In the immediate aftermath of Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, many, including White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told the nation that it would be disrespectful to open the conversation on gun regulation. Most of us with any sense disagreed, and knew the motive for these statements, saw it for what it was, and we are actively calling for this to finally be the wake-up call this nation needs to realize that it is past time to make some changes. But apparently there is no call for the conspiracy theorists to show respect, to wait a decent amount of time to spew their lies. Take, for example, televangelist Pat Robertson (Idiot of the Week 07/29/2016)
Mr. Robertson has decided, presumably via some telekinetic message, that it is We The People, not gunman Stephen Paddock, who is to blame for the deaths of 59 people and the injuries of some 500+ others. How can that be, you ask? I was finishing up an email, some 1,959.8 miles from Las Vegas. Most of you were probably asleep in your beds. No matter … it was, according to the sighted Mr. Robertson, our fault. Because … wait for it … we do not like Donald Trump!
“Why is it happening? . . . The fact that we have disrespect for authority. There is profound disrespect of our president. All across this nation, they say terrible things about him. It’s in the news. It’s in other places. There is disrespect now for our national anthem, disrespect for our veterans, disrespect for the institutions of our government, disrespect for the court system. All the way up and down the line: disrespect. … Until there is Biblical authority, there has to be some controlling authority in our society and there is none. … When there is no vision of God, the people run amok. We have taken from the American people the vision of God.”
And there you have it, folks … it is our fault for saying ‘terrible things’ about Trump! This means yours truly must also share in the blame, for I have said my share of ‘terrible (though true) things’ about that person, haven’t I? I suppose I better get out of my jammies now, for they will be coming to arrest me at any time, and I would hate to be taken to jail in my Eeyore jammies!
Robertson, of course, is not alone in his stupidity. One who is joining him is columnist Wayne Allen Root (Idiot of the Week 05/31/2017) who quickly jumped to the conclusion … “This is real thing. Clearly coordinated Muslim terror attack. PRAY for our Vegas police. PRAY for victims. VERY bad. Awful.” Even later, after it was widely reported that there is absolutely zero evidence of any connection to Islamic terrorism, Root did not back down, arguing that … “liberals assuming not Islamic terror attack in Vegas. No one knows motivation of killer or ‘Asian companion.’ On day of lone wolf terror.” And as recently as this morning, he tweeted, “Just like before 9/11. planned it…made a fortune on it. Killer no lone wolf. This was planned terror attack.”
And then there is YouTube whose ‘algorithm’ is more inclined to lead searchers to conspiracy theory videos of the shooting than to legitimate videos. When questioned why such videos were promoted, YouTube simply stated that it did not violate their standards. The videos number in the hundreds and include some that claim the shooting was a hoax perpetrated by a) the government, b) democrats, c) gun regulation supporters. The videos are offensive to us all, but especially to the families of victims of the tragedy. Yet they do not ‘violate the standards’? In that case, there apparently are no standards.
And of course America’s favourite conspiracy theorist, the inventor of Pizzagate, Alex Jones had to weigh in, as we knew he would. “The whole thing has the hallmarks of being scripted by Deep-State Democrats and their Islamic allies using mental-patient cutouts.” He attempted to tie the tragedy to the 100-year anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution and also to the release from prison of O.J. Simpson the previous day.
Make no mistake … one person, Stephen Paddock, was responsible for the shootings in Las Vegas last Sunday night. ONE PERSON.
The disturbing thing, as I have said many times before, is not that these fools spout their garbage, but that people actually buy into it, turning a tragedy into a feeding frenzy of idiocy. For instance, one of the more ludicrous YouTube videos purporting that the shooting was a hoax staged by the government, received more than 250,000 views within the first 24 hours. A quarter of a million people had nothing better to do than watch a doctored video clip of lies. Who are these people? Do they not have jobs to go to, families to spend time with, friends and lives to live? It makes a sad statement about humanity that so many are so bored with their lives.
And, of course, there is always the danger that somebody who is living in this fantasy world will feel obligated to take matters into their own hands, just as Edgar Maddison Welch did last December when he went on a shooting spree in Washington’s Comet Ping Pong pizzeria.
We cannot shut down the voices of conspiracy, for to do so would put us on the slippery slope toward losing our right to freedom of speech. However, we must find ways to educate, to enlighten, so that people will seek real answers rather than accepting the most wildly concocted story. And we must hold accountable those who perpetuate the theories for the end result of their words. Aforementioned Edgar Welch received his sentence in June: 48 months in prison, an additional 36 months’ probation, and restitution of $5,744.33. This is right and just, though mandatory psychiatric counseling should have, in my opinion, been added. But what of Alex Jones, whose rhetoric inspired the delusional Mr. Welch? Should not he, also, be held accountable? Until there are consequences for the acts they inspire, people like Alex Jones, Pat Robertson and Wayne Root will continue raking in mass amounts of money and planting seeds of evil in the minds of the public.