a quick non-update

As mentioned last time, I had hoped to post some more updates over the course of this fall, but life and other events have pretty much consumed my free time since September.

I’ll be back after the new year. My book on Sandy Hook will be available to read, in some form or another, in 2017. Apologies for the delay. I think it will be worth it.

That’s all for now. Have a safe New Year.

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“Tuck Everlasting” and the Sandy Hook shooter

I noted earlier how “The Big Book of Granny” was created during an important juncture in the Sandy Hook shooter’s life — the family at 36 Yogananda was starting to splinter, the shooter (at age ten) was already exhibiting a few signs of emotional disturbance, and he was just about to be lost in the shuffle as he and his classmates all migrated to Reed Intermediate School after the new year of 2003.

The Granny book was not actually the only piece of writing from that time, though; it’s just the most notorious. In addition to that text, there were also several composition notebooks seized from 36 Yogananda:

shl-tuck-notebookswide1

One of those notebooks was the shooter’s writing journal from his fifth grade at Sandy Hook Elementary School:

shl-tuck-notebooktight1

You can tell this is the one based on the arrangement of the blue bookmark tabs, which were placed by police.

As the police logged them into evidence, they snapped a few photos of some of the pages, and here, there are two significant deviations from the case of the Granny book: the journal entry is dated, and the writing itself isn’t redacted.

From the context clues, one can tell that the shooter’s journal records that he was reading the 1975 children’s novel Tuck Everlasting, during these final days of the 5th grade class at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Before getting to the entry itself, a little background is necessary: Tuck Everlasting is a fiction book by American author Natalie Babbitt, and a bit unusual as far as children’s literature goes, in that it deals with some pretty heavy themes: existentialism, mortality, sustainability, and the environment.

The story involves a girl named Winnie Foster, growing up in the rural New Hampshire village of Treegap in the 1880s. Winnie’s family owns a large section of the pastoral wooded area around her home, and one day she meets the Tuck family as they pass through; over the course of the story, she learns that the Tucks (appearing to be a multi-generational family of children, adults and elders) are actually much older, as each of them having stopped aging at the point they obtained immortality, which was gained by drinking from a magic spring (hence the title, “Tuck everlasting.”) The wooded area where the spring is located also happens to be on the territory that Winnie’s family owns, which becomes a key detail.

By the point in the story covered in the shooter’s reading journal, Winnie has run away from home and been taken in by the Tuck family, while a sinister third party has become known to the reader: the nameless “Man in the Yellow Suit” who is trying to lure Winnie away from the Tucks, so that he can bring her back home and claim the land on which immortality spring sits, as his reward.

The yellow-suit man appears on the doorstep of the Tuck home, and the ensuing action is the basis for the observations in the journal entry: the Man in the Yellow Suit announces that he will be turning the magic spring into a business, selling immortality to the highest bidders, and that he is taking Winnie with him to fulfill the transaction. Winnie resists, the man roughly takes her by the arm and tries to drag her out of the house, and suddenly Mae (the matron of the Tuck family) swings a shotgun at the man, like a club, and hits him in the head. The wound soon proves fatal, and Mae is arrested for murder.

It appears that the shooter was asked to comment on Mae’s use of violence to protect Winnie (and, by extension, the secret of the immortality spring) in his journal. I will here try to transcribe what the journal entry says, though there is a section where the handwriting is too blurry for me to decipher, so here is the original police photo first (the original pictures are pretty dark, I just ran them through Google’s magic-wand filter):

shl-tuck-story1

 

DEC/6/02

I think Mae was justified to hit the man in the yellow. The world was in her hands because if everyone drank the water the world would be overpopulated but no one would think of that at first, they would just rush to buy the water and drink it. This [xxxx] but if you are [xxxx] it would be immortality and some people could abuse that ability. Actually the man in the yellow suit is the real kidnapper. Winnie wanted to go with the Tucks, but did not with the man. I would have done the same thing as Mae just did.

The two pages on either side of this journal entry appear to be related to the assignment. On the opposite page is a drawing depicting the scene at the Tuck house, with man in yellow at their doorstep:

 

shl-tuck-drawing1

The page is bent but he appears to be saying “I’M COMING IN YOUR HOUSE NOW” while at the bottom, the numbered stick figures around the house match the number of inhabitants (Tuck family plus Winnie) at the time.

For comparison, here is the man in yellow as portrayed by Sir Ben Kingsley, in the 2002 Disney adaptation:

shl-kingsleyyellow1

The journal entry touches on the moral choices that are fundamental to the Tuck story: What would be the consequences for the world if anyone/everyone could live forever? Would immortality eventually become a burden, even a condition of torment for the individual? These observations aren’t unique to the shooter at all; they are actually expressed earlier in the story itself, most prominently when Jesse Tuck (who looks as if he is roughly Winnie’s age) takes Winnie out on a rowboat and explains why she should not want to drink from the magic spring:

“Know what that is, all around us, Winnie?” said Tuck, his voice low. “Life. Moving, growing, changing, never the same two minutes together. This water, you look out at it every morning, and it looks the same, but it ain’t. All night long it’s been moving, coming in through the stream back there to the west, slipping out through the stream down east here, always quiet, always new, moving on. You can’t hardly see the current, can you? And sometimes the wind makes it look like it’s going the other way. But it’s always there, the water’s always moving on, and someday, after a long while, it comes to the ocean.”

They drifted in silence for a time. The bullfrog spoke again, and from behind them, far back in some reedy, secret place, another bullfrog answered. In the fading light, the trees along the banks were slowly losing their dimensions, flattening into silhouettes clipped from black paper and pasted to the paling sky. The voice of a different frog, hoarser and not so deep, croaked from the nearest bank.

“Know what happens then?” said Tuck. “To the water? The sun sucks some of it up right out of the ocean and carries it back in clouds, and then it rains, and the rain falls into the stream, and the stream keeps moving on, taking it all back again. It’s a wheel, Winnie. Everything’s a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping. The frogs is part of it, and the bugs, and the fish, and the wood thrush, too. And people. But never the same ones. Always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s the way it is.”

[…]

“It goes on,” Tuck repeated, “to the ocean. But this rowboat now, it’s stuck. If we didn’t move it out ourself, it would stay here forever, trying to get loose, but stuck. That’s what us Tucks are, Winnie. Stuck so’s we can’t move on. We ain’t part of the wheel no more. Dropped off, Winnie. Left behind. And everywhere around us, things is moving and growing and changing. You, for instance. A child now, but someday a woman. And after that, moving on to make room for the new children.” Winnie blinked, and all at once her mind was drowned with understanding of what he was saying. For she—yes, even she—would go out of the world willy-nilly someday. Just go out, like the flame of a candle, and no use protesting. It was a certainty. She would try very hard not to think of it, but sometimes, as now, it would be forced upon her. She raged against it, helpless and insulted, and blurted at last, “I don’t want to die.”

It appears that the shooter had been dwelling on the ecological themes in this scene, as well as the macabre children’s nursery rhyme The Death and Burial of Poor Cock Robin, when he wrote this poem on the next page of his reading journal:

shl-tuck-poem

No frogs, no birds

too many ants are coming.

Ants overpopulate.

Ants dig dirt.

dirt grows plants.

Bees come to plants.

Cock Robin died.

Bees die.

Ants feed bees to babies

Ants will overtake to win

One baby died.

3 eggs wont hatch

One bird has no voice

This poem was covered by numerous mainstream news sources when the Connecticut State Police released their evidence files in 2013; I am not aware of any source making the connection to the neighboring pages or connecting any of this to Tuck Everlasting so far.

One final note of interest: about a month and a half after this journal entry was written, with the shooter and the rest of Newtown’s fifth grade having moved to Reed Intermediate School in the meantime, a teacher at Reed showed her 5th grade class a video: it was her interview with Natalie Babbitt, the author of Tuck Everlasting, answering questions that the students in Newtown had submitted to ask on their behalf. You can read about that in the archived news story from the Newtown Bee here.

Next update soon, probably by the end of the month.

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What was the “Big Book of Granny”?

It’s been a little while. So first, a quick note about the status of this blog: I’ve been very hard at work over the last year, focused on researching and writing my book about the Sandy Hook shooting. It’s occupied so much of my time (in addition to having a  day job, etc.) that I’ve found I don’t really have much energy left for writing blog posts, and given the inherent darkness of this subject matter, I’m not usually in a hurry to write even more  about it when I do have free time. So, that’s the reason for the lack of updates. 

However, there are still a handful of topics that I’ve been meaning to fit into article form for awhile, that I think anyone studying the case should be interested in. I plan (vaguely) to get these last few articles posted through September, and after that, hopefully, share some details about the book and when you can read it, as well as a few excerpts from it. More on that later.

Now, onto to today’s topic:

What was the “Big Book of Granny”?

Well, in short, it’s a multimedia project that the Sandy Hook shooter and his then-friend (along with possibly several other classmates) produced in the 5th grade. Police found the book when they searched the home at 36 Yogananda Street, where the shooter lived with his mother. The “Big Book of Granny” is one of the more significant pieces of evidence for constructing a psychological profile of the shooter, especially his elementary school years. It was made after he had become noticeably withdrawn from social interactions, but before his anxieties were so severe that he could barely leave the house. Also, his father had moved out of the house less than a year before, his parents separating sometime in early 2002. The “Granny” book offers a rare glimpse into the shooter’s state of mind at this juncture in his emotional development and family life.

First off, I don’t have a copy of the “Big Book of Granny”; it has not been released to the public, and whether or not it is ever disclosed is a matter that is still being decided in a court battle, with Connecticut’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) and Division of Criminal Justice on one side, and the Hartford Courant and their reporter Dave Altimari on the other.

Altimari’s side is now joined by the state’s Freedom of Information Commission, which has already ruled in his favor and ordered that the Granny book (and the other unreleased documents attributed to the shooter, i.e. journals, text files, etc.) should be released; the other side appealed their decision, and that’s where we stand today. (more on this case at the Courant or the Newtown Bee or Sandy Hook Facts)

That’s not to say that we don’t have any idea what the book contains — we do, and its contents are quite alarming, especially in hindsight. Refer to the Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate report on the shooter: after a team of mental health professionals reviewed the “Big Book of Granny,” they described it as “extremely abhorrent and, if it had been carefully reviewed by school staff, it would have suggested the need for a referral to a child psychiatrist or other mental health professional for evaluation. (pg 32)”

Earlier in the same report, the book is summarized as “a very dramatic text, filled with images and narrative relating child murder, cannibalism, and taxidermy. (pg 29)”

Expanding further on this theme, and with emphasis in the original source:

While many children, and especially boys, of this age contend with anger and violent impulses in their play and creative productions, “The Big Book of Granny” stands out, to mental health professionals, as a text marked by extreme thoughts of violence that should have signified a need for intervention and evaluation. – Child Advocate, pg 33

I’ll get more into the content later, but first, it should be noted that in general, witness accounts are not consistent about the circumstances of the Granny book’s creation (I don’t think that’s surprising, given that this was just some kid’s old homework assignment right up until the events of 12/14.) Since it’s not really possible to reach solid conclusions on a number of details, this will be more of an attempt to record what is known, and then see what we’re left with when we compile all of the available information in one place.

I like to do things in chronological order. So, before we get to the book itself, let’s see what we deduce about its origins.

Where did the Big Book of Granny come from?

All sources are consistent in stating that the shooter produced the “Big Book of Granny” when he was in the 5th grade. Instances of this include the Connecticut State Police Official report summary, pg. 33:

Various witnesses made the following observations about the shooter through his school years:
1. In the 2002-2003 school year, when the shooter was in the fifth grade, he was quiet,
reluctant, very bright and had good ideas regarding creative writing. He wouldn’t
necessarily engage in conversation, but wouldn’t ignore one. There was no recollection of him being bullied or teased.
2. The fifth grade was also the year that, related to a class project, the shooter produced the “Big Book of Granny”… 

 

Connecticuty Office of the Child Advocate, pg 29:

While reports were generally positive about AL’s conduct and performance in elementary school, he generated and may have submitted, along with another boy in his class who was listed on the “Book” as AL’s co-author, an extremely disturbing project in fifth grade called “The Big Book of Granny.”

This already introduces a complication in the timeline, because the shooter (along with the every other 5th grader in the Newtown school district in 2002-2003) actually attended two different schools that year. Newtown had been in a hurry to finish construction of Reed Intermediate School while the students were away for Christmas break, amd though sections of the school would still be getting worked on after the big day came on January 6th, 2003, there was no other public school in Newtown staffed to teach the 5th and 6th grades after Reed opened its doors. (for more info see the Bee’s coverage of the school’s opening 14 years ago here or the announcement from then-Selectman, Evan Pitkoff here)

This is reflected in the title of the 2002-2003 yearbook from Sandy Hook Elementary School, a copy of which was found in the shooter’s home at 36 Yogananda Street (evidence list from Book 7, file 00177484):

SHL-granny-yearbook1

Therefor, narrowing the window down to the 2002-2003 school year still leaves us with two schools where the “Big Book of Granny” may have been created.

For the next step, let’s refer to the only image from the Granny book that has been released so far, the cover:

SHL-grannycover01

Some of the words are redacted, including the co-author, but it’s clear from the word spacing that the book was made by the shooter and one other person. Investigating the book’s origins in 2013, the next natural step for police should have been to track down the co-author and see what he has to say about the “Big Book of Granny,” and that’s exactly what they did.

File 00194470 from book 7 of the official report documents that a phone call was made to the co-author’s residence on August 29th, 2013. There was no anwer, so the officer left a message. Sometime after, they got a call back, from the co-author’s mother:

SHL-granny-mom100194470c

Though parts of the file are redacted, a few things are apparent:

  1. the co-author is “currently residing” somewhere other than with his family (the co-author would be around 20 years old at this point.)
  2. After she received the voicemail the police had left for her son, his mother called him to find out what he could remember about the shooter, but he did not remember much, and for some reason that has been redacted, she doesn’t think that the detectives would have better luck.
  3. The mother’s memory seemed stronger; she recalled her son and the shooter doing “boy stuff” in the neighborhood at the time, such as riding bikes. Their houses were in “close proximity.”
  4. She remembers they did class projects together, though she does not specifically remember the “Big Book of Granny.”
  5. the shooter had visited her house during this time, and her boy had been to the shooter’s home at 36 Yogananda.

Along with these claims, the co-author’s mother also provides the police with documentation that “[her son] and the shooter attended [REDACTED] together at Sandy Hook  School from [REDACTED]” – clearly, a grade and a school year. The documentation was in the form of school directories from Sandy Hook Elementary, including the 2002-2003 school year:

SHL-granny-directory1

Only the cover is given in file 00194470. The rest of the directory, as well as those for several other years, is redacted.

The police also record that the school directory “shows that [the co-author] started attending Sandy Hook School in [year] and only attended [grade] with the shooter during [year.]” That being the case, this file (as redacted as it is) indicates that the Granny book’s two authors were only in the same class at Sandy Hook, and only for one year; since the book was made in the fifth grade, that means we can reasonably isolate the timing of its production as somewhere between September and late-December of 2002.

 

Two months after that conversation with the co-author’s mother, on October 16th, 2013, the CSP detectives document a trip to the office of a Probation Officer in nearby Danbury, CT. This probation officer was “recently assigned to supervise” a redacted name, who turns out to be the co-author of the “Granny” book, now on probation and “in a group home under constant supervision” stemming from “a court case involving motor vehicle charges.” (Book 7 file 00232922) :

SHL-granny-coauthorp1.jpeg

For a bit more information on what exactly this person’s status was as of 2013, refer to the Child Advocate Report page 29 (note: the Child Advocate had access to unredacted CSP files) which describes this same CSP file as a “present-day statement of the co-author (an individual who as an adult was diagnosed with mental illness and is purportedly living in a residential setting.)” However, the same evaluators footnote that they “cannot confirm whether this individual is confined involuntarily in a locked setting or whether he is residing in a community-based facility.”

Proceeding further in the CSP file, the probation officer then escorts the co-author, now a young man with his own troubles, into the room for an interview with police, which lasts about 35 minutes:

SHL-granny1-coauthor2d

Contrary to what his mother claimed, the co-author of the “Big Book of Granny” seems to recall quite a bit about the times he and the Sandy Hook shooter spent putting it together. Among the details he claims:

  1. The Big Book of Granny was created as part of a group assignment to make a “comic book style” project.
  2. There were other kids in the group with him and the shooter, submitting ideas for the shooter’s approval
  3. They all agreed to make a “Calvin and Hobbes” style comic
  4. He (the co-author) was responsible for the illustrations
  5. The only illustration he remembers was the cover graphic
  6. He doesn’t remember who produced the final copies, or how many there were
  7. He thinks the school was responsible for binding it
  8. He thinks the Granny book was turned in to be graded for the assignment

#4 seems credible, given the mock legal warnings the creators wrote on the cover of the Granny book; the shooter is named as owning the rights to all the content, but the “Granny Picture” is attributed to a redacted name, presumably the co-author.

The last two points (#7 and #8) are significant, in that they would indicate an adult saw the final product, or at least had opportunity to read it; whenever this book passes through adult hands, to me that represents a missed opportunity, given that the Child Advocate report specifically states that the book’s content “should have signified a need for intervention and evaluation.”

The issue of adults coming into contact with the “Big Book of Granny” is complicated further in The Reckoning, an interview with the shooter’s father, who apparently told writer Andrew Solomon that the shooter “tried to sell copies of the book at school and got in trouble.”

This detail about the shooter trying to sell copies of the Granny book is not mentioned by anyone in the available CSP files. In the Child Advocate report, on the other hand, a curious detail is added:

The co-author claims that the book was bound in school and submitted for a grade. Other reports indicate that AL may have attempted to “sell” the book to peers for 25 cents and that a school administrator spoke to Mrs. Lanza about the matter. (Child Advocate report pg 29)

The “for 25 cents” detail does not appear anywhere in the investigative record, as far as I’m aware, and it’s not in Solomon’s interview with the shooter’s father. I do not know where the Child Advocate investigators got that detail (the price by itself is immaterial, but it’s a sign that there may be more support for the “got in trouble for selling copies” scenario, somewhere in the redacted records.) The specific claim that the shooter’s mother was spoken to be a school administrator about the Granny book is also of unknown origin, but I suppose it’s implied in The Reckoning’s claim that the shooter “got in trouble” for trying to sell it. These details are murky, but they all suggest more instances where an adult had opportunity to look at the “Big Book of Granny.”

There is one more file in the CSP investigation that touches on the Granny book, and though parts of it are redacted, there are some interesting details. It is in book 7, file 00201300, which documents a interview with a teacher conducted at Reed Intermediate School, where he works, and who had previously worked at Sandy Hook Elementary School:

SHL-granny-teacher1

It’s evident that the teacher had the shooter in his class at some point, though it’s not clear at which school or school year (5th or 6th grade.) He also, apparently, remembers the co-author of the Granny book (3rd paragraph) though he does not remember that boy associating with the shooter, and he has no knowledge of the Granny book at all.

Note that the teacher says the shooter had “good ideas regarding creative writing” and “wouldn’t necessarily engage in conversation with people but he wouldn’t ignore them either.” Thus, this is the interview that is the basis for the earlier claim about the timing of the Granny book to have been in the 5th grade:

In the 2002-2003 school year, when the shooter was in the fifth grade, he was quiet,
reluctant, very bright and had good ideas regarding creative writing. He wouldn’t
necessarily engage in conversation, but wouldn’t ignore one. There was no recollection of him being bullied or teased.

The simplest way to align this witness statement with the others is to assume that this person was the shooter’s 5th grade teacher at Reed, which occurs after the Granny book, and that the shooter and the co-author were no longer friends at this point, as the co-author indicates in his statement. Again, though, there’s just no way to be sure.

Having covered all of the known claims about how the “Big Book of Granny” book came to be, now let’s look at what a person would have found when they opened it.

 

What’s in the “Big Book of Granny”?

The book was opened on August 16th, 2013, by a Connecticut State Trooper at the CSP station in Southbury. The trooper wrote a summary of everything in the book, and his report was filed as item 00180670 in book 4 of Connecticut’s investigation into the Sandy Hook shooting. This file is the only document that provides any detail about the contents of the “Big Book of Granny.”

The summary is two pages of nearly unformatted text, a bit hard on the eyes. Here, I’ve broken it down into paragraphs, and added a few notes (in bold) where I thought helpful, but otherwise this is just word-for-word what the police wrote in their files.

(One last thing to note: from reading this summary, it doesn’t actually sound like a “comic book.” There is no mention of any illustrations, except for the cover. This recalls the co-author’s interview, when he said he was responsible for the illustrations but could only remember the one on the cover; perhaps the “Calvin and Hobbes style comic book” ended up being just a written document, after all. Or, this could just be an ambiguity in the trooper’s style of describing the document.)

THE BIG BOOK OF GRANNY

The book starts with a list of 85 Granny Jokes. All of the jokes are degrading statements beginning with “Granny!”

Following 3 pages of Granny Jokes, the book lists “Granny Products of the Future”, which includes advertisements for:

  • Granny Action Figure
  • Granny Action Figure 2
  • Granny Action Figure 3
  • Granny Action Figure 4
  • Granny Action Figure 5
  • Granny Action Figure Set (includes all 5 Granny Action Figures)
  • Gran Spam
  • Granny Oats
  • and Granny’s Granny.

Each of the products is described in an advertisement format with monetary cost and
phone number to call to order.

The next section of the book is labeled as “Granny’s Clubhouse of Happy Children.” This section is a typed dialog from an imaginary TV show. The main characters feature Granny, her son “Bobolicious” and several children.

In the show, Granny and Bobolicious are talking to the group of children as if in a group. In the first episode, Granny punches one boy in the face, throws a match and causes an explosion and threatens to shoot and kill the children.

The second episode, Granny’s Clubhouse of Happy Children 2, starts out with Bobolicious speaking to the children. Bobolicious said “Hi! I’m Bobolicious the Explorer….. Remember last time when everyone was slaughtered!? Well…You bread-brain leeches gave me 75 years of prison for that so called ‘Tragedy’! I was having fun!”

The third and final episode, Granny’s Clubhouse of Happy Children 3, introduces two new characters, Dora the Beserker and her monkey, Shoes. [Dora the “Beserker” would be a reference to the children’s show Dora the Explorer, who has a pet monkey named “Boots” – here, renamed “Shoes.”]  Bobolicious says that they are going to play a game of “Hide and go Die.”

The next section of the book is labeled “Adventures of Granny.” There are eight chapters labeled “The Adventures of Granny” through “The Adventures of Granny 8.” All eight chapters are dialog between Granny and another character identified as Granny’s Son with various persons
added in.

In the first chapter, Granny and Granny’s Son rob a bank, Granny shoots people with her rifle cane, and then blows up the bank with dynamite. After the robbery, Granny’s Son shoots Granny in the head with a shotgun.

In the second chapter, Granny and Granny’s Son go on a boat ride. Granny falls out of the boat and Granny’s Son throws her a cement floatation device which forces her to sink to the bottom of the ocean.

In the third chapter, Granny and Granny’s Son try to capture a boy and stuff him, to put on the mantle. Granny kicks the boy into the fireplace and he begins to burn. The boy jumps out of the fire and Granny punches him in the face. Then Granny shoots at him three times with her rifle cane
and misses him. Granny then throws a Granny Action Figure to the boy. The boy gets distracted and the action figure comes alive and shoots the boy. Granny’s Son says “Yay! Now we can hang it!”

In chapter four, Granny and Granny’s Son go to a hockey game. Granny goes onto the ice and
punches one of the players and then shoots him with her rifle cane. After the hockey game, Granny and Granny’s Son go to Duchess restaurant to eat [Duchess is a fast food chain with locations only in Fairfield and New Haven counties. Newtown/Sandy Hook is in Fairfield County.]

In chapter five, Granny goes to Marine boot camp and meets up with Dora the Beserker and Swiper the Raccoon [Swiper the fox is a character on Dora the Explorer]. Granny asks Dora if she would assassinate a soldier at midnight and Dora agrees to do it. Dora says ” I like hurting people…Especially children…” Granny then shoots multiple people with her rifle cane. When Granny escapes boot camp and goes home to Granny’s Son, she tells him that she left boot camp because she killed the entire Marine legion.

In chapter six, Granny and Granny’s Son are picked up from the side of the road by Dora the Beserker. Dora tells Granny that she can take her wherever she needs to go, after they go to the daycare center. When they arrive at the daycare center, Dora sends Swiper the Raccoon inside to distract the children. Then Dora enters and says “Let’s hurt children.”

In chapter seven, Granny and Granny’s Son go to visit Dora the Beserker. Dora takes them on an adventure to find Drunk. In the adventure, they encounter a rooster and have to call upon their bag to get a shotgun. In their bag is a handgun, AK-47, M-16, rifle, rocket launcher, musket and a shotgun. Dora uses the shotgun to shoot the rooster and Swiper the Raccoon. Later in the adventure, Dora accidentally shoots her monkey, named Shoes, Lenny the Cow [a take-off of Benny the bull] and Tico the Chipmunk [Tico the squirrel]. Dora eventually gets arrested for possession of 6 guns and murdering 4 animals.

In chapter 8, Granny and Granny’s Son use a time machine to go back in time. In their travels, they meet The Beatles. Granny kills all of The Beatles and says that she kills every bug she sees.
Granny and Granny’s Son get arrested and sentenced to 75 years in jail for killing The Beatles. 

 

Where in the house was the “Big Book of Granny” found?

Ever since the Child Advocate report emphasized how unusual and significant the content of the Granny book really is, I’ve wondered: where in the shooter’s house did the polce find it?

Keep in mind that this was a project from the shooter’s childhood, a book that was about a decade old when the shooting happened: that’s half of the shooter’s lifetime. If the book was just stuffed in a box somewhere in the basement, that would be one thing, however, if this was a keepsake that the shooter had on his desk and was still thinking about as a young adult, that would be really odd and thus noteworthy. Or, what if it was his mother flipping through the Big Book of Granny?

So, off and on over the years, I’ve tried to locate where in 36 Yogananda the book was found, based on police reports and scene photos; unfortunately, as far as I can tell, that can’t conclusively be done. So, here I will just share why I think that’s the case. 

On December 16th, 2012 (two days after the shooting) a search warrant was served, and several boxes worth of evidence were seized. In the file that logs this seizure, note that the “military-style uniform” is in box #2, while “books and papers” from the shooter’s bedroom are in box #3 (this is from the official CSP report, book 4, file 00076719):

SHL-granny-bookspapers1

As noted, these and several other boxes were compiled as “FBI-1,” and then sent off to the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, to aid in their construction of a psychological profile of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter.

By April 2013, the FBI was finished reviewing the contents of the five boxes, and they sent exhibit “FBI-1” back to Connecticut (3rd paragraph above).

Then, in August, Connecticut opened the boxes back up, and started cataloging the evidence. This is the first noted appearance of the “Big Book of Granny,” so locating it in the house becomes a matter of figuring out which box it was in when it was sent to the FBI. When the police opened the boxes from the FBI, they found it in Box #3:

SHL-granny-boxes3

This seems to make it a fairly simple deduction to say that the “Granny” book was among the “books and papers” from the shooter’s bedroom in the earlier file, since that was what Box #3 contained when it was shipped off to the FBI.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Note that the “Teddy bear” was also received in box #3. We can see from scene search photos that the stuffed bear was actually found on top of the gun safe, which was in the room next to the shooter’s bedroom:

SHL-grannybear1

That would have placed it in box #1 when it was sent out, not box #3, where it was found in return.

Further, note that the “military uniform” has moved from box #2 when it was sent out, to box #4 when it was received:

SHL-granny-boxes4

…so, it appears the contents of each box weren’t kept separate. The FBI sent them back to Connecticut in a different order. That puts practically every location in the house up for grabs, and so we’re back at square one.

The best I can do is to eliminate one location: the Big Book of Granny wasn’t found in the basement storage room.

Initially, this spot in the basement seems seems like a candidate, based on the description of the kind of evidence seized from a number boxes there:

SHL-granny-88-1

It appears that the police photographers did not venture too far into this particular room. There are no photos of the boxes, which would be at the far end of the room from the spot where this photo was taken, somewhere behind the folded ping-pong table:

SHL-behindpingpong

However, this spot can be eliminated based on the evidence itemization from file 00177484, which lists every item found in the boxes from the basement storage room; all of the contents are either something other than a book, or they dated from the late 1990’s, before the Granny book was written:

SHL-granny-basementcontents1

My best guess is that the Big Book of Granny was found in one of the two upstairs rooms occupied by the shooter. But, who knows?

For those curious, I’ll share a document I put together and have long referred to for keeping track of where evidence was located in 36 Yogananda; this is the “scene search diagram” put together by police, combined with the corresponding evidence list (large image file here.)

Where is the Granny book? It’s one of those yellow dots, that’s for sure.

_________________________

I’m planning to have the next update posted during the weekend of the 10th/11th. I don’t have much of a history of meeting deadlines, though.

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A Brief Review of the Evidence Against “Kaynbred”

Awhile back I posted a review of the evidence that the Sandy Hook shooter was in fact the individual behind the profile named “Smiggles” that was active on a Columbine forum from early 2010 to February 2012. This is going to be roughly the same idea, focusing this time on the profile “Kaynbred,” a name which was used on a number of different websites for a period of one year – between April 2009 and April 2010 – most notably on a clan forum for the FPS game “Combat Arms” and on Wikipedia.

First of all, the case of the Kaynbred account is significantly different from Smiggles, in that the Connecticut State Police did successfully identify the Kaynbred account during the course of their investigation, and documented it to some degree in their official report. This wasn’t a “miss” on their part, in other words, though it’s unclear how much of this online footprint they actually recovered before they wrapped up the investigation.

Here’s how the police found the account:

  1. Searching the shooter’s bedroom, a Storejet Transcend USB drive was found in the closet. There aren’t any photos that focus directly on it, but it can definitely be seen, tucked to one side of a cardboard box:SHL-usbdrive1

    SHL-storjettrasncend-exa

    For comparison, this is what the drive looks like

  2. Searching the contents of the USB drive, they located a folder “Combat Arms Screen Shots” containing 172 images of the game:SHL-KaynbredEvidence01
  3. Reviewing these photos in detail, the police picked up on the player name “Kaynbred.” Combat Arms is a “first person shooter,” so basically they were determining from which player’s viewpoint the screenshots were taken. They also make note that Kaynbred, along with number of other players on his team, are members of a clan called ”mg14c.”
  4. From here, the police requested search warrants from a judge to issue to Nexon America (the publisher/host of Combat Arms) which was then issued:SHL-puppets
  5. Responding to the Search and Seizure Warrant, Nexon America sends CSP the user profile data for Kaynbred on a CD-R:SHL-KaynbredWarrant3
  6. Reviewing that data, CSP investigators then identify the email address used to register the account with Combat Arms/Nexon: kaynbred@gmail.com. So, they obtain a search warrant for Google, too. Here, the search warrant affirms that Kaynbred was “the shooter’s Nexon User Profile” under item #13:SHL-KaynbredGoogle03

It should also be noted that the official report  confirms that the shooter played “Combat Arms”, in the 47-page summary version’s footnotes:SHL-Kaynbred-Sum1

So it’s pretty clear how the police reached the conclusion that Kaynbred was the shooter’s profile, based on this information. For all the shortcomings in the CSP report concerning to the shooter’s online activities, I’d say the Connecticut investigators did a fine job of busting Kaynbred. I also have a few things to add that support their conclusion (as with Smiggles, I have found nothing of substance that contradicts the conclusion that Kaynbred was the shooter.)

The mg14c clan forum

The Combat Arms clan that Kaynbred was a member of hosted a web forum, where Kaynbred posted several times. Recently I was going through archives of this forum and found a few posts that I had only found blank versions of previously, since the shooter had a habit of deleting the text of his forum posts sometime after posting them; it turns out these had actually been archived twice, the first time when the content of the post was still online.

The first was a thread started by Kaynbred, titled “Staying Alive.” It’s about the Bee Gees song and can be found here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20100127164308/http://mg14c.net/staying-alive-t121.html

The gist of the thread is that Kaynbred was expressing surprise that the Bee Gees were men, given the sound of their voice. He then shares his very narrow taste in music, consisting entirely of “Flogging Molly” and “The Dickies”:

SHL-kaynbred-bgs1

Almost three years later, when the Connecticut State Police were searching the Sandy Hook shooter’s bedroom, they snapped a photo of his closet, where a stack of CDs is visible:

SHL-closetmusic2

From the top, that is:

  • Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies
  • Flogging Molly – Within a Mile of Home
  • Flogging Molly – Swagger
  • Flogging Molly – Alive Behind the Green Door
  • Flogging Molly – Whiskey on a Monday
  • The Dickies – Killer Klowns
  • (something too blurry to read)
  • The Dickies – Dawn of the Dickies

Another useful mg14c thread is from November 18 2009 and is entitled “Host a Asian Week.” It can be found here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20100123182556/http://mg14c.net/host-a-asian-week-t119.html

In this thread, Kaynbred writes (with apparently intentional spelling & grammar errors) that “I want to be Hiroo Onada. I think Lubang is a pretty cool guy. eh holds out for decaeds and doesnt afraid of anything.”

SHL-mg14-hostasian

Hiroo Onada was a Japanese Army intelligence officer from World War II, who famously held out on the Philippine island of Lubang until 1974 (see his wikipedia article.)

The following is a partial list of books seized from the shooter’s bedroom. Note the title “No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War.”

SHL-nosurrender1

I don’t think this book is visible in any scene photos, but here’s a cover of one of the editions:

SHL-NoSurrender01

…it’s the autobiography of Hiroo Onoda.

In another post from the mg14c forum, from February 2010, other users are talking about Kaynbred and one mentions that he had said he “wantied to be in the military.”

Link to the post: http://web.archive.org/web/20100206102234/http://mg14c.net/kayn-t148.html

The shooter’s hopes to be an Army Ranger, or some other kind of elite soldier, was a plan that lasted up until right about his 18th birthday in April 2010, and has been covered pretty extensively (see The New Yorker’s interview with the shooter’s father here) so I’ll just share a glimpse of what is presumably the “military uniform” that the police found in his closet (you can just barely make out the gold-starred epaulet on the shoulder, this is a still from the “Scene Search” video):

SHL-closetuniform1

SHL-uniformnote1

The High Road

Kaynbred posted to “The High Road,” a firearms forum, several times between August 2009 and February 2010. In at least three of his posts, he inquires about Connecticut firearms laws:

SHL-fullautoct1

Link to the post: http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-471428.html

Note the “ct.gov” suffix on the link here:

SHL-SkorpionCTkayn1

Link to the post: http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-480066.html

In this one, he openly states that he lives in Connecticut:

AK 47 type  legality and the CZ Vz. 58    THR

Link to the post: http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-471088.html

Glocktalk

On the forum Glocktalk, Kaynbred didn’t post about firearms (at least in the surviving posts,) but instead focused on computers. One thread, entitled “What are the specs of your home desktop?,” Kaynbred shared what they said was the specs for their computer:

What are the specs of your home desktop    Glock Talk

Link to the post: http://www.glocktalk.com/threads/what-are-the-specs-of-your-home-desktop.1133371/

Note the hard drive : “Seagate 500 MB”

This is the same brand and memory capacity as the drive found in the shooter’s computer room:

SHL-seagateCSP1

This would also be the well-known unreadable drive that the shooter damaged at some point prior to the Sandy Hook shooting:

SHL-kaynHD1

Also, note that Kaynbred’s PC case is a “Cooler Master RC-690.” A few feet away from the damaged drive, there is the shooter’s PC case:

SHL-CoolermKayn1

The model is not specified in the report, but it’s a Cooler Master RC-690, the exact same model. For comparison, an image search will return examples like this:

SHL-coolermasterexamp2

Wikipedia

There are several instances where Kaynbred made edits to Wikipedia articles associated with mass shooters. Rather than review all of it again, I’ll just focus on one, the “Collier Township” shooter George Sodini. The first appearance of the Kaynbred account happened when Kaynbred logged in to Wikipedia and documented that he was accessing Sodini’s website in the days after that mass shooting (the text in the blue box on the right):

SHL-wikikaynsod1

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:2009_Collier_Township_shooting&diff=prev&oldid=306317904

Files from Sodini’s website, in turn, were found on the Sandy Hook shooter’s USB drive:

SHL-sodini-BWkayn1

A final note of interest is that a clip from the film “Bloody Wednesday” was also found on the same drive. This corresponds neatly with the shooter’s Smiggles post from July 2010, when he described stumbling across the film when looking for video of the Sodini shooting “a year ago”:

SHL-smigsodBW1

There are several other instances where “Smiggles” posted the same info on a mass shooter that he had edited as Kaynbred on Wikipedia, usually just tweaking the weapons used, but you get the idea: “Kaynbred,” like “Smiggles,” was in fact the Sandy Hook shooter.

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Sandy Hook shooter’s former psychiatrist arrested

DrFox.png

The above mugshot shows the man who was the primary psychiatrist for Sandy Hook shooter during the shooter’s teenage years. Dr. Paul Lewis Fox was arrested on Wednesday in Connecticut and charged with three counts of second-degree sexual assault, the News-Times reported day.

SHL-foxarrest1.png

The charges stem from Fox’s involvement with an adult female patient between 2010 and 2011, and so his arrest doesn’t actually have anything to do with Sandy Hook, but the fact that he has returned to the United States is worth noting. His conduct with the female patient in question (as well as at least one other, also an adult) initiated a series of events that led to his leaving the country a few months before the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, as well as (he claims) destroying his records, which had included any documentation he had regarding his treatment of the Sandy Hook shooter. So, this case is essentially the reason that there is such a significant gap in the shooter’s psychiatric history.

SHL-fox1.png

CSP Official Report on Sandy Hook shooting, Book 7, file 00260339

This is also the doctor that is referred to in Connecticut’s Office of the Child Advocate report on Sandy Hook as “the community psychiatrist,” and that report paints  very unflattering portrait of his professional conduct during his interactions with the shooter, which spanned from September 2005 to about July 2007. It was at that point when the shooter and his Planning and Placement Team decided he was ready for mainstream classes (he wasn’t) and needed no psychiatric treatment (he did.)

There’s actually a bit of almost-overlap between the shooter and Dr. Fox as late as Summer 2009; according to the 2012 complaint against him, Dr. Fox met his patient (victim) in just before Fall quarter of 2009, when Dr. Fox was working at Western Connecticut State University’s Counseling Center. Just two months before, the shooter was completing his final class at WCSU (it was ECO 100, a macroeconomics course) two buildings away in Warner Hall:

SHL-WCSUmacro100.jpg

WCSU offered the class three times that summer, all were held in Warner Hall

There’s no indication that Fox and the shooter crossed paths at WCSU, or at any point after 2007 for that matter, but it’s an interesting possibility, especially given the pattern of payments from the shooter’s mother to Dr. Fox: there was regular billing until July 2007, as noted above, but then one final payment came in October 2008, shortly after the shooter had started attending WCSU for high school credit. There’s never been any explanation of why that isolated, final payment occurred, after a gap of over a year. The shooter never saw another mental health professional.

Fox appears to have departed for New Zealand sometime in Spring or Summer of 2012. He surrendered his medical license shortly after, and his wife was granted an uncontested divorce in June 2012. The New Zealand Herald had reported about his employment as a psychiatrist for the Waikato District Health Board in January 2014, and that was the last I had heard of him until this update. A cursory web search suggests he’s been back in the US, or at least visiting, since at least May of 2015:

http://www.islandinstitute.org/staff/paul-fox

http://www.islandinstitute.org/blog-post/update-peaks-island-ceat

http://www.peakstaxi.org/author/kiwifoxmangmail-com/

Like anyone else, Fox is entitled to his day in court, and perhaps he will have something to say to explain the behavior that ultimately led to his downfall. However, the 2012 complaint paints a very ugly picture in my opinion, and the young woman who reported him (and apparently is now pressing charges against him) suffered greatly as a result of his “care.” His unprofessional and dangerous behavior in this case makes one wonder about the quality of treatment he was actually providing for the Sandy Hook shooter five years before, and how events might have unfolded differently if a more capable doctor was chosen in his place.

SHL-fox2.jpeg

Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate report, pg 41

(On a housekeeping note, I have several long-delayed posts that I’ve been working on over the past few weeks, more directly related to the Sandy Hook case, and hope to have them up before the end of the month.)

 

 

 

 

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GPS data indicates that arcade footage showed Sandy Hook shooter

I think most readers of this blog are probably familiar with the video clip that surfaced on facebook sometime after the Sandy Hook shooting (though it was uploaded six months before the event,) showing a person who is believed to be the Sandy Hook shooter playing Dance Dance Revolution at the Danbury AMC movie theater’s arcade. I haven’t really written about it before, mostly because I just didn’t have much to say, but recently I did notice something in the official report that is relevant, and supports the assertion that the person playing the game was indeed the shooter.

First, a quick review of the reasons this clip first became associated with the Sandy Hook case:

  1. The shooter was known to play long sessions of this game, at the same movie theater, around this time. The employees referred to him as “DDR boy.”
  2. A voice in the clip (presumably the person filming the video) can be heard saying the shooter’s actual name. (Sandy Hook Facts produced a short youtube video that isolates this part, it can be found here.)
  3. The person shown dancing fits the shooter’s description (height/build/clothing)
  4. After the Sandy Hook shooting, comments on the clip from facebook identified the person dancing as the shooter; in response, the person who uploaded it said “I know” (abbreviated as “ik”)

Here is the facebook post (usually I do not post photos of the shooter, but since the visual info is relevant to the point here, I’ll leave it):

SHL-DDR-fbcomments3

 

…note that the video was originally posted on June 2nd, 2012. Now, it’s possible that the person who posted this video had recorded it on a previous date, but since it’s just a casual facebook video that a guy was sharing with his friends, I’ll assume it was uploaded very shortly after it was filmed. That brings us to a new detail to support that this is person was indeed the shooter: the shooter’s GPS unit was there at the same time.

ddr-GPS-wrongtimes

CFS 1200704559 Book 3, file 00051670

The times above are from the official report, meaning that the times shown are five hours off because they haven’t been converted from Greenwich Mean Time to Eastern Standard (see my post about this from awhile back.) The report’s GPS supplement, meanwhile, again shows the correct times, and also has the route shown plotted in Google earth – this supplement is a bit hard to read, but the start time is shown in the top-left corner in large type:

ddr-GPS-correct times

CFS 1200704559 Book 2, file 00171468

So, the shooter left home at approximately 6:41pm that evening, arrived at the theater at approximately 7:00 pm, and was there for about an hour and a half before returning home to 36 Yogananda.

The original facebook post didn’t show a timestamp, just the date it was posted. However, the comment thread associated with the picture does list times, and none of the comments posted on June 2nd are from before 7:00 pm, so everything seems consistent between the facebook and GPS timelines. (Actually, the first comments were made while the shooter was still at the theater: 8:21pm.)

Whether or not this settles this issue, I suppose is up to the reader to decide. I’ll just note that I’m not aware of any information that indicates the video is not authentic.

While we’re on the topic of the GPS routes: There were actually several trips found in the Garmin unit that each start at 36 Yogananda street (the shooter’s address) and end at the Danbury movie theater, despite him making the drive multiple times every weekend for months; I’m guessing this was part of his obsessive need to reduce unpredictability in his life, which was by this point was so severe that he was completely isolating himself at home except for these trips and a handful of other stops. I did go through all of the different trips from the report, and most were going to either the Danbury Fair Mall or one of two Whole Foods locations. A few trips brought him to intersections in Hawleyville and in Monroe, where I don’t know what the heck he would have been doing.

I’ll have another update this week soon-ish, kind of along these same lines: various stuff I’ve noticed while trying to put the facts together over the past few months.

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Conspiracy Theorists Still Targeting 12/14 Families

Florida Sun-Sentinel: Sandy Hook Massacre 3rd Anniversary: Two parents target FAU conspiracy theorist

Just sharing a reminder from Sandy Hook parent Lenny Pozner, that this is indeed real life in 2015: finding yourself the victim of random violence will, in turn, make you the victim of targeted harassment from still another disturbing corner of humanity, courtesy of Florida Atlantic University Professor James Tracy.

If the reader disagrees that Tracy is out of line or thinks this is a free speech issue, just a word of advice: if someone you love is ever the victim of gun violence, keep your guard up. Professor Tracy may suddenly appear in the hours after your loss to call you a crisis actor and run you down on his radio show. And if that doesn’t bother you, you would fit right in at Florida Atlantic University.

(On a note for regular readers, things have been quiet around here partly because I have been writing. There will be some updates on that, and a blog post or two, in February. Have a happy and safe New Year.)

 

 

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