As documents relating to the Sandy Hook shooting continue to be assessed and interpreted by independent researchers there is a growing awareness that the alleged massacre of 26 children and adults was intended primarily for public consumption to further larger political ends. A considerable amount of evidence has been withheld by authorities, who in a telling move have successfully postponed public disclosure of items culled from Nancy and Adam Lanzas’ residence and alleged vehicles for an additional ninety days. 
At the same time what has been revealed and captured in press reports suggests how from missing suspects and evidence to unrevealed corpses much is still unknown and mainstream news outlets have been at least complicit in what can only be described as the Sandy Hook massacre’s largely constructed reality. In this way unseen and largely unaccountable authorities set the agenda of the reportage through a titillating storyline reliant on an unsettling symbolic landscape to further develop and cultivate audience credulity.
The spectacle came complete with its own features specially designed for those with a penchant for pointing to intrigue. Shortly after the shooting prominent Arizona political figure and gubernatorial aspirant Michael Harris opined that the shooting was carried out by an Israeli paramilitary team. Veterans Today Editor Gordon Duff amplified this assertion through a brief article carried by Iran’s PressTV that went viral, becoming the Iranian news outlet’s most read item ever.
Despite geopolitical and diplomatic conditions the assertion cannot be verified because the identities of the two-to-four additional suspected gunmen apprehended by Newtown and Connecticut state police were undisclosed and could not be verified while almost all identity-specific references to these suspects were scrambled on the audio recording of the emergency dispatch-responders exchange. Were these men possibly playing roles in an emergency drill? If they are international operatives why does the black Honda sedan authorities claim is Adam Lanza’s in fact registered to a professional criminal?
Much can still be gleaned from the press coverage of Sandy Hook. Most importantly, and as with the events of 9/11 that ushered in the interminable “war on terror” and police state, the techniques that have emblazoned Sandy Hook in public consciousness require continued scrutiny if only for the fact that they will almost certainly be deployed to create similar disaster scenarios, likely in the near-term.
Was Sandy Hook a Relocated Emergency Drill?
Coverage of the event by the modest local weekly the Newtown Bee is most revealing in its combined discrepancies, vagueness, and brevity. In a December 14 article unidentified school personnel were floridly commended for their courage. Among them were school principal Dawn Hochsprung, who recounted to Bee Editor John Voket how “a masked man entered the school with a rifle and started shooting multiple shots – more than she could count – that went ‘on and on.’”
The problem with the account was how it conflicted with a subsequent storyline that Hochsprung was the first to be killed by the gunmen. Three days later the paper issued a retraction and revised the story further. No additional explanation was provided concerning what party Volkert spoke to and quoted at the crime scene, suggesting from the onset a partly botched attempt at establishing a well-worn storyline.
Along these lines the article relates what under the circumstances seems like an odd exchange between law enforcement and the school’s staff. Shortly after the incident an unidentified woman wearing a Connecticut State Police jacket addressed the group of teachers and staff who were consoling each other in the empty Sandy Hook apparatus bays. She complimented them on their individual and “exemplary” efforts following the procedures they were taught to ensure the protection of as many children and colleagues as possible.
In the immediate aftermath of a bloody massacre where 27 lay dead or dying is this the appropriate time for a “post-game pep talk” and slaps on the back? What this closely resembles is the breakdown of a shooting drill, one that proceeded with violent sound effects broadcast through the school’s intercom system. In fact, on the same day the State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection in association with the Federal Emergency Management Agency were carrying out a “Planning for the Needs of Children in Disaster” drill in nearby Bridgeport. Was the exercise location changed to Newtown at the last minute? Close analysis of unusual emergency procedures and news outlets’ interactions with alleged victim families following the shooting reveals important recurrent features and figures.
A Phantom Evacuation?
Additional facets of coverage and maneuvers suggesting the possibility of a staged event include the choice of the Sandy Hook Fire Station as an evacuation point for the school’s students and the accompanying lack of photographic or video evidence of such a widespread evacuation alongside bizarre interview footage of idle and wandering families and an emotional man who just happens across a half dozen Sandy Hook first graders in his front lawn who explain their teacher’s murder discussed at greater length below.
Newtown Bee Associate Editor Shannon Hicks asserts that she was among the first on the scene at Sandy Hook, driving behind police and “taking photographs immediately through the windshield of her car, with one hand on the steering wheel and one holding her camera.” Strangely, however, at best only two of Hicks’ photos actually emerge from the series—the famous shot of about fifteen students in conga line formation evidently moving across the parking lot en route to the fire station and a second of state police officers that appears in the initial Bee report, but is later expunged. Hicks’ ferocity and determination to capture the scene only yields a few published photos at a time when the press were very eager for such documentation, while no other photo or video evidence have emerged indicating such a widespread exodus from the school, this despite a brand new security system with ubiquitous video surveillance throughout the facility.
“Safety First,” photo Tweeted on October 17, 2012 by Sandy Hook Elementary Principal Dawn Hochsprung.
Nor is there any rationale provided in reportage on exactly why the fire station is even designated as an evacuation point. The choice is unusual because the school has only one route in and out of the facility—Dickenson Drive—and in the event of an actual emergency children are forced to parade down a street with their eyes shut as police cars, fire engines, and ambulances race the other way. Many schools use their adjoining parking lots as a rendezvous point, and Sandy Hook Elementary’s is particularly capacious.
Despite this dangerous and untenable set of conditions Sandy Hook students rehearsed this very scenario less than two months prior, as revealed in a photo Tweeted on October 17 by Principal Hochsprung. The image depicts a much larger assemblage of students in the lot behind the Sandy Hook fire station.
Itinerant “Crisis Actors”?
Following an evacuation of such magnitude the Sandy Hook fire depot would have been bursting at the seams with close to five hundred children and staff, and at least as many family members, in addition to police, fire and medical personnel. Yet apart from a large array of emergency vehicles at the site no aerial footage indicates activity on this scale at any point following the alleged shooting.
Instead, there are numerous strange encounters between broadcast journalists and a small group of wandering parents and children, many of whom are at best moderately curious and far from grief-stricken or hysterical at the prospect that their child may have been caught in the deadly assault. After such a harrowing event why are these select would-be family members and students lingering in the area and repeatedly offering themselves for interviews? A possible reason is that they are trained actors working in coordination with cable and broadcast network talent to provide tailor-made crisis acting to drive home the event’s tragic features.
One organization providing such services is the Vision Box Crisis Actors whose personnel contribute to making a simulated emergency event more realistic. “Crisis Actors is a professional group of actors trained at Visionbox to develop and portray characters in emergency training scenarios,” the group’s website reads.
The intensity at which they work recreates real life pressures that first responders going through the training must cope with … This special group has sessions with police officers, 911 operators, school administrators, mall security, radio experts, and school safety training professionals. There is an endless amount of scenarios this group can tackle, which range anywhere from weather issues, to a missing child, to an unknown intruder.
The suggestion of acting is apparent in many of the interviews with family members, such as this surprisingly aborted exchange between a would-be parent and journalist.
Reporter: Sir, can I talk to you a second here? We’re Channel Two in New York. How did you find out about this, uhm, terrible tragedy?
[Reporter approaches apparent family of three with third grade daughter and apparent Sandy Hook student accompanying them.-JT]
Unidentified Mother: OK. My daughter’s in third grade. We got, uhm, an automated call from, uhm, from the town—
Mother: –that there had been a shooting.
Mother: Uh, nothing about where the shooting was, and that the schools were on lock down.
Reporter: So you were assuming it was probably the high school at first, right?
Mother: Of course, and my son’s at the high school and I text him. He said, “Everything’s fine here.”
Unidentified Mother: And then I got another text from, uh, CBS.
With virtually hundreds of students, faculty, staff and their families looking for each other and being reunited around the scene one would think journalists would have a broad range of interviewees to choose from. Yet the same mother and daughter are again captured the morning of the shooting by an NBC affiliate.
Unidentified Mother: Another friend of mine said that, uhm, there was a man—masked man came in and just started shooting.
Unidentified Daughter: When we were gone doing morning meeting [sic] like, we heard like, shots and everybody went on the ground and Ms. Martin just closed the door and we went to the corner.
[The children took to the ground and corner? Sandy Hook has no teacher listed on its website with the last name Martin.]
In the same news clip another male child describes in unusual detail how he narrowly escaped the gunman’s hail of bullets.
Unidentified male student: I heard something like a person was kicking on a door. Then I turned around and I saw smoke and I smelled smoke. Then (pause) Then bullets whizzed by. Then—then a teacher pulled me in to her room.
The frequent hesitancy with specific words in this child’s deliveries, combined with the unemotional yet vivid recounting of the event, suggests that the children have been coached and how these are memorized lines.
Another child by the name of “Alexis Wasick” also makes at least two appearances and, with the coaching of at least one journalist, recites similar lines in each interview.
CNN Reporter: Joining me is the Wasick family. We have Alexis who is in third grade. You told me you were sitting in class this morning and you saw a lot of police. Tell me-tell me how you found out what was going on.
“Alexis”: Well, we found that there was all these people and we found that [unintelligible] because we were right near the window in our classroom. And like, we saw like police officers and we heard them [directly addressing camera] on the roof and in our building.
[At this point “Alexis” receives some cues from CNN’s reporter.]
Reporter: Was everybody crying, scared, wanting their parents to get them?
“Alexis”: Yeah, they were. And some people were even like, they kind of wish that they got a stomach ache [sic].
On the same day “Alexis” gives a somewhat different account with similar verbiage to an entirely different reporter.
Reporter: What happened?
“Alexis”:[Addressing reporter offscreen] Nothing really [unintelligible] We heard like an ambulance and a police officer come and everybody was a little scared crying and I felt actually a little sick, and I felt like I was going to throw up and [glances at camera] did my teacher too [sic]. [The garbled line, “My teacher did too,” suggests a canned delivery.]
Reporter: How did you get out of there?
“Alexis”: We had to [vocal cadence slowing] go—through—the—building (pause) and then we had to just go to the firehouse.
The performance of retired psychologist and Sandy Hook resident Gene Rosen suggests how the community members might be incorporated into an unfolding drama. Despite the overwhelming federal, state and local police presence in Sandy Hook on December 14 Rosen explains several days later how while feeding his cat he receives an unexpected visit from six mislaid and forlorn children whose classmates and first grade teacher Victoria Soto were killed in the shooting. “The six who turned up at Rosen’s home apparently ran out of the school past her body,” the New York Post amazingly asserts. Instead of calling the authorities to properly reunite the children to their parents Rosen bizarrely invites them inside his home for 30 minutes to jostle with stuffed animals and describe their ordeal.
In an initial interview Rosen is standing in the driveway of his home and appears overcome with emotion, taking off his glasses while turning away from the camera and wiping eyes. He then proceeds down the driveway toward the front of his house, pointing to where he first spotted the children.
Rosen: Six children, and they were sitting there. They were sitting there, and I had no idea why they were there. And I went down there.
[Cut to Rosen’s hands clutching reading glasses, then back to Rosen.]
Rosen: There’s a school bus driver and she says, “There’s been an incident. And I said, “Just come in the house.” And that’s how it started and I—I brought them in the house.
[Cut to stuffed animals inside Rosen’s house, then back to Rosen.]
Rosen: And then over the next thirty minutes they just described what happened, little-by-little. These two boys kept saying, “We can’t go back to school. We can’t go back to school. Our teacher’s dead—Mrs. Soto. We don’t have a teacher.” And I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t take that in. I had no idea what had happened. A woman came to my house at twelve o’clock
[Cut to dimly-lit interior of house where Rosen stands before stuffed animals on floor.]
Rosen: Her face—her face looked frozen in-in terror. I’ve never seen a face look like that. She said, “Is my boy here? I heard there were six kids here.” And she said the name of the child. I thought that if she’d been to the Sandy Hook school she thought maybe a miracle from god would have the child in my house. And I looked at the casualty list at six o’clock.
[Hand to eyes and weeping, then shaking head]
Rosen: His name was on it!
Time and again in the wake of the incident Rosen is brought before network cameras to present his maudlin recounting of the surreal and implausible encounter.
Bizarre Online Anomalies
At 9:53AM, no more than ten minutes after the reported shooting ceased, the Associated Press likely jumped the gun by publishing a story, “Official with Knowledge of Connecticut School Shooting Says 27 Dead, Including 18 Children.” AP and the Washington Post have since removed the story from their websites in lieu of subsequent reports that took their cue from a press conference scheduled for later that day.
Even more unusual are the observations of Facebook pages of the deceased being created days or even months prior to the shooting, further suggesting the synthetic and premeditated nature of the event. This author was somewhat skeptical of the claims until he came across one such page himself. For example, on March 23, 2011 a Facebook site was established, titled “RIP Emilie Parker,” for the daughter of Robbie Parker, now well-known after the soliloquy delivered on CNN and preceded by a gleeful chuckle and query as to whether he should read the lines provided him. The webpage includes a portrait of the entire Parker family. Its date of inception, removed between December 30, 2012 and January 1,2013, is captured in the photos below.
Photos of Facebook RIP Emilie Parker Page, December 30 2012 © James F. Tracy 2012
A similarly-themed Facebook page for slain teacher Victoria Soto was likewise created several days before the shooting.
Some independent researchers have further noted that Emilie may have never died after all; she apparently reappears in a photo op with President Obama during his Newtown visit on December 16–two days after meeting her violent demise.
The observation is even more unusual in light of at least one family’s experience of not even being allowed to see the body of their loved one. “They told me, ‘You can’t see (the body),’” Gilles Rousseau told Radio-Canada, the French-language CBC. “Because most people he shot, it was two or three shots in the face, point-blank.” Yet to properly identify each victim would have required weighing, measurement, de-robing, washing, with all identifying features such as scars or birthmarks noted. Such standard postmortem procedures, the public is asked to believe, were accomplished at the school as no more than three were treated at the well-prepared Danbury Hospital.
I have elsewhere transcribed and analyzed the unusual testimony of Connecticut’s chief coroner H. Wayne Carver II, ostensibly placed in charge of the Sandy Hook school postmortem. Carver’s December 15 behavior and remarks before the press suggests his clear discomfort and demonstration that he knows very little about the shootings or autopsies themselves. In light of the above the physician’s hesitant performance in Sandy Hook’s tragedy is perhaps not so difficult to explain. At one point he even indicates his disapproval of the proceedings by expressing his wish that “the people of Newtown don’t have it crash on their head later.” Is Carver referring to a constructed event that he has been an unwilling participant in?
Despite countervailing facts and inconsistencies with the official story (or script) Sandy Hook is now part of the nation’s collective consciousness and memory. To declare that the shooting “never took place” is cause for intense opprobrium in most polite circles where, in familiar Orwellian fashion, the media-induced trance and dehistoricized will to believe maintain their hold. Along these lines any individual who contends that Timothy McVeigh was an accessory in a much larger operation at Oklahoma City, Osama bin Laden was not responsible for the events of 9/11, or the World Trade Center Towers were brought down by controlled demolition is vigorously condemned for thought crimes against the state. Such are the immense dimensions of mass manipulation where fact and tragedy are routinely manufactured in the heart of the Anglo-American empire.
 Michelle Tuccitto Sullo, “Newtown Search Warrants for Adam Lanza’s Home, Vehicles Still Sealed,” New Haven Register, December 29, 2012.
 Gordon Duff, “Israeli Death Squads Involved in Sandy Hook Blood Bath,” PressTV, December 18, 2012.
 Scott Creighton, “Sandy Hook Shooting: Suspect Car Linked to Christopher A. Rodia and Drug Family of Norwalk,” willyloman.wordpress.com, December 23, 2012.
 John Voket, “Stories of Heroism Emerging From School Tragedy,” Newtown Bee, December 14, 2012.
 “Retraction and Apology,” Newtown Bee, December 17, 2012. See Niall Bradley, “Sandy Hook Massacre: Official Story Spins Out of Control,” Veterans Today, December 20, 2012.
 Voket, “Stories of Heroism.”
 “FEMA Was Running a ‘Drill’ Between 9AM and 4PM on December 14th, in Connecticut!” DailyPaul.com, December 26, 2012. Andrew Whooley provided important observations on the odd location for the emergency drill evacuation point.
 Julie Moos, “How the Newtown Bee is Covering Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting,” Poynter.org, December 15, 2012.
Matthew McCarson, “Victoria Soto’s RIP Facebook Page Created 4 Days Before Shooting,” Infosalvo.com, December 15.
 Reuven Fenton, “Children at Door: Teacher is Dead,” New York Post, December 18, 2012.
 Lise Millette, “Lauren Rousseau, Teacher killed in Newtown Shooting, Mourned by Canadian Family,” Canadian Press via Huffington Post, December 18, 2012.
 Joe Van Brussel, “Danbury Hospital Prepared for School Shooting Massive Casualties, Got Few,” Huffington Post, December 14, 2012.
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.