The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a devastating and evil act of violence against innocent children, teachers, and staff. The murderer killed his own mother before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School and killing 26 others, 20 of them being children. The murderer killed himself just before police arrived on the scene. This mass shooting was one of the worst this country has seen and also the deadliest. The shooting took place in 2012 before school shootings were ‘normalized’ and almost routine like they are now in 2023. The shooting was shocking and sparked conversations about gun control across the country. Gun control is a very controversial topic in America and people were divided. More left wing politician’s, including then President Barack Obama called for Congress to make common sense gun laws including background checks, raising the age to buy guns, and banning semi automatic weapons. “Proponents of gun control focused particular attention on the AR-15 that Lanza had used, as well as the 30-round ammunition magazines he had carried.”
More right wing politicians had the same attitude as they have in the current day when school shootings happen; that a tragedy is not the time to advocate for gun control. They are upset with people trying to politicize a tragedy and would rather offer thoughts and prayers. Again, this was in 2012 and the US had never seen a tragedy of this size, especially with so many innocent children involved. The shooting caused the topic of gun control to be very heavily debated. Some conspiracy theorists believe and pushed the theory that no one had actually died and that this was a set up by the government so that stricter gun laws would be established and peoples guns would be ‘ripped away from them’. These people believe that the parents of the dead children telling their story in the media were ‘paid actors by the government’. They dissected the parents’ every move in the media and accused them of not being emotional enough on TV. They continued the paid actor claim when one father of a 6 year old killed was giving an interview to a reporter and ‘chuckled’ before ‘getting into character’. “But Parker laughed, not because he was an actor getting to character, but because he was nervous and didn’t know how to start talking to reporters, the Post said. Parker’s dad was standing nearby and encouraged him, using a childhood nickname that prompted the laugh”.
All of these claims and conspiracy theories about the shooting were propagated by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones who runs the website ‘InfoWars’. He repeatedly went on this platform, which has millions of monthly views, and stated that the shooting was a ‘hoax’ and it was all ‘staged’. He continued the lie that it was a set up by the US government to promote gun laws and he continued to call the parents and children all ‘paid actors by the government’. The continued lies from Jones about the tragedy has caused immense amount of pain for the family and friends of the victims. Avid supporters and followers of Jones have spent many years harassing and threatening parents who they believe are actors. Some families even had to move away from their homes as crazed supporters would dox their homes causing them to feel unsafe constantly. The issue is not resolved and I don’t believe it ever will be because no matter the evidence, crazed conspiracy theorists will always believe it was faked. However, there is some sort of justice as Alex Jones was sued by family members of victims and after many years of legal battles, they have won against Jones. “A Connecticut jury ordered Infowars founder Alex Jones to pay $965 million in damages to the families of eight victims of the Sandy Hook shooting for the suffering caused by years of lies that the massacre was a hoax”.
Although this isn’t a conclusion to the crazy and damaging theories, it is a step in the right direction as it’s showing the country that you can’t go online to your millions of followers and knowingly spread misinformation.