The principle known as “inference to the best explanation”, has the potential to turn every American into a critical thinker in comparing alternative hypotheses. In relation to Sandy Hook, there are two alternatives, which have consequences that would also be true (or probably true) if they were true and others that would be false (or probably false) if they were not (setting the alleged suicide by Adam Lanza to the side):
(h1) Sandy Hook was a real event, where 20 children and 6 adults were killed at a school;
(h2) Sandy Hook was an elaborate hoax, where a drill was conducted and no children died.
But the key to understanding is making an appraisal of which of these hypotheses is better supported by the evidence. We can think of the evidence as effects of one or another hypothesis as their cause. When one hypothesis makes the effects more probable than the other, it is more likely to be true and the alternative false. For the shooting to have been real, the school had to have been operational in 2012; yet we have indication after indication that it had been abandoned by 2008 (which you will discover in Chapters 2 and 3), including not only its deplorable physical condition (both inside and out), but also that it was not in compliance with both federal and state laws required in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act:
Analogously, we know from past experience that the names, ages and sex of victims of crimes are almost invariably printed in newspaper accounts of crimes. In this case, however, the final reports coming from the Connecticut authorities did not include them. That is a very odd aspect of this event, but an attempt has been made to explain it away on the ground of preserving the privacy of the families of the victims. But if there were victims, their families already know they are dead. There is no evident benefit to the families, if it as real, but a major element of the cover up, if it was not.