Frequently Asked Questions about the Sandy Hook shooting

I’ve changed up the design of the blog a bit, and added an FAQ section on the navbar above. The FAQ will be updated whenever appropriate, with the goal being to maintain a short point-of-reference for dealing with the more confusing aspects of the case (conflicting reports, bureaucratic twists, firearms facts, video game culture, etc). Leave comments or send me an email if you have a (relevant, clear) question that you think should be added.

Here is an example entry:

Why was Nancy Lanza initially reported to be a teacher at the school?

Initial reports are inherently unreliable; reporters, scrambling to publish/air stories as soon as possible, and over cacophony of information that is constantly updating and revising, get things wrong. Then, other sources report that erroneous information, and it gains an air of credibility that it should not have. Every major news story suffers from this phenomenon; it has gotten much worse since the advent of 24hr news and the internet, because it has more opportunity to iterate itself, but it’s a problem that is as old as journalism itself.

This specific case is fairly easy to deduce: Nancy Lanza homeschooled Adam for long periods. She also took Adam to school during off-hours for solo instruction with a teacher for a period, which either overlapped or occurred just before the homeschooling period. Thus, she was a “substitute teacher” in the home-schooling sense, and was a familiar person to school staff. This is consistent with the very first reports, which were not that she was a substitute teacher, but instead simply “worked at the school”.

So, either the sources (students, school staff, Nancy’s friends, etc) were mistaken in thinking she was a substitute teacher at Sandy Hook, and erroneously told reporters that she was, OR the news outlets misinterpreted the accurate information they received to mean that she was a substitute teacher (which, again, she was in a sense).


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