Tom Ready: Finally, a Sandy Hook truther you can vote for (if you live in Colorado).

Finally, a Sandy Hook Truther You Can Vote for (if You Live in Colorado)

Finally, a Sandy Hook Truther You Can Vote for (if You Live in Colorado)

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 12 2014 8:26 AM

Finally, a Sandy Hook Truther You Can Vote for (if You Live in Colorado)

The conspiracy web reaches Colorado

Photo by Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

It was almost almost exactly one year ago that the voters of Colorado's 3rd Senate District voted to recall Democrat Angela Giron. It was a lopsided result, much bigger than the one that took out the state Senate president, a 14-point landslide against one of the Democrats who'd represented a fairly conservative district yet dared to vote for gun safety bills in the wake of the Aurora and Newtown shootings.* Giron represented almost all of Pueblo County, which voted for Obama-Biden in 2008 and 2012 but can send conservatives to local offices.*

But Tom Ready might be an insurgent too far. He's running against an incumbent Democrat, Sal Pace, and wasn't expected to win even before their Sept. 10 debate. Pace challenged Ready to explain a Facebook post (now inaccessible) in which he shared theories that the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings were hoaxes perpetuated by the government in order to force a gun-grabbing bill through Congress. (Connecticut and Colorado did pass gun restrictions in the wake of the killings. Far more states loosened their restrictions.) Ready took the bait. "If you recall," he said, "there was a picture of a man walking in, whose daughter had died. He was smiling and joking. When he walked into the room, he turned, and all of a sudden he had tears in his eyes. Why? I question that. You saw these pictures. And, you know, there's a lot of stuff that floats around Facebook. Whether it's true or not, it's called an open discussion." 


The Pueblo Chieftan's Peter Strescino has more, but doesn't explain the conspiracy theory that Ready was referring to. It concerns Robbie Parker, whose daughter Emilie was murdered in Newtown, and who—before one press conference—exhaled and smiled before steeling himself. As Sandy Hook kookery goes, this is pretty derivative. Eighteen years ago, after former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown was killed in a plane crash, a video of Clinton seemingly laughing then "fake-crying" when he spotted a camera was so popular it made it onto Rush Limbaugh's TV show. The thinking is that anyone who is not visibly sad at a sad event may have in fact been behind the tragedy.

Mind-bendingly dumb, right? Dumber than you know. It was one thing when Clinton revealed an insufficient pathos. Many of the Sandy Hook truthers believe that "crisis actors" were the people seen on TV, claiming to be mourning their dead children. Yes, crisis actors, professionals who are tasked with promoting vast conspiracies, yet are so incompetent that they'll slip up in ways that can be DVR'd by Infowars readers.

I can't soft-peddle the strangeness of this stuff. Sandy Hook trutherism came across my Facebook feed (which is a reliable trapeze net of weirdness) again after ISIS's murder of James Foley. There are not one but many videos claiming that Alex Israel, who knew Adam Lanza and appeared on TV to discuss him, is a crisis actress later tapped to play the sister of Foley. Yes, the two women have different voices, noses, bodies, and lives, but the truthers have fonts and editing! (One truther video goes on to claim that the crisis actor who "plays" Foley's brother was tapped to portray Elliot Rodger, the Santa Barbara killer).*


Metabunk has done a number on this, and to be fair, our Colorado candidate doesn't seem to have bought into the exciting sequel to the Sandy Hook conspiracy. Like all those random state representatives who say dumb things and make news, he is unlikely to rise much further in politics. But a year ago, his part of Colorado went to the polls to oust a Democrat who bought into the post-Sandy Hook "let's do something about guns" parade. You can see why he got cocky.

*Correction, Sept. 12, 2014: This post originally misidentified the Obama-Biden victory of 2012 as the Obama-Biden victory of 2016. While I may end up writing in that ticket two years from now, it will not likely be on the ballot. This post also misspelled Newtown and Elliot Rodger's first name.

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.