Republican candidate for the Pueblo County Commission Tom Ready is a former Republican Party county chairman and member of the state Parks Board. He’s also not sure whether or not the Sandy Hook school shootings happened the way the media reported them.
In debate Wednesday night against Commissioner Sal Pace, a former Democratic state representative and House minority leader, Ready defended a link he posted on his Facebook page calling into question accounts of the December 14, 2012, Newtown, Connecticut, tragedy in which a deranged young man fatally shot 26 people, including 20 elementary school children.
The Pueblo Chieftain reports that, after the debate, Ready said he didn’t recall posting the link specifically but that “it would not be the first time I put something out there for discussion.”
The Sandy Hook shootings drew reporters from around the nation to Newtown and almost immediately energized movements at state and federal levels for stiffer gun control laws. Those movements spurred backlash from gun rights supporters, which included a fringe element that called into question the veracity of the Sandy Hook tragedy. So-called “Sandy Hook truthers” argued the events in Newtown were part of a “false flag” operation staged to build support for a government plan to disarm citizens.
The tragedy carried special power in Colorado, home to the iconic Columbine school massacre of 1999 and to the midnight Aurora movie theater shootings that rocked the nation the summer before Sandy Hook.
Democratic lawmakers responded to the new rash of mass murders by passing a suite of gun laws that were vehemently opposed by Republicans and that led to the recall of two Democratic state senators, one of them, Angela Giron, from Pueblo.
Ready is the latest in a series of Colorado Republican candidates for office who have made headlines for embracing or at least entertaining theories far outside the mainstream.
2010 Tea Party candidate for Governor Dan Maes famously warned Coloradans about the non-binding United Nations “Agenda 21” sustainable development action plan, which he said amounted to an attack on American values and way of life. He said the bike-share program put in place in Denver by then-Mayor John Hickenlooper, his rival for the governor’s office, was part of the UN plan. There were undertones in Maes’s speechifying about a world government takeover.
“This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed,” he said. “This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms… These aren’t just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor. These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to.”
In the wake of the Maes candidacy and the chaos of the Tea Party movement of 2010, Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams made headlines when he announced he had no intention of running for re-election.
“I’m tired of the nuts,” he said.
“I’m tired of those obsessed with seeing conspiracies around every corner and who have terribly misguided notions of what the role of the state party is while saying ‘uniting conservatives’ is all that is needed to win competitive races across the state.”
[ Top photo by Will Paradigm. Inset via the Pueblo Chieftain of Pueblo County Commission candidate Tom Ready. ]