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15 January, 2013

A Victim of the Sandy Hook Truther Slobs

Salon isn't the greatest place on the net for accurate and relevant news, but here is a story that I think applies to skepticism.

There is a new conspiracy theory out there and it involves the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting being a plot by the government or some kind of hoax. That's right, people. If you thought that the 9/11 Truthers couldn't be matched in their cruelty, insensitivity and insane paranoia, I present to you a group that exceeds them in those areas.

A man found some of the children and a bus driver in front of his house and kept them inside, safe, while they recounted their stories about their teacher being shot and killed in front of their eyes. He fed them and comforted them while the police arrived at the school. The man is considered a local hero.

This very man has been a target of threats and harassment, being emailed by people telling him he's just playing a part for the government.

The breakdown of education in this country and the rejection of reasonable, critical thinking has given way to people who will believe just about anything because "it only makes sense." We live in an argumentum ad ignorantiam, where if one 'explanation' is more easily understood than another, then it must be the truth. A complex conversation about factors such as gun control, a violent culture, mass media and mental health is just too much for people to understand in our world of revolving media sound-bites, ergo, hoax.

What we need is skeptics to push back harder against this stuff. Dismiss it offhand so that it doesn't garner too much media attention, but also show why it's so easily dismissed. Start talking about truth value and the burden of proof. It lies on the conspiracy nut, and the more people that realize this, the less power these idiots have.

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