A man who found six children in his driveway in Newtown, Conn., after their teacher had been shot and killed in last month's school massacre has become the target of conspiracy theorists who believe the shootings were staged.
“I don’t know what to do,” Gene Rosen told Salon.com. “I’m getting hang-up calls, I’m getting some calls, I’m getting emails with, not direct threats, but accusations that I’m lying, that I’m a crisis actor, ‘How much am I being paid?'”
Rosen, a 69-year-old retired psychologist who lives near Sandy Hook Elementary School where the shootings took place, says his inbox is filled with emails like this one:
"How are all those little students doing? You know, the ones that showed up at your house after the ‘shooting’. What is the going rate for getting involved in a gov’t sponsored hoax anyway?"
“The quantity of the material is overwhelming,” Rosen said, adding that he's sought the advice of a retired state police officer and plans to alert the FBI.
On the morning of Dec. 14, Rosen had just finished feeding his cats when he saw six small children "sitting in a neat semicircle" at the end of his driveway. According to the Associated Press:
A school bus driver was standing over them, telling them things would be all right. It was about 9:30 a.m., and the children, he discovered, had just run from the school to escape a gunman.
"We can't go back to school," one little boy told Rosen. "Our teacher is dead."
Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old gunman, had shot his way into the school and opened fire, killing 20 children and six adults.
Rosen took the four girls and two boys—students of slain teacher Victoria Soto—into his home, gave them toys and comforted them while he tried to reach their parents. He spent the days following the massacre telling his story to the swarming media that invaded the small Connecticut town in the wake of the shootings.
“I wanted to speak about the bravery of the children,” Rosen told Salon. “I guess I kind of opened myself up to this.”
A quick Web search for Rosen's name reveals some of what he's opened himself up to: Appearing online are photos of his home, his address and phone number, several fake YouTube accounts and plenty of conspiracy theories.
One post, entitled "Grieving Town Grandfather, or Bad 'Crisis Actor,'" reads in part:
Gene's oft repeated, and changing, story about that day, focuses totally on the kids and the sound of gunshots. Even though his eyes and ears should've taken in the whole scene, his story focuses completely on the kids and the guns.
Why? Well, if this was a false flag event designed to move political opinion on gun control, here in America, then you would get a lot more bang for your buck by talking about the innocent little children. That's what tugs on America's heart strings the most ... especially around Christmas time.