Monday 10 December 2018

Crisis actors are the latest move in America's danse macabre

Dance of the presidents: Trump meets a group of students who survived last week’s mass shooting at a Florida high school
Dance of the presidents: Trump meets a group of students who survived last week’s mass shooting at a Florida high school
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

So, another week, another mass shooting in America.

This is the dance, and we all know the moves by now - a mass shooting occurs, anti-gun people accuse the gun lobby of wanting to kill children. The pro-gun lobby express their horror at the shooting, while also accusing the anti-gun lobby of trying to take away Americans' right to bear arms and pave the way for Government tyranny. The Democrats blast the Republicans. The Republicans accuse the Democrats of playing politics with a tragedy.

The left hand of the media demands that all guns be removed, which will never happen. The right hand of the media suggests arming teachers, which should never happen.

The President of the day meets some survivors and families of the victims and looks pained while he stresses that something will be done.

This is the dance, repeat to fade. Or until the next mass execution of the innocents. We've seen it all before. We'll see it all again.

But there is a new move which has been added to this danse macabre and it's the idea that there are actually no mass shootings at all.

In fact, this idea states that these shootings are all elaborately staged hoaxes using what has become known as 'crisis actors'.

These stooges are not the injured victims or eyewitnesses they claim to be. Rather, they are people in the employ of the federal government who want to terrify the average, God fearin', gun totin' American into handing over their weapons.

A disarmed population then makes it easier for the UN and their infamous black helicopters to swoop in and set up concentration camps along the Rockies (they genuinely believe this) and before you know it, real life America will look like Red Dawn - a broken and fractured country now ruled by the Third World nations of the UN who want to exact revenge on Americans for... something, anything. Paranoia needs no evidence.

Conspiracy theories have been around since the first human decided he didn't trust authority and thought he was being lied to.

There was a time these people were confined to the margins, of course, and they also pre-date the internet. One of the first conspiracy theories to gain legs was the old classic which claims the American government knew about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and allowed it to happen anyway.

They really began to gain traction after the Kennedy assassination and the moon landings and, for years, they were a fairly harmless intellectual diversion; a game of what-if and a way to peek behind the wizard's curtain.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 these theories took on a more sinister edge - it woz the Israelis wot done it! No Jews were killed in the Twin Towers! etc - and, helped by the rise of the internet in the last decade and a half, have sped forward at such a rate that now people don't even believe a kid when he says he just watched his classmates gunned down in front of him.

That YouTube were forced to take down a video accusing one of the survivors of the Florida shooting of being a crisis actor is no surprise. What should come as a surprise is that the video had received over a million views by the time the provider took action.

The video claimed that one of the kids at the Parkland shooting, David Hogg, was a paid crisis actor working for rogue agents of the FBI. The reason? Well, Hogg had previously been interviewed on a local news station about an entirely unrelated matter six months ago - so that was the 'actor' bit sorted. Oh, and his father happens to work for the FBI, which was manna from crackpot heaven for those who believe that everything is linked.

To gain some sort of understanding of how deep the appeal of the crisis actor theory runs, you only need to look at the Florida's Congressman's aide, Benjamin Kelly, who was forced to resign on Wednesday when he accused Hogg of being an actor.

So, these demented ideas are no longer the sole preserve of the tinfoil helmet brigade, they also extend, to an extent, into the corridors of power.

These people seem to operate off Fox Mulder's X-Files motto, 'I Want To Believe', when surely that motto should have been 'I Want To Be Right.'

The problem with being 'right', of course, is that you have to rely on the evidence, and base your conclusions on the evidence available. For the conspiracy theorist, however, they have reached their conclusion without the need for any evidence, so they will pick and choose whatever bits fit into their delusion, and ignore everything else.

It's known in some circles as the hermeneutics of suspicion, when people see things that aren't visible to anyone else, because they think they have the key to a particular, usually sinister, pattern.

It's the secular equivalent of finding religious salvation, and where the religious zealot will refer to heretics, the theorist will talk about 'sheeple'. It all comes from the same part of the brain that sees patterns where none exist, while also giving the believer the delicious feeling of being just that bit smarter than the 'sheeple' who follow the lamestream media.

Most conspiracy theories are harmless, dumb and occasionally fun.

But there is a difference between blaming shadowy government forces for everything and going after a kid who just saw half his class blown away.

But then, of course I would say that.

What with me being part of the dishonest lamestream media and all...

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