Professor who says Sandy Hook massacre is a hoax — and allegedly harassed …
Are We Helpless to Keep Our Children Safe?.
Florida Atlantic University sent a firebrand professor a letter Wednesday stating that he was being recommended for termination and has 10 days to appeal before a “final action” may be taken. A Florida professor was fired this week after initiating a years-long campaign claiming the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax and harassing the family of a victim he believes never existed.In the three years since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., one of the more inexplicable aspects of its aftermath has been the persistence of the insane conspiracy theory that the killings never really happened. Sandy Hook “truthers” contend that the incident was either faked in its entirety, or, if it was real, was committed by the government for some sort of political effect. Tracy has also gained notoriety over comments he made regarding the Boston Marathon bombing, the church shooting in Charleston, S.C., and the San Bernardino, Calif., massacre. “In accordance with university practice regarding personnel issues, the university will make no further comment for the time being,” the school said in a statement.
As part of the bizarre theory, Tracy allegedly began harassing the parents of six-year-old Noah Ponzer – one of 20 children in the attack by shooter Adam Lanza – demanding proof that the child ever existed. I’m an optimist about the basic decency of the American people, so I prefer to think that the Newtown “false flag” myth is too repulsive and cruel to persist organically on its own merits. As far as I can tell, the main reason it’s still with us today is because it has been embraced by America’s industrial-size factory farm of conspiracy theories: the radio show and Web empire of Alex Jones. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids.” On the morning of Dec. 2, Jones hosted an extended, live interview with Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
Schools are created to be warm and secure environments where students blossom, not where young lives are suddenly cut off without a chance to grow to exceed expectations and bring change to the world. From my first experience with the aftermath of gun violence, I thought that less emphasis should be placed on the opinions of conservative officials and more concern regarding those directly involved and impacted by gun violence in their communities. Melissa Duclos’ Salon story “An Open Letter to Lawmakers, After Yet Another Mass Shooting” expresses a similar concern toward the way we handle and address these issues. Educational settings are being targeted more then ever for mass shootings, teachers and students are being prepared to face these dangers in the classroom, “to hide out of the line of fire, to fight for our survival — because of lawmakers’ failure to do their job.” Clearly these established protocols and requirements of teachers are not the way to solve the issue of mass shootings in schools; it’s simply officials attempting to redirect a solution that won’t hurt their pockets and campaign revenue. Now, the guy trading compliments with Jones is the Republican Party’s likely nominee — the candidate who is all but lapping the rest of the field in recent polling.
It’s one of those situations in which the whole is more than the sum of its parts: It may not be that crazy that Trump is embracing Jones, and it may not be that crazy that Trump is leading the Republican presidential field. Silence is all that remains, and yet again, Americans are forced to reside in a society where the legislators and people in power fail to protect them, the government’s most fundamental duty to its citizens.
We live in a country that is founded on the idea of freedom and security, but instead of addressing the flaws and holes within our current gun laws and regulations, we seemingly accept this tragedy — selling bulletproof backpacks and preparing our students in mass shooting simulations and drills. This upsetting and predictable pattern is a vicious cycle that seems to never end and will never end unless gun control is strictly enforced and promoted across the country. Acceptable affiliations and positions in that party are now effectively being set by a candidate who still maintains that President Barack Obama is secretly foreign, who apparently seriously intends to hang a “No Muslims Allowed” sign on all U.S. borders and who finds “amazing” America’s foremost trafficker in the almost-too-disgusting-to-repeat lie that the grieving families of all those little 5- and 6-year-old boys and girls in Newtown faked their children’s deaths for some nefarious political cause.
Iowa and New Hampshire are just weeks away — the time has passed for either surprise or denial about the rise of Trump as the GOP’s likely 2016 nominee. Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt explained a similar approach in “A Gun-Free Society,” agreeing that the drastic change we wish to see regarding mass shootings is a matter of change in the culture and norms of society. It’s time to face the fact that Republican voters are far enough into this process that they know what they’re getting with Trump, and they’ve decided that they like it, more and more all the time. He suggests that the incremental approach is not working; instead, we need to think reform rather than control, and this can be done if we have this cultural shift he discusses. He uses the example of same-sex marriage and the shift that has taken place over the past 15 years, that deep cultural change was difficult to ignite but, more important, it became possible.
Overall we would end up with a much safer country, “There are strong arguments against setting a gun-free society as the goal, but there are 100,000 arguments in favor — that’s how many of us get shot every year.” This is not an easy task with a simple solution, for America’s obsession with guns has only grown since the establishment of the Second Amendment. The NRA is the hugest obstacle preventing the crucial changes that could lead to gun reform from happening, framing their arguments heavily on the U.S. Mitt Romney was not exactly a profile in courage against the nuttier elements of the 2012-era GOP base — who can forget his bizarre Trump-endorses-Romney extravaganza in Las Vegas, complete with a gold-embossed, Trump-branded podium and a big bank of American flags? But when pressed on Trump’s signature hangup about Obama’s birth certificate, Romney was straightforward and clear: “There’s no question about where he was born.
The current accessibility and presence of guns in our society has led to the haunting consequences of numerous mass shootings, suicides and accidental deaths every day. As the NRA continues to act as the biggest obstacle to change in our society’s perception of gun ownership and value of life, the rate of lives lost to gun violence is rapidly increasing each year. I’m not saying we’ve always been great at that, but at the level of presidential nominees, we’ve at least recently had the benefit of candidates who see it as their responsibility to try. Who will take on that role in the 2016-era Republican Party if and when it decides that the wild-eyed conspiratorial fringe isn’t just welcome on the edges of their party anymore; it’s in charge? Restricting ownership of military-style assault weapons is not only the common-sense step we can take as a nation to prevent further mass shootings from occurring.
Universal background checks play a huge role in who operates, owns and sells these deadly weapons, and surprisingly this is one issue Americans mostly agree on. Most important, these background checks need to be enforced heavily in concert with “private sales” of weapons in gun shows, the Internet, and news advertisements. No matter the obstacles the NRA or other anti-gun control supporters place in our path to success, change is possible — beginning with the refusal to accept these tragedies as normal.
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