The Other FEMA School Shooting Manual

Back in January of 2014, I published an essay titled The FEMA School Shooting Handbook.  You see, back then, no one had invented Sandy Hook FEMA School Shooting Manual so the hoaxers were pushing a document produced by Pottawattamie County, Iowa for use in a particular drill as “the” authoritative FEMA handbook on school shootings.  It wasn’t until 10 months later that some wild-eyed hoaxer created the phony Sandy Hook document.

My original post still gets a lot of hits, and I’ve been meaning to come back to this topic for quite some time.

As the youngest child in my family, I learned early that if I put off a task long enough, someone will eventually do it for me.   Click here to read Sandy Hook Facts & Research latest debunk and find out all the reasons why the latest FEMA School Shooting Manual is a fake.

 

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Creative Thinking

Back in college, I took an elective creative writing class.  As a frequent assignment, the professor would pass out pictures— obscure historical photographs, current news photographs, or photos of famous artwork.  Our assignment was to write a fictional story inspired by the image.  If the photo was of a current news story, the idea was to imagine something other than the news story with which we were familiar.  My classmates and I spun our tales, sometimes based on known truths of historical events with our imaginations filling in the details.  Other times, students would invent a totally fanciful account of what might have been happening in the picture.  Realistic or absurd, it didn’t matter.  It was a creative writing class.

I am reminded of those short stories when I read the thoughts of Sandy Hook hoaxers.  They may pride themselves on their superior critical thinking, but what they are actually doing is creative thinking.

There is a big difference between creative thinking and critical thinking.  Creative thinking can be part of the critical thinking process.  Not only do creative thinkers give us important literature and art, creative thinking leads to inventions in all areas of life from science to business to the arts.  It’s how we solve problems with new ideas.  But in order to be successful, creative thinking must be combined with critical thinking.  And that’s where the hoaxers fall flat.

Creative thinking is generative.  It’s goal is to create new ideas.  Critical thinking is analytical.  A critical thinker looks at the data and analyzes the probability not just the possibility of an outcome.  Critical thinking demands logic and reason to come to a single answer.  Creative thinking relies on speculation and intuition to come to a possible answer.  And critical thinking is linear, that is, the answer must consider all available data to lead to a single conclusion, eliminating elements that are irrelevant, unlikely and false along the way.  Creative thinking is associative, that is, it correlates multiple things to the same starting point whether they are causally related or not,  and it does not require the elimination of the unlikely or impossible. (For fun, see why understanding causal relationships is important when drawing your conclusion http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations.)

For example, consider the two famous “conga” line photographs of the children exiting Sandy Hook.  Hoaxers have invented all kinds of creative stories that go along with the photo. Some say the same children, or at least two, appear in both pictures.  Others imagine that the photographer actually appears in one of the pictures.  Just as we did in that creative writing class, the hoaxers are inventing creative stories to go with a picture.
Continue reading

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Wrong Again, Naturally

In a recent blog post on the website Sandy Hook Justice,  Wolfgang Halbig once again demonstrates his lack of knowledge regarding the law and school policy despite his background in school administration and police work.  In the unwieldy titled post “Wolfgang W. Halbig Files Civil Rights Complaint For Federal Civil Rights Violations on a former Florida State Trooper, US Customs Inspector, US Military Veteran, Teacher, Coach, Dean, Assistant School Principal, Principal of an Alternative School, Director of School Safety and Director of Risk Management” (1) Mr. Halbig shares a letter he wrote to the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice informing them of FERPA violations.  Mr. Halbig asserts that the publication of photos of children evacuating Sandy Hook elementary was a violation of FERPA laws.

“On December 14, 2012, minor children were used for monetary and political gains.  These acts are serious violations of the federal FERPA laws.”

FERPA has nothing to do with protecting minor children from being used for monetary and political gain.  FERPA is a federal law (read about it here) that protects the privacy of student education records.  It applies to public schools and other schools that receive federal funds.  It prevents the school from releasing grades and test scores among other things without parental consent.  It’s that same law that keeps grades off limits to the tuition-paying parents of college students.  But  I don’t see where the FERPA law addresses using children for monetary or political gains.

“The federal FERPA laws protect minor children’s faces and their identifiable facial features from being published.”

FERPA does not protect minor children’s faces and their identifiable facial features from being published. Again, it’s about things in the educational record.  From what I can gather, a student ID photo potentially could be part of the educational record.  But photos a reporter takes of a bus unloading on the first day of school are not part of the educational record. FERPA would require parental consent in order for a school administrator to release a photo of the valedictorian’s final report card.  However, it does not prevent the press from publishing a photograph of the valedictorian delivering the commencement address.

To be fair, Mr. Halbig isn’t the only current or former school administrator who doesn’t understand what FERPA protects and what it doesn’t.  The Student Press Law Center has a whole website that fact checks FERPA cases and hands down a decision on whether the law was applied appropriately.

“The Connecticut Newtown bee newspaper violated the privacy rights of every minor child that you see in my attached photos as well as the privacy rights of their parents on December 14, 2012.”

If there is a law prohibiting the publication of images of minor children at a news worthy event, I couldn’t find it.  Regardless, it certainly isn’t FERPA.  There are laws restricting photography on private property or where there is an expectation of privacy (e.g., a public bathroom).  There are copyright laws which should prevent people like Mr. Halbig from swiping someone’s photo and reproducing it on a website.  And then of course, there is an ethical argument.  Common decency may cause an individual or news organization to blur the faces of minors, or opt not publish such a photograph in the first place.

But if The Newtown Bee did violate the privacy rights of those children in the evacuation photo, isn’t Mr. Halbig violating those rights too?

 

(1)  Don’t confuse the above referenced article with the article titled “Federal Civil Rights Violations on a former Florida State Trooper, US Customs Inspector, US Military Veteran, Teacher, Coach, Dean, Assistant School Principal, Principal of an Alternative School, Director of School Safety and Director of Risk Management.”

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The curious case of hoaxers inability to search a license database

The latest nonsense going around is that Hartford Trade Services, the funeral home that cremated Adam Lanza’s body, is not a licensed funeral home.  This leads hoaxers to conclude the shooter’s body was not cremated, therefore never died, therefore hoax.

People, how hard is it to click a link to the CT license web site and see if there is any truth to the claim before propagating misinformation?  Here, try it yourself.

https://www.elicense.ct.gov/Lookup/LicenseLookup.aspx

Both Hartford Trade and Kevin Davidson have active licenses. 

See how easy that was?

It’s curious that the original author was unable to use the search feature effectively. Also curious that the author chose to link to the license site’s home page, giving the reader the impression you must login to execute the search.

https://www.elicense.ct.gov

So, I will ask you once again. Who’s hoaxing who?

For more on this topic:

http://sandyhookanalysis.blogspot.com/2016/04/hartford-trade-service-fellowship-of.html

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Cinderella Misses the Ball

The writer at Cinderella’s Broom has recently left a mess of bread crumbs on the internet. Cindy has published screen shots of Newtown Public Schools 471 application that lists both Sandy Hook Elementary and Chalk Hill as schools within the Newtown district. Her screen shots show the same data for the two schools. Claiming the application was submitted prior to the start of the 2012 school year, Cindy deduces that Sandy Hook students were being schooled at the Chalk Hill site in the fall of 2012, if not earlier.

It was easy to initially assume this was fabricated evidence, since Cindy only shares screen shots of the 22 page document she claims was the source of her information. And quite strangely, it appears that someone cut and pasted form headers into an Excel spreadsheet to produce one of the screen shots she displays.  But as a critical thinker, I pushed my cognitive dissidence aside and went to search for the Newtown’s form 471.

In case you aren’t familiar with the 471, this form allows schools all over the country to apply for discounts on internet and telecommunications services. The FCC designated the non-profit USAC to administer this program and one may manually complete the application or apply on-line via their website. http://www.usac.org/default.aspx

The website has other useful links as well. You can find previously filed 471 applications by using this link . All you need is the 471 application number which Cinderella provides in her screen shot (826523). Don’t worry about not having the security code, you don’t need it. This tool lets you scroll through the application sections or even view the application in its entirety.

USAC search main screen

Pay special attention to the Current and Original radio buttons. Pretty self explanatory, but the original radio button will take you to the original application filed by Newtown schools which was postmarked on 3/13/2012. Here’s what Block 4 looked like in the original application:Newtown 471 app

Notice that Chalk Hill was not listed in the original application.

Don’t believe me? I encourage you to check it out for yourself.

Now, if you go back to the main screen and request the current application, you will see the most recent application from the funding year 2012-2013. Below is a screen shot of the Block 4 tab on the USAC site.

471 revised with CHS

Now, I’d like to direct your attention to the funding year line. The 2012 funding year runs from 7/1/2012 to 6/30/2013. Now can anyone tell me what happened between those dates? That’s right. The children moved from Sandy Hook to Chalk Hill. This meant that USAC needed to revise form 471 so that Chalk Hill was listed as a Newtown school.   And, not surprisingly, the enrollment data is the same because the entire population of Sandy Hook students transferred to Chalk Hill midyear.

(USAC provides another tool to extract raw data here. If you scroll down and select data points, ask to see commitment remarks before you extract the data, you will see the notation “MR1: USAC has added the Chalk Hill Middle School (BEN 5788) to the Block 4 Worksheet” in your report.  If you think my interpretation of the data is wrong, make sure you add the people at USAC to your list of co-conspirators.  That list must be getting mighty long.)

Now, Cinderella, please sweep up your mess.

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Fact Checking Fetzer

Anyone who is buying into the garbage the hoaxers are spewing should check out the blog  Crisis Actors Guild where the author examines, chapter by chapter, the claims made in Nobody Died at Sandy Hook.  Welcome back to sanity. 

http://www.crisisactorsguild.com

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Don’t Cite Me on That

Sources are important when writing a scholarly article.  So, I was quite surprised when it came to my attention that this blog was cited as a source by Vivian Lee, Ph.D. in “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook.”

Since when do opinion blog posts written by unknown, anonymous authors, with no listed or verifiable credentials make good sources for scholarly writing?  The answer is never, but let’s first look at how I was cited.

On page 77 in “Nobody Died…”, Lee writes, “Not only did Lanza squeeze through this hole and edge carefully through the narrow space between the couch and table, but so did ten policemen, all with their guns and gear, according to sworn affidavits.61”

And here’s the referenced footnote 61 found on page 96:

nobody died footnote

My essay, Pictures of Lily, has nothing to do with the officer’s sworn affidavits on how the school was entered.  It has nothing to do with the shooter’s or police entry into the school, nor does it discuss the placement or possible movement of furniture in the Sandy Hook lobby.

My essay in no way supports Lee’s statement.  And let’s be clear.  No essay on this blog in any way supports a single line in that book and I’m a bit disgusted to be cited in it.

The inclusion got me looking a little closer at Lee’s article than I otherwise would have.  I wondered if perhaps she mixed up the citations and mine belonged the next page, where she discussed the Gaubert photo.

On page 80, Lee writes,”Lily’s mother supposedly discovered the error and made it public via Flickr.64.”  It seems Lee chose to cite a more conspiracy friendly source and selected a YouTube video by Enterthe5t4rz, probably meaning to delete mine altogether.
The Contributor’s section of the book purports Lee to be a Ph.D holder and a tenured professor at an American university writing under a pseudonym.  Surely, Lee is familiar with best practices for evaluating research sources.
Now, I’m no PhD, but I did have to write a few research papers back in the day on my way to earning a lowly B.A.  Back in those days, we didn’t have the internet and I had to rely on the university library, my knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System, and my finesse with a microfiche reader to find credible academic sources to support my research.
Today, college students rely on the internet which is great, but it makes the job of vetting sources much harder. Back in the day, our university librarians vetted the books on the shelves so I didn’t have to wade through thousands of flyers  and self-published materials distributed by people all around the world along the way.
Most schools today have published guidelines to help students determine the credibility of an internet source.  According to Cornell University’s Digital Literacy Resource Source Evaluation Checklist, one of the critical components to vetting a source is a critical review of authority.  The researcher should ask, “Is the author identifiable?”  Enterthe5t4rz is an anonymous author, just as is Lee and yours truly, making none of us good sources for scholarly research.  (I would have preferred to cite Lee’s own university’s guidelines on citing from the internet, but I was unable to since Lee doesn’t provide a way to verify her credentials– making her fail Cornell’s second test on the authority checklist.  I guess we’ve ruled out Cornell as Lee’s employer.  )
All this got me looking into Lee’s other sources.  On the same page as the misplaced reference to my blog, Lee states:

“But how did he get past the furniture, with all his weaponry, without moving anything out of position?60”

Here, she adds some commentary in the footnote as she oddly cites this New York Times article:

“60 Although it has sometimes been unclear who shot out the plate glass window, as late as December 28, 2014, The New York Times reported that “the Newtown killer had entered Sandy Hook by shooting through a window. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/28/technology/out-of-tragedy-a-protective-glass-for-schools.html.

Reading the article, you’ll find nothing in it that discusses the placement of lobby furniture before and after the shooting.  It’s another citation that doesn’t support her argument.  However, she does insert her own editorial in the footnote in an attempt to cast doubt on the accuracy of the article. She seems to suggest the Times use of the term “window” is inaccurate.  Apparently, unless you specifically describe a window as “plate glass” you must be only be referring to a window three feet off the ground.

Earlier in the chapter, Lee supports her claim that “Images of Soto were inserted into photographs in which she did not originally appear, and several shots of her face were created from a single photo.62” Here, Lee references another anonymous YouTuber who demonstrates in a video that you can take two images of Soto’s face taken at approximately the same angle, tweak the sizing  of both images, and line up eyes, ears, mouth to a perfect match.  ‘Cause you know, you wouldn’t be able to do that with pictures of a real person that weren’t photo shopped because the facial features change drastically from picture to picture.  Not only is the source off base with his conclusion, he does not provide his identity or any credentials to verify that he is an expert in photo shopping.
I could go on and on, but I encourage you to check out Lee’s sources for yourself.  Lee sources 30 YouTube videos – including one that was terminated due to copyright infringement.  (Cornell doesn’t seem to provide guidance on what to do in that case, I’m thinking because Cornell undergrads are smart enough to know that a banned YouTube video isn’t a good source.)
There is some good news here.  If you are lucky enough to be one of Lee’s students at that unknown university, writing your research papers should be a snap.  Just make a few YouTube videos and have your roommate make a blog post to support your position.   Boom.  Research done.
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