Just one week before the fourth anniversary of the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the father of one of the victims talked to CNN’s Anderson Cooper about the hate he has received from people who believe the incident was a hoax.
“They don’t think anything bad ever happens, they don’t think anyone ever gets hurt,” Len Pozner said on “AC360” Thursday. “They think whenever they see anything on the web or on television that is a crime or mass casualty event, that has to be a hoax.”
Pozner’s 6-year-old son Noah was one of the 20 children and six adults killed by Adam Lanza in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The 20-year-old had killed his mother earlier in the day and then fatally shot himself as police arrived at the school.
Pozner has received voice mails from what he called a “hoaxer,” and has experienced other online hate as well. “They’re pretty intense… I still remember the chills that were running down my body, hearing the voice mails. It’s over the top.”
A Tampa woman was indicted Monday on four counts of making threats against Pozner. According to a federal indictment, Lucy Richards called him and said, “You gonna die, death is coming you real soon,” as well as “death is coming to you real soon and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
When Pozner began to see the hoax content appearing online, he worked to take down every video depicting false evidence, and created an organization called the HONR Networks to help him do so.
“There were news reports that had some conflicting information, and so we worked to clarify that information,” Pozner said. “I call it a thought virus, because really what they want to do is they just want to replicate their way of thinking to other people. What we do is we reduce the content that’s on the web. We’ve taken down probably thousands of pieces of content on the Internet.”
Pozner said this effort has become a part of his journey and the successes of taking down wrongful content and sharing the truth with others is what he focuses on. When Cooper asked if he thought the hoaxers will ever go away, he immediately said, “I don’t think so, I don’t think it will ever go away.”
Pozner asked to appear on the show by phone without identifying where he was or showing his face because of the online hate and death threats he’s received.
“It’s basically just hate, they’re projecting hate onto people and if someone is visible and if someone is a victim of crime, it’s easy to find people these days on the web, so it’s easy to gain access to someone.”