The Sandy Hook School Massacre and FBI Data Anomalies

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Adan Salazar at Infowars recently published an article asserting that the FBI says no one was killed at Sandy Hook. The article draws on FBI uniform crime report (UCR) data as evidence. Specifically, Salazar indicates that UCR homicide data contains an entry of “0” for the Newtown, Connecticut row.

While there are very important FBI data issues in play regarding the Sandy Hook event, the issue identified by Salazar is a non-starter. This article (written by a criminologist) first explains why the data entry identified by Salazar in no way whatsoever supports the claim that the FBI says no one was killed at Sandy Hook. Then, we pinpoint a legitimate FBI/Sandy Hook related data issue that adds to the host of important questions about the Sandy Hook event.

Salazar may be unaware that the FBI does not itself gather crime-related data. Rather, the FBI obtains its data from participating states, which in turn collect localized data from within their jurisdictions. The FBI’s 2012 UCR data contains the Newtown “0” data entry simply because Newtown reported that figure. This raises the question as to why that happened.

The answer is that it has to do with the way the state of Connecticut accounted for the Newtown event. Connecticut happens to issue its own Uniform Crime Reports, and you can access the 2012 version by clicking here. If you scroll to page 415, you will note that the state accounted for the 27 Newtown/Sandy Hook murder “victims” by including them under the “Agency or Area” heading “State Police Misc.”, which is obviously not Newtown. In fact, if you go to page 245, you will see that, like the FBI UCR, the Connecticut UCR also lists 0 murders for the “Agency or Area” Newtown.

There could conceivably be real issues as to why the Sandy Hook murders weren’t scored in the Newtown “Agency or Area” even if it is true that the Connecticut State Police managed the “investigation.” But the fact remains that the Newtown event was scored under the “State Police Misc.” heading, and since the FBI received the data from Connecticut, it placed a “0” in the Newtown row just as the state of Connecticut did. Thus, the claim that the FBI says nobody was killed at Newtown is unsupported by the FBI’s UCR Newtown “0” data point.

Nonetheless, there does appear to be a different, and potentially critical, issue concerning the Sandy Hook event and FBI data. In a 9/10 USA Today article, we are told:

“The records are voluntarily submitted by police agencies, and FBI officials say the Connecticut State Police and Aurora police departments initially provided the information on the year’s two largest killing incidents – only to request that it be deleted.

In Aurora, Sgt. Chris Amsler says his department provides data to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations monthly. The FBI database contains information on 18 other homicides in Aurora in 2012.

“We checked our records and found that all data related to the theater shooting was submitted,” he said, adding that investigators were still trying to figure out why the incident was later deleted from FBI records.Connecticut’s homicide count is correct, but the FBI’s detailed supplementary material includes only the shooting of Adam Lanza’s mother at her home in December 2012, just before Lanza went to the elementary school. Lt. Paul Vance says his department submitted a six-page report on the Newtown school victims to the FBI but later identified a mistake. Updated data was provided too late to be reflected in the database, Vance says, but the information should be added soon.”

The missing Aurora data is disturbing, and could conceivably connect to the Sandy Hook event at some point, but we’ll have to bypass that possibility here in order to focus on the issue at hand.

So moving along, it is utterly bizarre—for reasons that will become clear shortly—that, according to FBI officials, the Connecticut State Police “initially provided the information…only to request that it be deleted.” We should couple this information with Lt. Paul Vance’s claim that “his department submitted a six-page report on the Newtown school victims to the FBI but later identified a mistake” and his claims that “[u]pdated data was provided too late to be reflected in the database, Vance says, but the information should be added soon.”

What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, makes no sense at all. Really: it makes no sense at all. To see this, it might help to know (in case you don’t already) that the “supplementary material” referred to in the above quote is actually “Supplementary Homicide Report” (SHR) data. That data is simply a spreadsheet that contains very simple information reported to the FBI by states and their agencies. Thus, viewing the SHR data allows one to determine, for example, what the race of the offender was, how old the offender was, the number of victims, the ages of the victims, and other data of more or less equal simplicity. SHR data does not involve very complex forensic issues, witness narratives, and so forth. None of these types of things are included in the SHR. In fact, the vast majority of data points included in the SHR are so simple that they can be represented by a just a single letter or number.

Therefore, when the FBI says it deleted Sandy Hook SHR data upon having been requested to do so by the state of Connecticut on the alleged grounds that Vance’s department made a “mistake”, we must ask:

what sort of “mistake” (and please note that the singular was used by Vance, although given the simplicity of SHR data that doesn’t matter terribly much) could possibly have been made that would justify deleting every single, simple, data point other than those pertaining to the Nancy Lanza killing?

Following from (1), why wouldn’t Vance have simply requested that the FBI delete only the data point he thought was inaccurate (remember he says “mistake”, not “mistakes.”) After all, he allowed the FBI to keep the Nancy Lanza related data points. And even if Vance made more than one mistake, again, why not simply tell the FBI to keep the correct data points?Remember that what we are talking about here is data like the age of victims. So if Vance’s “mistake” was, for example, that someone in his department indicated that a victim was 7 when they were in fact 6, it could have been fixed forthwith without deleting the rest of the victim ages, victim gender, and all of the rest of the very simple data Vance says he gave the FBI in the first place.Notice also that these observations totally scotch the preposterous “it was too late to make the corrections” assertion, completely aside from the fact that if it was too late before to fix the problem, why isn’t it too late now?Could Vance be banking on an implicit lie to the effect that SHR data is contextual and sophisticated, so that just one mistake could in principle taint the entirety of the non-Nancy Lanza data if it is not corrected, thereby requiring deletion of all of the data until corrections are made? And what’s taking so long to make what are necessarily very simple—given the very nature of the SHR data—corrections?

Remember too that researchers are analyzing SHR data, and have not been told by the FBI in its SHR material that the non-Nancy Lanza Newtown data are missing—and so the scientific enterprise has been needlessly compromised.

It’s too bad for Vance that the SHR data is not sophisticated; it’s very simple. Therefore, there is no legitimate excuse for his request that the entirety of the data (other than the Nancy Lanza data) be deleted. Since per the FBI’s statements and dataset the data were nonetheless deleted, we have one more truly compelling set of reasons to consider the Sandy Hook event fraudulent.

As for the USA Today “journalist”, I will be charitable and suppose that these issues simply never occurred to her.

Dr. Jason Kissner is Associate Professor of Criminology at California State University. Dr. Kissner’s research on gangs and self-control has appeared in academic journals. His current empirical research interests include active shootings. You can reach him at [email protected].


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Articles by: Prof Jason Kissner

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