The modern internet is partly to blame, with hours of uploaded cable-news coverage and reams of documents to parse for circumstantial evidence.
The internet also made it easier to reach victims, and the Pozners became an early target for hoaxers.
“I probably listened to an Alex Jones podcast after I dropped the kids off at school that morning,” Pozner said, referencing the fearmongering proprietor of Info Wars.
Pozner had entertained everything from specific cover-ups (the moon landing was faked) to geopolitical intrigue (the “real” reasons why the price of gold sometimes shifted so dramatically) and saw value in skepticism.
The children are said to have never existed or to be living in an elaborate witness-protection program.
Conspiracy theories run deep in the American consciousness — 61 percent of Americans believe Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t act alone — but a mass shooting had never drawn the conspiratorial attention that Sandy Hook did.“Conspiracy theorists erase the human aspect of history,” Pozner said this summer.“My child — who lived, who was a real person — is basically going to be erased.” The Pozners moved to Newtown in 2005, partly to send their kids to better schools, but after Noah’s death they saw no choice but to leave.When the medical examiner found Noah lying face up in a Batman sweatshirt, his jaw had been blown off.Lenny and his wife, Veronique, raced to the school as soon as they heard the news, but had to wait for hours alongside other parents to learn their son’s fate.But for him, the appeal of conspiracy theories was the same as watching a good science-fiction movie. When he first discovered the theories about Noah, Lenny, who grew up in Brooklyn, made only a halfhearted attempt to respond.“I feel that your type of show created these hateful people,” Pozner wrote in an email to Alex Jones, to which one of Jones’s employees replied that Jones would love to speak to him if “we confirm that you are the real Lenny Pozner.” Pozner declined, in part because he found himself unable to do much of anything.Since relocating, he has moved apartments four times and gets his mail delivered to a P. After eight months in his newest home, the living room was sparsely furnished, save for a painting of Noah and a cluttered coffee table topped with his daughters’ Barbie dolls and a book called ” Lenny said, kicking a pair of jeans and Adidas flip-flops onto the footrest of a leather Barcalounger.“There’s nothing truthful about it.” There is no universal Sandy Hook hoax narrative, but the theories generally center on the idea that a powerful force (the Obama administration, gun-control groups, the Illuminati) staged the shooting, with the assistance of paid “crisis actors,” including the Pozners, the other Sandy Hook families, and countless Newtown residents, government officials, and media outlets.“What happened just weighed on the town like a Chernobyl-like cloud,” Veronique told me from her home in a state far from Newtown that the Pozners prefer not to identify, given the threats that conspiracy theorists have leveled against some Sandy Hook families.The Pozners’ marriage had been falling apart before the shooting, and though Noah’s death briefly brought them back together, the couple eventually divorced.