Sandy Hacks

I’m not one for conspiracy theories. I’m not much fun for those folks sending around the latest breathless email with “did you know that …?” nonsense. Most of it, at least, is nonsense, and I enjoy hunting down the answers when time permits. But this business of the CNN footage of Sandy Hook is odd, and I must grant that the conspiracists have a point. (DigitalJournal seems to be the original source for this info. Now that I’ve seen the DigitalJournal piece, I recognize that I’m simply confirming their story.)

Incidentally, this is my first experiment with Facebook and Twitter integration. Let’s see how it works, at least on the DeHavelle site.

Here’s the Sandy Hook evidence I looked at.  First, the CNN video:

It may be pulled from YouTube at some point, but I personally captured the following frames from it and from Google Maps.  At five seconds in, the CNN coverage shows what is apparently stock footage of a school:

SandyHook_CNN_frame_005

It is, indeed, recognizable as Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Note the odd diagonal crosswalk and the partially rounded striped zone adjacent to it.  That matches this Google aerial image of Sandy Hook:

SandyHook_Google_SandyHook_aerial

But two seconds later, CNN is showing the actual law enforcement arrival at Sandy Hook. Here’s a frame from 0:07:

SandyHook_CNN_frame_007

Of interest here is the rounded planted area next to the striped parking spot, which protrudes a bit past it. Across from it is a long striped area that is slightly wedge-shaped. That location is more than a mile away from Sandy Hook, at the St Rose of Lima school here:

SandyHook_Google_StRoseOfLimaSchool_aerial

Even the pattern of dark and light pavement is visible.

The confusion over the guns is understandable — the initial reporting confirmed that only handguns were found at the scene, with a Bushmaster AR15-style gun and shotgun in the car. Later, the Bushmaster was reported as being the weapon used in the killings (though not the suicide, oddly). This confusion is certainly possible in the uproar. So is the confusion about multiple shooters arrested at the school, and the idea that Lanza’s mother was a teacher there. (She wasn’t.)

But the footage of law enforcement officers storming the wrong school … that seems to need some explanation.

Ah, and DigitalJournal went through the same exercise, in even more detail. I’ll add this in at the top.

Note that there’s also been some commentary that the footage is from a St Rose of Lima bomb scare, which took place two days after the Sandy Hook killings.  This is not true, as the bomb scare was at the St. Rose of Lima church, not the St. Rose of Lima School. They’re not adjacent, and the grounds look nothing alike. The images above are at the school.

I’m going to guess that someone had some footage of a bomb scare at the wrong school from some time in the past … but it’s a strange mistake to make. I don’t think it is more than that. I was more suspicious of the rifle location “misfire,” as the Bushmaster is a “scary gun” (and not at all like the handguns that were used in the murder of some 500 people in Chicago’s defense-free zones last year). There would be much political hay to make from implicating this scary gun, even though it was legal at the time and not an “assault weapon” even under Connecticut’s strict definition.

Nevertheless, the video of the gun or guns being removed from the back of Lanza’s car, while indicating absolutely atrocious police procedure, are still not convincing as to what was removed from the trunk. The only images I’ve seen (in several videos) show motion consistent with clearing a shotgun, not an AR-15 rifle like the Bushmaster.  The handling of the gun (corrupting evidence, as he just ejects shells into the trunk) seems amazingly sloppy, but it is not (to my eye) the Bushmaster being unloaded.

The video, though, does show tarps around the Lanza car parked at Sandy Hook, in the part of the parking lot near the little softball diamond:

SandyHook_NBC_frame_057

The earlier school mixup seems to be just another in a series of media mistakes on this tragedy. It would be nice if the came back later and said “we showed footage of the wrong school” (as they did correcting “two handguns” to “four” which still does not match later reports), but I don’t expect much from these people.

Upshot: Yes, the footage was of the wrong school, but I don’t place much weight upon that. And no, there does not seem to be video support for the idea that the Bushmaster was found in the trunk.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle