CNN's Anderson Cooper is taking one of the Newtown conspiracy theorists head-on.
Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy has proposed that the tragic mass killing of 20 children and six faculty members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT was all a rouse. Tracy theorized that the shooting was put together by the American media and government to expedite gun control legislation. He is just one of a slew of naysayers who have all come under fire for their claims.
“In terms of saying that Sandy Hook — the Newtown massacre — did not take place, is really an oversimplification of what I actually said,” Tracy said in response to his critics. “I said that I think that there may very well be elements of that event that are synthetic to some degree, that are somewhat contrived. I think that, overall, the media really did drop the ball. I don’t think that they got to the bottom of some of the things that may have taken place there.”
Cooper came to the defense of those affected by the Sandy Hook shootings on Friday (Jan. 16) after families had reported that they were receiving negative comments, messages and phone calls in their times of grief. He also reported that one family was forced to remove their Facebook memorial after receiving offensive comments Tracy then took to his personal blog in response to Anderson's report with the headline, "Does Anderson Cooper Want James Tracey and/or His Family Members Harmed?"
Cooper rebutted Tracy once again last night (Jan. 15), citing Tracy's status as an educator as the primary reasoning for his reports. He also reported that Tracy declined to appear on his show.
"It's one thing for ill-informed people to take to the Internet to voice their paranoia. There are always these types of people," he said. "But it's another for an associate professor at a university to do it."
Though he refused to appear on CNN, Tracy released a statement concerning his claims:
"I apologize for any additional anguish and grief my remarks-and how they have been taken out of context and misrepresented-may have caused the families who've lost loved ones on December 14. At the same time I believe the most profound memorial we can give the children and educators who lost their lives on that day is to identify and interrogate the specific causes of their tragic and untimely demise."