Meet The Sandy Hook Truthers

As inconceivable as it might sound, or perhaps it’s not inconceivable at all, there’s now a conspiracy theory surrounding the murder of 26 people in Newtown, CT:

“I don’t know what to do,” sighed Gene Rosen. “I’m getting hang-up calls, I’m getting some calls, I’m getting emails with, not direct threats, but accusations that I’m lying, that I’m a crisis actor, ‘how much am I being paid?'” Someone posted a photo of his house online. There have been phony Google+ and YouTube accounts created in his name, messages on white supremacist message boards ridiculing the “emotional Jewish guy,” and dozens of blog posts and videos “exposing” him as a fraud. One email purporting to be a business inquiry taunted: “How are all those little students doing? You know, the ones that showed up at your house after the ‘shooting’. What is the going rate for getting involved in a gov’t sponsored hoax anyway?”

“The quantity of the material is overwhelming,” he said. So much so that a friend shields him from most of it by doing daily sweeps of the Web so Rosen doesn’t have to. His wife is worried for their safety. He’s logged every email and every call, and consulted with a retired state police officer, who took the complaint seriously but said police probably can’t do anything at the moment; he plans to do the same with the FBI.

What did Rosen do to deserve this? One month ago, he found six little children and a bus driver at the end of the driveway of his home in Newtown, Conn. “We can’t go back to school,” one little boy told Rosen. “Our teacher is dead.” He brought them inside and gave them food and juice and toys. He called their parents. He sat with them and listened to their shocked accounts of what had happened just down the street inside Sandy Hook Elementary, close enough that Rosen heard the gunshots.

In the hours and days that followed, Rosen did a lot of media interviews. “I wanted to speak about the bravery of the children, and it kind of helped me work through this,” he told Salon in an interview.  ”I guess I kind of opened myself up to this.”

The “this” in question is becoming a prime target of the burgeoning Sandy Hook truther movement, which — like its precursor that denied the veracity of the 9/11 terror attacks — alleges that the entire shooting was a hoax of some kind. There were conspiracy theories surrounding the shooting from Day One, but the movement has exploded into public view the past two weeks, and a Google Trends search suggests it’s just now picking up steam. It’s also beginning to earn the backing of presumably credible sources like a professor and a reporter.

According to these people, there was no massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14th and the parents that we’ve seen in the media are “crisis actors” paid by FEMA to pretend to be victims or members of victims families. There literally is no end to the insanity, is there?

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Oh, my.

  2. It’s the same insane conservative crap that’s existed since at least the Oklahoma City Bombing, it has just become more and more “mainstream” inside the GOP. Hell, the Virginia GOP had a “Oklahoma City bombing Truther” as one of their candidates back in 2011.

  3. swbarnes2 says:

    There literally is no end to the insanity, is there?

    Nope. But it’s dishonest for you to make this argument. You vote to put the crazies’ favorite politicians into power.

    Because as much as it sucks that a bunch of random individuals are making this one guy’s life hell, what sucks way, way more is when politicians pass laws that literally do nothing but really hurt thousands and thousands of innocent people.

    And you, Doug, choose to put your votes to that purpose.

  4. swbarnes2 says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    Hell, the Virginia GOP had a “Oklahoma City bombing Truther” as one of their candidates back in 2011.

    Ooh, Doug, did you vote for him? Would you have voted for him had you been eligible in the general election?

  5. @swbarnes2:

    You have no idea who I vote for and I really don’t need to justify myself to you.

  6. @swbarnes2: I pretty sure Doug was mocking her on Twitter.

  7. legion says:

    I think these people are just utterly desperate to have some sort of fame & media attention, even if it’s for their own sadly despicable acts. I suppose the only bright side is that they’re getting attention for their terrible _words_, rather than their terrible _acts_.

  8. Franklin says:

    There’s some overlap between all truther and birther movements. People believe what they want to believe, but the part I don’t quite understand is why they want to believe this stuff.

  9. swbarnes2 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You have no idea who I vote for and I really don’t need to justify myself to you.

    Of course I do. You tell us. You had no regrets voting for Bob “mandatory vaginal probes” McDonnell. You voted for Gary Johnson, another Republican, who thinks that the civil rights act was a mistake.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    Not to defend Doug, who can defend himself, but while we don’t know that he voted LP rather than GOP, it’s pretty easy to discover (and no secret) that he donated to Gary Johnson. Just as you could find that I donated to Obama. It’s easy enough to extrapolate from those facts at least insofar as the presidential election.

  11. michael reynolds says:

    Voting for McDonnell, though. . . Yeah, there’s no defense for that.

  12. mattb (who is in favor of enhanced gun regulation) says:

    Here’s the scarier question — do you really want people who believe that this entire event was staged to easily acquire guns? ‘Cause the N.R.A. does.

  13. Moosebreath says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    On the other hand, we do know you have said in the past that you refuse to vote for any Democrat.

  14. Anderson says:

    300M people in the U.S. alone. Say that 1/10th of 1% of the population is psycho (a charitable estimate). That’s what, 30K people to come up with this stuff?

  15. swbarnes2 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    but while we don’t know that he voted LP rather than GOP, it’s pretty easy to discover (and no secret) that he donated to Gary Johnson.

    Who was a Republican, who desired to represent Republicans in the Presidential contest, who only switched party affiliations because he lost the primary.

    So you can’t pretend that Gary Johnson was always a stalwart independent proudly refuting all the worst craziness of the Republican party, because he was a Republican the whole time, getting all the benefits of that affiliation, at the price of implicitly supporting all that stuff.

  16. wr says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “You have no idea who I vote for and I really don’t need to justify myself to you. ”

    It’s true you don’t have to justify yourself to anyone, but in case you hadn’t noticed, you post regularly on this forum. And you’ve mentioned several times people you were voting for. So unless you just routinely lie in your posts, yeah, we all have a pretty good idea who you vote for.

    And PS — If it bothers you so much that people know who you vote for, maybe you should stop posting on the subject on a blog that according to your counter has had more than 70 million visits.

  17. michael reynolds says:


    I imagine you’re right. To be honest I never paid the slightest attention to Johnson. Which I gather is about the same as the rest of the electorate.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds: He was the GOP governor of NM from 1995-2003.

  19. Gustopher says:

    There literally is no end to the insanity, is there?

    And, the people who believe in this have guns.

    Hooray for freedom!

  20. swbarnes2 says:


    He was the GOP governor of NM from 1995-2003.

    And he governed, of course, as a Republican.

    It’s just the daily hypocrisy, of complaining about how bad things are while voting for the people who are doing the most at making it bad. Doug will never change his mind, but I think that not letting that behavior go unquestioned is a big mistake. People need to be reminded that votes have consequences. People need to be reminded that hoping for help, or anything good, to come from “responsible” conservatives is a fool’s errand.

  21. Herb says:

    The thing I don’t get about this is Cui bono? Makes no sense.

    (PS. If Gary Johnson’s voters were a TV show, it would be canceled about five minutes after broadcast.)

  22. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Herb: (PS. If Gary Johnson’s voters were a TV show, it would be canceled about five minutes after into the broadcast.)


  23. There is a branch of the Sandy Hook Truthers who affirm that the killings occurred – that the 20 kids and six faculty really were killed by Adam Lanza – but that the coverup is that Lanza was not the only shooter, that he had some, um, “assistance” from government agents for nefarious purposes. I’d link the the youtube video but just can’t bring myself to do it.

  24. george says:

    Are the Sandy Hook Truthers elected members of the GOP, or are they just nut cases who happen to vote GOP? The distinction is important. One of the differences between the Birthers and the 9-11 Truthers was that the Birthers got official buy-in from elected GOP members (ie the craziness wasn’t just fringe), whereas the Truthers had no (or almost no in case I missed one) elected Democrats pleading their case.

    Both parties have nut cases as supporters – in the case of the Birthers, some of those nut cases were party representatives. So in the case of the Sandy Hook Truthers, have there been elected GOP members supporting the conspiracy, or is it just nut cases on the fringe (as was the case with 9-11 Truthers lack of elected Democrat supporters)?

  25. Hal 10000 says:

    I don’t think the conspiracy theorists stick to any party. The same people pushing this were the same people who thought Bush was behind 9/11 and the same people who thought Oklahoma City was staged.

  26. alan says:

    Not surprising in a country with the lowest scores in math and science and even language out of the developed nations. 45% of the nation that includes the truthers, won’t vote for a black person are the same idiots that defend an antiquated right to bear arms. In a civilized modern society guns have no place. Just as shooting defenseless animals is not a sport and is for the weak, big pickup driving trash that are compensating for other inadequacies. Ban all the guns. Then they can go back to their other hobby of inbreeding.

  27. Hbeta says:

    @mattb (who is in favor of enhanced gun regulation): This article is very one sided. Please people, listen to the interview for yourselves.This professor is not concluding everything is a hoax. We,as american citizens, are not getting the whole truth and nothing but the truth.This is the issue. And when an agenda needs to be pushed anything and everything is used and lots of info that was given is not adding up and inaccurate. Thats is all this man is conveying and there is not absolute of any of this conspiracy as he is saying the info is inaccurate which is clearly true is all he said. This is no conspiracy, Its flat out fact. Info was is inaccurate and some people eat it up as truth because it flashed across there screen. We can not be in denial of this as americans. Watch the whole thing and dont quickly label this man as a whack to write off his statement because that would be wack…..only drinking the coolaid. Lets all be balanced from both sides.

  28. Hbeta says:

    Balance, balance, balance…….Funny how people who want truth have a nick name now ” Truthers” its kind of funny and ironic at the same time…. Wouldnt we all want truth? maybe not……but we should categorize everybody that wants truth and looks for the truth as a freak or in some group with radicals… we gotta be balanced in life…an open to reality in our own goverment and system for today…..We dont want to lose the freedom and rights we have and move into something way more harmful by choice. There are imbalanced people on every side but reality and truth is there for us to search and see. We cant be afraid to stand up for truth.. If you get labeled a truther…then so be it but its crazy to put people in some imbalanced category we come up with based on a few people in this world…..Truth can be mixed in with some lies. its not always feed to you straight up as poison. its our job as intelligent beings to search it out

  29. george says:


    We,as american citizens, are not getting the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    The whole truth and nothing but the truth is remarkably hard to acquire in any field. Try physics for instance. What we don’t know about even basic particle physics will astound you. Or medicine. Its possible that there’s a cure for cancer out there which is being suppressed by a conspiracy of the drug companies and doctors. But its more likely that we just don’t know.

    Ignorance even by the experts of is much more common than conspiracy. In fact, its the normal human condition.

  30. grumpy realist says:

    @Hbeta: Except that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Something that you “truthers” never bother to worry about.

    I put truthers of any sort in the same class as people who believe that the Moon landing was faked, that 9-11 was caused by a conspiracy of radical zionists, and the anti-vax idiots. Please find your own separate island and inbreed yourselves into extinction.


    The truthers have mental problems ,they fear that someone is always out to get them,these are the exact type of people who should not have guns.


    @Hbeta: yea but the truth might be right in front of you and the truthers still refuse to admit it.They are a sad group who have nothing better to do but cause more pain and suffering for the families.

  33. J-Dub says:

    It’s Honey Boo Boo’s world, we’re just living in it.

  34. anjin-san says:

    Meet The Sandy Hook Truthers today’s GOP

  35. george says:


    Meet The Sandy Hook Truthers today’s GOP

    So far most of the folks I’ve seen pushing it are self described hemp advocates in various martial arts forums, most of which seem to think just about every conspiracy is true (ie moon landing hoaxed, 9-11 truthers, birthers, JFK, 100 mpg fuel injection systems bought by oil companies to keep out of the market, cancer cures hidden by drug companies, and now Sandy Hook truthers). I get the feeling that most of them would consider voting for any political party as a sure sign that you’ve been taken in by the system.

    Now a smoking gun, wrt the GOP, would be a GOP congress person or senator getting into it (the way they happily jumped on the birther bandwagon). Until then, I’m assuming its just a few fringe nutcases, and I’m starting to wonder, from what I’ve seen on the MMA forums, if its actually not just a lot of trolling going on. However, it might just be a question of time before some elected GOP folk start down this road – they’re often indistinguishable from other conspiracy addicts.

  36. Scott says:


    Well, people really are out to take away their guns, that much at least isn’t paranoia.

  37. David says:

    @Franklin: They want to believe it because it makes them special, in their minds. They think they know something the rest of don’t.

  38. alan says:

    People it was less than 50 years ago that you could not go to a restaurant in the south if you were not white because people in those areas felt it was their right to uphold their version of rights regardless of what the rest of the country thought. The federal government needs to ban all guns. Then if you are deranged and disturbed, try to go on a killing rampage with a shovel. Its common sense. Developed nations don’t have the public carry guns. It will save lives. If we were in a time where there were only muskets and horses and no cops around every street corner, I can understand the right to carry a gun. If the psychotic walked into sandy hook with a musket and a horse to kill everyone, the kids would have got out when he was loading his muzzle. Society does not need guns.

  39. george says:


    That might be true if you live in the city, but absolutely false if you live on the land and have to protect your livestock, or the nearest police are an hour’s drive away.

    Maybe what’s needed is separate gun laws for urban and rural areas.

    In terms of psychotics, they’ll probably switch to bombs rather than trying muzzle loaders. You’ll note that currently in the middle east (among other areas), bombs are the mass killing tool of choice. Guns are very easy to get in the US, so psychotics go that route, but I suspect most of them are intelligent and driven enough to try different though harder routes if they’re determined to kill people.

    Basically, there is physical risk in life, and that includes psychotics getting their hands on material (guns, materials to make bombs, rental trucks into crowded intersections etc) that can kill large numbers quickly. Which isn’t to say some gun control isn’t needed (I like the Canadian system, which is a good compromise), but you’re dreaming if you think a psychotic isn’t going to find some other way to kill large numbers if you take away guns.

    As a side point, oddly enough, except for gun rights, right wingers in general seem more concerned about limiting that (Patriot Act, war on drugs, tough on crime etc) than progressives – the right wing mantra is largely be self-dependent financially, but have the state look after you physically.

  40. alan says:

    We are not going to resolve the problem with psychotics easily. However, we don’t need to facilitate killing by allowing the purchase of weapons. We don’t sell c4 at Walmart, do we? If someone wants to build a bomb with fertilizer then there isn’t a whole lot we can do. Similarly if they want to build a gun with a lead pipe so be it. We won’t fully understand what makes a sane person snap, but it does happen. But if a normal person with no history of problems snaps and decides to rid the world of whatever, then he or she should not have the ability to walk into a store and buy a gun. For what? So someone living on the land can protect their livestock? Get a German Shepherd. Fund the state and local law enforcement so they can protect and serve everyone. That is what civilized societies do. Travel the world and look at other developed nations. This country cries when it comes to gas prices but refuses to stop driving gas guzzling pick up trucks and SUVs. Don’t want children to die but cant give up some ancient right to bear arms whose defendant’s are 95% white who probably think this country is theirs and not the red mans. We need change in a major way. Makes me sick.

  41. alan says:

    I also propose that every white American in the country should carry papers stating that they are living on borrowed land and have to furnish those papers to every native American person who can demand so at any time.