Farah Sheikh of New York, takes part in a candlelight vigil in Times Square, for the victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting, in New York, December 14, 2012. A heavily armed gunman opened fire on school children and staff at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday, killing at least 26 people, including 20 children, in the latest in a series of shooting rampages that have tormented the United States this year. (Photo : Reuters)
The Florida professor responsible for circulating conspiracy theories that the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. was a hoax now admits some people undoubtedly died, the Daily Mail reports. But James Tracy, a Florida Atlantic University tenured communications professor, still isn't willing to fully concede the tragedy occurred the way it was reported.
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"There are certainly people that lost their loved ones, there is no doubt of that," Tracy said in an interview with WLRN in Miami.
"If a similar tragedy were visited upon me and my family, I would be beside myself. But I think one of my ways of healing would be attempting to find out what went wrong, where was the failure," he reportedly said.
The 47-year-old professor, who teaches a class on conspiracy theories, recently suggested on his blog - memoryholeblog.com - that the attack didn't happen the way the media portrayed it, and may not have happened period.
"While it sounds like an outrageous claim, one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place-at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation's news media have described," he wrote in the blog post.
Speaking in his interview with WLRN, Tracy refused to apologize for his comments, instead turning the conversation once again to just how his conspiracy theory was bolstered by the way the media covered the massacre.
"The news media swooped into Newtown very briefly to cover the tragedy in a very vampiric sort of way, then swooped back out again without giving us any real answers," he said.
"Then, they immediately went into the grieving mode. I'm not saying there's not a place for that. But if we want to actually pay homage to the events, we want to find out what actually went wrong. That's the greatest honor we can give them."
Tracy's claim is based solely on the early conflicting, erroneous reports from the crime scene in Newtown. The professor uses the mass confusion as proof that the truth regarding the shooting has not been reported.
The conflicting reports Tracy references as evidence of conspiracy claimed police were either searching for or had two suspects in custody. The story then progressed to Ryan Lanza being the lone gunman in the shooting, but Ryan, the brother of actual shooter Adam Lanza, was found at his Hoboken, N.J. home, two states away from the unfurling tragedy.
Tracy responded to calls for his termination from the university, saying: "I am sure [FAU is] receiving emails that are emotionally driven, but I would think if FAU wishes to revoke my tenure and terminate me, that's a blow against academics' being able to speak their minds on the events of the day."
For its part, FAU quickly distanced itself from Tracy following his antagonizing screed.
"James Tracy does not speak for the university. The website on which his post appeared is not affiliated with FAU in any way," school spokesman Lisa Metcalf said to the Sun Sentinel.
The morning of Dec. 14, 20-year-old Adam Lanza reportedly shot his mother Nancy four times as she lay in bed, packed at least three of her guns, and then drove her car to the Connecticut K-4 elementary school, opening fire in two classrooms around 9:30 a.m., fatally shooting 20 children and six adults, police said. Police are still searching for a motive; witnesses said the shooter didn't utter a word. The attack was the second-deadliest shooting ever by a single gunman in U.S. history.