On Saturday morning, October 27, 2017, a mass shooting was reported at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill region of Pittsburgh, PA. A suspect, Robert Gregory Bowers, was apprehended at the scene, after being wounded by SWAT officers. Before he was taken into custody, Bowers is said to have killed 11 of the congregants and injured six, including four members of the SWAT team that he engaged in two separate gun battles. Bowers was allegedly armed with “an AR-15-style assault rifle,” a Glock pistol, and two other handguns.
The officers who rushed to the scene came upon Mr. Bowers as he was trying to leave the synagogue. He fired at them, injuring one officer in the hand, according to the criminal complaint. Another officer had injuries to his face from shrapnel and broken glass. Mr. Bowers then darted back inside and ran up to the third floor.
At that point, a SWAT team went in and came upon the scene of the massacre. Two people were still alive and the police carried them out. As they were searching for other victims, SWAT officers encountered Mr. Bowers, who fired at them and critically injured two officers.
The remaining officers “engaged the suspect in a gun battle in which multiple rounds were exchanged,” the criminal complaint said. At some point in the shootout, Mr. Bowers was wounded, and he eventually surrendered to the police.
Bowers reportedly entered the synagogue just before 10 am, and “the Allegheny County Emergency Operations center received calls of an active shooter at 9:54 am ET…Officers were dispatched at 9:55 am,” according to CNN. In all, Bowers is said to have been inside the synagogue for a full 20 minutes.
Editor’s Note: On June 15 2015 James Tracy sent the correspondence below to Anderson Cooper inviting the longtime CNN anchor to Newtown Connecticut in order to conduct a true journalistic investigation of the Sandy Hook massacre event. Four years later Mr. Cooper has yet to take Tracy up in his quest.
Since the US corporate news media’s presentation of Sandy Hook solely involved parroting the official government narrative, still leaving so many questions unanswered and information overlooked, we’re hoping that Cooper will finally do the right thing.
10 Columbus Circle
New York, New York 10019
Dear Mr. Cooper,
Seventeen months have passed since you featured me on your AC 360° program on consecutive evenings to call attention to my commentary and analysis of the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. As you may recall, in the prelude to those January 11th and 14th 2013 broadcasts you sent a production crew to my place of employment that proceeded to pursue staff and administrators on my whereabouts.
[The record of Anderson Cooper’s January 2013 on-air attack of former FAU Professor James Tracy has been expunged from YouTube. The clip below is provided as a replacement of that video.]
Your staff then repeatedly telephoned my residence, later filming in front of my home and disclosing my address to a national audience without my knowledge or consent. This behavior jeopardized my family’s safety and peace of mind, and included a flurry of threatening and abusive communications directed at me. Further, some observers presumed that CNN and other national news media sought to create sufficient controversy that would lead to the termination of my employment. On the other hand, I understand how you may have perceived this as an act of due journalistic diligence rather than coercion.
Further, if at the time ample proof existed that the Sandy Hook massacre was genuine I think you may have been at least partially justified in such activity. Yet in the time since little evidence has emerged to uphold the notion that the event took place as it had been reported by CNN and other news outlets. In fact, the opinion of many independent experts and a wealth of data point to highly questionable elements of the Sandy Hook narrative that require rigorous interrogation through the intrepid investigative reportage of journalists such as you.
Anderson (if I may), that’s why I challenge you to join me on a reportorial quest to Newtown and Sandy Hook in order to revisit and rigorously question the painful affair that still rests so uneasily on the public conscience—one that is called up in memory with each report of another school shooting. Together let us ferret out and present the relevant information, interview the necessary parties, and get to the bottom of what transpired so that we can put the conspiracy theories to rest!
Anderson (again, if I may), this could very well be a landmark event in investigative journalism. If after a thorough investigation we prove that the event in fact took place as CNN and other major media reported, I will concede that you were in fact correct and seriously consider resigning my post in academe.
On the other hand, if we find holes in the official narrative this may in fact be a scandal requiring journalistic performance on par with the paragon set by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein over 40 years ago. It will call for—indeed require—the public service of news professionals like you to find out what really happened and bring the culprits to justice! Anderson, at the end of the day it’s just like you say each evening: we truly need to “keep them honest.”
Yet there are some who say that CNN and, I’m sorry to say, even you may have been in on what they call a “hoax.” These suspicious minds say that some of your reportage from Newtown in the wake of the shooting was “greenscreened.” Others point to the time you spent in the Central Intelligence Agency and subsequent involvement in student and activist groups of several foreign countries. Still others bring up CNN’s sometime questionable coverage of major historical events, such as the Persian Gulf and Iraq Wars.
I say “Hooey!” There are many fine young men from extraordinary wealth and privilege yet limited experience or career prospects who serve in our national intelligence services. These include the nation’s 41st president, George H. W. Bush, in addition to littérateurs such as Cord Meyer. In fact, for over fifty years some of our nation’s finest journalists and political leaders have either served overtly with or maintained ties to the intelligence community. Anderson, both you and I know that serving your country is nothing to be ashamed of.
I think you’ll agree that it’s time to put these Sandy Hook “truthers” to rest for good, thereby allowing the Sandy Hook victims’ families to find comfort in the millions of dollars in donations they have received from sincere and goodhearted Americans.
Anderson, let’s reexamine Sandy Hook together to confirm our own professional integrity, while at the same time striking a potential blow at corruption and deceit. Our conscience requires it. Our nation demands it. Won’t you join me?
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Drama teacher Melody Herzfeld is being recognized by the Tony Awards for training students in her drama class to perform an pro-gun control song on nationwide television one week after the Parkland massacre event.
Melody Herzfeld will receive a prize from the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University for her work as a drama teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.CreditIan Witlen
Melody Herzfeld, a drama teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and a survivor of the shooting there, will receive a theater education prize from the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University.
Ms. Herzfeld was on campus on Feb. 14 when a former student, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire on students, staff and faculty at the school, killing 17 people. She and dozens of her students hid in her office during the rampage for two hours before being taken to safety by authorities.
Ms. Herzfeld said in a statement that during a normal time she would feel “humbled and grateful for this recognition for the work I have done,” but since her students “have taken to action through speech, performance and passionate honesty it now means so much more.”
Only a week after the shooting, Ms. Herzfeld’s students performed “Shine,” an original song, at a CNN town hall meeting on gun violence.
Lyrics from the song include, “We’re done with all your little games. We’re tired of hearing that we’re too young to ever make a change. You’re not gonna knock us down. We’ll get back up again.”
A union has paid for a huge billboard expressing ‘no confidence’ in the embattled Broward County Sheriff months after he was heavily criticized over the Parkland massacre.
The yellow sign on Interstate 95 just north of Sunset Boulevard tells Florida Governor Rick Scott ‘there is no confidence in Sheriff Israel‘.
It was funded by the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, which in April passed a vote of no confidence in the Democrat supported by 534 of the 628 of voting members.
The Association wants Governor Scott to suspend or fire Israel. However Scott, a candidate for the US Senate, said he is waiting for the outcome of an investigation into the sheriff’s handling of Parkland, the Sun Sentinel reported.
The sheriff’s office failed to act on 18 warning calls about shooter Nikolas Cruz before he killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14.
The tips were among a series of what authorities now describe as the clearest missed signals that Cruz, who had a history of disturbing behavior, posed a serious threat.
A 2014 ISIS recruitment video featuring Indonesian jihadists. (ISIS video)
Indonesian ISIS supporters circulated posters online warning that Satan is behind the American financial system as well as media and entertainment, threatening to attack a handful of entities.
The first poster, telling adherents to “think smart,” shows a devilish figure looming over several icons in flames: the United Nations, the Federal Reserve, Universal Studios Hollywood, CNN, NATO Allied Command Transformation and NASA, along with the reverse of the Great Seal on the U.S. dollar bill.
An ISIS jihadist fires a gun up at the seals, with the words “Allahu Akbar!” above his head.
“Those who believe fight in the way of Allah and those who disbelieve fight in the way of Taghut [un-Islamic rulers],” says the poster.
The second poster features the Eye of Providence and stacks of burning American money, with an admonishment to “read carefully and choose the verdict.”
The ISIS supporters pan “modern philosophy,” “modern science,” “modern state,” and “modern era” as “mankind is kept away from the path of his God.”
Broadcaster’s Comments Prompted Death Threats, “Torment”
Editor’s Note: In an ongoing war against free speech the popular media personality has been sued in Austin Texas by two families of Sandy Hook massacre event victims. The legal actions are significant because if they are allowed to proceed Jones’ defense team will have the opportunity to proceed through discovery with the parties, requiring information and sworn testimony pertinent to plaintiffs’ claims be provided before proceeding to trial.
Alex Jones has spent years claiming the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School ― where a shooter killed 20 small children and six adults ― was faked. He has claimed the parents of these dead children are liars and “crisis actors.”
Now, those parents are coming after him.
Radio host Alex Jones commenting on Sandy Hook massacre in January 2013
In a pair of lawsuits filed late Monday, the parents of two children who died in the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, say Jones’ repeated lies and conspiratorial ravings have led to death threats. The suits join at least two other recent cases accusing the Infowars host of defamation.
I lost my son. I buried my son. I held my son with a bullet hole through his head.Neil Heslin, father of a 6-year-old boy killed during the Sandy Hook shooting.
Neil Heslin, the father of a 6-year-old boy killed in the shooting, and Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, who lost their own little boy, filed the suits in Austin, Texas, where Jones’ conspiracy-minded media outlet is based. Each suit is seeking more than $1 million in damages from Jones, Infowars and a related company, Free Speech Systems LLC. Infowars reporter Owen Shroyer is also named in one of the suits.
“Even after these folks had to experience this trauma, for the next five years they were tormented by Alex Jones with vicious lies about them,” Mark Bankston, the lawyer handling the cases for the parents, told HuffPost. “And these lies were meant to convince his audience that the Sandy Hook parents are frauds and have perpetrated a sinister lie on the American people.”