Newtown truthers (conspiracy theorists who posit the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax perpetrated by a shadowy government cabal for unknown reasons) have been bleating their tales of intrigue across the web, alleging a team of “crisis actors” including Gene Rosen are responsible in part for the alleged “coverup” in the massacre.
Almost immediately after the incident, the Newtown conspiracy allegations began, with many of the web’s most paranoid citizens joining the Sandy Hook truther movement and making weighty allegations — such as the one about Newtown parents faking grief because they displayed a range of emotions in the aftermath of the intense shock of the murders. (We have explored the Newtown conspiracy movement in previous posts about the controversy overall as well as the Batman related “theories” that mention Sandy Hook.)
Now Gene Rosen, the Newtown resident who took six terrified children into their home, fed them cookies and juice, and cried for what he witnessed, has been victimized by many of the Newtown conspiracy theorists — enduring harassment detailed in a piece on Salon as the Sandy Hook truthers gain momentum on the web.
Reading of Gene Rosen’s plight after Newtown is certainly depressing — the article quotes the 69-year-old as he describes how photos of his home have been posted online, impostors have attempted to malign him on social networks, and anti-semites on white supremacy boards have mocked the “emotional Jewish guy.” An email quoted in the piece masqueraded as business-related but then went on to allege:
“How are all those little students doing? You know, the ones that showed up at your house after the ‘shooting’. What is the going rate for getting involved in a gov’t sponsored hoax anyway?”
Rosen, who himself is probably dealing with the traumatic aftermath of not only the shooting but discovering six shell-shocked first-graders in his driveway, explains:
“I don’t know what to do … I’m getting hang up calls, I’m getting some calls, I’m getting emails with, not direct threats, but accusations that I’m lying, that I’m a crisis actor, ‘how much am I being paid?’”
Rosen adds that the Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists have harassed him to the point where the “quantity of the material is overwhelming.” Perhaps what is saddest about the behavior of Newtown truthers and their effect on Rosen’s life after the killings is the way he feels — frightened and angry about the threats on top of the awful thing he experienced in his own home.
In the piece, he expresses some measure of regret for initially speaking out after the Sandy Hook shooting, saying:
“I wanted to speak about the bravery of the children, and it kind of helped me work through this … I guess I kind of opened myself up to this … Here’s my fear: If I start talking like this, will one of these Truthers read this and will it embolden them? Will they say, screw that guy, how dare he impugne our credibility or question our intellect, I’m going to go one step farther? Am I being stupid?”
But alongside his uncertainty, Rosen also feels a lot of anger at those who have accused the families of the dead of lying in their time of grief — “choking back tears,” he laments:
“There must be someway to morally shame these people, because there were twenty dead children lying an eighth of a mile from my window all night long … And I sat there with my wife, because they couldn’t take the bodies out that night so the medical examiner could come. And I thought of an expression, that this ‘adds insult to injury,’ but that’s a stupid expression, because this is not an injury, this is an abomination.”
After describing an incident involving a Newtown truther at a restaurant recently in which he came close to confronting someone, he admits:
” … it tells me how rageful I am. And I am rageful about it, both for the children and for the mother of the child who came to my house looking for her son and I wanted to look at this guy and I wanted to just f***ing decimate him. That’s my rage.”
While the Newtown truthers and Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists have made Rosen’s life difficult, however, he also says many have thanked him for his service that day.