I’m not a stranger to conspiracy theorists and deniers of major tragic events. Years ago a few of these “truthers” tried to tell me what I was reporting on standing in front of the Pentagon, a few minutes after American Airline Flight 77 smashed into it, was actually occurring on a sound stage and was all fake. While it was fairly easy for me to just shake it off and even laugh at the stupidity, I realize it may not be so easy for those who have a more personal connection to the event.
That’s why I’ve always been outraged at the grief the Sandy Hook deniers have caused for the survivors, families, firefighters, EMS crews and police officers who had to live the ugly truth of that day.
While I had seen articles about the ridiculous mission of these clowns (my apology to the clown profession), I didn’t understand how sick these individuals were until almost two-years-ago when I saw a couple of them in action in the video below. It was taken in May of 2014 and shows former Florida State Police trooper (or so he claims) Wolfgang Halbig confronting a firefighter at the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Department with his bullshit denier talk.
While I would never encourage a firefighter to act this way to a member of the public, especially on camera, you aren’t going to find me criticizing it either. Though it’s far from PC language, that firefighter said in very few words what many of us are thinking about this heartless and malicious fool.
This brings me to the latest news about one of Halbig’s fellow Sandy Hook deniers. And it’s good news. Despite being a tenured professor at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), school officials have fired James Tracy.
While I have quietly followed Professor Tracy’s rantings (never wrote about it), I somehow missed the announcement during the first week of January that Mr. Tracy had been fired.
James F. Tracy, 50, a tenured associate professor of communications at the Boca Raton university, has repeatedly called into question the authenticity of recent mass shootings, including the slaying of churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., and office workers in San Bernardino, Calif. In his blog postings and radio interviews, Mr. Tracy has said the Newtown massacre may have been carried out by “crisis actors” employed by the Obama administration.
Florida Atlantic University, which first reprimanded Mr. Tracy in 2013, dismissed him less than a month after the parents of 6-year-old Noah Pozner, the youngest victim of the shooting at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., publicly accused the professor of harassment in a Sun Sentinelopinion piece. Lenny and Veronique Pozner, angered by Mr. Tracy’s conspiracy theories, had asked Mr. Tracy to remove a photograph of Noah from his blog, Memory Hole. In return, Mr. Tracy sent them a certified letter demanding proof that Noah ever lived and that the Pozners were his parents.
Florida Atlantic University ultimately dismissed him on grounds that have nothing to do with his theories or his feud with the Pozners. They said Mr. Tracy, who because of his tenure could not be easily fired, had failed to submit paperwork for three years in a row that listed any other jobs or similar activities that he performed outside the university. In a letter to Mr. Tracy, the university said it repeatedly asked him to file the form — which should have listed his blog and his work on a weekly radio show — but Mr. Tracy declined to do so.
Tracy, Halbig and fellow Floridian Tony Mead have gone to great lengths to publicize their insane theories. Fred Grimm at the Miami Herald, chronicled some of the hurt they’ve been spreading in a column titled “Florida’s unhinged ‘truthers’ exacerbate Newtown’s grief.” It’s well worth reading.
Now that he no longer has to do double duty, teaching classes and spreading lies about Newtown, maybe James Tracy will have a few moments to himself to reflect on the pain he has caused the Pozners and others.
Who am I kidding? He’ll likely just use the time to double down on his lies.