In the latest conspiracy theory propaganda to circulate on Facebook, a heavily shared photo (above) suggests that 'crisis actors' were hired by Homeland Security in an effort to push for gun control. It even points out that one of the parents 'acted' as an attorney for Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes.

Look, I'm definitely aware that not everything is what it seems, but I'm also a firm believer in researching the source of anything I read on the internet.

Upon my non extensive research (which pretty much involved going to snopes.com) I found the item in question. According to Snopes, Laura and Nick Phelps are not 'crisis actors,' but are indeed parents of two children that attended Sandy Hook Elementary School, and they can be seen at the end of a CNN report on the Newtown shootings:

Now, I know what some of you may be thinking? How do we know for sure that these aren't actors? Well, if you want to do the research, or hire a private investigator to follow the Phelps around, I'll leave that up to you. I, on the other hand, will just consider the source of where this all began.

The notion that the Phelps are actually two 'crisis actors' hired by the Deparment of Homeland Security to pose as grieving parents appears to have originated with material gleaned from WellAware1, a web site whose stock in trade is claiming that politicians, government officials, celebrities, and other people featured in media-covered events are actually imposters portrayed by actors, many of whom are supposedly members of the Greenberg/Sexton family. (Among other articles, the site maintains that Adolf Hitler and Walt Disney were both pseudo-persons portrayed by Kermit Roosevelt, son of U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt.)

[via Snopes]

WellAware1

Are you really gonna ride with info from a group of people who think Hitler and Walt Disney were the same person??? Let that sink in for a bit, and maybe your efforts to justify that the  same man who gave us Mickey Mouse was responsible for the holocaust will help you to change your opinion on this claim having any shred of credibility.

A wise man once told me, "people will believe anything they want to be true." If thats the case here, then I just wasted your time with all this. I can only imagine what these parents affected by the tragedy must feel seeing this make its rounds on the web.

For the sake of sanity in my Facebook/Twitter timeline, just please 'think' before you 'share.'