Newtown shootingFlorida university distances itself from professor's claim that Sandy Hook shooting was staged by the government

Published 9 January 2013

A Florida university professor publicly questioned whether the Newtown, Connecticut shooting happened, or whether it was a government drill, forcing his employer, Boca Raton-based Florida Atlantic University, to distance itself from him; professor James Tracy also raised questions about whether the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting ever happened

A Florida university professor publicly questioned whether the Newtown, Connecticut shooting happened, forcing his employer, Boca Raton-based Florida Atlantic University to distance itself from him.

James Tracy, an associate professor of media history, wrote in his blog,, that the shooting may have been a government drill — or even may have not occurred at all.

The Daily Mail reports that Tracy has a history of toying with conspiracy theories, and in the past has raised questioned the official version of what happened in the Kennedy assassination, the 9/11 terror attacks, and the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting.

“James Tracy does not speak for the university,” Lisa Metcalf, FAU’s director of media relations, told Fox News. “The website on which his post appeared is not affiliated with FAU in any way. As for any previous disciplinary actions at FAU, we do not comment on personnel matters.”

Tracy’s posting, titled “The Sandy Hook Massacre: Unanswered Questions and Missing Information,” Tracy questioned how Adam Lanza could have fired off so many shots in such little time. Tracy noted a lack of surveillance video or still images from the gruesome crime scene.

“Inconsistencies and anomalies abound when one turns an analytical eye to news of the Newtown school massacre,” Tracy wrote. “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.”

In response to questions by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Tracy admitted that “one is left with the impression that a real tragedy took place,” but quickly suggested that the massacre was probably a staged event. “Was this to a certain degree constructed?” he asked. “Was this a drill?”

Newtown First Selectman E. Patricia Llodra told Fox News that “It is outrageous and an insult to all caring people to think that this man would chose this event as a stage for his outlandish conspiracy theories.”

Ray Gillies, a commentator on the South Florida ABC affiliate WPBF, was blunt. “’Is there something in the water in Florida that makes for idiocy?” he asked in his on-air commentary on the affair.

Tracy explained to the Sun-Sentinel that his conspiracy theories should be considered a scholarly endeavor.

“I describe myself as a scholar and public intellectual interested in going more deeply into controversial public events,” he said. “Although some may see [my theories] as beyond the pale, I am doing what we should be doing as academics.”