AttorneyMartha Dean – Colin McEnroe calls her “old blue eyes” – is the equivalent in Connecticut of Sarah Palin nationally, the woman from the wrong side of the political tracks who those fighting the “war against women” love to denigrate. The abhorrence is palpable, and possibly a bit misogynistic. Hartford Courant columnist Rick Green, recently departed to Vermont, way back in June 2010 referred to Ms. Dean as “a heat-seeking Republican missile” and “the blonde gunslinger.” Captivated by the color of her eyes, Mr. Green referred with disdain to the “cyborg-like quality to Dean's tractor-beam blue eyes.” The “blonde gunslinger,” it is well known, regards the U.S. Constitution with some reverence, and this appears to have excited Mr. Green’s barely concealed contempt.
The difference between Mrs. Palin and Ms. Dean is that Ms. Dean is brighter, a more accomplished rhetorician, and, according to Mr. McEnroe, a trifle dangerous: “… I know it’s not a good day when you find out you gotta run against Martha.”
Ms. Dean had barely announced her run for governor whenshe was set upon by the usual crowd. Isn't this the Martha Dean who serves as a lawyer to the sort of gun groups Governor Dannel Malloy and Connecticut’s gun-phobic General Assembly had chased out of state to South Carolina? Yup, she’s the one. Isn’t she the bible thumping, constitution hugging lady who ran on her Facebook page a clip affirming that Adam Lanza’s murderous rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary school was a hoax?
No, not really. The clip did appear on Ms. Dean’s Facebook page. It served principally as an example of what may happen in the sometimes wacky conspiratorial theory community when releasable information is withheld by investigators for more than a year after the commission of a mass murder.
Some of the conspiracy theories might easily have been disproved by the early release of known data that would not have compromised a seeming endless criminal investigation. For instance, one of the conspiratorial theories involved the presence of a second shooter – actually a man discovered running near the crime scene and detained for questioning by police, who knew moments after questioning him that he was not a participant in the crime.
Another theory revolved around the notion that the rifle used by Adam Lanza was not an AR15. A grainy shot showed police removing what was misidentified as an AR15 from the trunk of a car; the rifle was a shotgun Mr. Lanza brought with him to the slaughter. Information of this kind could have been released immediately without damaging a prospective investigation. The lack of accurate data is the breeding ground of conspiracy theories, nearly all of which easily could have been dispelled at news conferences.
No, the murderer was not, as was mistakenly reported, Ryan Lanza. Yes, there was only one shooter. Yes, that shooter was Adam Lanza. Yes, first responders did not immediately enter the school, though they arrived as reports of shots fired were being beamed over police radios, a datum that did not become available for public consumption until the publication of Danbury State Attorney Steven Sedensky’s criminal report, which was issued a year after the crime.
Facebook is used by most reporters and commentators to file items collected for future reference, or to elicit comments, and the appearance of a report on Facebook certainly does not signify assent to the report.
In an interview with Dennis House on “Face the State” almost immediately after the posting of the video, Ms. Dean said “I do not endorse it” (the video). She said that media misinformation “invited conspiracy theories.” She denounced the possibility that the assault on Sandy Hook Elementary School had not occurred, saying it was “ridiculous to raise the possibility they (the children) weren’t (murdered).” Asked, “Has there been a cover-up?” Ms. Dean replied “I have no reason to believe there was.”
All these direct quotes are readily available to any reporter or commentator with a computer who may be inclined to suggest erroneously in stories or commentary that Ms. Dean herself ever seriously entertained the notion that the assault on Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax.