since the hoaxers are all his supporters.
He will not do it on his own. Trump ignores, and in some cases, even encourages, violence against people he knows or thinks are against him. Just last week, another mosque burned, which makes the fourth in seven weeks. Again, not one word from the president. The perpetrators feel emboldened. This is why we are witnessing a record number of attacks on Muslims and Latinos. That is why grieving parents of gun violence are afraid to leave their own damn houses. 
As much as Donald Trump hates the media, at some point, he will have to submit to a media interview outside the conserva-sphere, or at the very least, will have to debate when he runs for re-election (God forbid). The media is hopefully figuring out that these are not normal times, and that "politeness" is a luxury we can no longer afford. 

Ask the damn question.

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