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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/18/15

Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theorists Continue Getting it Wrong

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More than two years have passed since the tragic 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHES) shooting and conspiracy theorists are still desperately trying to prove it a hoax. No sooner than one ridiculous claim is debunked another surfaces that is even more absurd.

Much to my dismay, some of the latest theories have made their way onto the pages of American Free Press (AFP), the controversial "populist" newspaper that I once wrote for. In a recent article, entitled Sandy Hook: Still Looking for Answers, writer Victor Thorn perpetuates some of the long-standing myths that refuse to die and offers up a few new theories.

In my last article, entitled The Latest Sandy Hook Hoax Theories Debunked, I exposed the multiple fallacies presented in the first two segments of Thorn's
latest piece. In this 2nd and final installment, I will address what remains of Thorn's article, where he relies heavily on claims made by an AFP colleague as well as those espoused by one of the most notorious Sandy Hook hoax conspiracy theorists of all, Wolfgang Halbig.

Thorn's third segment, The Smoking Gun, contains his most egregious errors. Here, Thorn quotes Pete Papaherakles, a fellow AFP reporter who makes one blunder after the other and demonstrates that he has not even made a feeble attempt to fact check his own ridiculous claims.

First, Thorn gives this error-riddled summary of Papaherakles' contribution: "Lanza supposedly began his rampage at 9:35:53 a.m., yet only three minutes and 13 seconds later, at 9:39:06 a.m., an ABC News helicopter already hovered above SHES. At that time it showed police officers chasing two 'shadows' running behind SHES into the woods. As they did so, they passed a shed with an open door."

Everything about that paragraph is verifiably false. To begin with, it is accepted fact that the first 911 call came into NPD at 9:35:39 a.m., at which time the female caller reported: "Sandy HookSchool. I think there's somebody shooting in here in Sandy HookSchool"Somebody's got a gun. I saw a glimpse of somebody running down the hallway. They're still around me. There's still shooting. Sandy Hook School please."

The report of a shooting--already in progress--was made 14 seconds before Thorn claims Lanza began his rampage.

Next, no helicopter arrived at SHES prior to the 10 a.m. hour and neither Thorn nor Papaherakles have any facts or supporting documentation to substantiate their claim. What they have done is erroneously merged three completely separate incidents: 1.) The footage of officers running into the woods, 2.) Two shadows reportedly running past the gym behind SHES and 3.) The detainment of parent Chris Manfredonia (whom Papaherakles mistakenly identifies as Joe Manfredonia).

The helicopter footage that Thorn refers to was simultaneously captured and broadcast live by WABC News, New York at precisely 12:24 p.m. In the original airing, which is visibly time stamped at 12:24, a reporter verifies that the footage is being broadcast LIVE and is heard saying: "You're looking now"and I don't know if you can make it out on your TV as I can make it out"you see some units working"walking in the woods near Sandy Hook Elementary School."

Later that day, on their website, ABC News released an official timeline of their coverage of events and documented the aforementioned activity as: " 12:24 p.m.: Law enforcement agents with weapons drawn seen running into wooded area behind the school."

Further corroboration of the timeline of this footage can be found in a shadow analysis conducted by Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist Pat Jack. Calculating the length and direction of shadows cast from stationary objects in the footage, Pat Jack concludes that this "indicates a time of 12:23 p.m. EST," which is just one minute shy of the time-stamp on the live WABC news report

Though Thorn would have us believe that the police were "chasing two 'shadows,'" viewing the actual footage reveals officers chasing no one. Three officers are seen running up into the woods, away from the school and towards an individual that is running down towards them and towards the school.

The police activity in the woods was later documented in Book 6/Document00024911 of the Final Report, which states: "CT DEEP [Department of Energy and Environmental Protection] Police questioned a male reporter in the woods off the right side of the building (when looking at it from the front). The male was attempting to get closer to the building and was stopped by DEEP Police Officers. He was identified and later released."

The "two 'shadows'" referenced by Thorn were actually reported to NPD dispatch by school custodian Rick Thorne at 9:38:57 a.m. In the aforementioned CSP Major Crime Squad timeline (and in publicly released audio), Thorne tells the dispatcher: "Ok, the gym teacher told me they saw shadows going past the gym."

According to the CSP Major Crime Squad timeline , "The shadows are believed to be the teachers in conference room #20 (west hallway), who escaped out the window and ran to the Subway Restaurant on Church Hill Rd. (Newtown 911)."

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Keith Johnson is a critic and debunker of conspiracy theories, particularly those pertaining to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. His work regularly appears in the Newtown Post-Examiner. For many years, Keith was a freelance (more...)

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