Disgraced former professor James Tracy spends much of this chapter harping on the kinds of errors and inconsistencies frequently found in breaking or early news reports; an age-old problem that has been greatly exacerbated by the 24 hour news cycle. These issues are so commonplace that entire books have been written on the subject, including Howard Rosenberg’s “No Time To Think” and Craig Silverman’s “Regret the Error: How Media Mistakes Pollute the Press and Imperil Free Speech”. If they’re somehow a shock to Tracy, that puts him firmly in the minority.
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 pick them apart, which is precisely what they did to Robbie Parker (Emilie Parker’s actual father). But the truth is that while many families understandably chose to grieve privately, a large number of them have come out in the years since the attack. That list includes:
Members of Dawn Hochsprung’s family
Victoria Soto’s family has been very vocal, especially in regards to dealing with conspiracy theorists
Noah Pozner’s parents, Lenny and Veronique, have also done battle with conspiracy theorists, including James Fetzer and James Tracy
The parents of Dylan Hockley, Ana Marquez-Greene, Benjamin Wheeler, Daniel Barden, and Jesse Lewis all gathered to speak to 60 Minutes
James Mattioli’s father (who has been very vocal in not supporting further gun control measures, shattering a common conspiracy theorist myth)
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 “absent”, as is their right. Jack Pinto’s father, Dean, wrote an op-ed for the Hartford Courant, but has otherwise kept to himself.
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 demonstrable 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 sleazebags like James Fetzer, James Tracy, and their dedicated army of stalkers.
“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 something like six PhDs wrote this? Is this for real? An impostor?
Compare this video of Dr. Carver from the very first episode of TV’s “Forensic Files”, which aired in 1996:
…to his Sandy Hook press conference:
This is very clearly the same man, separated by about twenty years.
As for his credentials, Dr. Carver received his M.D. from Brown University in 1977 and is certified by the American Board of Pathology, with a specialty in anatomic pathology and a subspecialty in forensic pathology. He’s certainly no imposter.
“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 14th, 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 of 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, there’s no explanation as to how it was “poorly engineered”. The system actually worked as intended as Adam was unable to enter through the locked front door. Instead, he used an assault rifle to shoot out the large front window, which he then walked through. Keep in mind 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
How would it have triggered an alert? There’s absolutely nothing anywhere 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 an absolute 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 fantasy from 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 specifically, 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:
Source: CFS1200704559, Book 2, 00194623.pdf
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 scan of the 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 even 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 photo in question 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. Though 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
What happened with Robbie Parker and (and later the Sotos and Pozners) is what I find most repulsive about this.
These are ordinary people, not public figures like the President, where right or wrong, below-the-belt personal attacks have always happened and always will.
A year or two ago, I had a discussion with a hoaxer and he asked me if I would act the way Robbie Parker acted if a young child who was close to me died. I said it was possible, but couldn’t say for sure.
Now that I’ve had time to think about it, I should have told him that I would decline any and all requests to speak publicly. After all, it seems like anything you say or do can and will be used against you by any wacko with an internet connection.
You’re truly damned if you do and damned if you don’t; hoaxers view those that choose to speak out just as suspiciously as those who choose to grieve privately. There are a number of photos depicting an obviously grief-stricken Robbie Parker on that day, but if those pictures are ever actually acknowledged by hoaxers, it’s because he’s still not grief-stricken enough. I guess there’s a mathematical formula to determine the appropriate number of tears one should display in a photograph.
As someone personally impacted by violent crime myself, my heart breaks when I think about what people like the Parker family and even Gene Rosen are going through on a daily basis.
Yeah, now that you mentioned it, everything seems open to interpretation by these people.
It’s easy to view a photo(s) and then claim to know something. It’s also dishonest…specially in light of the all known evidence to the contrary.
Tracy is not only dishonest, he’s malicious.
Great stomp through Chapter one’s malicious falsities. I am reading these debunkings while trying to understand the genesis of Quebec City mosque attack hoax-pedlars.
It really does not help that you used a picture that shows all of the shitloads of plastic water bottles. That means there was a drill that day at SHES.
Yes, water – which is of course extremely difficult to come by and must be ordered far in advance as it is definitely not available literally everywhere – has never been available at actual disasters. You’ve cracked the case!
About some things you are somewhat childish, I would even say dumb — e.g. [“Oddly vacant”? Does this look like an “oddly vacant” parking lot to anyone?] — there is clearly an emergency vehicle in this foto; it looks like a fire truck (?) — so that foto was obviously taken after emergency services, including very likely other vehicles related to emergency services (i.e. besides the fire truck), were already on the scene, and is therefore not a “debunking” of Tracy’s statement [“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.”], since he’s talking about when Lanza (allegedly) first arrived at the school, when no emergency vehicles would have been present — and we have no way of knowing how many vehicles arrived and parked in the lot later, right?
There is also very obviously a group of people gathered in front of what I assume is the entrance to the school — which is further proof this foto was taken after emergency services, likely with numerous vehicles, were on the scene.
Why Tracy would mention an “oddly vacant parking lot”, when it is not clear how he could have an idea about how many cars were there when Lanza arrived, is another, open question, one which in no way diminishes the absurdity of your “debunking”.
And Tracy is not really “disgraced”; he was terminated — rather, FAU disgraced itself as an academic institution by the grounds they used to terminate him — if they wanted to terminate him due to his SH postings, which is undoubtedly true, they should have just said so, done so, and then tried their luck in court — instead, they seized on a frivolous pretense — FAU’s conduct was unethical, dishonest, and just plain disgraceful.
Hey, dumbass. FAU didn’t fire James Tracy due to his SH postings. He can believe whatever he wants no matter how crazy his beliefs are. FAU fired him because of his unprofessional behavior that which violated the rules/guidelines of being a professor at that university. FAU fired him because of his stalking and harassment of the Sandy Hook parents by sending them harassing emails and phone calls littered with all kinds of wild, baseless accusations without sufficient proof. Basically, Tracy lost his job because of his unprofessional behavior and his stalking and harassment of the Sandy Hook parents, not because of what he personally believes about Sandy Hook. FAU was cleared of any wrongdoing regarding accusations of wrongful termination, and rightfully so. Get over it.
The claim that Tracy ‘harassed’ (or ‘stalked’, which is even more absurd) SH parents is simply false — he received a copyright claim for something he posted on his website/blog (a common tactic used to get SH skeptic material removed), and he sent an email asking for verification/proof the material was copyrighted, i.e. before he would agree to take it down — he never directly contacted any SH parent (let alone ‘harassed’ or ‘stalked’ them).
And, as a matter of fact, FAU did use a procedural pretext to dismiss Tracy, when the underlying motive was obviously his SH skeptic activity, which the school apparently found embarrassing.
In this context, the court decision upholding his dismissal should also be condemned.
There are, of course, no photos or videos showing the state of the parking lot when Adam arrived. As such, and as far as I know, this is the earliest aerial image available (obviously Shannon Hicks’s evacuation photos were taken before this, but they do not show the entirety of the lot) of the school on the day of the shooting. I would certainly hope that any reasonable person reading this entry would understand that I’m not suggesting the firetruck and handful of obvious police vehicles in the lot should be included in that count. Even without them, the parking lot is not “oddly vacant”. In fact, the number of cars shown here (again, not including emergency vehicles) precisely matches what is seen in the satellite photo taken of the school in March of 2012 (both show approximately 74 cars).
It’s because he’s a liar and he’s lying.
A better question would be: why would Tracy describe the lot as “oddly vacant” when, on page twelve of the very same book, Jimmy Fetzer himself suggests that even the parking lot was staged ahead of time, by “a group of drivers methodically filling up the lot with used or abandoned cars”? Of course the book is rife with these types of inconsistencies and contradictions, but sure, my work here is “dumb”.
You do understand that you can be terminated and disgraced, correct? They are not mutually exclusive.
The jury in his December 2017 trial disagrees with you. There’s an old saying that I’m fond of, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned on this site before: “If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.”
Look, you posted a lot of words when you should have just conceded that your “debunking” of Tracy, in this particular context, is nothing of the sort — and ever thinking it was is intellectually childish.
The fact you regularly resort to name-calling is telling.
Again, I don’t know why Tracy wrote what he did, since I can’t imagine how he could possibly know what the parking lot was like when Lanza first arrived — but I think your characterization of him as a liar is crude and, quite honestly, ridiculous — I mean, why would he lie, i.e. tell a deliberate falsehood, in such a context? — it makes no sense — so again here you are rather childish.
A jury found O J Simpson not guilty too.