You know what I hate? People turning left when you’re turning right. Most of them will pull their cars way past the stop sign, blocking your view of on-coming traffic. And of course they’re always in a pickup truck or something, so you can’t see over them at all. It’s like they’re saying “hey look at me! I have a pickup truck! I’m so important and cool and stuff! WHOOOO!”
But I digress. This has nothing to do with what I want to talk about today, although it is in keeping with the theme of people being jerks.
That’s right. Today we’re going to talk about conspiracy theorists. But not just any conspiracy theorists. Oh no…we’re going to delve into the deepest depths of crazy.
And you know what? Most days I generally think good things about humanity. I have hope that we can better ourselves and solve the issues facing us today. But then there are days where I read Cracked.com articles like this, and my faith in humanity plummets straight through the floor.
If you don’t want to read the whole article, allow me to summarize. Basically it’s a personal experiences piece written by a Cracked.com staffer and a man named Lenny Pozner who lost his six-year-old son Noah during the infamous Sandy Hook school shooting back in 2012. It talks about Pozner’s dealings with the conspiracy theorist community who believed that Pozner and his son were part of a cadre of actors who faked the incident for sinister reasons (it’s implied that it has to do with gun control, although if it was actually true the scheme would be considered a failure because any gun control legislation put forth because of Sandy Hook was utterly shot down and never came into law).
And these weren’t nice people. They were downright nasty and angry. Any attempts to reason with them resulted in even more vitriol and hate. Here’s an excerpt from the Cracked article talking about a typical email Pozner receives:
“If you don’t feel like reading it all, let’s just say that it begins with “You’re a fraud and an asshole” and ends with “Rot in Hell you fucking prick.”.”
Fun stuff right? But that’s the kind of world we live in. The freedom of the internet age is not without its drawbacks.
Let me make myself clear. I am a bit of an absolutist when it comes to freedom of speech. I believe that people should be able to say what they want to say, regardless of if someone finds it “offensive”. However, I also believe that a line has to be drawn somewhere. For me, freedom of speech stops at harassment. It stops when you use your powers of speech to make someone else’s life worse.
So how long do you think it took for the conspiracy theories to emerge? A few months? Weeks? I’ll give you a minute to think of an ans-
It…it took two days. Two goddamn days.
It started with a Youtube video arguing that the shooter had been mind-controlled by the Illuminati and gradually (or not so gradually) progressed into the insinuation that no one died in the incident and it was all staged.
You might be thinking to yourself “well surely this has all stopped by now. No one would harass this man for years and years, turning his life into a living hell…would they?” Just check the date on that Cracked article.
April 26th, 2016.
Oh yeah…they would. And they have.
In the article, Pozner says quote “I used to think these people were open-minded truth seekers. Not so. For the most part, they’re socially reclusive narcissists. They’re literally in their own little world.” And it’s true. There are actually studies out there that back him up on this.
You see, this is how it works. Truth-seeker and conspiracy theorist are not mutually exclusive things, but they’re not mutually inclusive either. There is a line people tend to cross, where it becomes not about wanting to find the truth and becomes about wanting to be right. The difference is subtle, but dangerous. People who honestly seek the truth are generally more open-minded, willing to change their perspectives based on the evidence they gather. But then there are the people who want to be right, the conspiracy theorists who will sift through the haystack looking for a vague needle that confirms their biases. There’s no arguing with them. There’s no negotiating with them because, damn it, they’re going to be right regardless of the cost. They don’t care whose lives they trod all over, as long as they can assure themselves of their own moral correctness. Any mistake on the part of officials or a news organization becomes a crack in the facade, a glimpse into whatever “truth” they think is out there.
And that’s the thing, conspiracies are so easy to create. Any lack of information on anything can be read as some sinister agenda.
You know what? I’m going to create a conspiracy right now. Here we go.
Every single conspiracy you know has been a lie. Let that sink in for a moment. Every conspiracy you’ve ever heard is just a cover, a smokescreen to cover up the REAL conspiracy. Why else would they let conspiracy theorist go on unchecked? Because that’s what they want. That’s what they need to keep the truth hidden.
I’m talking about nothing less than the existence of EVERY EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL BEING EVER.
Think about it. Why are there so many television shows, books, and movies out there dealing with aliens? Because they all EXIST and are REAL. Klingons? Real. Romulans? Real. The Grays? Totally real. That stupid worm thing living in that asteroid in Stars Wars? Oh you better believe it’s real.
“But why would they let people write books or make movies about them if they’re real,” you ask. Well obviously it’s easier to believe something is fake if you see it on a television screen. It’s the best cover, hiding them in plain sight. They show us all these alien invasion movies because they want us to be afraid of them. Fear keeps them in power and lets them make tons of money or something.
Also sex. No conspiracy is complete without sex. They want to have all the sex, and us to have none of it. Why else would so many politicians be against birth control? And those that are for it? Just another part of the smokescreen, to make us think that there’s a debate going on when there really isn’t.
WAKE UP PEOPLE! SEE THE TRUTH! EMBRACE THE TRUTH! STOP BEING A FOLLOWER AND FOLLOW ME INSTEAD!
So, how did I do? Was I pretty convincing?
Oh I was so convincing. You’re just jealous of how convincing I was.
Again, that’s the thing with conspiracies. Often they’re based on a lack of evidence. They write a story to fill the gaps, but they don’t support the story with anything of substance. If you look into many of them, you’ll find that they don’t stand up as well as the believers make it seem.
To end this, I’m going to take a page out of the Cracked article I linked you to earlier. Sometimes, conspiracies do happen. Just look at this election season. For so long, people have been frustrated with how money and politics went hand in hand. Wealthy donors can basically buy a politician’s support on certain issues. And while some may insist that it isn’t true, it has been proven that the rich make far more back in tax breaks provided for them by the politicians they contributed to. And in the New York primary this year, some really shady things went down on the Democratic side of things. Independents not being allowed to vote was only the tip of the iceberg. What the news didn’t even mention was the fact that hundreds of thousands of registered Democrats suddenly disappeared off the voting rolls come primary day.
There are questions that deserve to be asked. But when those questions turn into accusations at the expense of people who suffered a tragedy, it’s worth rethinking the purpose of such a crusade. Often, conspiracy theorists forget the human element of the equation. They’re so focused on the technical aspect that people stop seeming like people. They just become pieces of the puzzle. They just become a part of the smokescreen.
And when that happens, they run the risk of losing their own humanity in the process.
Well that’s all I have for this post. Tune in next Wednesday for another post, and as always, have a wonderful week.