In December 2012, Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 children between the ages of six and seven, along with six adults. The legacy of Sandy Hook is particularly poisonous, even by the standards of American politics — it was perhaps the last watershed in arguments over gun control, the point at which the NRA decided that it was fine with pretty much anything, so long as the nasty government didn’t touch people’s guns.
It’s also bred a particularly ghastly conspiracy culture, presenting perhaps the worst examples of how right-wing conspiracy types will believe literally anything in their determination to make reality conform to their world view. I’m talking about the so-called Sandy Hook “truther” movement, which argues that the wholesale slaughter of children was a sham to give the Obama government a pretext to enact stricter gun control legislation, with actors playing the role of the dead and injured, and the media colluding in disseminating the story. Truthers are so devoted to their pet conspiracy that they’ve gone so far as to threaten the parents of children killed in the massacre.
Just let that sink in for a moment. Imagine having your child murdered and then having gun-loving lunatics send you death threats about that very unimaginable tragedy, telling you that it didn’t happen. Last September, New York magazine published a heartbreaking testimony from one such parent, which is worth reading as an insight into the toll taken on real human beings by idiot internet conspiracy theories.
So, let’s recap: we have an element in our society that insist that, despite eyewitness testimony and multiple well-sourced media reports, a massacre DID NOT happen. And now, as if that wasn’t bonkers enough, the man who that element of society has voted gleefully into the White House is arguing the inverse of this idea: other attacks that have never been reported and of which no evidence exists, DID happen.
And by that, I mean, yes, our so-called President is implying this is the reality.
As per the Washington Post, he suggested in a speech to the U.S. Central Command today now speculating that the media is refusing to report incidences of terrorism:
“You’ve seen what happened in Paris, and Nice. All over Europe, it’s happening,” he said to the assembled military leaders. “It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. And in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.”
We are truly through the looking glass at this point, living in the Upside-Down, the darkest timeline, whatever. As ever, it’s unclear whether Trump believes the shit he’s spouting or is just saying it for attention and effect. And, as ever, it doesn’t matter, because regardless of intent, statements like this are destructive and dangerous.
Trump has suggested that those judges who issued legal stays against his Muslim ban will have blood on their hands if there’s a terrorist attack in the United States; in fact, it’s far more likely that our President will have (more) blood on his hands if the sort of lunatics who believe in Sandy Hook conspiracies latch onto this bullshit. I’d ask how the man sleeps at night, but everybody knows that he hasn’t slept a wink since the Bowling Green massacre.