April 1, 2020

Conspiracy of Ignorance

By Stephen Tuttle | April 28, 2018


There are those among us who believe nearly everything is the result of a conspiracy.  All of it.

They don't believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, don't believe we ever landed on the moon, believe our own government orchestrated 9/11, and believe Bill and Hillary Clinton are murderers. They believe the food we eat, the medical treatment we receive and climate scientists are all part of grand conspiracies designed to somehow do them wrong.

More troubling is a subset of this group that has convinced themselves nearly all mass shootings are hoaxes perpetrated by shadowy, unnamed groups trying to upend the Second Amendment.  They claim there are no victims, just “crisis actors” trained to pretend they're victims. 

The leader of this pack has been Alex Jones, a radio host and creator of the infamous web site, Infowars. Jones uses both platforms to spew conspiratorial nonsense about mass shootings. 

He referred to Sandy Hook, where 20 first-grade children and 6 adults were massacred, as a “complete fake” and a “giant hoax.”  He's claimed the parents were actors and fakers. He's been singing the same rancid song for years.

Now, two sets of parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook have had enough. After years of harassment, intimidation and even death threats generated, at least in part by Jones' accusations, they've sued him and others for propagating this defamatory foolishness. 

(It should be noted Jones, three days after the lawsuit was filed, finally acknowledged the Sandy Hook murders did occur.  His attorney said his previous comments were “misunderstood” or “misrepresented.”)     

Mr. Jones and his co-defendants will now hopefully have the opportunity to explain to a civil jury how he arrived at his conspiracy theories. It should be interesting hearing him tell us how dead people aren't actually dead. If he could present just one of the hundreds of mass shooting victims still alive it would certainly be an eye-opener.

No such revelation is forthcoming because these horrors that keep repeating themselves are not hoaxes at all. Nobody is pretending to be dead or pretending to grieve a lost loved one. Any other notion is absurd. 

Maybe some common sense is in order here. 

Successful conspiracies require meticulous planning, precise execution and absolute secrecy.  So we know right away the government isn't involved.  With the exception of a handful of military special ops units, our current government can't plan or execute anything and they keep quiet about nothing.   

So the vast conspiracy must be planned and carried out by some other group skulking in the darkness. And they must be really, really good.

Take Sandy Hook as the example. There were 26 deaths reported. If that was a hoax think of how many people had to be involved. Kids, parents, teachers, first responders, hospital staffers, federal agencies, well over a hundred of just the major players would have had to be involved.  And none, even in this day of everybody telling everything on social media, none have ever uttered a peep. That's some tight conspiracy.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit that tracks gun violence, there were 345 mass shootings (defined as four or more deaths with little or no time or distance between the shootings) in 2017 alone.  Now we're talking about tens of thousands of people involved in some kind of nationwide conspiracy happening right before our very eyes. 

And all capable of meticulous planning, precise execution, and absolute silence? And nary a word from any of them? That is some remarkable group.  Impossibly remarkable, in fact. 

The conspiracy buffs have lately turned their attention to those students organizing walkouts and making press tours demanding more gun regulation. Their movement started when 17 of their classmates were gunned down in Parkland, Florida. They are also being accused of being crisis actors and fakers, the shootings yet another hoax. 

David Hogg, who has emerged as one of the articulate young spokespersons of the group, has been a particular target of harassment, attempted intimidation and death threats. The conspiratorialists' response to what they claim are fake deaths is apparently to threaten a real one. 

To be fair, Hogg and some of the other young people are now public figures, whether they chose to be or not. Scrutinizing their motives and actions is fair game. But calling them part of some weird conspiracy is daffy, and calling them actors and liars is defamatory. 

If there are dark conspiracies out there we don't know about them. That's how a good conspiracy works. We do know real people are being shot real dead by real gunman firing real bullets and destroying real families.


And the real conspiracy is the one of ignorance being demonstrated by those who claim otherwise.


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