Florida professor questions the Newtown massacre

Higher education is supposed to be all about the fearless asking of questions.  Unfortunately, its modern incarnation features a lot of normal students getting persecuted for asking politically incorrect but reasonable questions, coupled with some rather… eccentric people teaching classes.  Along those lines, here’s Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy questioning whether the horrific murders of Newtown really happened… and if they did, might they not have been the work of black-ops government agents?

In a posting titled “The Sandy Hook Massacre: Unanswered Questions and  Missing Information,” Tracy questioned how Adam Lanza was able to fire off so  many shots in such little time and noted a lack of surveillance video or still  images from the gruesome crime scene.

“Inconsistencies and anomalies abound when one turns an analytical eye to  news of the Newtown school massacre,” Tracy, 47, wrote. “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.”

Pressed by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Tracy acknowledged that “one is  left with the impression that a real tragedy took place,” but suggested the Dec.  14 massacre was some sort of staged event.

“Was this to a certain degree constructed?” he asked. “Was this a drill?”

I’m not sure I can properly mock Tracy, who is also reportedly inclined to “question the official version of the Kennedy assassination, the 9/11 terror attacks, and the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre,” without also showing disrespect to the families of Newtown.  Let me settle for marveling at what he must think it was all a drill for.

The university is appalled, although perhaps not appalled enough:

“James Tracy does not speak for the university,” Lisa Metcalf, FAU’s director of  media relations, told in an email. “The website on which his post appeared is not affiliated with FAU in any way. As for any previous disciplinary  actions at FAU, we do not comment on personnel matters.”

Are we supposed to believe Tracy’s whacked-out views have no bearing on his classroom performance whatsoever?  What does he teach, anyway?  Ah, yes: media history.

There’s plenty to criticize about media history without descending this far into lunacy.  For that matter, the media’s reporting on the Sandy Hook outrage was shoddy enough to warrant several semesters’ worth of criticism, without getting into insane conspiracy theories.  Having exhaustively studied breaking news reports on that awful day, I found the real-time accuracy of the national media approached zero percent.  I recall virtually every significant detail reported during the first few hours had to be revised later.

I don’t know how anyone looks at that hot media mess and perceives a highly-organized conspiracy, which would have to include the willing and eager participation of people who could grab Pulitzer Prizes by blowing the whistle.  Rarely have I seen an Occam’s Razor so in need of a whetstone.  There’s plenty of real information out there awaiting provocative, but reasonable, analysis.  Lunacy is a distraction, not to mention an unspeakable offense to the victims and survivors of a hellish crime.