The Sandy Hook Hoax

Alex Kirkpatrick Blog Post 1

The Sandy Hook Hoax

On December 20th, 2012, the country stood by in shock as they watched the news unfold about the events that occurred that morning at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. On that morning, Adam Lanza walked into the school armed with a rifle and two handguns and shot 20 school children and 6 adults. As people around the nation watched parents grieve the loss of their children, most agreed this was a national tragedy. Except for some. As the story continued to develop, so did the idea that the shooting was fake. While the population of people who believe this shooting was a hoax is small, it is fascinating the theories they have come up with to try and prove this event was a hoax. The popularity of this idea peaked in the aftermath of Sandy Hook and has since declined, but there are still people who are avid believers. It is of significance that there are people out there who believe this event was faked because it discredits the real suffering and grieving that the families went, and are still going through. Information about Sandy Hook and why some believe it is a hoax can be found all over the internet. Most notable is a YouTube video with over 10 thousand views, that gives all the reasons why the shooting was fake. This belief is extraordinary because it goes against all logic. No one would even think to consider that all these families are grieving the loss of children who are actually still alive. This belief seems impossible, which by definition, makes it an extraordinary belief.

Believers in this theory offer several explanations of why this event was a hoax. They claim that it would be incredibly hard to hit moving children as many times as Lanza did. Another belief is that all the parents there are actually trained crisis actors sent there by the government. This idea comes from a brief bit of video footage showing two parents smiling and laughing. Many feel that these people must be actors because who would be able to laugh and smile after the death of your child? Another reason that some believe this event was faked is because there are supposed sighting of the dead children. One child, Emilie Parker, is supposedly seen posing in a picture with President Obama days after the shooting. On the other hand, there are reasonable explanations for why these beliefs might be false. Adam Lanza was armed with a semi-automatic shotgun, capable of firing hundreds of rounds in minutes, so it’s very possible he was able to hit children multiple times. As for the claim that the parents were crisis actors, that video clip was taken out of context. Both parents were in an interview reliving found moments of their children. It was not Emilie Parker in that picture, but instead her younger sister, wearing one of Emilie’s dresses.

I believe that this a prime example of cognitive dissonance. People simply don’t want to believe that Adam Lanza was capable murdering 20 young children, so instead find it more comforting to believe that the whole thing was a set up and those children are alive somewhere. The reality is that those who believe this event was a hoax are simply misinterpreting the “evidence”. As discussed above, the various reasons they give for this being a hoax can usually be explained with a quite simple explanation. This is a good example of Ockham’s razor. The reasons given by believers are a prime example of pseudoscience. Many of their reasons give the appearance of science. They are bold and seem like they could be true, but upon further inspection they fall apart. For example, saying it impossible to hit as many children as many times as Lanza does seem realistic until you find out that he was equipped with a semi-automatic rifle. Many claims also seem to fall under the category retreating to the supernatural. Every time they are presented with evidence that contradicts their beliefs they change the belief a little, or say that the evidence isn’t good enough. Many believers claim that one of the deceased, Noah Polzner, is actually alive. When his grieving father released Noah’s death certificate to show that his son was actually dead, suddenly that wasn’t good enough and they needed Noah’s body exhumed.

Believers in this theory come from a diverse population made up of the young and old, white and black, and from various regions across the country. I believe that the biggest social influence that helps them to sustain this belief is the government. Many believers of the conspiracy think that the government orchestrated the event and is then trying to cover it up in various ways, such as employing crisis actors. So naturally, when the government denies their claims, it is interpreted as “of course the government would say that”. Thus, believers are engaging in post hoc theorization, which allows this belief to continue. They are rationalizing the government’s explanation to fit their beliefs.

Sandy Hook was an awful tragedy that forever changed the lives of the people living in Newtown, Connecticut. While most people believe that this was a horrible act of violence committed by a mentally ill individual, some believe that the whole thing is an elaborate hoax put on by the government. While at first it might seem that the claims this group make appear to be scientific, after further inspection these claims all have another, simpler, more logical, explanation, and as Ockham’s razor says, “the simplest explanation is often the best”. Believers of the hoax are able to keep their beliefs alive by engaging in cognitive dissonance and post hoc rationalization. Some might question why it matters that there are people out there who believe this event was fake. Belief in the hoax takes away from the fact the 20 real children were really murdered. It disrupts the grieving process of the parents and lifts the burden of guilt off Adam Lanza’s shoulder and places it on the government shoulders. It’s important to discredit these beliefs when possible because further adherence to these beliefs will only continue to overshadow the true victims here; the 26 people who died that day.

  1. C. (2019, January 02). Connecticut Shootings Fast Facts. Retrieved February 11, 2019, from facts/index.html
  2. Mikkelson, D. (2012, December 15). FACT CHECK: Was the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting a Hoax? Retrieved February 11, 2019, from
  3. Weideman, R. (2016, September 06). Lenny Pozner Believed in Conspiracy Theories. Until His Son’s Death Became One. Retrieved February 11, 2019, from

23 thoughts on “The Sandy Hook Hoax

  1. I feel like a lot of these arguments are reflected in those who are against gun control. The idea that mass shootings like this aren’t really happening, guns aren’t capable of murdering mass amounts of people, and that the government is responsible for it not the people. I think its simply a denial and avoidance of the problems that are steadily increasing in our society. Did it seem like the opinions and reasonings steamed from views on gun control or political standings?

    • Yes, it did seem like many of the reasons stemmed from views on gun control. I even believe one of the sources I used said exactly what you said, that people don’t want to believe that guns are being used to mass murder people, so they turn the blame elsewhere

    • Even I would agree with this point. People just don’t want to believe that guns are causing harm to so many. Initially guns were introduced to the society for ones own protection. Times have changed now, people use guns more for harming other compared to using it for their own protection, but the few people who still think that guns are for protection are finding it hard to believe that gruesome crimes are being committed through it, which gives birth to these extraordinary beliefs. According to me it is just their way of coping with what they think is true.

  2. You mentioned that the believers in this hoax come from a variety of backgrounds. In your research, did you notice any particular trends in the believers? I would be surprised if the believers weren’t overwhelmingly conservative, as the Sandy Hook shooting is used to argue for gun control.

  3. I find the conspiracy theory of crisis actors so interesting because they’ve been connected to numerous disasters, including other mass shootings in the United States. Since crisis actors are a real thing, (used in disaster training simulations), I wonder if there is any substantial proof to these claims beyond just fuzzy news clips on YouTube. I do recall hearing from some unremembered source that crisis actors may be used in newscasts when victims are not in any state to be interviewed about the event.

  4. A friend of mine actually attended Sandy Hook Elementary and talking to her about the shooting was tragic. Reading your post, you explain some of the reasoning for why people think it was a hoax, but was is their immediate thought? Or did they take some time to evaluate what had happened? This was in one of the comments earlier but I would be curious to know if there were trends in the backgrounds of the believers as well.

    • I’ll tell you why I thought Sandy Hook was a hoax and still believe that today. There were many things about it that made very little sense and oozed of bad acting rather than genuine shock and grief seen in real shooting incidents. In real shootings the intense emotions of the families of victims are palpable, and you react with instant empathy. There was no such emotion from the families portrayed in that fake shooting. We not only saw some of them smiling and laughing, but in later interviews even seeming joyful that their children were dead. And the downright bizarre behavior and speech of the coroner were very suspect as well. That was just the visceral reaction I had,. Here are the facts that bothered me:

      1) We were never shown even a modicum of real, hard video evidence that anyone had died. We were shown a gun being pulled from a trunk, a guy chased through the woods, and a bunch of people milling around a building. Other than that, we saw NOTHING, not one goddamn thing that proved a shooting had taken place.

      2) The paramedics were not allowed access to the shooting victims. The stood there in the parking lot doing nothing while the cops guarded the door. This is not only completely outrageously divergent from standard operating procedure in any violent incident, but it’s illegal. Cops cannot pronounce people dead and then deny paramedics access to the victims. SOP is to let the paramedics in to check vitals. This did not happen.

      3) The FBI classified the shooting including all security footage, and to this day the entire case and all evidence is sealed. Why? This also is highly unusual.

      4) The cars in the parking lot were not a normal mix of civilian automobiles, but predominantly black, white and gray sedans of the same make/model typical of government cars.

      5) The alleged families of the victims showed up in the middle of the work day dressed by and large in weekend casual clothes. Is Sandy Hook a community of lazy, unemployed trust fund babies? Why weren’t they dressed in work clothes?

      6) The alleged victims’ families were traveling in circles around and through the building.

      7) One of the funeral interviews was very clearly greenscreen fakery. There was no background noise or wind interference in the interview, it was far too clear to be anywhere but a studio. CNN uses greenscreen to fake live reporting frequently.

      There’s more but I’m done for now. I am happy to admit I am wrong if anyone can explain these anomalies convincingly. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them have good explanations. But I have been asking for explanations for a while, and all I get is outrage from people accusing me of doing something horrible for not taking the government and mainstream media’s word that this event was real. Unlike Columbine and many other shootings, Sandy Hook does not feel real. It feels like a drill that was edited to look like a real event. It feels like a really bad B-movie, not a real event.

      To be clear, I am not a wack job. I personally helped debunk pizzagate, even though I am politically conservative and had no reason to exonerate the democrats accused in it. I do believe we went to the moon too, and that many of the events claimed to be government hoaxes are real. But I also believe the government and MSM collude to craft monstrous lies in order to manipulate us and shape our culture, and they’ve been doing this a long time. 9/11 is one such lie. And I won’t waste time talking about what can and can’t cause a steel-frame building to free-fall into a perfect pile of rubble, I’ll just say that anyone who still doesn’t doubt 9/11 needs to look at photos of the Flight 93 crash sight and tell me where exactly is the 757 that allegedly crashed there. All you see is firefighters spraying water into a smoking hole in the dirt, and the mayor of Shanksville himself said he didin’t understand because there was absolutely no plane there.

      Sandy Hook just smacks of a lie. And the behavior of the lawyer deposing Alex Jones makes me feel like the lawsuit has nothing to do with justice for the plaintiffs but is actually just about destroying the credibility of Jones, even through really sick and sneaky tricks like selective editing of his shows and sending him documents with attached child pornography so the MSM could claim the government found child pornography on Infowars computers. This is the kind of behavior government spooks engage in.

  5. This post is especially interesting in light of the recent court findings relating to conspiracy theorist and instigator Alex Jones’ alleged role in doxxing and encouraging the harassment of the parents of Sandy Hook victims. The court case will likely drag on for a long while still, but the judge overseeing the case doesn’t seem to have much sympathy for Jones and I am really intrigued to see what will happen on the side of damages. If he was found liable for harassment and inciting harassment, could the case serve as an impetus for civil suits brought against other far-right figures/conspiracy theorists who openly champion harassment of groups affected by tragedy? Could that have opened up people like Laura Ingraham up to civil suits when they mocked survivors of the Parkland shooting?

  6. What do people get out of believing this conspiracy theory? If it truly was a hoax then where are the children, and what would the parents get out of pretending all of this? This whole conspiracy just denies all logic. It’s incredibly sad what happened to the children and adults at sandy hook, and to attempt to discredit these parents and family members grief is truly terrible.

  7. To the people that “claim that it would be incredibly hard to hit moving children as many times as Lanza did”…what argument is this trying to prove? Have the conspiracy theorists claiming this tried to shoot moving children? For all we know, the children could have been extremely frightened and still, not that the image of this is any more comforting. Secondly, if conspiracy theorists claim the shooting is fake, what was the purpose of the shooting? What goal was trying to be achieved by the government and why was this shooting deemed fake over other shootings, like Columbine or the Orlando nightclub shooting?

  8. Hello!
    This was an interesting yet very sad conspiracy theory. I honestly feel very bad for the families who lost little children to hear this whole story is made up. It sort of makes me sick! I think it is very hard to believe that people would be in on making such a scene up. What would be the benefit? I also recall a teacher being shot in this incident, did she just go into hiding after faking her death? Overall, I think some conspiracy theories are interesting to think about, but for people to make videos and pursue something as sensitive as this, its really sad. Good presentation of info!

  9. It’s a really shocking theory for me to believe, and there are so many questionable points. Like the motivation of the whole hoax is hard to understand. But I know people would create some conspiracy to comfort their lost in life.

    • Yea I agree. I definitely think that for some the conspiracy is a comfort. Believing that all these children are actually alive and living a life has got to far more comforting than thinking that someone could kill innocent children. I think that if you want to believe that, it’s fine, as long as you are not bothering the grieving families, who might not be so willing to share in your beliefs

  10. I never think the shooting in the sandy hook is fake. I also have doubted how can Adam kill 26 people in a short time with a rifle and it does make sense if this news is fake. But I still think it’s a conspiracy since nobody can get the benefits from the fake. The children in the scene will more or less be frightened. Also, the panic it caused is not small. Why the government makes such a horrible event to make everybody fell in fear?

  11. It triggers me. Sometimes I think such belief is not that bad. Despite of curiousness of the public, the relative of these 26 persons just need a way to get out of the shadow. Seeking for the real facts for them is so cruel and the media might make it worse.

  12. I don’t understand why this belief exist. It does not seem that the government is gaining anything if that made this hoax up. Also, I get that people might be using this belief to comfort themselves, but its not random strangers that need to be comforted. Its the families that lost the children. It must’ve been so hard for Noah’s father to show them the death certificate and have to repeat his child is dead. I agree with what you wrote in the post, that this belief is removing the blame from Adam onto the government which is so messed up.

  13. The fact that people think the sandy hook shooting was a hoax is so beyond frustrating. Parents who lost their children should not have to prove that their child is actually dead. Like you stated, it disrupts the grieving process and no family member should have to experience this. As was stated in the comments above, I also believe these people who claim sandy hook was a hoax are against control.

  14. I think this hoax is just completely absurd. There were numerous articles, papers, AND news reports of this tragedy, and the fact that these select few believe that the parents of the children who passed away were sent to that specific school to “act” as parents on behalf of the government just blows my mind. How could someone fake all of that sadness? What of the person who actually took on the physical action of shooting? Was he just an actor as well? People really amaze me sometimes. If this type of tragedy had happened to their kids, do you think they would have the same theory on the shooting? I think i’m finding more questions than answers while reading this post! I just find it so frustrating that these people (parents) are trying hard to grieve in peace, but then you have these individuals who want to come along and stomp all over that and create verbal hostility about the matter. I really enjoyed this post, thank you!

    • You do know that a handful of companies own the majority of news outlets, right? I don’t understand why “numerous articles, papers, AND news reports ” is enough for you to believe without questioning in this event. Tell me what hard evidence have you ever seen to prove this event happened? The FBI classified the security footage and their entire investigation. Why did the FBI investigate it in the first place? Their authority is supposed to be limited to interstate and government matters. We have never even been shown a bullet hole in a wall or even one drop of blood. We have seen nothing but a bunch of people milling around a building, a guy getting chased through the woods, and a gun being pulled from a trunk. Why is that “good enough” for you? Do you believe the federal government doesn’t lie? Do you believe the corporate media doesn’t lie?

  15. Almost similar to the denial of the Holocaust, people suggestting real families and real children weren’t killed is disgusting. The country was shocked and dismayed that an individual could commit such horrendous acts, but there have been other crimes and other individuals capable of equally terrible crimes. Sandy Hook is no different, there are just people who are okay with killing others, not a government conspiracy.

  16. Like Blood Mary, Slenderman is an urban legend. I first heard of Slenderman when I was little and was terrified to go outside in the dark. These types of urban legends cause panic in young children and expose them to violence that could potentially shape who they become growing up.

  17. It just amazes me that people really believe that the Sandy Hook’s shooting was a hoax. There were so many news reports put out on this tragedy, why would people need to fake this such sadness? I think cognitive dissonance does come into play as you explained. If people really believe that this event was faked no matter the evidence shown they will only look at facts that could back their belief.

    • It’s very simple. Sandy Hook has incredible political power, particularly for those who have been trying to pass anti-gun legislation and disarm the American citizenry. There is a very real conspiracy to destroy American democracy. In fact it very nearly happened with the TPP, a coup that was planned over 7 years and with a fortune in corporate cash. It was stymied by something they didn’t expect, the election of the ONLY man that had the power to stop it AND get elected, Donald J Trump.

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