Connecticut political leaders are moving decisively to destroy the site of the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. On September 24 Governor Daniel P. Malloy announced the state’s $50 million commitment to tear down the 57-year-old Sandy Hook School structure and replace it with a new high-priced facility.
“The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School is never far from our minds,” Malloy told the press. “With strong resolve and a determination to move forward, we can do our best to support the people of Newtown.”
The $50 million appropriation was formally approved by the State Bond Commission on September 27. On October 5 Newtown residents overwhelmingly voted to pass a referendum that will lead to Sandy Hook’s demoltion.
“As far as the $50 million [is concerned], it comes without strings, it does not have to be repaid, it has no impact on the tax rate,” Newtown Interim School Superintendent John Reed said. “It is an attempt on the part of the state to make Newtown whole. That means we had seven schools when we started the school year last year, and I think it’s the state’s judgment that we have seven schools now.”
There remain numerous unanswered questions concerning the Sandy Hook School shooting—the most severe in recent history. The press has not yet been provided with photographic, video, or related forensic evidence customarily released following such events.
A comprehensive report on the shooting compiled by state investigators is expected to be released by early November following a careful review by Danbury Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III, who is leading the inquiry. That report was originally due in early 2013 and its release has been repeatedly postponed.
In August US Attorney General Eric Holder distributed $2.5 million to Connecticut and Newtown area law enforcement agencies for their assistance during the December 14 Sandy Hook event and subsequent investigative efforts.
The Newtown Bee newspaper is a major player in public relations that led to the successful passage of the referendum. The news outlet has been involved in organizing interviews and meetings between Newtown officials and residents “to respond to questions and help residents understand the implications of the upcoming October 5 referendum.”
Newtown First Selectman Patrician Llorda and Newtown Interim School Superintendent John Reed respond to questions from the Newtown Bee editor John Voket.
Online researchers accused the Newtown Bee of partaking what they have termed the “Sandy Hook hoax.” For example, Newtown Bee Associate Editor Shannon Hicks claimed to have taken numerous photographs in the parking lot of Sandy Hook Elementary as Adam Lanza proceeded to murder over two dozen women and children. Hicks then refused to release the photographs to law enforcement or the broader public.
“The photos I took on 12/14 have not been shared with anyone,” Hicks told James Tracy in a March 25 email. “We have no plans to do so, either.” One photo Hicks says she took on that day appeared on the front pages of newspapers the world over to drive home the tragedy’s gravity and significance.
The State of Connecticut and Town of Newtown have been especially uncooperative with news outlets in providing public records as simple as death certificates concerning the tragic event. A state-appointed task force commissioned to address whether Sandy Hook-related documents should be released to the public is not expected to make its final decision until January 1–likely well after the school’s demolition.
The swift move to level Sandy Hook arguably has precedents established in momentous terror-related incidents. On May 24, 1995, just 35 days after the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the US government moved to have the structure demolished before a proper investigation could be conducted on the structure’s remains. A similar set of circumstances played out in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks as New York municipal authorities arranged for the remaining steel from the Word Trade Center towers to be shipped to China and India. 9/11 victims’ families and independent experts say such materials would have aided in understanding what actually took place on that fateful day.
 John Voket, “Saturday Referendum Calls Voters to Appropriate $50 Million Grant for Sandy Hook School,” Newtown Bee, October 4, 2013.
 John Voket, “Sandy Hook School Referendum Passes By Wide Margin,” Newtown Bee, October 5, 2013.
 Ken Dixon, “Sandy Hook Report Nearing End,” Connecticut Post, September 6, 2013.
 James F. Tracy, “Obama DOJ in $2.5 Million Sandy Hook Payout,” Memory Hole, September 3, 2013.
 Voket, “Saturday Referendum Calls.”
 James F. Tracy, “Sandy Hook School Massacre Timeline,” March 25, 2013 Entry,” Memory Hole.
 Wes Duplantier and Jon Lender, “Privacy Task Force Created After Newtown Shooting Begins Work,” Hartford Courant, August 1, 2013.
 “Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building,” Controlled Demolition Inc., n.d.
 “WTC Steel Removal,” 911research.wtc7.net, n.d.
Professor James F. Tracy is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University. James Tracy’s work on media history, politics and culture has appeared in a wide variety of academic journals, edited volumes, and alternative news and opinion outlets. James is editor of Union for Democratic Communication’s Journal Democratic Communiqué and a contributor to Project Censored’s forthcoming publication Censored 2013: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011-2012. Additional writings and information are accessible at memoryholeblog.com.