As anyone who reads my blog or Orac’s knows, Mike Adams, the “health ranger”, is a deranged individual who denies HIV causes AIDS, promotes some of the most absurd quackery in the world, and also is such an all around crank you can rely on him to wax conspiratorial about almost any dramatic news story. He’s done it again, already alleging a conspiracy and coverup in this most recent school shooting, and citing his bizarre conspiracy theories about Aurora as further evidence of these shootings being “staged” by the US government. I wouldn’t suggest clicking the link unless you want to lose several IQ points, and I am not interested in a full repetition of Adams claims here.
Aside from the ghoulish nature of using events such as these to promote one’s bizarre anti-government conspiracy theories, I think this is a case-study on the formation of new conspiracy theories. It is true, in the early attempts at understanding what was happening many different accounts were offered. Watching these horrible events unfold I noticed how at first the media was confused but gradually began to report a more consistent, and terrible picture.
To a sane person, one sees this as the general confusion that results from a “fog of war”. We know that the press is desperately seeking any information that adds to this story, because people are desperate to know what happened? How many were hurt? Is the suspect loose or apprehended? Is this going to keep happening? Will this be the event that finally convinces people to do something about this problem? They also are relying on eye witness reports of individuals who probably only experience a narrow portion of the same events. Eventually the pieces are stitched together, an investigation takes information from all the witnesses and tries to make all the differing accounts mesh. And we know when people are frightened, anything out of the ordinary can and should be reported to make sure every possible lead is followed to its conclusion.
A conspiracist, however, sees this confusion, and rather than seeing a general pattern of natural disorder surrounding such events, sees the hand of whatever bogeyman they truly fear. In this case, Adams pins this on the government, because hey, we all know the government is in control of everything, is completely competent at keeping all secrets, and is apparently is full of people that secretly train madmen to shoot schoolchildren. At some point it is likely he’ll find a way to blame his other favorite bogeymen, GMOs, pharmaceuticals, doctors (especially psychiatrists), and scientists.
I hate writing about events like these before we know all the details, but I also can’t stand just how repugnant a person Mike Adams is, and how objectionable his conspiracy theories are. His hatred of government is so extreme that within hours of any tragedy he’s there, pinning the blame on those who likely are trying to work the hardest to provide aid, help the victims, and identify the culprit. Our government isn’t perfect, but the idea that there’s some agency (Adams suggests it’s the FBI) that routinely, and with no leaks or evidence of its activities, is planning mass murders of American citizens is simply a revolting accusation to pin without overwhelming evidence. And what’s his evidence? The pretty ordinary and expected confusion surrounding a mass shooting. With that, he accuses the government of staging this mass murder. Maybe a second gunman will be found, maybe the witnesses were right, but what evidence would that be that the FBI kills schoolchildren? Plenty of these school shootings in the pasts have been committed with accomplices, and plenty have been done by solo nutjobs.
It’s amazing that anyone reads his site, but then, there will never be a shortage of defective brains that will happily consume Adams’ writing, and give no thought to the total absurdity of the accusations, or the frankly despicable nature of someone who would level them without evidence. Government is not perfect, we shouldn’t really love it, or hate it. Government in the end is just people, just other Americans like us. I have many family members and friends that work in government, many that are part of agencies conspiracy theorists have accused of this and that, and it amazes me that they think that their fellow citizens so frequently, even routinely, kill, poison, or otherwise harm other Americans. That events like these could be staged, and the secrets behind all of our government’s machinations against us kept so perfectly secret is absurd. Our top spy couldn’t even keep where he put his penis a secret, and people think that government can just go around shooting schoolchildren without someone objecting, someone telling the press, someone coming out against it?
I think if anything these interpretations events say a lot more about the people making them than they do about the events themselves. Conspiracy is often, if not exclusively, an expression of hatred, and throughout history we’ve seen them used to direct hate towards one group or another (a lot of them have been directed at one group of people in particular). I suspect it’s actually the conspiracists that are capable of anything, any crime, any despicable act, and their routinely unethical behavior in pushing their nonsense is just the beginning of it. For one, the conspiracist is clearly consumed with hate, so much so, that every event is viewed through the blinders of their rage. No party can be at fault except whoever is the object of their hatred. And maybe, just maybe, if they were in charge this is how they would use their power. This is how they think the world works. This is how they think others think and act. And this is why they are so scary.