I need to address a persistent myth. I’ve seen this myth written in editorials and heard a well-known news commentator repeat it. I’ve had friends repeat it to me during polite conversations.
This myth is blatantly ridiculous. Numerous news articles about the debate surrounding this myth have been published in the last few days. These articles show that this myth is…wait for it…a myth. Yet many people still cling to it. So I’m going to try to kill this myth. It’s not going to work, but I’m going to try it anyway.
Myth: soldiers on military bases in America carry loaded weapons all the time.
Reality: SOLDIERS ON MILITARY BASES IN AMERICA DO NOT WALK AROUND EVERYWHERE WITH LOADED WEAPONS.
This myth leads some people to an objectively wrong conclusion. They believe that despite all those armed soldiers everywhere on Fort Hood, Nidal Hasan and Ivan Lopez couldn’t be stopped. Gosh darn it, they were just so powerful and terrifying, resistance was futile. They consider the Fort Hood shootings proof that not even highly trained and armed soldiers, much less armed citizens, can stop an active shooter.
Thursday an LA Times editorialist wrote, “Oh sure, Fort Hood may beef up security. Maybe even adhere to the National Rifle Assn.’s mantra, which is that if everyone is armed, everyone is safer. Though it seems to me that that is already the case on a military base, much as it was at the Washington Navy Yard in September, when crazed gunman Aaron Alexis fatally shot 12 people. So maybe arming all the people all the time isn’t the answer?”
Last year during a debate between Piers Morgan and Gun Owners of America head Larry Pratt, Morgan said, referring to the 2009 Fort Hood massacre, “Even when you have a mass of well-trained people and a mass of firearms, you can still have a massacre.” (The relevant part of the discussion begins around 3:30.)
Thursday night I had a long conversation about gun control with a very intelligent, well-educated, liberal friend of mine. The discussion turned to Fort Hood. My friend, who is not an unreasonable man, thought soldiers “keep their issued weapons in their desks or something”.
Friday the LA Times editorialist posted a halfhearted retraction, wherein he admitted he was wrong (but then claimed his point was that Fort Hood was heavily guarded but the shooting still happened, so there’s still no point in trying to defend yourself). Morgan was fired, although we don’t know if he ever learned how wrong he was about military bases. My friend’s incorrect belief was quickly corrected.
But what about the rest of the country? Not all of it, but the part that says, “Having a gun doesn’t help. All those soldiers had guns, but they couldn’t protect themselves. They had to wait for the police to save them.” They’re wrong, but they don’t know it. They don’t want to know it. So I’m writing this for them. Please spread the word.
Soldiers can’t carry weapons everywhere on post. Their issue weapons are only removed from the arms room for training. If the soldiers are going to fire those weapons, the ammunition is taken directly from the ammo storage facility to the range, and whatever isn’t fired is taken back to storage. Soldiers don’t carry issued weapons and ammo everywhere on post.
And soldiers can’t carry personally owned weapons on post either. They have to be registered and secured. If a soldier has a concealed carry permit and legally carries off post, he still can’t carry on post.
The only people authorized to carry weapons on post are Military Police and Department of Defense Police. MPs have to turn in their weapons at the end of their shift. They don’t take their weapons home like civilian police do.
Do you get it yet? Military bases are “Gun Free Zones” (which don’t really exist, since the only way to enforce a Gun Free Zone is to have guys with guns search everyone). The strange, twisted ideas you have about masses of highly trained, experienced and ARMED soldiers being totally defenseless against a murderous psychiatrist or mentally unstable truck driver are fantasies.
And they’re not just fantasies. They’re convenient fantasies. They’re blatantly untrue and can be dispelled with the most basic research. But they reinforce your belief that carrying a gun for self-defense is pointless. They “prove” to you that being armed does no good anyway (“Look at what happened at Fort Hood! All those soldiers with guns couldn’t protect themselves!”).
You’re wrong. You’re blatantly, embarrassingly wrong. If you have other, reasonable arguments against armed self-defense, fine. Use those. But stop citing the Fort Hood shootings to support your stance. Those shootings don’t prove armed self-defense is pointless. But they do expose the ridiculous stupidity of requiring otherwise-capable citizens to be helpless victims of violent criminals.
Filed under: Writing | 24 Comments
Tags: 2nd amendment, active shooter, fort hood, gun free zones
I wish people would stop assuming combat-related PTSD every time some veteran commits a violent crime. Veterans are representative of the country they serve; some are sterling citizens, some are rotten bags of snail crap. I personally am not aware of a single active shooter who had combat-related PTSD.
Cho, the Virginia Tech murderer, never served in the military.
The Sikh Temple murderer was a peacetime Army vet.
James Huberty from the San Ysidro McDonald’s was never military.
George Hennard at Luby’s was a former Merchant Marine who never saw combat.
The Columbine shooters were high school kids.
The Sandy Hook shooter was never military.
Hassan from the 2009 Fort Hood shooting never served in combat.
The Gabrielle Giffords shooter was never military.
James Holmes from the Aurora theater was never military.
Charles Whitman from the UT Tower shooting was a Marine who never saw combat.
Aaron Alexis from the Washington Navy Yard was a Navy veteran who never saw combat.
Ivan Lopez, Yesterday’s Fort Hood shooter, apparently never served in combat. Even if he had, that wouldn’t make him murder innocent people.
I can’t stress this enough. Lopez murdered people because he was a murderer, not because he was a combat vet. He wasn’t a combat vet. He didn’t murder because he had PTSD. He hadn’t even been diagnosed with PTSD. There’s no indication thus far that he experienced trauma during his deployment. He was just a murderer. People need to stop excusing his actions, and stop seeing him as something he wasn’t.
RIP to those we lost yesterday. Best wishes to the wounded and all family members affected by this brutal, senseless crime.
Filed under: Afghanistan, Iraq, Writing | 9 Comments
Tags: fort hood, ivan lopez, PTSD, veteran writers
YOU ARE READING THIS ON AN NSA-CONTROLLED “SHILL” WEB SITE!
Know how I know that? Conspiracy theorists said so.
A couple of weeks ago I published an essay titled “Refuting Wolfgang Halbig, a Sandy Hook ‘truther’” (http://chrishernandezauthor.com/2014/03/02/refuting-a-sandy-hook-truther/). Halbig is supposedly a former police officer and “expert” on school shootings. According to numerous web sites quoting an interview he gave, he claims no children were killed at Sandy Hook elementary school in December 2012. He believes the Sandy Hook massacre was a “scripted event”.
Halbig had a list of eighteen points that supposedly “prove” Sandy Hook never happened. Using my experience as a police officer and active shooter instructor, I refuted each one. Some of Halbig’s points were pretty stupid (he apparently thought when someone is shot to death, all the blood drains from their body) and others were just, well, meaningless (the United Way raised money for the parents of Sandy Hook victims! It’s a conspiracy!).
The essay got a pretty positive response, at first. But within a few days, “truthers” heard about it. So they started coming to my blog and commenting. A few made calm, articulate statements. But most were what I would call ranting. And projecting. And accusing. And screaming. And probably slobbering.
Those ranting, irrational conspiracy theorists gave me some of the best entertainment I’ve had since starting this blog. I spent two weeks debating truthers, until they apparently got tired of it and one day just stopped commenting. Maybe that was random, maybe they had some kind of a conspiracist powwow and decided they were driving up my ratings by commenting, so they quit.
However, I learned a few things about truthers during my two-week debate with them. I had already known some of these things, or suspected them. But the last two weeks gave definite form to my previously unformed beliefs.
Everything I’m about to write is strictly my opinion. I’m not a psychologist, nor do I have much formal education. I’m just a cop and soldier who has spent decades learning how humans behave under stress. And as far as I can tell, disagreeing with a truther puts them under considerable stress. This essay is by no means an all-inclusive list of every way that conspiracists are screwed up, that would require numerous volumes.
I’ll also say this: I don’t believe everything the government says. For example, I believe many people in the federal government are lying their asses off about decisions made during the Benghazi attack. I don’t blame anyone for not blindly accepting official explanations. I do, however, blame people for buying into ridiculous conspiracy theories that would require thousands of regular people to carry out outrageous crimes while directly in the public’s eye. Incompetence and “spinning bad news” aren’t the same as conspiring to massacre innocent people in order to accomplish a political goal.
So having said that, let’s venture into the small, barren and occasionally dangerous mind of the conspiracy theorist.
A SAMPLING OF COMMENTS TO MY ESSAY, AND MY OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THEM
1) “Hey shill boy, YOU’RE SHITTY LITTLE SITE IS NOW COMING UP BEFORE WOLGANGS OWN FB PAGE……Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ……
AGAIN, WHY NOT JUST PUT UP A FLASHING NEON SIGN SAYING ‘THIS SHITTY LITTLE, CIA FUNDED SHILL SITE IS NOW BEING PROMOTED TO THE NUMBER ONE SEARCH LINK FOR WOLGANG HALBIG WHEN SOMEONES SEARCHES GOOGLE/CIA.
Good God. You clowns are so blatant it’s actually humorous…ha ha ha ha ha ha …..You will have zero effect. I won’t waste anymore time here.
I urge SH truth researchers to leave this site to the shills.
This is a well known tactic. They want you to focus energy battling a neon sign flashing SHILL SITE. Don’t do it.
These clowns are internet actors in the way the SH parents etc were. Let them have their fake conversations with each other while we provide financial and legal support for Wolf.”
2) “chris hernandez the author is a troll and/or a shill, as his article is so full of irrelevant fodder and contains absolutely no facts. SH was scripted and liars lie. Why else would the dumb medical examiner say, ‘I hope they don’t have this come crashing down on them later.’”
I think these are my favorite comments. According to Webster, to shill is to “to talk about or describe someone or something in a favorable way because you are being paid to do it”. So according to these guys, I don’t actually believe what I wrote; I’m simply a paid spokesman for the Sandy Hook conspirators. No evidence exists to support their accusation, but that matters not. To them there is no other possible explanation.
This is something I now know about conspiracists: they don’t need evidence to “prove” something. Once they’ve decided “there is no other explanation for X”, X becomes true in their eyes. Even when there is literally not a shred of proof to support X, they’ll believe it. It’s not possible that I’m simply a regular Joe who read Halbig’s points, thought “That’s a load of crap” and wrote a rebuttal. No, I’m being paid to do this. And the CIA or NSA is boosting my site’s rankings so more people will read what they paid me to write. Despite any actual evidence to prove this, they believe it.
3) Hey – how did you get this tiny little site, with next to zero traffic, come up as the very first response to a google of “wolfgang halbig”? Can you say NSA? I knew that you could! (Try it for yourself, Google “wolfgang halbig” and see what’s up first)
And, while we’re debunking, please explain how 20 children were shot to death in a school, and there are zero lawsuits? Oh, and six grown ups too, and still no lawsuits. Not Possible here in the good old litigious USA.”
4) “Based on the facts about web ranking that I have put forward here, you should be able to see that it is absolutely impossible for your site to come up first on a Google search in front of the man’s own site you are denouncing.
So, you are either in collusion with those that can manipulate the rankings (Google/NSA) or – you are an unknowing useful prop, meaning the NSA is secretly pumping your site up without your knowledge.
Only you know the answer to that riddle. But if you are ignorant of what is giving you such a tail wind, then I ask that you consider why they would be surreptitiously promoting your viewpoint. If Wolfgang is wrong, and there were children murdered, why would they even bother themselves with this secret promotion of the contrary opinion? They wouldn’t need to do this, they would have the TRUTH on their side.
Submitted for your consideration.”
I’m no Google expert, but it seems to me that if more people come to my site than Halbig’s Facebook page, my site will come up first on a search. Am I wrong about this? Whatever the answer, these comments “prove” that I’m either colluding with the CIA/NSA or am an unknowing pawn of those agencies. It couldn’t be that Halbig doesn’t have too many visitors to his new FB page, or that many of his own followers came here to read and comment and therefore drove up my ranking. No, the nefarious federal government had to have been involved. Is any proof required? Of course not.
And by the way, the day truthers stopped commenting on my site, it stopped coming up as #1 on Google searches for Wolfgang Halbig. Crazy, isn’t it?
4) Not a single ‘wounded’ child from that day. Nothing.
That means the gunman – this 20 year old kid – had to get up close, concentrate, focus and aim directly at 5 and 6 year old children and place each shot with such an exactitude as to guarantee a kill – not once, twice or even ten times – but over 20 times.
Satan himself could not have even done such a thing.
It is an all but physical impossibility. He would have grown sick, weak and unable to continue after several kills.
If you have ever aimed a weapon and fired upon an innocent human being, you know that it is an extremely difficult thing to do.
Until I and a million other people have seen at least one image – of either a dead child, a wounded child, an autopsy photo, or…even a photo of a child in a casket – we will never believe another so-called ‘official story’ about anything – from anyone in our government – whether, local, state or federal. Ever again.
And this is precisely what I think the government wants, out of this alleged tragedy: for us to discover that they are liars – and for us to grow angry and distrustful towards them – so we will, in turn, rebel and revolt against them – so they, in turn, can arrest, kill and imprison as many of us as they can, placing us in all those ‘FEMA CAMPS’ that they have spent the past ten+ years building. They want to bring about THE END, people, of the current world as we know it.
BIBLICAL SH!T, people.
Prepare yourselves. With the Armor of God, the Armor of Jesus. The Armor of Truth.”
Yes, that’s a lot of crazy to pack into one comment. But it’s not the crazy that caught my attention. It’s the absolute lack of understanding of human nature.
Of course, no human has ever murdered children at close range. Such things didn’t happen at Srebrenica, or at the San Ysidro McDonald’s. They certainly never happened during the Holocaust, when the men of Police Battalion 101, among other units, shot thousands of women and children. Or during the Armenian Genocide. Or the Mumbai terrorist attack. Or the Beslan School massacre. Or the Kenya Mall attack. This commenter nearly broke his hand thumping a bible but apparently never read it, or he would have heard of Joshua’s army killing every living thing in Jericho (which would have entailed stabbing infants to death).
But since nobody would ever shoot numerous children, “not even Satan himself”, it’s only logical that the Sandy Hook massacre never happened. But the government and media are claiming this impossible event actually happened. Presto, we have a conspiracy.
This next commenter and I had a long exchange, which I’ll delve further into in a later post. But I want to point out part of one comment he made, to illustrate his (and truthers’ in general) weird way of looking at human behavior. The comment is about Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs in the Boston Bombing, and Carlos Arredondo, who helped save his life. Bauman and Arredondo were seen together in this famous photograph (fair warning, graphic content ahead):
Wonder how the Boston Bombing got injected into this discussion? Because, of course, that was a government conspiracy too.
“The very next day “Jeff Bauman” and Cowboy Carlos (from the Dominican Republic…who had a Devil Dog son die in Iraq on Carlos’ birthday) are on Facebook with Jeff sitting up in bed, laughing, smiling….no IVs…no morphine pump…NO sign of trauma. Happy and smiling!
Carlos and Cindy Sheehan. Code Pink.
Carlos tried to kill himself and the Marine detail sent to tell him that his son died. Lucky for him there was a quick thinking Marine or Carlos never would have got the chance wheel “Jeff” down the street…and pose with him everywhere…Bruins…Celtics…Red Sox…and Patriot games.
Cindy ain’t in the game anymore. Carlos is.
This commenter apparently thinks Carlos Arredondo, an anti-war activist who lost a Marine son in Iraq and a second son to suicide, colluded with whoever “really” planted the Boston Marathon bombs. His job was to act like he was rescuing Jeff Bauman, who didn’t really lose his legs that day. And I don’t exactly get this part, but Code Pink, those bunch of hysterical, moronic women who dress in vagina costumes, paint their hands red, sing and dance at military recruiting offices and shriek at political foes, were also somehow involved. Because it’s totally believable that Code Pink idiots and a peace activist like Arredondo would conspire to trick the entire country into believing that someone other than the government bombed Boston. Or something like that.
So let’s look at the mechanics of how this “conspiracy” would have worked.
Since Jeff Bauman must have already lost his legs before the bombing, he showed up to the Boston Marathon wearing fake legs. He stayed a safe distance away from where he knew the bombs were; he had to have, if he had been too close he might have been killed. Then, when the bomb detonated, he rushed over, took his fake legs off to expose “moulaged” fake injuries, and laid down among other injured people. Also, according to some conspiracists, he or someone else spread red paint near him. Someone else must have also grabbed his fake legs, hidden them in a bag or something and left. Actual legs, with injuries that matched Bauman’s, would have to have been left at the scene, since that bomb was not powerful enough to completely destroy every last bit of his legs and someone might have looked around and said, “Hey, this guy’s legs were blown off. Shouldn’t they be around here somewhere?” Also, his face must have been quickly made up to appear as if he had been near the explosion, and his hair moussed to appear that it had been affected by the blast (it would have been sorta difficult to walk around the Boston Marathon with a blackened face and hair blown sideways without attracting attention).
At this point, after Bauman rushed to the scene, laid down and removed his fake legs and spread fake blood, and after someone else removed the fake legs and left real ones, and quickly made Bauman’s face and hair appear affected by the explosion (and all of this without being noticed by either bystanders or cameras), Bauman started acting like a real victim. Then Arredondo came to his rescue, helped tourniquet his legs and put him in a wheelchair, and with others pushed him to an ambulance.
One of the others who helped was apparently an EMT, according to the patch on his jacket. I attended an EMT course several years back. It’s not advanced training, but an EMT can identify a minor injury like, oh, someone having their legs blown off. So why would this EMT have played along by treating and evacuating someone for an injury they didn’t really have? Either he wasn’t really an EMT, or…wait for it…he was part of the conspiracy.
Then, while they were pushing him to the ambulance, they happened to run across a photographer who took the famous photograph above. This was fortuitous, since all this conspiracizing would have been for naught if nobody took pictures of it. The pictures are what grabbed everyone’s attention.
But what if it the photographer’s presence wasn’t a happy accident? Maybe the photographer was waiting on the route he knew they would take, so he could take a picture of injuries he knew were fake. Maybe the photographer was…oh my god…part of the conspiracy.
So they arrived at the ambulance. The paramedics in the ambulance, of course, would have been able to identify fake injuries. So would the doctors and nurses at the hospital. But the paramedics, doctors and nurses treated injuries they knew were fake, they didn’t protest or tell the press “this guy wasn’t even hurt”, because…well…actually, why would doctors and nurses play along?
You guessed it. They had to be part of the conspiracy.
Conspiracists believe this is what actually happened. Many of them actually think a veteran named Nick Vogt who had previously lost his legs in Afghanistan pretended to be “Jeff Bauman”. Vogt and Bauman really don’t look alike, other than being white and thin. But truthers have convinced themselves, without any evidence Vogt was involved, that Vogt is also part of the conspiracy. Because assigning guilt without evidence is what truthers do. People like them are the reason we have constitutional safeguards; if truthers ran criminal courts, innocent people would be convicted left and right based on “I know you did it! There’s no other explanation!” or “You’re guilty! You look sort of like the guy who I think was part of the conspiracy!”
These truther fools use nonsense “logic” and conduct predetermined “investigations” to convince themselves and others who are equally mentally deficient that a conspiracy is hiding under every rock. Conspiracy theorists are a lot like “Creation Scientists”. No, not like fundamentalist Christians who believe in the Genesis story, but creation scientists. These “scientists” don’t follow the scientific method whatsoever. Rather than formulating a hypothesis, experimenting and researching and then reaching a conclusion, they start with the conclusion. They “know” the Genesis story is true; therefore, every piece of “evidence” they find is twisted to support what they already believe, or if it can’t be twisted it’s simply discarded as fake.
“Truthers”, “truth researchers” and “conspiracy investigators” are no different. They’re positive the Sandy Hook was a government conspiracy (as was the Boston Bombing, and the JFK assassination, and the Moon Landing, and probably the missing Malaysian airliner, and so on). So everything they see becomes “evidence” of conspiracy, and gigantic obvious pieces of real evidence, like the photos of Bauman’s horrible wounds, are discarded as fake. And while these truthers carry out their bullshit “investigations” that determined guilt within minutes of the event, they assign blame to good, decent men and women who suffered horrible losses at the hands of truly evil, non-government criminals and terrorists.
Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs to cowardly bombers: conspirator!
Carlos Arredondo, who rushed to help a horribly wounded stranger: conspirator!
Nick Vogt, who lost his legs serving his country: conspirator!
Parents of children who were murdered at Sandy Hook, police officers who responded, paramedics and EMTs, doctors and nurses at emergency rooms, members of the media who covered the story, morticians who handled the victims’ bodies: all conspirators!
And while they’re making broad accusations based on zero evidence or even understanding of basic reality, they’re simultaneously branding anyone who disagrees as deluded, “Zionist slaves”, “sheeple”, lemmings or pawns of the government. THEY WRITE IN ALL CAPS AND USE TONS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS BECAUSE THEY THINK SCREAMING MAKES THEIR POINTS MORE VALID!!!!! And they long for the day that aaaallllll the conspiracies they just know are true will be revealed. So that everyone will have to look to them and say, “Holy cow, conspiracy theorist! Even though you know jack-shit about real investigations, even though everything you ‘know’ comes from stupid internet articles on conspiracy web sites, you were actually right about everything all along! I bow down to you, oh great one!”
But I have to admit something. Conspiracy theorists do in fact reveal important truths. Unfortunately for them, those truths are only about what goes on inside their own minds. They have nothing at all to do with the reality of Sandy Hook, the Boston Bombing or any other conspiracy truthers so desperately want to believe in.
Filed under: Writing | 63 Comments
Tags: Boston bombing, conspiracy, sandy hook, wolfgang halbig
This was published today on BreachBangClear.
“When I came home from Iraq, my father asked me if I had been in combat. I answered, ‘Yeah, I was.’ But inside, I wasn’t really sure.
Yes, I had been shot at. Sort of. My convoy escort team took sporadic small arms fire which never hit anything, not even the huge civilian-driven 18-wheeler trucks we were protecting. Once someone hiding between cars on the side of a road fired a blast of birdshot into the windshield of one truck; nobody was hurt, and I didn’t even know about it until we arrived at our destination. We never identified a target, never returned fire. I’m pretty sure my gunner engaged a car bomb one night, but I’ll never know for certain if the man was trying to ram us or was just a stupid driver.
My team had IEDs go off a ways in front of us, and a short distance away on the side of the road beside us. Once a convoy on the other side of the highway from us took an IED strike. On another night a truck from another convoy was blown up about 25 meters behind my Humvee. Rocks were blown all over my vehicle, but there was no shrapnel, no damage, no casualties. On a later mission my team passed another convoy team headed the opposite direction. Less than three minutes after we passed them, they screamed on the radio that they were in contact. I was riding gunner that mission, and had been ready and eager to finally return fire. But once again, it hadn’t happened. I ducked into the Humvee and yelled in frustration, ‘What the F**K? We were just there, nobody shot at us!’”
Filed under: Afghanistan, Iraq | 10 Comments
Tags: Afghanistan, french army, veteran writers
A few weeks back I wrote this essay for BreachBangClear.
In the essay, I discussed something that seems pretty obvious to me and a lot of other vets: many veterans are using fake PTSD claims to milk the system for a free monthly handout. That makes it harder for veterans with legitimate problems to get help. The essay generated plenty of intelligent responses in agreement or disagreement, a few “what the hell is he talking about” comments, and a good number of pretty funny personal insults. So I wrote a follow up essay, to address the response. BreachBangClear published it on February 26th.
“Not surprisingly, my essay PTSD: fakers and frauds and WTAF? generated hundreds of comments from angry, supportive, incredulous or head-nodding-in-agreement readers. Many veterans shared anecdotal evidence of other servicemembers who claimed PTSD for what appeared to be trivial things (for example, seeing a destroyed vehicle from a car bomb attack that happened a week earlier, or hearing a report of a possible sniper while on a convoy). In fact, if I recall correctly, of the many readers who agreed with me, only three weren’t veterans.
Of course, many people took exception to what I wrote. Quite a few thought my essay was insulting to non-combat troops. Some readers took my post to mean I don’t believe “fobbits” (a term I didn’t use in my essay) can get PTSD, or that people with PTSD shouldn’t get help. I objectively did not write those things, but the tone of my post apparently conveyed those messages to certain people.
One extremely angry reader commented, “What he said, and what people are hearing are two different things.” Well, a lot of people heard things very different from what I said. One reader, for no apparent reason, thought I claimed to be Special Forces and commented “Even regular Joe’s get PTSD too, not just you special forces assholes”. I got the distinct impression many readers skimmed through the essay, picked out whatever pissed them off the most, then furiously typed scathing comments. Those comments often seemed to have little connection to what I actually wrote.”
Filed under: Afghanistan, Iraq | 29 Comments
Tags: PTSD, veteran writers
A few days ago a reader forwarded me a story about a former police officer and teacher, who “served as an expert in the Columbine and other school shootings”, and is now claiming the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre never happened.
This man, Wolfgang Halbig, released an interview in which he listed numerous pieces of evidence which “prove” the event was fabricated. Halbig is a former state trooper and customs agent, plus a onetime educator and apparently a school safety official in Seminole County, Florida. His claims are inflaming those who already believed Sandy Hook was a hoax and pushing those on the fence into the conspiracy camp.
If Halbig’s bio has been reported correctly, it’s pretty impressive. One would think Halbig knows what he’s talking about. If I hadn’t read his list of supposed holes in the story, I might’ve thought he understood school shootings. I’ve Googled Halbig and seen many websites citing his claims, but no refutation from him; in other words, as far as I can tell he did say the Sandy Hook massacre never happened. If he did say that, he’s an idiot; impressive background or not, Halbig doesn’t seem to know the least bit about the realities of school shootings.
Now, a little about me. I’m not a school shooting expert. But I am a 20 year police officer who spent most of my time on night shift patrol in rough areas. I served several years as an adjunct Active Shooter instructor, teaching other officers how to respond to mass shootings. As an instructor I attended advanced active shooter training and played the role of the suspect in numerous exercises. I’m also a 25 year veteran of the Marine Reserve and Army National Guard, and served in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have a pretty good background in tactics and a decent appreciation of the dynamics of mass shootings.
I’m going to address Halbig’s list of supposed Sandy Hook inaccuracies one by one. I’d ask you to consider my points, compare my background with Halbig’s, and decide for yourself if Halbig’s claims hold any water.
HALBIG’S LIST OF CLAIMS, AND MY REFUTATIONS
Point 1: “When the police arrived at Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHES) that morning, they parked ¼ mile from the school’s front door instead of doing what first responders are supposed to do in an active shooter event, which is to neutralize the threat as quickly as possible so as to save as many lives as possible.”
When the official Sandy Hook report was released, I also heard rumors of officers parking a quarter mile away. But some of the responding officers have publicly stated they stopped in the school parking lot, rather than a faraway safe spot.
“They made it in under three minutes, arriving in the parking lot while gunfire could still be heard. ‘I got out of the car and grabbed my rifle and it stopped for a second,’ Officer Chapman said. ‘But then we heard more popping. You could tell it was rifle fire. And it was up so close, it sounded like it was coming from outside. So we were all looking around for someone to shoot back at.’”
Are those officers lying? I highly doubt it. I’ve worked for three police departments, two tiny and one which was among the largest in the country. I’ve also worked with police officers from all over the world as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. One thing I know about the vast majority of American cops: when shots are being fired, we charge toward them. One of the proudest moments of my police career occurred in Kosovo. A local police officer was shot at a hotel, and frantic radio reports rang out. I sprinted toward the hotel. Officers from some other countries weren’t too eager to approach that hotel, and a few went the other way. But Americans charged straight into the danger, as I’ve seen them do over and over here in America. I don’t believe for a moment that police officers in Newtown, upon hearing reports of a school massacre, all chose to park a safe distance away.
Besides that, the official report says this: “Upon the receipt of the first 911 call, law enforcement was immediately dispatched to the school. It was fewer than four minutes from the time the first 911 call was received until the first police officer arrived at SHES. It was fewer than five minutes from the time the first 911 call was received until the shooter killed himself. It was fewer than six minutes from the time the first police officer arrived on SHES property to the time the first police officer entered the school building.”
Doesn’t sound to me like officers had to run a quarter mile from their cars to the school.
Point 2: “Paramedics and EMTs (emergency medical technicians) were not allowed to enter the school. Instead they were kept waiting in the Sandy Hook fire station nearby, 500 yards down the road from SHES.”
This is kind of a “Wow, no kidding” statement. EMS protocol has traditionally been to remain out of the immediate danger area until it’s been declared safe by law enforcement. So it’s believable that EMS wasn’t allowed into the school until police cleared it. Whether that was a bad call or not (I think it was), it’s not the least bit suspicious.
Point 3: “Trauma helicopters, which can provide the quickest and best medical services in an emergency, were not sent to Sandy Hook. Life Star, the medical helicopter service at Danbury Hospital’s Trauma Center, told Halbig ‘we were never called, never asked.’”
In decades as a cop, having been on many shootings, stabbings and major accidents, I can only recall medical helicopters being called in on a few occasions. Helicopters require cleared landing zones, which often means clearing traffic from vital roads. This can’t always be done in an urban area, or at least it can’t always be done quickly. Transportation by road is sometimes faster than by air, when the time needed to get the helicopters into the air, clear a landing zone and move casualties to the LZ is taken into account. Ground ambulances can usually get casualties to a closeby hospital before a helicopter can be brought in.
And there are only so many helicopters available. Even if they had been called, some (maybe most) of the casualties would have been transported by ground anyway.
Point 4: “Where were the ambulances to transport the wounded to hospitals?”
Didn’t he just answer his own question? The ambulances were at the Newtown fire station, as mentioned in point 2.
Point 5: “Why did police declare 26 people to be dead within the first 11 minutes of the shooting, when according to Connecticut law, only a doctor can declare someone to be legally dead?”
What difference does that make? I’ve been on plenty of scenes where cops declared someone “DRT”, meaning “Dead Right There”. That’s not an official pronouncement, it’s the officer reporting what’s obvious to him or her. I once found a man who had been dead in his house for at least a week, and I reported him dead on the radio. The man was badly decomposed, obviously dead, but someone else still had to make the official pronouncement. On another call we had someone decapitated by an air bag. Yes we called them dead, and yes someone else had to make the official pronouncement. That’s not suspicious, it’s just legal procedure.
Point 6: “Why did the FBI classify the Sandy Hook massacre? This has never been done before. Even the Columbine School massacre was not classified information. To this day, the FBI report on Sandy Hook remains classified information, not releasable to the public.”
I don’t know anything about the FBI’s report. I do know that the FBI’s report isn’t the determining factor in whether or not this incident really happened. Local and state officers responded and investigated, and their report has been released. Some of the responding officers have spoken publicly about the incident. Radio and 911 transcripts have been released. Parents have made statements. So if the FBI doesn’t release their report, suddenly the entire incident was faked?
Point 7: “Why did the State of Connecticut wait ELEVEN whole months to issue its official final report on the Sandy Hook shootings to the American public? Note that the final report does not include the FBI’s still-classified report.”
Why did the investigation take eleven months? Probably because it was extremely complicated, with two murder scenes, one of which was more complex than any those officers had previously encountered. And that each of the twenty-seven murders had to be individually and exhaustively detailed. And that there was no rush to finish, because there was nobody alive to prosecute, so no concern about a “speedy trial”. And that the investigators knew their report would be torn apart by legions of “truthers” intent on exploiting anything from typographical errors to 30-second timeline mistakes.
So officers took a long time to issue a report on one of the worst tragedies America has ever experienced? It’s a conspiracy! And what would have happened if they had issued the report quickly? “Truthers” would have considered that evidence the entire incident was pre-planned, with the report written beforehand.
Point 8: “Police transmissions don’t lie because they are made by sworn and trained law enforcement officers. On the morning of Dec. 14, 2012, recorded police transmissions said ‘We have multiple weapons inside the [SH] classroom — a rifle and a shotgun.’ But nobody could find the shotgun in the school. Instead, a shotgun was found in the black Honda parked outside the school.”
Oh, brother. This statement makes me question Halbig’s exalted background as a police officer. Any cop who has been on more than one dangerous, adrenaline-charged scene knows officers make mistakes. Suspects are misidentified. People see things that aren’t really there. Cops call out bad directions (I was famous for that). Someone yells something that turns out to not be true and others repeat it. How many officers have reported seeing a weapon, suspicious object, suspicious person or whatever, and later found out they were wrong? Does anyone recall the search for the nonexistent third suspect at the North Hollywood Shootout?
A friend of mine arrived on a disturbance one night. Within seconds of arriving he was on the radio saying, “We really need an ambulance. I have a guy here with his eyeball hanging out, I think he’s been shot in the head.” When I arrived the ambulance was leaving, just as officers entered an apartment searching for the suspect. One of the officers had a shotgun. We found the suspect, and determined he had kicked the victim repeatedly in the head with cowboy boots. No gun was involved.
I went to the hospital to check on the victim. The paramedics who transported him not only told the emergency room staff that the victim had been shot in the head, but that “shots were still being fired when we were leaving the scene.” When I found the victim in a shock room, a doctor was standing over him explaining to a group of doctors in training, “Looks like the entry wound is here and exit is here. We’re going to treat him with [etc. etc.]”. I told the doctor he hadn’t been shot, he had been kicked in the head. The doctor was surprised. Later he told me I was right, there was no gunshot wound. And what the officer thought was an eyeball was actually a flap of forehead skin that had been torn free and was hanging over the victim’s face.
When I talked to the paramedics later, it turned out one of them had spread the “they were shooting as we left” story. He just got scared; he had a patient who looked like he had been shot, he saw officers with pistols and a shotgun going into an apartment, and perceived something that simply didn’t happen. Paramedics are just as professional as cops, just as interested in determining facts. But this one made a gigantic mistake, which was then repeated by several other people including a doctor. Professionals screw up sometimes.
I haven’t heard the radio traffic about two weapons, but if it happened, so what? I’m not the least bit surprised an officer called out something that turned out to be incorrect. It happens all the time. And it’s usually a result of adrenaline, fear, confusion, conflicting witness reports and everything else that cops encounter at high-stress scenes. If Halbig doesn’t know that, then I suspect that during his time as a “cop” he rode a desk far more than a patrol car.
Besides that, it’s pretty damn ridiculous for Halbig to cite the professionalism of police officers while simultaneously accusing every police officer involved in the Sandy Hook investigation of being part of this “conspiracy”.
Point 9: “At 9:45 AM that day, a police officer found a surviving kindergarten-aged girl in the hallway. The officer sent her back into Room 8 — a crime scene with students and teachers shot dead. What police officer would do that?”
Probably an officer who thought, “The room we just searched is clear, but the rest of the school isn’t. I don’t have extra people around to guard this girl or take her to safety. And there may be a suspect still loose in the school. So I should send her back into a safe room, and report her location on the radio.” Ordering her back into that room was probably the best bad option out of a list of bad options.
This comment reminds me of a debate I had before I deployed to Iraq. According to traditional military doctrine, you never, under any circumstances, evacuated a wounded soldier with a dead soldier. In the early years of the Iraq War some soldiers tried to hold on to that doctrine. But it didn’t always make sense. If a Humvee was hit by an IED and all the crewmen were killed or wounded, and they were under small arms fire, it wouldn’t make sense to have other soldiers make multiple trips into the kill zone when they can evacuate everyone at once. You make one trip in, load everyone you can, and get out. Sometimes war just sucks, and you have to do what you have to do.
In active shooter situations, we expect to step over the dead and ignore wounded who are screaming in agony and begging for help. We can expect some of those wounded to be women and children. The first officers on scene have to focus on finding the shooter and stopping the killing; if that means we have to send a little girl into a room full of dead people because it’s the only safe place, that’s what we have to do. In a situation where everything sucks, sometimes we have to make the least sucky decision. That’s the brutal reality.
Point 10: “Similarly, that morning, two Connecticut state troopers entered Room 10 and found an unharmed boy hiding in the bathroom. The troopers ordered the boy to stay in the room — a room with dead people. ‘That’s not police protocol.’”
See my above comment. Sure, that’s not protocol. So what? Does Halbig, with his alleged police background, think cops or anyone else always follow protocol? Amazingly enough, sometimes people don’t exactly follow the training they’ve received. I’m sure everyone reading this would be shocked – shocked! – to hear that teenagers still drive like idiots even after being taught not to. Or that soldiers don’t always hit their targets even after extensive marksmanship training. Or that cops, in the most terrifying, intense, chaotic, confusing scene they’ve ever been on, when they’re experiencing survival stress reactions like tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, time speeding up or slowing down, enhanced visual acuity and loss of manual dexterity, might not follow their training to the letter.
Cops are human. I can pretty much guarantee that none of officers at Newtown had responded to anything like the Sandy Hook massacre before. In the heat of the moment, they didn’t exactly follow protocol. Surprised? Me neither.
Point 11: “’Having investigated and given expert testimony on many school shootings, Halbig says ‘I know what tears look like.’ But the parents of slain Sandy Hook children, as we’ve noted here on FOTM, did not cry. (In the now famous case of Robbie Parker, the father of allegedly slain 6-year-old Emilie, he went from laughing and joking to pretending to choke back tears in the blink of an eye.)”
And I’d like to know how Halbig or anyone else knows the parent mentioned above was “pretending to choke back tears”. I’ve been around plenty of family members of murder victims, and it’s not unusual for them to go through intense mood swings.
Point 12: “Sandy Hook’s medical examiner Dr. Wayne Carver refused to let the parents see the bodies of their slain children, and instead gave them photos of the bodies, which is ‘unheard of.’ Halbig knows about the inconsolable grief of parents and is himself a parent. Parents whose children had been shot dead ‘would kick the door down’ demanding to see the bodies.”
I’ve never been on a scene where family members were allowed to see the bodies of murder victims. When the bodies are still where they fell, the area around them needs to remain as undisturbed as possible in order to preserve evidence. Until a body is examined and autopsied, the body itself is evidence that needs to be preserved. People not involved in the investigation aren’t allowed to see murder victims at will, they generally won’t see the body until it’s released to a funeral home after the autopsy.
And reasonable people don’t go kicking doors down to see dead bodies. Yes, I’ve been involved in a murder investigation where a mob did try to reach a dead body at an emergency room, and I know of another case where a mob chased a hearse with a dead accident victim to a funeral home. Neither of those cases involved reasonable people. I’ve been on many other murder scenes where family members patiently followed our every instruction, even if they were distraught.
Point 13: “Why was Sandy Hook Elementary School torn down? This is not the case with any of the other schools where shootings had taken place, including Columbine School.”
In this case, the community decided they didn’t want to continue using the school where 20 children and 6 educators were murdered. I don’t find that particularly surprising. Columbine High School wasn’t torn down, but its library, where the majority of victims died, was walled off.
Point 14: “Who installed the new security system at SHES? This should be a matter of public record.”
If it was a contract made by the city, then I imagine it is a matter of public record. What difference does that make? The security system didn’t enable or stop the massacre, and the school’s locked doors were an easily surmountable obstacle to Lanza. If we don’t know who installed the security system, does that signify something?
Point 15: “The shooting-to-death of 26 people would leave 45-60 gallons of blood. Who cleaned it up? What biohazard company was hired to clean the crime scene?”
Wait…what? According to medicinenet.com, a 150-pound body contains approximately 5.5 quarts of blood. With 26 victims that’s 143 quarts. Four quarts make a gallon, so 143 quarts of blood equals 35.75 gallons. And that’s if they were all adults. Children’s bodies hold less blood.
But that doesn’t matter, because when people are shot to death all their blood doesn’t automatically drain from their bodies. Halbig has either never been on a shooting murder scene or he’s completely forgotten what they look like. People bleed out because they have massive injuries and their hearts pump blood out from those injuries. When the heart stops pumping, the blood loss stops. I’ve seen some big pools of blood, but other than in a few serial murderer cases never heard of a murder victim being totally drained of blood.
Yes, that would have been a hell of a mess to clean up, even without the mythical “45-60 gallons of blood”. Was it cleaned up afterward? I don’t know. The school was never reopened, so did it need to be cleaned?
Point 16: “Why is there not even one lawsuit by a Sandy Hook parent against SHES for negligence? Halbig has never ever seen a school shooting without parents suing the school for negligence.”
Is it possible the parents really don’t blame the school for the mentally ill murderer who shot his way through locked doors, killed educators who tried to save their children, then murdered as many people as he could before shooting himself?
Point 17: “Why are there so many fund-raisers for the Sandy Hook shootings? Halbig: ‘I’ve never seen so many fund-raisers’ in the case of Sandy Hook. One fundraising alone, by United Way, netted $17 million, from which ‘every [SH] parent got a big chunk of money.’”
Okay. People donated funds to assist families whose children were brutally murdered. Obviously the incident never happened, because the United Way and others raised money. This proves that United Way was involved in the conspiracy.
I’m just not seeing a reason to throw out a conspiracy flag because Americans raised money to help families who had just suffered unimaginable tragedy.
Point 18: “Alleged shooter Adam Lanza, 20, is said to have Asperger syndrome — a high-functioning (in academics) form of austism. Halbig points out, however, that like those with autism, children with Asperger have ‘very very poor motor skills’ and ‘very poor muscle tone.’ How did Asperger-afflicted Adam Lanza with ‘very poor muscle tone’ carry a rifle, a shotgun, a handgun, and bullets? How did Asperger-afflicted Adam Lanza with ‘very very poor motor skills’ shoot 26 people dead — not wounded — in less than five minutes, firing one bullet roughly every two seconds?”
Unfortunately, I know a lot about autism. My youngest son is moderately autistic. Anyone who thinks everyone on the autism spectrum is affected the same doesn’t understand autism. Yes, some people with autism have poor muscle tone and poor motor skills. That doesn’t mean they can’t operate a weapon. My five year old son could probably hold and fire a rifle (his motor skills are just fine, by the way). There is no reason to believe Lanza was so weak physically that he couldn’t operate a rifle, or carry spare ammunition.
And does Halbig, who is supposed to be such an expert on school shootings, really think anyone needs real weapon-handling skills to murder a bunch of unarmed children? All they need to do is operate the weapon. Unarmed children, especially kindergarteners, aren’t going to do anything more than run or hide. Many would probably freeze in disbelief. Unarmed adults aren’t real hard to kill either, as we’ve seen in many active shooter incidents. Shooting defenseless, terrified people at close range doesn’t require Delta Force skills or even average physical strength.
Besides that, we already know children with little strength can operate an “assault rifle”. We’ve seen pictures and videos of it.
Halbig’s conclusions: “’In my professional opinion [as a school safety consultant], I suspect Sandy Hook was a scripted event that took place, in the planning for two or 2½ years.’…Halbig does not believe any child was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.”
Halbig sounds like a typical “truther”; he assumes our government, the same government absolutely incapable of even putting a health care website together, can pull off a gigantic conspiracy requiring thousands of willing participants. And these participants wouldn’t all be shadowy, ghostlike federal government Jason Bourne spies, either. Local cops and firefighters, the very people who serve and live in the small community where the massacre was “staged”, would have to willingly lie to the entire nation about it. Children who attended the school would have to lie. All the teachers would have to lie. Local officials would have to willingly play along with a narrative they know is false. People who live near the school would have to lie about hearing gunfire and having children knocking on their doors asking for help. And all these various disparate people, all the cops, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, neighbors, parents, reporters, all the thousands of people associated with the incident, are all in on the conspiracy? They were all part of this “scripted event”, they all knew in advance it was fake? Or did they spontaneously jump into the conspiracy at the first opportunity?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure many people did immediately recognize an opportunity to exploit the tragedy for political gain. Some of them doubtless believe in the morality of their cause, some others probably see it as a way to consolidate their own or their party’s power. But exploiting a tragedy isn’t the same thing as faking it.
The bottom line for me is that I don’t believe a bunch of regular, everyday Americans are lying about this. Why would they? Why would guys just like the cops I’ve served with for decades, teachers like my mom, sister and wife, and paramedics like the guys I’ve seen frantically trying to save strangers on many scenes, willingly lie about this? According to Halbig and every truther who agrees with him, not a single child died at Sandy Hook that day. So every cop on that scene lied about dead children they knew weren’t there. Every paramedic who claimed to have treated a victim knows there were no victims. Every neighbor who reported hearing gunfire knows not a shot was fired. Everyone who worked at Sandy Hook, every student there, knows nobody was murdered. But they’re all in on the lie anyway. Because they all passionately want gun control. Or something like that.
Halbig is reportedly going to travel to Newtown himself, so he can ask questions “eyeball to eyeball”. I’d highly suggest he carry a first aid kit. Because if I had lost a son or daughter at Sandy Hook, and some “truther” came around accusing me of lying about the brutal murder of my own child, I know exactly how I’d react.
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Tags: conspiracy, hoax, sandy hook, truthers