Ban Batman sign

Sandy Hook “Truthers” connect Batman with the recent Newtown, CT and Aurora, CO massacres. Is it time to ban the Bat — or are conspiracy theorists finally crossing the line?

By Dick Kulpa

Three weeks after a tragic shooting spree left 20 children and six adults dead in Newtown, CT, an outraged yet sorrowful Brenda Erby Fudge launched a campaign in support of a “Sandy Hook Memorial Postage Stamp,” featuring an image of a sad Santa Claus weeping in his sleigh. I found her idea meritorious, partly because it was my drawing she so emotionally supported.

Sandy Hook Santa weeps stamp

Brenda Erby Fudge wants this image to appear on upcoming holiday postage stamps as a memorial to Sandy Hook victims and as a conscience-sticking reminder for us all to do something to prevent a similar tragedy. Click to enlarge. See Video.

There was another reason — a far more legitimate one: Upon its Facebook release, that illustration went viral, racking up over 21,000 shares in less than two hours. Comments poured in by the thousands (66,000 on all shares), and virtually everyone connected with the sad Santa. “This drawing should be on a postage stamp as a reminder to every American to prevent these despicable acts” Brenda proclaimed, and noting the emotion-charged responses, she fired up a postage stamp campaign through a Facebook Sandy Hook Santa Stamp page. But the very next day,  she’d hear some earth-shattering, tremendous news:

Sandy Hook is a Hoax!

In fact, that same day my son, my ex-wife — and even a local magician —  either called or warned me Sandy Hook was a hoax after viewing THIS viral video posted on Facebook. Now most of those folks are pretty credible people, and I’d trust them with my life, so it’s gotta be true, right?

You saw it here first folks!

Wellllll actually, it’s a good bet you’ve seen it already. Numerous web videos released in Sandy Hook’s aftermath exploited confusion-based discrepancies in the initial news reports, with some even declaring Sandy Hook never occurred. There were no dead kids, say some, and others claim actors were used in a “staged Sandy Hook production”. One young victim is said to have been seen alive AFTER the tragedy. I can just imagine how grateful all those Sandy Hook parents must have been to suddenly learn their kids weren’t shot dead after all!

One well-circulated “Sandy Hook Hoax Exposed” video has already garnered 10,000,000-plus views, making my cartoon look like a piker in comparison. Frankly, its presentation even has me wondering, and I have a good idea as to where those kids really are — locked up in a Bigfoot-guarded FEMA camp with passengers spirited from those 911 disaster airliners, forced to live on genetically modified food as overhead chemtrails keep everyone docile. Elvis is right there with them, I’ll bet — and Michael Jackson too!

A fingertip-accessible source of instant news, the Internet is trumping — no, trampling — all the conventional sources we once relied upon. Sadly, conspiracy theorists claiming to promote “truth” are flooding the web with fabrication — and drowning out all-important facts as budget-challenged news outlets struggle to keep up.

I know something about conspiracy theories — having helped create ’em! Remember when stories claiming “The Apollo Moon Landing was Faked” first circulated? Publicity shots of the 1978 OJ flick Capricorn 1 showed stage lights behind the film’s Mars lander, looking very similar to the Apollo 11 lunar lander. Plopping these on a tabloid editor’s desk, a staffer exclaimed “Here’s Proof We faked the Moon Landing!,” and that story wound up in the paper.

Remember those 1992 tabloid newspaper photos of Elvis Presley taken outside a movie theater in St. Louis? Elvis reportedly died in 1977, but there he was, in black and white in an “actual” photo! Actually, the only thing factual was that it was a photo. That was a tabloid staffer photographed outside the theater, with Elvis’ face super-imposed. In fact, Presley was as dead as a doornail, having been so for 15 years! And the pix were shot in Lake Worth, Florida.

Bat BoyCaptured? I’m afraid not…he was a creation too, as finally revealed in 2007 by the Washington Post. These three anecdotes have something else in common…they were all my doing.

Bat Boy in Ghost Story Club

Bat Boy actually guest-starred in the nationally-syndicated Ghost Story Club Comic strip in 1997.

The government served as a convenient fall guy for just about every cover-up we designed, but conspiracy theorists today have way outdone us in that dept., crediting government agents with pulling off fantastic 9-11 conspiracies and various other acts with an extraordinary efficiency never before seen. Anyone who lived through the bungled 1974 Mayaguez Incident and/or Jimmy Carter’s Iranian hostage rescue attempt — or even Dick Cheney’s quail hunting expedition — find these super-sophisticated government plots a tad ludicrous.

We did this for fun, entertainment and sales long before the Internet surfaced. Nowadays, web-savvy special interests skew these incidents to promote their own views, blunting all-important truth and trust. “Memes,” those colorful graphics sporting “facts” and figures pop up millions of times daily in social network news feeds, and opponents to American drone strikes dredge up old photos from ancient unrelated conflicts as evidence of current U.S. “atrocities”. Does anyone ever fact-check these things? Hardly, it seems — they’re what people want to believe, true or not.

Responding to my challenge, one meme poster said “I know it’s inaccurate, but the end justifies the means.” In other words, he cheated — and depends on you folks to be willing suckers.

“Holy Coincidence, Batman!”

In a shocking NEW twist, freshly-pressed Sandy Hook videos are shedding light on yet another bizarre anomaly, this time an alleged connection between Sandy Hook and the Aurora, Colorado shooting spree. The names “Aurora” and “Sandy Hook” are both said to appear in scenes from “Dark Knight Rises,” final movie in the latest Batman trilogy. Ironically, some conspiracy theorists now admit the shooting DID occur — but through a Batman connection — and gun-control opponents just got a boost!

Assault rifles no longer need be the prime targets. Why attack Bushmasters when we can blame Batman? Like mental case shooters, he’s a brooding, violence-prone nutcase who dresses up as a bat. And that Joker antagonist is equally as sicko. Maybe this and other entertainment fare like it are what’s skewing our culture! And now, yes, there is a connection, an admittedly bizarre one at that, which most assuredly WILL be studied.

There is more…having repented over my sensationalist tabloid past, I’m compelled to stick to the facts. But in an earth-shattering revelation from a top secret government source, forensic scientists have reportedly scanned the Sandy Hook shooter’s cerebral cortex with a newly-invented brain-o-meter, specially created to retrieve embedded thoughts from deceased individuals’ brains. We’ll soon learn if, when and where he saw the movie!

cartoon by Dick Kulpa

What we often choose to believe does not always jibe with the facts.

What’s the solution? Should guns be banned? Should Batman get the boot? What do I really believe?

I blame neither “The Joker” on screen, nor guns, which have been with us since this country began. It’s the jokers using guns, and quite frankly, as polarized as this country now is, nothing more than band-aid solutions will ever be applied. That’s because we hate and mistrust each other too much to agree on anything.

Lose the hate and re-embrace each other, regardless as to religion, race or political persuasion, as fellow Americans. Then, there will be much less need for guns and for shooting people. Attack the root cause, not the thorns.

Re-establishment of all-important “trust” is integral for any recovery because lacking that, there is no foundation on which to rebuild. That’s a message politicians need to hear, loud and clear! I already know this, having once shepherded a whopping 40% water rate increase through city council during my political days. Not a peep in public protest was heard, because voters trusted my judgement.

Rush Limbaugh caricature by Dick Kulpa

Rush Limbaugh talking through his butt – time to stop listening to agenda-driven extremists on all sides.

Finally, learn how to compromise, for God’s sake. If two people share a room and one likes it warm while the other prefers it cooler, both sides have merit. Give and take…work it out…or split! Sadly, it’s that latter point this country is facing. For anarchists and other malcontents preaching “civil war,” get your face out of the TV set and spend a week in a real war zone. You’ll change your mind.

And now, it’s time to rejoin reality and properly mourn and support those Sandy Hook victims, because it really did occur. DON’T wait for this to happen to you or your children — please view this Sandy Hook Stamp video, and share and support Brenda’s U.S. Postage stamp campaign, and if you have a better idea, do it!


Dick Kulpa is a caricaturist, cartoonist and satirist. He is also former Editor of Weekly World News, former Publisher of CRACKED Magazine and a three-time elected official.

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