Anti-Semitism rears ugly head in Sandy Hook ‘truther’ movement
The Kansas City Star
Some things in life are just inevitable. The tides will always rise and fall, the gray lifelessness of winter will always be pushed away by spring, and whenever man wreaks tragedy upon his fellow man, somehow, somewhere, some nut will find a way to blame the whole thing on “The Jews”.
It can hardly be a surprise, therefore, that just such accusations are even now cropping up on the outer fringes of the Sandy Hook “Truther” movement (and just think what times we have come to when “Truther” means someone willfully and grimly determined to believe anything but the truth). Most seem to center around the old canard of how Jews control the media and are consequently “programming” Americans (read: non-Jews) via subliminal brainwashing to turn us all into wild-eyed gun toting maniacs (okay, granted, “Jersey Shore” has a similar effect on yours truly, but I really can’t believe that’s intentional). Recently David Duke (you remember him? Ex-nazi, ex-klansman, once actually managed to get elected to the Louisiana House back in ‘89) posted a screed on his website that the killers were “…not the bullets, but the Bullies of the Zio (sic) Media”. Unfortunately, he is far from alone.
Worse, there are those for whom this theory is not enough: no, in their world the whole event was carried off by (wait for it) Israeli death squads, out to get revenge on America for its policies re: Israel/Palestine. No, seriously. Anti-Semitic writer Mike Harris went on Iranian television recently declaring as such. In fact, while he was at it, he decried the so-called death squads as having been operating in the U.S. since Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen others were shot in 2011 by Jared Lee Loughner. Sandy Hook? Aurora, Colorado? All death squads. 9/11? Do you have to ask?
Or consider the fate of Gene Rosen: the retiree who sheltered six students and a bus driver in his home, kept them safe and helped them get back to their families. In a jaw-dropping example of no good deed going unpunished, he has been particularly targeted by conspiracy theorists alleging everything from him being a paid actor (due to there being another Gene Rosen who is indeed an actor, never mind he’s seven years younger) to a pedophile, paid stooge for the government, a member of the “Jewish Mafia”, even of sacrificing one of the victims in his basement in a perverse resurrection of the old blood libel. They even attack him for telling his story too consistently, insisting that means he has to have been coached. So, if he kept changing his story, they would be more inclined to believe him? I’m getting a headache.
Where does this madness come from? It seems there is something inbuilt into us that makes us susceptible to this kind of thinking. We seem to need an outside malevolent force to explain the otherwise inexplicable. So much easier it is to imagine a smoke-filled room of plotters as they plan our downfall then to face up to the idea that there are flaws within our society or within ourselves that manifest in outlashings of horrific violence. Or worse, that sometimes terrible things happen in this world for no real good reason, and we are helpless to do anything about it. No, best to have a Them somewhere to pin it all on, and since the rise of post-Roman Europe, The Jews (and it is always “The Jews”, you notice: not “Some Jews” or “That Jew Over There”; always The Jews as some sort of homogenous mass cackling and rubbing their hands with wicked glee) have been tarred as the eternal outsiders.
So, what’s to be done? Unfortunately the old saw “Ignore them and they’ll go away” simply doesn’t work with conspiracy theories: silence is taken as suspicious, as having something to hide. No, ideas like this must be taken head-on, fearlessly and relentlessly with facts and allowing no quarter at any turn. There will always be a segment of the population who will cling to such stories no matter what, but the vast majority of people out in the world, when presented with the facts, are more than capable of separating wheat from chaff. In the battle against falsehood, the truth is the only weapon we’ve got. Fortunately, it’s the best one we could ever hope for.