One of the more asinine accusations leveled against me over the years has been that I cherry-pick or even flat-out fabricate silly claims to debunk in order to make Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists look stupid and/or crazy. This has always been complete nonsense as Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists have always done an excellent job of this on their own. Take for instance this excerpt of a very real, very dumb e-mail I recently received from a”Gene McClemore”:
I was wondering if you had seen the crime scene photos of Sandy Hook Elementary where it involves the girls rest room. All the seats were up.
On one hand, cheers to Gene for following the site’s oft-ignored comment policy (whether it was intentional or not) and using the contact form to ask questions rather than muck up an unrelated post with a comment about… the toilets in an elementary school. Good job! But also jeers to Gene for not having the decency to at least acknowledge the rather lengthy reply I sent him a couple of days later. For that reason, I’m reposting both his e-mail and my response (with edits and additions) here:
First off, I’ve seen all of the available, unredacted crime scene photos dozens of times at this point, and there are no crime scene photos taken from inside any of the school’s restrooms. Boys or girls. I reviewed both Walkley and Tranquillo’s photos one more time, just to be sure. You’re undoubtedly thinking of the crime scene walkthrough videos, as there are multiple scene walkthrough videos (at least parts 2, 3, and 4) that contain footage from inside the restrooms.
Now with that of the way, I’m really not sure what “all” of the seats being up is supposed to prove. Presumably, it’s more flimsy “evidence” that the school was closed at the time of the shooting. But if it were at any point operational, that means that someone would’ve had to have gone through the entire school and put them all up for some unknown reason, which is something that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Regardless, it’s not even true. All of the seats in the girls restrooms are not up. Take interior walkthrough video #2 (WDMCS_School_Interior_2_of_5) for instance. There’s a girl’s restroom shown at around 18:30. Two stalls are shown here and the seat is down in the very first one:
So already the idea that they’re “all” up is demonstrably false. There is another restroom at around 25:25, although it’s tough to tell whether it’s for boys or girls. We don’t see a sign, but there are no urinals, which is usually indicative of a girls room. The floor appears to be blue or green, and while that is generally more consistent with boys restrooms, the same blue or green tile can be seen in the girls restroom shown above. The seats in this restroom are a mix of up (left) and down (right):
The restroom at 29:10 is clearly a boys restroom, so the state of the toilet seats is irrelevant.
Moving on to video 3 (WDMCS_School_Interior_3_of_5), at around 10:28, we see the inside of some more girls rooms:
The toilets in two of the three stalls shown here have their seats down (left and right):
At 43:36 we venture into another girls room, based on the pink tile and lack of urinals. The original video is too dark to see into one of the stalls, but adjusting the brightness shows that the seat is up. In the other stall however, the seat is down:
On to video 4 (WDMCS_School_Interior_4_of_5). At ~17:48, there’s another girls room which appears to contain seven stalls. The first two show that the seat is up. The third shows the seat down and what even appears to be urine in the water (though it could be discoloration due to the poor quality of these videos):
If it is in fact urine, while a bit gross, it’s also extremely telling.
The fourth seat is down, the fifth is up, the sixth is down, and the seventh is down. That’s three up and four down, so the majority of the seats in this girls room – the largest we’ve encountered thus far – are down. Again, this is a far cry from all of them being “up”, as per the original claim.
At 48:32 of the same video, we’re back in another girls room. There are only two stalls in this one and they’re split: one seat is up and the other is down:
There are also (almost assuredly used) paper towels in the trashcan by the sink:
If this restroom was not being used – which I again can only assume is the implication here – why are there paper towels in the trash?
So why would any seat be up in any girls restroom? The simplest and most likely explanation (a foreign concept for most Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists) is that they hadn’t been used since they were last cleaned. When most cleaners clean toilets, they leave the seat up. Not only does my housekeeper do this, but when I worked on a professional cleaning crew in high school, we were instructed to do the same. But you don’t have to take my word for it; see this short thread on the subject from Quora:
Now remember that the shooting took place at the beginning of the school day. If the school (or at very least the restrooms) had been cleaned the night before, or even early in the morning, it would make perfect sense that not all of the girls toilets would have been used by the time the school was evacuated, explaining the state they’re in when these videos were filmed. You don’t need me to tell you that this makes infinitely more sense than the denier alternative, which would involve someone, for some unknown reason, randomly putting toilet lids up in the girls restrooms sometime after the school allegedly closed back in 2008 (or whenever).