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Saturday, December 3, 2016

As of this writing, conspiracy flake James Tracy still has a job teaching at Florida Atlantic University, despite having stated the following:

“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.”

Written on his personal blog, Tracy’s theory ignited international outrage, more anguish in Newtown, and uncountable demands that he be fired.

But instead of canning Professor Tracy, FAU should put him on display as a lab specimen of paranoia in full bloom. Let him continue teaching his “Culture of Conspiracy” classes and video-stream his lectures, so that students far and wide can study this bizarre psychological phenomenon.

The most disturbing of historic events — from Pearl Harbor to the Holocaust, from the Kennedy assassinations to the 9/11 attacks — have spawned rabid cults of doubters. The Internet has given these agitated souls what they never had before: a gathering place, where they can fantasize endlessly among their own kind.

Soon after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, Tracy declared that the media coverage “was intended primarily for public consumption to further larger political ends.” He called the tragedy a “meticulously crafted facade” and hinted that the facts were being manipulated by gun-control advocates in government.

Several hundred journalists were apparently duped, or secretly in league with the anti-gun plotters. Included by implication in the dark cabal were the eyewitnesses, survivors, first responders, coroners, Connecticut state police and families of the victims (if there really were any victims).

What made Tracy stand out from other ranting online troglodytes was his tenured position at FAU in Boca Raton. The university administration was duly embarrassed and apologetic, but also compelled to note that Tracy had posted the rubbish on his own blog, on his own time.

Within days, a queasy reality took hold of the professor himself, and he began to backpedal. In an interview with West Palm Beach’s WPTV, he said:

“In terms of saying that Sandy Hook, the Newtown massacre, did not take place is really a simplification — an oversimplification — of what I said.”

Oh, how he must have wished that were true. Then, lurching onward: “I said there may very well be elements of that event that are synthetic to some degree, that are somewhat contrived. I think that, overall, the media really did drop the ball.”

If you’re waiting to hear Tracy’s version of what really happened in Newtown, don’t hold your breath. He hasn’t specified which aspects of the press coverage were “synthetic” or “contrived,” though he has tepidly conceded that 20 first-graders probably did die from gunfire that day in the school.

Well, at least those darn reporters got something right.