“Nobody Died At Sandy Hook”
Chapter Four
By: James Fetzer

James Fetzer, exploring the limits of hyperbole, refers to his personal interpretation of the infamous Shannon Hicks evacuation photos as his “smoking gun”. And I’m assuming that he stands by that claim as he’s essentially taken that article, peppered it with a few stolen photographs (which I’m about to do as well, but hey) and stretched it out in order to fill an entire chapter of his book. So what is it about this photograph that’s so damning? Let’s take a look…

“A little girl is at the front of the conga line of students led by a police woman in uniform. But she is missing in Shannon’s ‘iconic’ photograph.” pg. 47

That’s because they’re two different pictures illustrating two different groups of students being evacuated.  None of these children are seen in Shannon’s other photograph. Because they’re different kids.

It looks like this smoking gun leads off with a blank.

“If this was taken in real time under emergency conditions, how could she have taken more than one?” pg. 47

I don’t understand the implication. It takes less than a second to take a photograph. If Fetzer were on to something here, there would be no war photography.

“There should have been around 469 students and 83 faculty and staff to evacuate: Where are they?” pg. 47

So now it’s only 469? Back on page 25, Fetzer claimed that it was 600. Who edited this shit? But while he may be getting closer, he’s still wrong: As of November 30, 2012, there were 456 children enrolled at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

So where are all of those kids? Why aren’t they all visible in this one photograph? Well, either they have already been evacuated or they are about to be evacuated. Does Fetzer actually think that they evacuate everyone (especially children) at once in situations like this? Another absurd claim made with absolutely nothing to back it up.

“The ‘iconic’ photograph that was taken by Shannon Hicks, Associate Editor of The Newtown Bee, which Dennis Cimino and I have subjected to an extensive and detailed analysis. It is the only photo we have of any children being evacuated from the school” pg. 48

Ooh, an extensive and detailed analysis! That sounds very fancy!

In reality, Fetzer and his crew have absolutely seen other photos of students being evacuated (in fact, Fetzer makes reference to one of these photos later, on page 51); they just refuse to believe that they’re real. Sandy Hook Analysis has produced a large number of photos showing students being evacuated on their website, which I’ll link to here rather than repeat their work.

“On the basis of a shadow analysis, Dan concluded that the Shannon  Hicks’ photograph was taken at 9:45 AM on 12 November 2012, over a month before Sandy Hook.” pg. 48

It was nearly 50°F at 9:45AM on November 12th, 2012, so why is the little boy in the middle wearing an enormous scarf? Could it be because it was actually a bit colder than that? Because it was actually December 14th, 2012?

Anyway, once again, someone else has done the heavy lifting here. In this case it’s Mick, the administrator over at the excellent Metabunk.

“The cars there on 14 December 2012 don’t look the same as in Hicks’ photograph.” pg. 49

I can only assume that by “don’t look the same”, Fetzer means that they aren’t the same cars. I’m not really sure as he doesn’t elaborate or even attempt to provide any proof. Regardless, this is a strange direction for Fetzer to go in since he also makes the claim (on page 12) that the parking lot was filled with “used or abandoned cars”. If this photo was actually taken in October or November of 2012, as Fetzer claims, then why not just leave them in the same spot for a month or two?

Obvious issues with logic aside, this is a spectacularly stupid claim as we can compare the evacuation photos to the cars seen in the raw helicopter video feed taken shortly after the evacuations. There’s a small caveat here in that the video from the helicopter naturally shows mainly the tops and occasionally the sides of these cars and is shot at a substantial distance while the evacuation photos show mainly the sides and backs of these cars. But despite this difference, it’s clear that the evacuation photographs and the helicopter video (as well as the crime scene photographs, which I’ll include) show the same exact cars. To demonstrate, I’ll start with what I’ll refer to as “evacuation photo #1” by Shannon Hicks:The vehicles seen in the above photo are:

#1: Green Saturn Vue
#2: Silver Mazda 3
#3: Maroon Honda Pilot
#4: Blue Ford Edge
#5: Red Subaru Impreza
#6: Grey BMW X5
#7: Green Volvo S60 (?)
#8: White Chevy Traverse
#9: Maroon Honda Pilot

Now let’s compare that to this still from the helicopter video. The yellow star represents the approximate location of Shannon Hicks when she took “evacuation photo #1” earlier that morning:

Now compare both to this photo, taken from Meehan’s parking lot photos, page 8:
#1: Green Saturn Vue
#2: Silver Mazda 3
#3: Maroon Honda Pilot
#4: Blue Ford Edge
#5: Red Subaru Impreza
#6: Grey BMW X5
#7: Green Volvo S60 (?)
#8: White Chevy Traverse

Here’s another evacuation photo, which I’ll refer to as “evacuation photo #2”, which was also taken by Shannon Hicks:The four most visible vehicles in the above photo are:

#1: Green Ford Expedition
#2: Silver Lexus GX470
#3: Green/blue Chevy Malibu
#4: Black Subaru Impreza

Here’s a still from the helicopter video, showing the same cars:
Even though I didn’t mark it in either photo, you can make out the black Nissan Rogue to the right of the black Subaru Impreza (#4).

And here’s page 160 from Farr’s nighttime exterior photos:#1: Green Ford Expedition
#2: Silver Lexus GX470
#3: Green/blue Chevy Malibu
#4: Black Subaru Impreza

Still not convinced? Here’s one last crime scene and helicopter video comparison.

Page 137 from Farr’s nighttime exterior photos:#1 Silver Toyota Minivan
#2 Beige Toyota SUV
#3 Blue Honda CRV
#4 Silver Nissan Maxima
#5 White Subaru Outback (?)

Compare that to this still from the helicopter video:
Here’s a closer shot:

The Toyota minivan is cut out of the shot, but the rest of the cars are the same.

#2 Beige Toyota SUV
#3 Blue Honda CRV
#4 Silver Nissan Maxima
#5 White Subaru Outback (?)

I think that it’s pretty undeniable at this point: these are absolutely the same cars. Fetzer is again guilty of either abysmal (or non-existent) research or lying to his readers. There is no other explanation.

Update 01/15/16: I’ve added a screenshot (with a bit of the right side cropped out as it was irrelevant here) taken from the Channel 12 helicopter footage, showing the same exact cars. I’ve marked four of them – the white Traverse, the maroon Pilot, the silver GX470, and the silver Maxima – for reference.

While Fetzer has offered up zero proof, this makes four different sources now – the evacuation photos, the crime scene photos, and two different helicopter feeds – all showing the same exact cars.

“I was taken to a web page with the following (now familiar) photograph, accompanied by a caption stating, ‘Picture at Sandy Hook taken on October 17, 2012, during emergency drill at the school’, which reinforces the question it raises” pg. 50

The only question this raises is, “how the fuck did this make it into a book?” What Fetzer is referring to is literally just a caption added by conspiracy theorist Dan Hennen on a photo that he admittedly did not take and posted to his personal Flickr account. Dan credits Shannon Hicks with taking the photograph and then refuses to accept that she took it when she says she did. There is zero proof to back up the claim being made here.

When I visited Dan Hennen’s Flickr photostream, which is where this photo was uploaded (again, in nearly microscopic resolution), Dan’s caption says that it was taken on October 17th, 2012, but Flickr says it was “taken” (I assume they mean uploaded) on December 14, 2013; a full year after the shooting and the day Shannon Hicks says she took the photo.
Again, what we are looking at is a conspiracy theorist taking someone else’s work, hosting it elsewhere (in this case Flickr), and slapping their own caption on it to say “nu-uh, this is when it really happened”. That’s it. This is James Fetzer’s promised “smoking gun”.

“There are some photos of kids walking along Dickinston Drive (who are not K-4th graders) and others beside a car, but those are not ‘evacuation photos’.” pg 51

Since Fetzer doesn’t bother to publish or even provide a source for the photo he’s speaking of, I have to assume it’s this one:
If this is indeed the photo he’s talking about, he never states his reason or reasons for refusing to believe that it’s an evacuation photo. And why are those not K-4th graders? There’s no attempt to back up his claims.

As for the age of these children, our best (and really only) option is to determine their height. They’re walking past what appears to be a Ford cargo van (either an E-150, E-250, or E-250) though some of the kids are closer to the camera than others, screwing up the perspective a little bit. According to Ford’s own documentation, the height of their cargo vans is between 82-85″. If we went with an average height of 83.5″ and split that into two 41.75″ halves, that would get us to right around the area of the door handles.

Fourth grade children are usually 9 or 10 years old. According to the World Health Organization as well as the Center for Disease Control, the average height for 9 & 10 year old boys and girls is the same: 54.5″ for 10 year olds and 52.5″ for 9 year olds. If the door handles on the van are 41.75″ off the ground, fourth grade children would average out to be about a foot taller than those handles. Even though the children closest to the van vary a bit in height (as do normal children), most of their heads, necks, and shoulders line up with that handle. It’s entirely possible that they’re even third graders, as your average third grader is probably somewhere around 50″. There’s no reason that these children can not be 4th or even 3rd graders.

“It’s obvious that this photograph was staged, as can also be seen from this photo on that day with frost on the ground and exhaust from the cold:We have no frost on the ground or visible exhalation from the cold in the Shannon Hicks’ photograph, which makes the date of 14 December 2012 no longer even remotely plausible.” pg. 52

The “frost and exhaust” photo Fetzer is referring to, and includes in his book, is this one:

That’s exactly how it’s presented on page 52, with no source or other identifying information (no wonder this shit was pulled from Amazon for multiple copyright infractions). Fortunately, it’s not all that difficult to find the original, which was taken by Spencer Platt for Getty Images. Here’s how the photo appears on their site:

This photo was taken by Spencer Platt on December 15th, 2012; a fact that is mentioned twice. That’s just in case it wasn’t obvious due to the fact that there are white balloons tied the school’s sign as well as cars on Dickinson Drive, which was completely closed to traffic on the 14th. That means we’re nearly five chapters in and this is the only photograph thus far that Fetzer contends was taken on the 14th and it’s totally wrong.

Where was Fetzer expecting to see frost in the evacuation photo anyway? On the asphalt? On the fallen leaves in the very back of the picture? If the evacuation photo was snapped sometime around 10AM, then according to Weather Underground’s historical data, it was 37.9 °F in Newtown, CT. Frost forms at 32°F and Newtown rose above 32°F some time around 9:30, which is roughly five minutes before shooting began.

While we have no way of telling what time it was when Platt took his photo, it was nearly four degrees colder at the same time on 15th. My guess would be that this photo was taken well before 10AM.

And if visible car exhaust means visible breath, then why can’t we see any from the cop? Or the person inside of the car?

“What is this officer doing running away from the scene of the crime, for example?” pg. 52

Evacuating children and staff.

“Notice the officer whose silhouette can be seen in the background in front of the school. He appears more concerned with what’s going on in the parking lot than with what’s going on inside the school.” pg. 52

This photo captures a single second in time. It’s entirely possible (even likely) that he’s concerned with both, but this particular photo catches him while he’s paying attention to the evacuations taking place in the parking lot, which is absolutely something he should be concerned with.

2 Thoughts on “Fact Checking “Nobody Died At Sandy Hook”, Chapter Four

  1. Chad.Brown on September 6, 2016 at 12:13 am said:

    How would I include a photo (jpg file) in a comment for this website?

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