James Tracy, FAU Professor: Sandy Hook Families Trying to Get Me Fired | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Palm Beach News

FAU Professor: Sandy Hook Families Are Trying to Get Me Fired

Update: On December 16, Florida Atlantic University announced that it had served James Tracy, a tenured professor at the school, a notice that it is moving to fire him.

It was three years ago today that 20 little children were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Not long afterward, Florida Atlantic University Professor James Tracy began spreading the idea on his blog that the shooting was a hoax. He inflamed a growing movement of conspiracy theorists who frequently say that mass murders and terrorist attacks are elaborate schemes designed by the U.S. government to garner support for gun control. 

Indeed, the shooting sparked increased calls for gun control — though gun sales are stronger than ever now.

Tracy has never relented from his position, and now, he's even doubling down on his insistence that Sandy Hook was a staged incident. 

Families of victims, however, insist their pain is real and have been appalled that such theorists cyber-stalk them and bombard them with indignities like talking about digging up children's bodies as proof. 

Tracy, a father of three, has written that he noticed in the days after the shooting that "commonplace emergency protocols were abandoned. There was no surge of EMTs into the building, no proper triage protocol employed or Med-Evac helicopters called." He says his subsequent investigation of the matter is a "research project." 

Similar-minded conspiracy theorists often base their claims on "evidence" like photos of two people at separate tragedies looking vaguely alike. They'll accuse families of having photoshopped baby pictures and insist the kids never existed. 

As one parent, Lenny Pozner, wrote in the Hartford Courant, "the hoaxers labeled virtually everyone in Newtown as involved in the alleged plot to fake the shootings, including police, medical personnel, and — most egregiously — the parents whose young children had just been slaughtered. Bloggers and YouTubers from across the Internet accused these grief-stricken parents of being paid actors and told them that their children never existed." He said that based on the images that obsessed hoaxers post on social media, they seem like necrophiliacs and child predators. 

The Pozners wrote a letter that was published in the Sun Sentinel on December 10, calling for Tracy to be ousted from FAU. They explained that Tracy has "achieved fame among the morbid and deranged precisely because his theories were attached to his academic credentials and his affiliation with FAU. Tracy has enjoyed tremendous success from this exposure and has since leveraged it into a popular Internet blog and radio program. Worse yet, it has elevated his status and fame among the degenerates that revel in the pleasure of sadistically torturing victims’ families... It is time FAU reassess if their priorities properly reflect the best interests of their staff, donors, and — most importantly — their students."

Tracy is claiming he's the victim. On a Facebook page called "Sandy Hook Hoax," he says he wrote a rebuttal to the Sun Sentinel saying the Pozners "seek to intimidate my employer into firing me because of the extensive research" he and a professor in Minnesota have done. Tracy continues to contend that the shooting was just a drill and that the families have profited off the tragedy. Tracy signed his letter "Nobody Died at Sandy Hook."

He teaches a class called "COM 4930: Culture of Conspiracy," among others. On RatemyProfessors.com, reviews of his teaching are mixed. Reviews alternately say that "he is a moron!" and that he "gets a lot of undeserved hate." One person wrote, "It's almost like paid actors created a fake graduation back when he got his 'degree,' which I am sure came from a local Kinkos, in order to make him appear educated enough to teach in colleges."

Reviewers seem to agree that he is not hot, though, as he scored low in the "hotness" category. 

A website called SandyHookFacts.com chronicles attacks on the Sandy Hook families and seeks to discredit Tracy and debunk a list of the claims he and other hoaxers have made. 

The blog states, "It is almost beyond comprehension that a tenured Florida Atlantic University Professor is allowed to engage in his acts designed to target victims of violent crime, let alone Sandy Hook parents; yet James Tracy has targeted many of them. Chief among Tracy's targets are Lenny and Veronique Pozner. The Pozners have penned an article exposing some of Tracy's tactics. The article only scratches the surface of how atrocious Tracy is; for example, the article does not discuss when James Tracy targeted a little young girl named Lennie Urbina.

"What kind of person targets a little girl? I think we all know which type. The worst of the worst." 

Pozner has said that it's the conspiracy theorists who are using the tragedy for personal gain, pointing out that one Orlando man tried raising money online to "investigate." Pozner has started a group, the HONR Network, to bring awareness of the hoaxers. 

New Times left a message for Tracy at his office and a message for an FAU spokesperson. We will update if we hear back. 
KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Deirdra Funcheon