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Sunday, December 21, 2014

WE STILL NEED TO TALK ABOUT SANDY HOOK: CENSORSHIP SHALL NOT STAND

December 21, 2014

It's been a few weeks since the release of the controversial documentary "We Need To Talk About Sandy Hook" and efforts to suppress the film have been ongoing.  While I have my own opinions regarding the documentary and the facts it provides viewers, that isn't relevant to this article.  What is relevant, is the clear and steadfast action by a small minority with alleged connections to "big-media" to quell the documentary simply because this group doesn't like the content contained within the film.


Let's be clear about one thing;  this was a large, collaborative work, listed on a major film website with reviews and accolades.  This is not a singe-party production, and even if it were, that wouldn't change the view of this article.  Despite the controversy over this film and its collective body of work asking relevant and though-provoking questions during its nearly 3 hours of run-time, there is the undertone in the cyber-sphere that simply because the content itself is called into question, it should be banned world-wide.  Censored.  Forbidden to be seen or published on the largest video sharing platforms we all know and use (to avoid any conflict of interest, the specific names of the video sharing sites will be omitted for this article, however, it isn't hard to guess which ones I am referring to).

Much of this article, stems from an editorial / news article run by the Newtown Post-Examiner entitled "Sandy Hook:  HONR Trumps Hoaxer" on 12/6/2014.  In that article, the Newtown Post-Examiner (herein referred to as NPE) calls the producers' claims in the documentary "offensive, slanderous and grossly inaccurate content" and that the producers, affectionately called "Hoaxers" are up in arms over efforts to wipe the "content off the face of the worldwide web."

The article in the NPE assigns the label "Hoaxer" to anyone that believes that the "2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHES) massacre was actually a staged U.S. government plot designed to facilitate a strict gun control agenda. Although they prefer to be called “Truthers,” this lunatic fringe of conspiracy theorists has shown no interest in seeking the truth."  Whether or not one believes they are a "truther" or "hoaxer" really is irrelevant.  It is the method of censorship which is of particular concern.  The NPE article continues on to call truthers a "faith-based cult" and that they "believe in the "hoax" (referring to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School) and any evidence that suggests otherwise is regarded as blasphemy."
It is easy to attack those who are still seeking answers because the official narrative seems simple enough to follow-along;  a deranged, mentally ill Adama Lanza had access to his mother's legally purchased firearms and ammunition, he armed himself with over 30 pounds of guns and ammunition, and went on a shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School without warning, or any apparent reason.  Images released of Lanza depicted him as a wide-eyed psychopathic killer leaving no doubt in any "rationally thinking" person that the story happened exactly as it was reported in the mainstream media.

While it's true that ever since the event at Sandy Hook unfolded that fateful day in December of 2012 that a slew of videos and articles started to emerge questioning the plausibility of the official narrative, it is a fundamental right in a free and open society to be able to exchange ideas, question the news as it is presented and ask those in authority pressing questions so that the truth is actually borne to light.  Unfortunately, in the case of Sandy Hook, transparency has not been the model, and thus, the event became shrouded in mystery, and rightfully so.  After all much of the official narrative still appears to have more questions than answers, and any attempts to obtain factual evidence regarding the alleged crime are met with fierce resistance and redaction.  One only needs to look at the now infamous "document dump" of the investigation files which are for the most part unusable to obtain any real information due to heavy redaction practices.  Now while it is understandable, and even reasonable to protect the identifying features and actual crime scene images of the children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there are many items that truly don't bear this same level of necessary protections.  But before I go further, a few items need to be made clear:

1.  It is my opinion, that the victim's families should enjoy a certain level of privacy.  They should not be stalked, nor visited at their home or place of employment.  
2.  That said, like any journalist might do in circumstances like this, making contact for questions is not inappropriate.  However, if the family goes on record publicly that they will not be entertaining any media questions, then that is the end of it.  But that isn't the case for some families of the Sandy Hook event.  
3.  Some of the victim's families have been very public (for the most part; there are some families who have outright denied public comments, and their privacy should be respected).  Interviews on most major television news programs were done extensively.  Robbie Parker being the most notable, with other families not far behind in media appearances.  
4.  Persons also involved in the event, like Kaitlin Roig, have gone on speaking tours and enjoyed fairly high-level notoriety based on these speaking events such as being featured in Glamour magazine for instance.  
5.  Multiple family members of the victims have been on a gun-control crusade, visiting and providing testimony at Congressional Hearings, meeting with President Obama and having the unusual mode of transportation for the visit;  the President's own aircraft, Air Force One.
6.  There is presently a lawsuit filed against the manufacturer of the firearm allegedly used at the Sandy Hook event;  Bushmaster, among others, has been named by 5 of the 20 children's estates in what will be an attempt at a "Wrongful Death" and "Loss of Consortium" civil case.  This lawsuit was filed at nearly the 11th hour, two full years later,  keeping the tragedy at Sandy Hook alive, rather than allowing it to close and become a part of history (as dark as that history may be).
Having made the above clarifications and observations, there are significant arguments to be made that the narrative provided by the mainstream media as well as government officials in the State of Connecticut, are less than forthcoming with facts, leaving much in the way of speculation at times, while on other accounts, the statements from some of the victim's families and people like Kaitlin Roig have been conflicting in fact and content.  

Since the event multiple independent media outlets have made attempts to obtain factual information only to be denied access to interviewing relevant witnesses, viewing the scene, or speaking with first responders.  Further it still til this day is nearly impossibly to properly utilize the investigative process with the data and facts provided in the "Report of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury on the Shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and 36 Yogananda Street, December 14, 2012." And said inquiries aren't coming from average "Joe Six Pack's" sitting in their basements;  there are in fact active Law Enforcement personnel, medical professionals and other Emergency Responders who question the official narrative as well.

According to NPE, the author states that "although the Internet has been saturated with this nonsense for almost two years, it’s been largely ignored by most clear thinking Americans."  I tend to think this remark is overreaching and is meritless, and the statement is an opinion, not fact.  

The fact is, the event at Sandy Hook Elementary School has garnered a high level of attention likely related to the vast amount of conflicting and confusing information put out by officials and local / national media.  To look at it another way, if the Sandy Hook Elementary School videos and articles were such bunk, then why is there such an enormous audience for the information?  Certainly, if most "clear thinking American's" believe that the official narrative of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on 12/14/2012 was accurate, any and all videos and/or articles disputing or questioning the official narrative would in fact be simply dismissed.  The high number of views on such videos, the amount of conversations on alternative media websites, as well as mainstream / non-conspiracy-based websites indicate that there is a large segment of the United States and elsewhere, that simply don't believe the official narrative completely.  

Despite the large segment of citizens around the Nation who simply seek the most transparent revelations and facts regarding Sandy Hook, it appears that those who are asking questions about the official narrative are in fact being attacked themselves.  As the NPE reports, the main effort to scrub the internet of inquisitive videos and articles regarding Sandy Hook appears to be "one humble entity: the HONR Network." Further, NPE reports that one only needs to "simply click the link to one of dozen previously working Hoaxer videos on (social media / video sharing websites) and you may stumble across this notice:  This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by HONR Network."
Curious as to why "HONR Network" and those behind it would be filing copyright claims, we did visit their website.  It appears that on the surface, their mission is simple enough;  to allow those who have suffered a tragedy to grieve in peace, surrounded by an atmosphere of compassion.  However, upon looking at the website a little closer, the following excerpts in their mission statement gives the appearance of a group that doesn't want questions asked to anyone but Officials or "Authorities."  For example, the HONR Network states:

1.  "In the aftermath of such horrific tragedies as the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Aurora Theatre, Santa Barbara, and even the Boston Bombing, an offensive element of society, known as 'truthers' have seized the opportunity to advance their conspiracy theorist mindset upon the masses by posting a litany of various forms of speculation and disinformation on (video sharing) and social media sites."

2.  "We refer to these individuals as 'hoaxers', because the core of their belief is that these violent tragedies were simply hoaxes, perpetrated by the government in order to more easily limit civil liberties, especially those involving the second amendment."

3.  "Most members of society are allowed to grieve in peace, surrounded by an atmosphere of compassion. This has not been the case for many family members of victims who lost their lives to tragic, highly publicized mass killings. It isn't fair or acceptable. Action must be taken to restore peace and tranquility to those personally affected by the despicable cruelty cast upon them by individuals acting under the 'truth movement'."
The HONR website continues on about aggressively seeking out both criminal and civil legal prosecution on anyone who harasses or abuses any victim or family member of any high-profile tragedy in whatever capacity the law allows.

Now as I stated earlier, I agree that victims of any crime, should be given the appropriate space to have peace, grieve or seek appropriate counseling, etc. without fear of harassment.  I stand by that statement.  Additionally, the purpose of this article isn't to attack the HONR Network although I don't necessarily agree with their tactics, particularly as it applies to the documentary "We Need To Talk About Sandy Hook."  I watched the documentary, and found it to be informative, as well as though-provoking, without actually attacking or harassing any particular person specifically that wasn't already in the public spotlight.  

Additionally, while victims of crimes always have the right to privacy those rights fade somewhat once stepping into the mainstream media for repeated press briefings, network special interviews or exclusive highlight reels.  Further, appearing as a public speaker as a "victim" of any event, going on radio shows to provide details of the event or to take questions / answers, or appearing before Congress to lobby for any cause, or appearing as a "feature" or "cover" for any non-news magazine or publication also places that person into the "public" arena vs. private citizen.  Does that mean that the person/victim loses their rights?  Of course not, but it does change their status from "grieving victim" to more of a "personality," "lobbyist" or even "fashion model" in some rare instances.

Equally as interesting, is that while the current trend appears to slap a "copyright" violation against anyone who uploads the documentary "We Need To Talk About Sandy Hook" to popular video sharing sites, there is a bigger question to be asked:  WHY are the families not outraged at the high-exposure that this crime has received.  After all, if not for the 24/7 major news outlets running the story about Sandy Hook repeatedly for weeks, months, years, this event would have faded off.  Instead, it was pushed into America's homes via nearly every major network and cable news agencies.  Why is there no outrage there?  

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was in everyone's faces for at least a month or more, it became obvious that there were flaws in the narratives being broadcast.  It is no small wonder that questions were going to be asked.  As long as there are watchdog groups protecting "victims and their families" out there, why not start at the source when the story is obviously being incorrectly reported?  (I don't think I need to go over the hundreds of mis-reported items; a simple search can yield hundreds of such examples)

I was not personally at Sandy Hook Elementary School on 12/14/2012.  To that extent, when trying to make sense of a senseless story, all we have to go on are what the mainstream news outlets push to us initially, and ultimately, whatever documents are released by investigating agencies to the general public.  When those documents are heavily redacted for less-than-clear reasons, it again raises more questions than it does to provide answers.  And in the end, that is really what honest "truthers" are seeking;  factual answers of a senseless crime.  I take personal offense to the term "Hoaxer" as I have never stated that Sandy Hook was a hoax as fact.  I am in the majority of true-blooded Americans who expect transparency in criminal investigations so that all facts are out on the table (barring a few redactions for personal privacy).  Something happened at Sandy Hook... but exactly WHAT, is the unknown based on the evidence we all have in front of us.

And while yes, private video sharing sites have the right to authorize what ultimately is allowed on their websites, the filing of false or "questionable" DCMA claims, copyright strikes, or other aggressive actions that I will not mention for security reasons, is in fact quickly approaching attempted censorship.  I don't like every video, documentary or news article, yet, I have a choice whether or not to view it.  If you the viewer don't care for the content of a video you have a remedy;  DON'T WATCH IT!

Likewise, unless information is so grossly non-factual or damaging to a person, to the extent that it is libelous, there are civil tort remedies already in place.  Additionally, any group or organization that is self-appointed to "Police" the internet is crossing into dangerous territory as well; as already stated, persons who feel that there have been libelous statements made already have legal remedies available.  And there are already laws in every state that deal with "stalking" and other harassment type issues.  To add or create self-appointed "Morality Police" is a misguided venture at best, and Unconstitutional at worst.  

If you don't like a video, don't watch it.  But to paint every single person who questions publicly the facts of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on 12/14/2012 as "Hoaxers" is doing the very thing that groups like HONR claims to frown upon; in this case however, they are simply targeting a group THEY don't care for.
-SA