Disgraced former professor James Tracy spends a lot of time harping on the kinds of inconsistencies common in breaking or early news reports; an unfortunate side effect of the 24 hour news cycle. They’re so common that entire books have been written about the subject (e.g. Howard Rosenberg’s “No Time To Think”). So rather than spend my time pointing out the glaringly obvious – that misinformation thrives in chaos – I’m going to try and limit my fact checking to claims that are not based solely off of those early, flawed reports. There will be exceptions when I believe they are necessary, or the claims are particularly egregious.
“Nobody Died At Sandy Hook”
By: James Tracy
“With the exception of an unusual and apparently contrived appearance by Emilie Parker’s alleged father, victims’ family members have been almost wholly absent from public scrutiny. What can be gleaned from this and similar coverage raises many more questions and glaring inconsistencies than answers.” pgs. 19-20
I find it very telling that Tracy chooses to use the word “scrutiny” here, as if the parents, families, and friends of these slaughtered children (as well as the adult victims) have some sort of obligation to parade themselves in front of the media just so that a handful of delusional knuckleheads can harass and defame them, which is precisely what they did to Robbie Parker (Emilie Parker’s actual father). But the truth is that while many families understandably wanted to grieve privately, a large number of them have come out in the years since the attack. That list includes:
In fact, it appears as if only the families of Anne Marie Murphy, Olivia Engel, Madeleine Hsu (whose father is ethnic Chinese, so cultural differences as well as language barriers should be considered), Caroline Previdi, and Allison Wyatt have remained quiet, as is their right. Jack Pinto’s father, Dean, wrote an op-ed for the Hartford Courant, but has otherwise kept out of the public eye.
That means that since 2012, nearly 77% of the victims’ families have bravely come forward and spoken out. So when James Tracy makes the claim that victims’ family members have been absent from the public eye (or, in his twisted world, public scrutiny), it’s total bullshit. Over three quarters of them have told their story, many knowing that in doing so, they were opening themselves up to further anguish at the hands of slimeballs like James Fetzer, James Tracy, and their small but dedicated army of harassers.
“The multiple gaffes, discrepancies, and hedges in response to reporters’ astute questions suggest that he [Medical examiner H. Wayne Carver] is either under coercion or an imposter.” pg. 20
I thought that like six PhDs wrote this? Anyway, is this for real? An impostor?
Compare this video of Mr. Carver from the first episode of TV’s “Forensic Files”, aired in 1996:
…to Mr. Carver’s Sandy Hook press conference:
This is very clearly the same man, separated by about twenty years.
“Dressed in black, Lanza proceeds completely unnoticed through an oddly vacant parking lot with a military style rifle and shoots his way through double glass doors and a brand new yet apparently poorly engineered security system.” pg. 23
Unless Tracy has something to tell us about his whereabouts on December 12th, 2012, how on Earth would he know how full or “oddly vacant” Sandy Hook’s parking lot was at the time of Adam Lanza’s arrival? The earliest photos and video footage from that day came from first responders and local news crews who of course arrived after Lanza took his own life, so this is nothing more than baseless speculation on Tracy’s part. It’s also entirely subjective. “Oddly vacant” compared to what, exactly?
Here’s an aerial photo of the school’s lot, taken not long after the shooting:
Ignoring the dozen or so vehicles belonging to first responders, does this look like an “oddly vacant” parking lot to anyone? This is a relatively small elementary school; just how many vehicles are supposed to be there, James? Because it’s certainly comparable to the number of cars seen in this satellite photo taken in August, 2010:
As well as this satellite photo taken in March of 2012:
This is also a strange claim for Tracy to make regardless as there is a photo of this almost entirely full parking lot in the book’s prologue, right there on page 12. James Fetzer says of the photo, “The image itself suggests of a group of drivers methodically filling up the lot with used or abandoned cars”. So which is it? Is it “oddly vacant” or filled with used/abandoned cars? The authors of this book can’t make up their minds.
As far as the security system goes, I’m not entirely sure why he believes it to be “poorly engineered”. The security system itself worked as intended and Adam was not granted access through the locked front door. Instead, he used an assault rifle to shoot out the large front window, which he then walked through. Remember that this was just an elementary school in a small, safe town.
“Breaching the school’s security system in such a way would have likely triggered some automatic alert of school personnel. Further, why would the school’s administrators run toward an armed man who has just noisily blasted his way into the building?” pg. 24
There’s absolutely nothing to indicate that Sandy Hook’s security system ever included break glass sensors. Again, this is an elementary school with less than 500 students in a small, safe, and quiet area of Connecticut. As for the heroic actions of Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Scherlach, I guess these two school administrators were far more brave and valiant than James Tracy ever was or could ever dream to be.
“Two other staff members attending the meeting with Hochsprung and Scherlach sustained injuries ‘in the hail of bullets’ but returned to the aforementioned meeting room and managed a call to 911. This contrasted with earlier reports where the first 911 call claimed students ‘were trapped in a classroom with the adult shooter who had two guns.’ Recordings of the first police dispatch following the 911 call at 9:35:50 indicate that someone ‘thinks there’s someone shooting in the building.’ There is a clear distinction between potentially hearing shots somewhere in the building and being almost mortally caught in a ‘hail of bullets.'” pg. 24
This one’s a mess. Tracy repeats his source’s incorrect claim that two staff members were with Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlacher (although he can’t even spell her name correctly) when they were shot and killed. Every other account that I know of, including the official one, places only one staff member – teacher Natalie Hammond – with Hochsprung and Sherlach when they first encountered Adam Lanza in the school’s hallway. Hammond was struck at least twice before heading back into the conference room. The confusion likely stems from the fact that Kindergarten aide Deborah Pisani was also injured, but she was not with Hochsprung, Sherlach, and Hammond. Pisani, who was down the hall, was injured when a bullet ricocheted and hit her in her foot. Despite her injury, she was able to make it back to Kindergarten room one, which is where she was when she spoke to the 911 operator at around 9:40. This is confirmed in the transcript of her call (originally placed by an officer who was with her. I’ve cut his portion of the call, but that’s how the operator knows her location):
CALL 5, 9:40:02 a.m., 5 minutes & 22 seconds
OPERATOR: O.K. Where are, where are you, are you O.K. right now?
OPERATOR: O.K. Where, where, where’s Room 1 in the school?
CALLER: Facing the playground.
OPERATOR: Where are you?
CALLER: Facing the playground.
OPERATOR: On the playground?
CALLER: Facing toward — facing toward the playground.
OPERATOR: OK. Are you safe right now?
CALLER: I think so. My classroom door is not locked.
OPERATOR: OK. Is there anybody that can lock the classroom door with out — being safe?
OPERATOR: Is it safe to do so? O.K.
OPERATOR: All right, just try stay where you are. O.K.
CALLER: Yes. There’s children in this room, too.
OPERATOR: O.K., try to apply pressure, O.K.
OPERATOR: We have people coming, O.K.?
OPERATOR: All right.
OPERATOR: Is there any other teacher with you in there or is just students?
CALLER: No, there’s two other adults in the room with me.
OPERATOR: O.K. All right. Are they right next to you? Where are they in the room?
CALLER: No, they’re over on the other side of the bookshelf.
OPERATOR: O.K. All right. Are you O.K. right now?
CALLER: For now, hopefully.
OPERATOR: O.K. All right. Just keep an eye on it; try to keep pressure on it. O.K? We have people heading out there. O.K. Bye-bye.
As you can see from the time stamp, this was not the first call made to 911; it was the fifth. Pisani also never claims at any point to be “mortally caught” by anything; that’s pure editorializing by Tracy.
The first recorded call (several calls were placed and went unanswered before a dispatcher picked up) came in a full five minutes earlier and was placed by school secretary, Barbara Halstead. At no point does she say that there are students “trapped in a classroom with the adult shooter who had two guns”, not that such a claim would have been inaccurate. Here is the transcript of that call, in its entirety:
CALL 1, 9:35:39, 24 seconds
OPERATOR: Newtown 911. What’s the location of your emergency?
CALLER: Hi, Sandy Hook School. I think there is somebody shooting in here, in Sandy Hook School.
OPERATOR: O.K. What makes you think that?
CALLER: Because somebody’s got a gun. I caught a glimpse of someone, they’re running down the hallway.
CALLER: They are still running. They’re still shooting. Sandy Hook School, please.
As far as the first dispatch goes, here is the relevant line:
9:35:53AM – Dispatch: “Sandy Hook School, Caller’s indicated she thinks someone is shooting in the building.”
This is a very clear reference to the first recorded 911 call, which came in roughly twenty seconds earlier. The caller never claims to be injured. Even if she were, again, it wouldn’t contradict her statement.
“According to the official story Lanza was the sole assassin and armed with only one weapon.” pg. 24
Adam Lanza carried with him three semi-automatic weapons: a .223-caliber Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, a 10mm Glock 20SF handgun, and a 9mm SIG Sauer P226 handgun. A Izhmash Saiga-12 shotgun was placed in the trunk of Adam’s Civic after Officer Pena initially discovered it in the back seat. That is the official story. This is either an amateurish mistake on Tracy’s part, or he’s lying.
“Lanza must have been averaging about one shot per second—extremely skilled use of a single firearm for a young man with absolutely no military training and who was on the verge of being institutionalized.” pg. 24
Tracy doesn’t show his work here, but he’s being sly. While it’s true that Adam Lanza had no military training, both he and his parents were avid, trained shooters. Peter took Adam, who began shooting somewhere around the age of four, to ranges a number of times before they stopped speaking in 2011. Nancy was at least capable enough to successfully complete an NRA “basic shooter” course.
The state’s official report places both Nancy and Adam at three different area gun ranges, where they were seen shooting both an AR-15 Bushmaster as well as what one witness believed to be a Glock Model 19. That same witness also stated that he, at Nancy’s request, gave Adam a quick lesson on “proper aiming technique”. The state’s official report also includes a picture of Nancy’s NRA certificate:
Source: CFS1200704559, Book 2, 00194623.pdf
As well as a sign-in sheet from Shooters Pistol Range (in New Milford, CT) on February 18th, 2011, bearing Nancy’s as well as Adam’s signatures:
Not that you would need significant training to fire a semi-automatic rifle at a group of children trapped in a bathroom.
As far as the claim that Adam was on the verge of being institutionalized, Tracy does not offer a source. The possibility of institutionalization is never mentioned anywhere in the 114 page report on Adam from the Office of the Child Advocate. If anything, the report consistently paints Nancy as someone who has an extremely difficult time coming to grips with the severity of her son’s situation.
“For example, in an era of ubiquitous video surveillance of public buildings especially no visual evidence of Lanza’s violent entry has emerged.” pg. 24
Are these photos not “visual” enough?
“Nor are there any routine eyewitness, photo or video evidence of the crime scene’s aftermath—broken glass, blasted security locks and doors, bullet casings and holes, bloodied walls and floors—all of which are common in such investigations and reportage.” pg. 24
Rather than post a hundred pictures, I’ll invite you to download the numerous files that make up the state’s official report on the shooting. Of particular interest here is “22_Assorted_Files.zip”, which contains over 1,000 photographs, taken by multiple parties, the most relevant to this point being those found in “Walkley – scene photos.pdf”. This PDF contains 740 crime scene photos, though many of them are redacted for obvious (as well as legal) reasons. With that said, a great many of the things Tracy is claiming do not exist are plainly visible in these photographs. Broken glass can be seen in the above photos of Lanza’s entry point at the entrance of the school. I’ll reference page numbers in the aforementioned PDF for everything else:
Bullets and bullet casings: 103-110, 113-117, 119-125, 433-443, 447, 465-466, 469-471, 473, 481-482, 484-485, 488-489, 495, 499, 502-504, 644, 680, 713, 721, 735-737, 739-743
Bullet holes and bullet damage: 54-61, 404-431, 448-454, 513, 622-624, 626-630
Blood: 73, 365, 428, 473, 475, 636, 663, 665
Blood is also likely seen on pages 71, 495, 622-624, 626-627, and 643. 622-624 as well as 626-627 show the ceiling of room 10, which is the room in which Adam Lanza killed himself, so that is very likely his blood. Pages 636 and 665 also show blood and possibly even brain matter above the white board, again in the room in which Lanza took his own life. Adam’s lifeless body is also partially visible on page 161, and it’s very possible that’s his blood in the carpet. There also appears to be something pretty gory between Lanza’s body and the stool.
In total, that’s over 110 photos that James Tracy flat-out claims do not exist. And that’s just the Walkley’s crime scene photos. “Farr – nighttime exterior photos.pdf” includes pictures of blood in the parking lot while “Tranquillo – Back-up scene photos 1.pdf” includes pictures of blood just outside of the school’s entrance.
“Medical responders who rushed to Sandy Hook Elementary upon receiving word of the tragedy were denied entry to the school and forced to set up primary and secondary triages off school grounds and wait for the injured to be brought to them.” pg. 25
Rather than rephrase everything that he’s already written, I’m going to quote Keith Johnson of OpEdNews.com:
Book 6 of the CSP SHES Shooting Reports contains several documents and sworn statements clearly showing that two Newtown ambulances, consisting of a paramedic and two EMTs each, were dispatched in less than 10 minutes after the initial call of shots fired was phoned in. Those personnel–paramedics R. Velleteri and Bradley and EMTs Burke, Folan, Lerman and L. Velleteri–ultimately provided advanced life support to the two injured children and basic life support to an injured adult both at the scene and en route to the hospital. The report also identifies three medically trained Connecticut State Troopers among the first responders to arrive at the school. Two, Sgt. Cario and Trooper Dragon, were EMTs and another, William Blumenthal, was a registered nurse.
Four people were transported to the hospital by ambulance and the rest were found dead. Paramedic Matthew Cassevechia and two tactical paramedics, John Reed and Bernie Meehan, made the legal presumptions of death under the direction of Dr. Pat Broderick of the Danbury Hospital and they did this by using proper SMART [Simple Medical Assessment And Rapid Treatment] protocols and after performing four separate assessments on each patient.
Though it is true that the staging of ambulances was at the nearby Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Department, this by no means contrary to proper emergency protocol. There’s an abundance of credentialed sources that will verify that ambulances are never allowed to respond directly into an in-progress active-shooter scene, commonly referred to as the “hot zone.” Here’s one:
“Active-shooter incidents rarely go from hot zone to cold zone quickly,” wrote FBI Tactical Paramedic Jim Morrissey in a 2011 article for EMS [Emergency Medical Services] World Magazine. “Law enforcement officers know it is their responsibility to get into the crisis site quickly to distract, engage and hopefully eliminate the threat. EMS, on the other hand, is still waiting for the ‘all clear’ and may be staged for minutes or hours, not willing, able or allowed to get in and start saving lives.
“Sandy Hook Elementary is attended by 600 students.” pg. 25
As of November 30, 2012, 456 children were enrolled in kindergarten through fourth grade at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Tracy was only off by 144. So close!
“There is no photographic or video evidence of an evacuation on this scale” pg. 25
With the exception of Shannon Hicks from the Newtown Bee, news crews didn’t arrive until after the children had been evacuated, and we’ve already established that there were no video cameras on school grounds, so where would this footage have come from?
Any evacuations captured on police dash cams were heavily redacted before being released to the public, a fact Tracy likely knew when he typed up this pap. After all, if they’re not going to name the minor victims in the official material, obviously they’re not going to show their faces either. And while photographic evidence of all 456 children (assuming all were present that day) together is incredibly unlikely if not impossible as they were evacuated room by room, Sandy Hook Facts has done an excellent job of compiling a number of shots from that day to show scores of children evacuating the school and at the firehouse.
“A highly circulated photo depicts students walking in a single file formation with their hands on each others’ shoulders and eyes shut. Yet this was the image of a drill that took place prior to the event itself.” pg. 25
While the referenced image is not included in this chapter, and the link included in the footnotes no longer works, I’m including a link to the highest quality version that I could find here. The photo is quite large (2416 x 1655), so it will open in another tab.
Some of the children have their heads down, making it a bit difficult to tell, but none of them appear to have their eyes shut. Even if they did, I can’t imagine why that would matter.
As for when this photo was taken, Tracy offers up zero evidence for his claim that it was from sometime before the shooting, then almost appears to walk it back… but not until the footnotes. Disingenuously, he chose to keep the claim in the book anyway.
Here is the original claim along with its citation:
And here is Tracy’s half-assed correction (emphasis mine):
“Nor are there videos or photos of several hundred students and their parents at the oft-referenced fire station nearby where students were routed for parent pick up.” pgs. 25-26
This is a small variation on a claim made earlier in the chapter. The children were evacuated room by room and then brought to the firehouse where they were ultimately reunited with their parents. They were then free to leave. There’s next to no chance that all 456 children (again, assuming every child was present that day) were together at once, especially in one place, so a picture of 456 children together will almost certainly never be found. Once again, Sandy Hook Facts has done an excellent job of compiling a number of shots from that day to show scores of children evacuating the school and at the firehouse. Here is one picture from the firehouse showing at least a few dozen children and their parents:
Here’s another, showing a large number of people:
And one more:
Next: Chapter Two