opinion

Noah was murdered by a gunman, and this woman sent death threats to his father.

She is a 57-year-old woman from Tampa Bay, Florida. She used to be a waitress, but has been unemployed since 2004 and now lives off a Social Security disability pension.

Lucy Richards likes to read conspiracy websites about “government hoaxes”.

This week, Florida’s Sun Sentinal reported that Richards pleaded not guilty to four charges of sending threats.

What are these threats a 57-year-old woman who uses a walker and wears slippers to court is accused of sending?

They are death threats to Lenny Pozner the father of the youngest child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre. Pozner’s six-year-old, Noah, was killed by 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza, who also shot dead 19 other six and seven year olds and six adult staff members on a December morning at the Connecticut elementary school.

It was the deadliest mass school shooting in US history.

Noah Pozner was just six when he was killed. Image via Facebook/Remembering Noah Samuel Pozner.

But Lucy Richards believes it was all a hoax. It was all made up so that Second Amendment US gun rights would come under fire and as a result be weakened by President Obama (side note: US gun laws have not changed).

There are numerous websites devoted to this theory and Richards read some of them and became "angry".

According to the SunSentinal, Richards left three threatening voicemails and one threatening email for Pozner.

"You gonna die, death is coming to you real soon," was one voicemail message left, the SunSentinal reports, adding the email included the words: "Look behind you it is death."

The parents of the children massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School have been stalked regularly by conspiracy theorists and "gun truthers" and have been accused of being liars, professional actors and that their children never even existed.

Their harassment began within days of the shooting and continues today.

Their harassment began within days of the shooting and still continues. Image: Screenshot/ABC News.
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Pozner has dedicated his life to fighting the trolls by confronting them. He has founded the HONR network, which brings "awareness to the cruelty and criminality of Hoaxer activity" that includes Sandy Hook, 9/11, the Orlando Pulse nightclub and the Boston bombing, among others.

That the men and women who peddle lies and harassment of innocent, grieving people call themselves "truthers" shows you just how delusional and dangerous fake news is.

This is a community built from fear and ignorance — oh, and a need for sad people to belong to something. They belong to "truthers" who "tell the truth" like, you know, Michelle Obama is really a man. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.

It would be easy to laugh if it didn't result in infecting people's minds with dangerous mental toxins and galvanising them to act. "Truthers" used to lurk on the internet exchanging their "information". They would whisper after a couple of drinks that 9/11 was a hoax. Then the websites grew bigger and bolder and crueler. There were a few rallies. There were more conspiracy theories that governments, media, police, lawmakers, armies, town populations, literally millions of people, "knew about". Then Trump. And now the "truthers" are out and proud. They believe they have "truth" on their side.

Finding one of these fake news or conspiracy websites is as simple as looking up today's weather forecast. And the sites are all lies. They litter "news" pieces with unverified "facts" from other "truther" websites so arguments, effectively, become circular. One fake news site reports Santa is real. That is picked up by another fake news site and pretty soon they can say the evidence is "everywhere".

Mamamia OutLoud discusses the spread of fake news. Post continues after audio.

Here are some of the reasons the Sandy Hook massacre 'never happened':

  • Amazon banned a book saying that the massacre didn't happen.
  • The school was closed down already (there's a "pile of dust" under a bullet hole as evidence)
  • Parents didn't show enough grief
  • Medical helicopters were not flown in
  • The disability parking signs that all the media showed in their coverage were painted in old colours, not blue and white
  • And really... the "evidence" just gets more ridiculous

Welcome to the seventh circle of "truth" hell. A place anyone can enter. A place that doesn't even know what a lie is. A place that draws in the lonely and desperate, offers them easy, visceral answers that prick all their fears, and ensure THEY are the victim, not some kindergarten students in a colourful classroom.

As Richards' case continues in Fort Lauderdale, Florida the judge has granted her bail on a $25,000 bond and ordered her to stay away from conspiracy and hoaxer websites. She has also been ordered to not contact the family of Sandy Hook victims.

During the hearing, according to the SunSentinal, Richards was asked by the judge if she had any guns or weapons.

"No, Your Honor, I've never touched or owned a gun," she said in a soft voice.

So the 57-year-old doesn't have a gun. That doesn't comfort me at all because what she does have in her hand is a phone and all the fake news a lonely, marginalised, ignorant, easily led person could wish for.

*Feature image: Facebook/Remembering Noah Samuel Pozner and Screenshot/ABC News.

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