It’s time to Break It Down!
It’s difficult to think of a way to upstage the tragedy of the recent shooting of 20 first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut…and ultimately make it worse. Alas, it has been done.
In a previous post (http://thesphinxofcharlotte.blogspot.com/2012/12/this-time-will-be-different.html), I addressed the Newtown shootings. The events of December 14, 2012 in Newtown are still firmly etched in American current events; I will not deign to reprise them in this space.
Today, President Obama will reveal his proposal to stem gun violence in America. That endeavor will undoubtedly garner a great deal of attention, and may be the topic of a future post; not today, however.
Instead because I was unable to shake the degree to which I was flabbergasted by the assertions of Florida Atlantic University (FAU/Boca Raton, FL) Professor James Tracy, I will spend a few minutes sharing his views and claims. Given the degree to which his comments fly in the face of convention, it is surprising, though perhaps fortunate, that his positions have gained so little exposure and traction among the masses.
Mr. Tracy, a tenured associate communications professor, apparently has a history of involvement with conspiracy theories. Two overarching themes held by the professor, in relation to Sandy Hook, are:
1. He questions whether the Sandy Hook massacre occurred?
2. He suggests the entire Sandy Hook scenario was contrived by the Obama administration to promote a gun control agenda.
For the parents of the 20 deceased students, the families of the 6 school administrators who were fatally shot, and even the relatives of the suicidal shooter and his murdered mother, these dual premises must seem at once, crude, offensive, and appalling. The extent to which Professor Tracy has pushed to redefine the tragedy is truly mind-numbing. A few examples of his thinking on the Connecticutshootings include:
· “Regardless of where one stands on the Second Amendment and gun control, it is not unreasonable to suggest the Obama administration complicity or direct oversight of an incident that has in very short order sparked a national debate on the very topic—and not coincidentally remains a key piece of Obama’spolitical platform,” the 47-year-old tenured professor of communication wrote on his blog, memoryholeblog.com.
· “While it sounds like an outrageous claim, one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place — at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation’s news media have described.”
· Tracy also called a gut-wrenching public appearance by Robert Parker, the father of a first-grader who was shot to death, “contrived,” and asked Florida’s Sun-Sentinel newspaper, “Was this to a certain degree constructed? Was this a drill?”
· “Something most likely took place,” he told the newspaper. “One is left with the impression that a real tragedy took place.”
· At one point Tracyeven suggested that no one died in Newtown; rather the characters involved were all actors.
As the toxic fumes of Professor Tracy’s narrative reached wider circles, starting in his own blog, then, coursing through Florida media circles, and eventually reaching national outlets, such as CNN, push back did emerge eventually. His anti-Obama/anti-mainstream media spin naturally attracted instant currency among those who hate the current POTUS, and from within the segment of the populace that always questions and/or doubts the pronouncements of mainstream media.
However, even some FAUstudents expressed embarrassment at the odd, if not absurd renderings of such a highly placed denizen of the educational institution to which they are inextricably connected. A number of media and members of the Blogosphere labeled the FAU educator, “The Nutty Professor;” a take-off on the 1963 Jerry Lewis film and/or its 1996/2000 reprise Franchise (Eddie Murphy). The highest elected official in Newtown, First Selectman Patricia Llodra, called upon FAU to rescind his tenure, and to terminate the professor.
Apparently, Professor Tracy was unprepared for the high volume and sharp tenor of the reaction to his position and resulting commentary.He is now beginning to modulate and walk back some of his most outlandish comments. The tagline on his blog, Memory Hole is:
- “We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation afraid of its people.” – President John F. Kennedy
As it turns out, James Tracy is discovering not only the truth of that trenchant quote by President Kennedy, but also the power of the truism. To paraphrase President Obama, “Actions have consequences.” As a consequence of the professor’s actions, a wide range of factions has risen up to challenge, and moreover, smack down the mendacious lunacy of a ridiculous alternative narrative.So on this day, relax, and don’t believe the hype; “Conspiracy Theory: Prof Says Newtown Was Staged…Really?”
I will leave you with one final thought on the matter of gun violence in our beloved America. As of yesterday, in the 32 days that have ensued since the Newtownmassacre, 917 Americans have been killed by fire arms. On average, that’s 28.656 per day…or put another way, the numerical equivalent of Sandy Hook (20 students, 6 teachers and administrators, the shooter’s mother and the shooter), plus .656. Regardless of ones position on the Second Amendment, the problem is huge. Action is not just appropriate; it’s required.
I’m done; holla back!
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