In October 2022, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones made headlines after he was ordered to pay nearly $1 billion in fines for defamation in connection with the infamous Sandy Hook shooting. In plain English, Jones’ crime is claiming that the shooting was a conspiracy.
I, too, believe in a Sandy Hook conspiracy, but it probably isn’t what you think. Read on, before you try to sue me for $1 billion. Let’s start with a little background information …
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting allegedly occurred on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza reportedly shot and killed 26 people, including twenty children between six and seven years old. He killed his mother earlier the same day and ended his spree by killing himself. The incident is the deadliest mass shooting at an elementary school in U.S. history and the fourth-deadliest mass shooting overall.
Alex Jones is perhaps the world’s most famous conspiracy theorist. He’s also a crank who gives more principled conspiracy analysts a bad name.
To be honest, I know very little about Jones for the simple reason that I don’t pay attention to kooks. However, I recall one video that exposed him in spectacular style. Jones claimed that members of Congress were beginning to wake up to the corruption in the U.S. government, adding that some of them were secretly communicating with him.
The claim that some of the world’s most corrupt politicians—politicians who had been vetted by corporations and other powerful entities—were just waking up is ludicrous. Ditto for the claim that there was some sort of secret hotline between Congress and Alex Jones.
As the author of What Is Conspiracy and the forthcoming Conspiracy Science, I take conspiracy seriously. I have nothing but contempt for Alex Jones and his brain-dead fans.
As for the Sandy Hook shooting … well, that’s another story. I’m aware that there are conspiracy theories swirling around that alleged event. However, that’s one of many alleged conspiracies I haven’t yet found time to investigate. Based on my very sketchy knowledge of the incident, I can’t offer a credible opinion. As far as I know, the shooting could have been real, or it could have been staged. Yet there is a major conspiracy intertwined with all the alleged facts and theories.
You see, I never would have even heard of Alex Jones if not for the very media who condemn him. How many times has Alex Jones made headlines? How many magazine covers has he graced? You couldn’t pay the media to mention me or my books, which are based on facts and logic, yet Alex Jones was treated like a celebrity even while an army of media whores groaned about his mindless ranting.
Speaking of ranting, are the media that different? They endlessly rant about the supposed evils of China, Iran, and (formerly) Libya while turning a blind eye to the global abomination the U.S. government has evolved into. In that spirit, how can we know they’re telling the truth about Sandy Hook—or Alex Jones, for that matter?
OK, let’s cut to the chase. Alex Jones may have made some statements that could be considered defamatory, and it would therefore be perfectly OK to sue him. But a billion dollars in fines? Doesn’t that sound a little out there?
So, here’s my conspiracy theory: Alex Jones was deliberately groomed by the media as an example of poisoning the well. The media described him as a kook, then promoted him so they could convince readers that all conspiracy theorists are kooks.
Next, Jones was targeted by a series of lawsuits that might be broadly described as fake lawsuits. The judges, juries, and documents were probably real enough, but I believe the lawsuits were plotted and manipulated by people who want to silence conspiracy theorists. Think about it: would you think twice before spouting a conspiracy theory if you knew you might be sued for a million dollars, let alone $1 billion?
I would almost bet money that a sleazy Jewish attorney named Cass Sunstein (and possibly that Harvard law dog Alan Dershowitz) was among the conspirators.
A fierce enemy of free speech, Sunstein had openly advocated for government bans on conspiracy theorizing. Sunstein has also advocated for taxation on people who openly discuss conspiracy theories as well as government infiltration and similar measures. Where are we, in the former Soviet Union?!
In summary, if you want to condemn Alex Jones, you’ll have to line up behind me. However, don’t forget to condemn the media, too. But what about Sandy Hook and other alleged conspiracies? Will conspiracy theorists be muzzled from now on?
Tips for Discussing Conspiracy Theory ˆ
We’re living in dangerous times, and merely speaking the truth can be hazardous. However, that doesn’t mean we should allow the people who control our government, legal system, and media to pull the plug on free speech.
Below are some simple rules to guide you when publicly discussing conspiracy theory. Note that I am not an attorney and cannot give legal advice. Nor are these rules guaranteed to protect you from legal problems. However, they should greatly enhance your safety.
First, let’s make a distinction between public figures (aka “public personages”) and private citizens. Making claims about the latter can be dangerous. Merely mentioning their names can be dangerous.
Second, remember that a conspiracy theory is just that—a theory. Even if you’re convinced, as I am, that 9/11 was an inside job, do you have a signed confession? Even if you did, the media and legal system would probably just ignore it.
So imagine the media tell us about a school shooting. Among the parents whose children are killed is a man named Ronald Tramp. If you tell people that Mr. Tramp lied about his son being killed when his son really was killed, you’re guilty of defamation. Suppose, on the other hand, that Tramp’s son is a crisis actor. He’s actually still alive and living in an undisclosed location.
Technically, you would now be correct in pronouncing this shooting a conspiracy. However, can you prove the boy is still alive?
The trick, therefore, is to be aware of who you’re talking about (public vs private citizens) and be careful about how you phrase your theories. Consider the following sentences:
- I know for a fact that Ronald Tramp lied about his son, Steven, being murdered.
- Ronald Tramp lied about his son, Steven, being murdered.
- I believe that Ronald Tramp lied about his son being murdered.
- Is it possible that Ronald Tramp lied about his son being murdered?
- Is it possible that one or more parents lied about their children being murdered?
- Could this shooting have been a conspiracy?
The first two statements could be considered defamatory or libelous. The third statement emphasizes the fact that you’re stating a belief, not a a proven fact. Whether it could still be considered defamatory is a question for an attorney.
Statements 4 and 5 exhibit even less conviction. You’re simply asking readers to consider the possibility that someone lied as part of a conspiracy. Statement 5 doesn’t even mention any names.
The last statement is safest of all, because it doesn’t specify the nature of the alleged conspiracy. Perhaps there was no shooting. Or maybe there was a shooting, but it was organized by some shadowy organization for political purposes. Or maybe there’s something conspiratorial about the media’s reporting on the shooting.
Remember, I’m only offering some simple advice here. Bill Gates is a very famous person, and he’s up to his eyeballs in conspiracy theories. However, if you say something about him that isn’t provably true, you could conceivably be sued for defamation.
In summary, be careful about what you say and how you say it, but don’t let a bunch of crooked politicians, media whores, and crisis actors intimidate you. The First Amendment hasn’t been repealed. Yet.