Sensationalistic stories about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHES) shooting have spread like wildfire across the Internet and many of these prevailing but grossly inaccurate conspiracy theories have recently spilled onto the pages of the controversial "populist" newspaper American Free Press (AFP).
In a recent AFP article entitled, Sandy Hook: Still Looking for Answers, writer Victor Thorn makes outrageous claims about the SHES tragedy sourced from individuals that clearly don't have even a basic understanding of the events that transpired that fateful day.
As a former AFP writer, it pains me to watch my erstwhile colleagues propagate this disinformation knowing just how much damage these myths and lies inflict on so many people. Last June I had an opportunity to interview Lenny Pozner, whose son Noah was the youngest child murdered at SHES. It was then that I first learned of the relentless harassment and stalking perpetrated by this fringe group of Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists against those who were still grieving over the loss of their loved ones.
eight months after this interview it was clear that the wounds were still fresh. On February 8,
the daughter of slain SHES principal Dawn Hochsprung was among several surviving
family members who complained of being constantly harassed after former Atlanta
Braves pitcher Chipper Jones took to his twitter account and repeated an
oft-cited--yet thoroughly debunked--Sandy Hook
"For more than two years now, my family and the other families of Sandy Hook have been dealing with conspiracy theorists," Cristina Hassinger, 30, told the New York Daily News . "They harass us, saying it was all a hoax. They accuse us of being in on the hoax a lot of the time. So it's really so disappointing to see someone who is supposed to be an American role model come out and promote the Sandy Hook hoax theory."
Although AFP's article has not managed to elicit this kind of public outrage from the surviving families, it has certainly laid the ground work for inspiring others to adopt the same viewpoints as Chipper Jones.
Thorn begins by launching into an interview of cable access TV show host Ed Whitney, who is quoted perpetuating these long-debunked myths: "Why were ambulances, first responders and fire trucks forced to park at a firehouse 500 yards away from SHES? Moreover, why were paramedics refused entrance?"
All of these assertions are at the very least misleading
if not completely wrong, and the facts contained in the Connecticut State Police (CSP) Sandy Hook Elementary School
Shooting Reports --along with supporting
photographic evidence--conclusively bear this out.
Whitney's suggestion that first-responders were parked too far away to provide an immediate response to the shooting is refuted in Book 6/Document 00184096 , where CSP Detective Downs of the Major Crime Squad has compiled a timeline of events based on 911 audio recordings, state and local law enforcement radio transmissions and the statements of first responders and witnesses.
Downs' timeline clearly shows that the first call about the shooting came into the Newtown Police Department (NPD) at 9:35:39 a.m. (corroborated by publicly released audio). A mere seventeen seconds later, at 9:35:56 a.m., "Newtown Police Officers inside the police department are informed of the shooting at SHES and immediately leave the police department," as documented by Detective Downs, who made this observation based on an NPD surveillance video.
Both Sergeant Kullgren and Officer Chapman responded
from NPD and were the first to arrive at SHES. They made it to the scene in
less than 4 minutes. Upon arrival, these very first responders stopped short of
the cluster of parked cars in the lot (which could have provided cover for a
gunman seeking to ambush arriving officers) and parked in the driveway next to
the baseball field, which is a little more than 100 yards (or 350 feet) from
the entrance of the school, not 500 yards as Whitney claims.
"As I approached the Dickenson Drive I observed 8-12 young children running east across the front parking lot of the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Department," Sergeant Kullgren wrote in his official statement. "I turned onto Dickenson Drive and stopped my patrol vehicle approx. 350 feet away from the main entrance of the school."