Daughter of Sandy Hook victim pens blistering op-ed criticizing Alex Jones' 'lies' and 'hate' spewed after the shooting
The daughter of the slain principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School has penned an op-ed shedding light on the impact of Alex Jones' perpetuation of conspiracy theories about the mass shooting.
In a piece published by Newsweek, Erica Lafferty, the daughter of Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, recounted how it felt when conspiracy theorists like Jones began circulating claims about the shooting being a hoax. For Lafferty and family members of other victims, the shooting was anything but a hoax.
"Jones has been in my life for nearly a decade, but not by choice. I was in my late twenties when my mother, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, was killed on December 14, 2012," Lafferty wrote.
"Within days of the shooting, I heard people online saying it was a hoax; the whole thing had been staged and the families were acting. I just thought: 'How can people be saying this?'"
After doing her own research, Lafferty was able to learn more about Jones' history of spreading misinformation. "Over time, I began to connect the dots and figured out who this Alex Jones guy was," she wrote. "I realized much of this rhetoric was stemming from the lies and the hate he was spewing to his audience."
She also shed light on the harassment she was subjected to by Jones far-right audience. "The frequency of this harassment depended on Jones and how often he spoke about Sandy Hook," she wrote, "Whenever he spread his conspiracy theories the abuse amped up. There was sometimes a day or two that I would have some peace.
"Then there were months on end where every single day I would be called an actress or accused of making up my own mom. I would be sent pictures of the school or these doctored photos claiming it wasn't even open on the day of the shooting, all of these crazy things. It was constant, I literally couldn't keep up."
To make matters worse, the former principal's bereaved daughter also explained how Jones' actions stifled her ability to grieve. According to Lafferty, the highly publicized nature of her mother's death complicated things but Jones' attempts to dismiss what transpired made things far worse.
"It was the first time I had ever experienced anything like this. I had grown up in a small town and outside of sporting events I had never even been in the newspaper. So, to have to grieve the murder of my mom in such a public manner was a whole beast in itself. I was never given the opportunity to mourn her in my own way. I was forced to do it on this international platform."
Speaking about the lawsuit, Lafferty wrote, "I think taking legal action against Jones did further open ourselves up to his very extreme audience. I feel like we had to put ourselves out there and continue taking hits from him and his followers in order to take back our lives and stories, but also to protect other people, which I think is the best way I ever could have chosen to honor my mom."
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