By Carl Hiaasen

On Flaky Professors And Nutty Ideas

January 22, 2013 12:00 am Category: Memo Pad 39 Comments A+ / A-
On Flaky Professors And Nutty Ideas

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.

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On Flaky Professors And Nutty Ideas Reviewed by on . 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 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 Rating:

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Comments

  • nobsartist

    The real problem is politicians actually seek these assholes out for advice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.kieselryan1 Debbie Kiesel-Ryan

    Are you kidding, this would be the epitomy of censorship. In the 60′s and 70′s what do you think we talked about in school. These types of discussions get the young brain thinking. Do we want to continue to brain wash our young students and not have them able to handle the type of people who do think different than them, so as a result they don’t have the ability to deal with the differences in each other???? This is a ridiculous thought in it’s entirety.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bob.brindell.7 Bob Brindell

      Right on! Fifty years ago when I was a college student that was a place where students were exposed to all sorts of conflicting ideas. It was a brodening experience ment to enhance students ability to think and draw rashional conclusions. Also, how to operate in a society where not all people think alike. This professor is causing the students to think.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        Yes, a classroom teacher is supposed to stimulate the students with new ideas.

        But, let’s hope these students learn something useful out of it, basically thinking this guys full of crap.

    • old_blu

      I tried to post to you but missed it’s above us now.

      • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.kieselryan1 Debbie Kiesel-Ryan

        Stopping this teacher would be violating the constitution, he’s not saying it didn’t happen, just that did it happen the way it was reported! The story says at the end the children probably did die, and we know they did. But, we can’t stop these types of discussions, we will keep our children from growing thoughtfully and intellectually. As thought processing human beings, we have to be able to research and make determinations about what is true and what isn’t, hopefully students do that. I believe just like the assination of JFK and the bombing of the World Trade Center, we will never know the whole truth. I don’t believe we should believe everything the governement says, just because the governement says it. But, we can’t sensor or we are violating the rules that govern our free society. When the republicans say President Obama is trying to take our rights away, this would be one example of trying to take rights away. And who is calling for that, the same American people who make the claims against the President. I don’t believe that 9/11 happened the way the GW administration reported it. Why didn’t GW investigate the reports that terrorists were going to use planes as bombs in April 2000, months before 9/11, when he received the daily report from his advisors? Why did building 7 implode in the way it did, it was not bombed or had a plane driven ito it? If you look at the video of building 7, you see little explosions going up the sides of the building just like in an implosion. And why did the managers of the Port Authority, who were working in building 7, report hearing multiple explosions before they evacuated the building??? We will never be told the truth. But I agree, the hype in the reporting is for pushing gun control. I own guns, just not assult weapons. And, I frankly don’t understand why an individual has a need for an assault weapon with the type of magazine the shooter had. Maybe if you are planning an assault you need it, but why do regular individuals need this type of weapon if they are not planning an assault?

        • old_blu

          I think for the most part we agree, I also own many guns and I am glad we have the right to bear arms, and I don’t think anyone needs to shoot 60 rounds a minute.

          I’m not sure if you are buying into the conspiracy theories or not, I hope not.

          And I’m all for them using their minds to come to their own conclusion, but this guy as far as I can see is telling people that it’s true when it’s not, he said it really happened that way and then backed out when he was caught. (i don’t think we should lie to them) just tell them think about this don’t tell them that’s what happened. The internet is a great soap box for everyone, and I’ll climb down off mine now.

  • http://twitter.com/Steve45879 Steve Thomas

    He does make a valid point. If a plane was to crash and 150people were to die, it would be out of the headlines in a few days. When the ten girls were killed at Nickel Mines, how long was it in the news? And while kindergarteners are defenseless against guns, the Amish are a peace church, and their members do not kill, even inn war. There is *one* known case of one Amish killing another.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KOPKDFAUQPIIRAFI3HEXNMSHLQ Ed

    “Culture of Conspiracy”? What degree track is that in. If that is the core of his class it would, of course , be a violation of his constitutional rights under the first amendment. However, as a teacher he has an obligation to present a structured argument, not just an unsupported claim. Once he starts presenting his opinions as facts, there is ground to remove him from the class room. However, if he makes it clear it is his OPINION, then he meets the constitutional and academic test.

  • old_blu

    Well I hope he is on the no gun list for the crazies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/solar.ed Ed Dunn

    The internet has given to great a platform for the flake, conspiracy theorists. They are ruling the world at an increasing rate and causing us to, as a civilization, be motivated by fear rather than longing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

    Our greatest right is freedom of speech. Idiots like this professor can say anything they want, it is up to us to ignore them and avoid them. Only people with a very sick mind would give credence to what this man said. He is either very sick or seeking attention.

    • neeceoooo

      You’re right Dominick, we should all just ignore them.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        You really can’t ignore people like that.

        People tried to ignore Hitler too and look what happened.

        You got ta knock dem SOBs up side the head – preferably with a Sledge Hammer.

        They ought to have a anti-breeding policy for stupid.

        • neeceoooo

          If they had a anti-breeding policy for stupid, there were be no republicans. Maybe that is something we can work with.

        • ralphkr

          Actually, Michael, the US used to have an anti-breeding policy for stupid. It was supported by the US Surgeon General (why does the Surgeon General wear a Navy uniform???), the top medical schools in the US, plus 30 states had laws requiring that those of undesirable stock be kept institutionalized or sterilized before being released from custody. I remember being taught in school in the 1930s that it was our duty to choose a mate carefully in order to breed a master race (made sense to me because we bred cattle) and our teacher felt that the government would be best suited to choose our mates for the improvement of the human race. As I have often posted, I was raised and educated in a super conservative Republican state. If you wished to learn more about the US forerunner to Hitler’s master race just Google ‘Eugenics’.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Well, the last sentence I posted was largely sarcasm.

            You’re right, it happened here and still does.

          • idamag

            I remember when people who had developmental disabilities were steriled. However, this professor makes me almost believe in abortion. His abortion would have been a plus.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            I know a woman, has two kids who had this done to her after the second one. This was around 30 years ago now.

            I wouldn’t normally advocate something like this.

            But, needless to say, it was a good thing cause she had a lot of problems besides being mentally challenged.

            Putting it mildly of course, she was a pure asshole.

            Very Long Story otherwise.

        • idamag

          Michael, good thought.

    • Joseph Hemphill

      They fired Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado for claiming that the 9/11 victims deserved to die for being little Eichmann’s.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LP7ZW4T6Q66J6K7QPXAY5E4UCM Trillium60

    Unfortunately he is protected by the Constitution. Like everything else, there are sacrifices to be made in order to have “a more perfect union.”

  • highpckts

    And he actually functions as a valid teacher at a university??? Unbelievable!!

  • old_blu

    @Debbie Kiesel-Ryan– I agree that it’s good to put these young minds to work thinking in a different direction, that’s great, but this guy is not introducing a theory he says it’s a fact until he gets caught. (thats just an out right lie then)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CVVR3SYDWGMOSYJBUXICDDK74A Doctor T

    The question is “should he be fired” and I say yes. He may say whatever he wishes under the 1st amendment even though he sounds like a moron, but this right does not include a “right to his post”. Universities are presumably a place of truth not a place where idiocy is housed.

    • Michael Kollmorgen

      If this person were to be working at a major corporation and said things that went counter to company policy, even on a private blog, they would do all they could to rid of him – quietly hopefully.

      My conclusion is that this “university” agrees with his statements, or they would have found a way by now to get rid of him. This partly astounds me considering this university is part of Florida’s state university system.

      I don’t think any reputable university would tolerate this sort of person on their staff, at least not for very long.

      • ALTreality

        I think you are forgetting that this is a FLORIDA university. You know, the state that rabidly defends the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, that is still a very RED state, even if a little more than half of the population voted for Obama in 2012. This is where our corrupt billionaire governor bought his way into office, the guy whose day job used to be running the largest health care company in America. While he was CEO, they scammed Medicare for more money than anyone else in history resulting in a $1.7 BILLION fine, also the largest fine for Medicare fraud ever. This kind of story may be shocking coming from a university professor in another state, but it hardly raises eyebrows in Florida.

  • http://mohammeddressup.com/ I Zheet M’Drawz

    Does he speak of the [alleged] Holocost also?

    I hope this clown doesn’t have tenure. His next job will be a BK, can you say “Do you want fries wit dat?”.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HFYZP2APYPP7H6PWS2ZDQRWFEQ Hillbilly

      It says in the article that he is tenured.

  • doninsd

    Wih any luck he will go on to teach in Glen Beck’s new walled city. Come on people, the topic is horrible, but think of the thought process that could come up with such an idea.The entertainment value of these morons is enormous, and nobody in their right mind gives them any credence.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tavia-Hughes/100000100020035 Tavia Hughes

    Yes, fire the bastard, Plain and Simple!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_74UJCWZ35XEH3AWHQLNPFQYSW4 Tlyna

    It doesn’t say much for that university that they would keep a fruitcake like that on staff.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HFYZP2APYPP7H6PWS2ZDQRWFEQ Hillbilly

    Under the first amendent this professor has the right to say and post what he wants, except for hollering “Fire” when there isn’t one in a croweded place and since he posted this from home and on his own time and is tenured his employer can’t do anything to him. Don’t know if it is legal but would like to see his employer order a through mental health check up on him, because he seems to have a major mental problem, brain not being used when posting his compricsy (not spelled right, spell check not working) thoughts on line or at any other time.
    To me to post what this guy did shows a major malfuction of his brain and his thought process and makes me wonder how he ever became a proffessor in the first place.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1710087686 Bob Shipp

    This fellow knew exactly what he was doing and has laid the foundation to for book sales that will accompany speaking events as he tours the country and possibly even the world warning of and exposing the dark conspiracy by those who wish to control who we are and how we think. He can work for himself, not worry about meeting the expectations or schedule of anyone save his fellow travelers, always face a willing and appreciative audience….. What a life he’ll lead… He’ll be on a mission.

    On the other hand. I have seen nutty professors on the left over my life as well. Only a few are still specific enough in my memory to recall details I still see them on tv commenting on an event from time to time.

    Though I personally find some comments and remarks repugnant or incredulous I’m not sure the university disciplining him is the best way to go. He’ll be gone under other pretenses and it’ll just be one more part of his story that reinforces the dark conspiracy crap.

    hahaha!

  • onedonewong

    As long as colleges are allowed to teach con classes on black studies and women studies this is inconsequential

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZJ5BBSQIGTUMERPZFALES6HQNY Bill

      The only inconsequential thing here is your typical irrelevant opinion, especially the one line statements that make no sense.

  • BDC_57

    He went after Anderson Cooper and said now his family was.and him was in danger.

  • idamag

    Are our colleges in so much trouble, they have to hire idiots like that?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/V76SOFAXAIZRWC6MNAX5Z3DLAM mothermaybe

    This professor may have the right to say what he wants, but he needs to show the facts and the proof of what he speaks. He should also show other views so students can make their own inform decisions of what is the truth. These are our children that he is teaching after all. I feel if he cannot comply he should be fired.

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