University pulls safe haven for Sandy Hook denier

tracy

Academia occasionally serves as a hideout for weird conspiracy theorists. The professor who insists the Wellstone plane crash was a government “hit” often comes to mind.

But the jig is up for James Tracy. He was fired last evening by a Florida university.

Demanding that Sandy Hook parents prove their children were once alive was just too much even for Florida Atlantic University.

Tracy, you see, believes Sandy Hook was an elaborate, staged hoax designed to pass gun-control legislation.

It’s unlikely the university would’ve taken action had it not been for this op-ed from the parents of one of the murdered children, Noah Pozner.

Tracy even sent us a certified letter demanding proof that Noah once lived, that we were his parents, and that we were the rightful owner of his photographic image. We found this so outrageous and unsettling that we filed a police report for harassment. Once Tracy realized we would not respond, he subjected us to ridicule and contempt on his blog, boasting to his readers that the “unfulfilled request” was “noteworthy” because we had used copyright claims to “thwart continued research of the Sandy Hook massacre event.”

His blog post was echoed dozens of times on conspiracy websites, including one maintained by Tracy’s colleague and frequent collaborator James Fetzer, a Holocaust denier who expounded upon Tracy’s article by stating that our refusal to respond to this obscene ultimatum “implies that Noah did not die at Sandy Hook and confirms that Lenny is a fraud.”

Does Fetzer’s name ring a bell? He’s the professor, now retired, who pushed the Wellstone conspiracy, denied the Holocaust, theorized Jews blew up the World Trade Center, and published a book called “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook: It Was a FEMA Drill to Promote Gun Control.”

He did all that while an employee of the University of Minnesota Duluth, which provided him the safe haven that’s now been denied to his colleague.

More higher education: Christian college begins process to remove professor who wore a hijab (CNN)

  • John

    What do/did these people teach?

    Also . . . good riddance.

  • Jerry

    Did either of these guys have tenure? Presumably not the one who was fired.

  • Leroy
  • MrE85

    Colleges should be havens for ideas and philosophies of all types — but not this kind of garbage. Good riddance, indeed. What an awful human being to send a letter like that!

  • BReynolds33

    Ah, the first amendment. The freedom to be a complete and total moron, and not be thrown into the deep, dark hole that you so badly need to spend time in.

    • BJ

      I wonder how many people will be attacking the university today, not understanding that being able to say moronic things and not be prosecuted by government for them doesn’t mean that other punishments are allowed (sue for Libel or slander for example).

  • Jeff

    Just wondering, in the history of conspiracy theories has there ever been proven an actual conspiracy? (If not, maybe there’s a conspiracy to cover up conspiracies?) I can think of conspiracies (e.g., Watergate) but it all came out eventually and fairly quickly.

  • Rob

    I hope the parents sue that clown for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

  • Postal Customer

    Book deal / Fox News show in the works.

  • Fred, Just Fred

    This fool definitely deserved firing. But I am struck by the similarity in behavior between Tracy and UofM Prof. PZ Myers, and the disparate consequences.

    Myers solicited his blog readers to steal a consecrated host from a Catholic Church so that he could publicly defile it. When he finally got one, he added to the insult by tossing a Koran on top of it in a trash can and posted pictures of his deed. Evidently the picture went viral around the world.

    Like Tracy, Myers uses his blog to post hate filled, inchoate screeds against people of faith, every day. As far as I know he continues to do so to this day.

    Some might say the loss of a child is more traumatic, and I personally would agree, but honest people of deep faith could make a sincere argument it is not.

    In any case, not only did the UofM fail to reprimand Myers, it officially supported him.

    If there is a line beyond which academic freedom does not protect tenured faculty? It seems it is mighty blurry if there is.

    • Rob

      The difference is that Tracy wasn’t content to just blog his drivel, he directly contacted the parents by letter demanding proof of their son’s existence and parentage, then attacked them on his blog for not responding. A shade more depraved than mutilating and blogging about a piece of bread.

      • Fred, Just Fred

        Yeah, well, I’m sure someone somewhere is making an ignorant argument in support of Tracy, too.

        Thanks for your input.

    • Joe

      This is like the 5th time you’ve brought up Myers on Newscut. Get over it.

      But I think the difference between someone harassing specific individuals vs. someone posting controversial stuff on a blog is relatively clear.

      • Fred, Just Fred

        I bring him up when he is germain to the discussion. Myers targets specific individuals, not that that will make a difference to you.

      • lindblomeagles

        Joe, this wasn’t someone posting controversial ideas. This was a professor, who SHOULD have received training equal to or better than a Ph. D.; a scientist, who SHOULD have known that any theory coming out of his mouth REQUIRED ACTUAL RESEARCH – not just the classic, everyday, plebiscite rantings you and I do. He IS EXPECTED to reasonably know how to derive an idea, research it, and publish his findings in a manner conducive to scholarly work. You’re attempt at excusing THIS PROFESSOR is akin to you giving, for example, journalists, such as Bob, the license to publish articles about tiny green men running around in suits hatching diabolical plans to bring Hawaii back to Mars, without a shred of evidence to support the story. And the Founding Fathers, would not give this Professor the kind of day you’re giving him right now, before and after penning the First Amendment.

        • Joe

          How is throwing a host and a Koran in the trash akin to Bob posting about tiny green men? I do not get the correlation. What Myers did was not “false” and not something that could be researched. He offended people, yes, but this was on a personal blog, not in a published journal or anything. Was it bad? Sure. But it’s not comparable to harassing the parents of a slaughtered child.

  • J-Doggz

    I followed the link to Fetzer’s blog. I believe i’ve just interacted with a living logical fallacy…