To reduce cyber-harassment
We bring awareness to the cruelty and criminality of abusive activity that victims and their families are shockingly subjected to following violent mass tragedies like Sandy Hook. We refer to those who wittingly and publicly defame, harass, and emotionally abuse victims of high-profile mass tragedies as “hoaxers,” due to their irrational belief that these tragedies are government-staged hoaxes, and their victims are paid crisis actors.
Existing laws make it very difficult and costly to prosecute hoaxers, which only emboldens them to spread defamation and disinformation, as well as employ intrusive and threatening behavior with relative impunity. We are working toward affecting positive changes to existing laws as well as the creation of new legislation, so that society can hold these abusers personally accountable for their actions, providing much-needed relief to the victims and their families.
In the aftermath of horrific tragedies such as the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Orlando Pulse nightclub, Santa Barbara, the Aurora Theater, and even the Boston Marathon bombing, the “hoaxer” element of society (who ironically call themselves “truthers”) have seized on what they see as an opportunity to advance their conspiracy theorist mindset upon the masses by posting speculation and disinformation on internet blogs, social media sites, and YouTube. The core of their belief is that violent mass tragedies were simply staged events, perpetrated by the government to more easily limit civil liberties, especially those involving the second amendment.
Rather than focusing their irrational scrutiny and accusations on the authorities they believe to be responsible, hoaxers take the path of least resistance, harassing and emotionally abusing the victims’ family members online, on the telephone, and even in person (see Sandy Hook Denier Arrested After Death Threats Made to Parent of Victim). This practice allows them to feel as though they are advancing their views while staying safely away from the clutches of the authorities. Hoaxers take a cowardly and malicious approach to being heard, with little regard for those they harm in the process.
There is a critical social necessity to force hoaxers into alternative avenues to express these extreme and harmful ideas, which don’t directly impact victims’ family members or anyone else involved in the daily management of the tragedies. In many cases, emergency service workers and witnesses are not spared from the hoaxers’ hostility and harassment.
Stopping the Continual and Intentional Torment of Victims –
After suffering the agonizing emotional pain of the loss of a loved one to violence, grieving family members are forced to endure emotional stress in the form of hostile confrontation, online slander and defamation, and disparagement of the memory of their loved one, as well as the denigration of the tribulation they have experienced as a result of the death of their loved one. No one should have to endure such hateful treatment at the hands of fellow members of society, especially after suffering a profound loss to an unspeakable act of violence.
We’re In This Together –
Most of us remember where we were and the profound sadness we felt when we heard about each of the horrific tragedies that unfolded in recent years. Our sadness was for the victims who lost their lives, and for the families left to suffer unimaginable emotional pain for the rest of theirs. Grief is a painful process to go through, but it is a natural and necessary one in healing.
Families in grief have the right to do so in peace and dignity. Regrettably, victims families are being cheated out of this basic human dignity, and being subjected to unspeakable harassment on an ongoing basis. We need to band together as a community of caring individuals, and act to stop these abusers from inflicting any further harm to people who have committed no crime, and simply want to be left alone to grieve their loved ones and live out the rest of their lives in peace.
We Take Action Against the Abusers –
Most members of society are allowed to grieve in peace, surrounded by an atmosphere of compassion. This has not been the case for many family members of victims who lost their lives to tragic, highly publicized mass killings. It isn’t fair or acceptable. Action must be taken to restore peace and tranquility to those personally affected by the despicable cruelty cast upon them by individuals acting under the ‘truth movement.’ As a society, the right to free speech is important to all of us, but there is a fine line between freedom of expression and freedom to abuse and defame others. The Hoaxers and Gun Truthers are regularly crossing that line, and must not be allowed to impart this hatred unimpeded. Until these malicious abusers, anonymous identities are revealed, and consequences burden them, they will not stop stalking and tormenting innocent people who are trying to go on with their lives and heal from the emotional trauma suffered as a result of their tragic loss.