This is a preview of a report coming up on the live Google+ hangout webshow, The Virtual Skeptics, which will air in its entirety on Wednesday, 8PM Eastern at virtualskeptics.com. (It’s like Meet the Press with chupacabras.)
On Monday bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Of course, the police are keeping many details of the young investigation confidential, and that opens up a lot of airtime to speculate about who was responsible. This morning the news suggested that the investigation was trending toward domestic terrorism, so we’ll see if this line of evidence holds up.
But just because there is very little information available doesn’t mean that you won’t have wall to wall coverage, and this means that every little detail that was mentioned in front of a microphone will come under intense scrutiny and be tortured to the point of uselessness.
Actually, I see an opportunity here. Lately in the states, we’ve been getting weary of mass killings. I mean, it’s actually becoming dispiriting. And with that aggravation comes impatience with being fed crummy news, bogus analysis, and speculation. For me, it’s the false sense of confidence that the talking heads have that I find particularly irksome. And for that reason, I think, one group is finding itself increasingly despised, the group that is most sure of its boneheaded proclamations at times of genuine confusion and that regards human tragedy as a type of pornography: conspiracy theorists.
After Aurora and Sandy Hook many of us were plunged into a parallel twitterverse of conspiracy and paranoia. And you know what? The speculation is getting old. My first thought, was how is this going to be spun as an argument for gun control related false flag? Well, a false flag narrative seemed to arrive almost immediately, but Alex Jones and his cohort of sycophants and imbeciles, spun it in a surprising way, as a way of expanding the authority of the TSA into the streets. This is very odd. If you visit the TSA website you see that their mandate is to “protect the Nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.” This means airport screening, baggage checking, bomb sniffing dogs, that sort of thing. They are not trained to execute martial law or patrol the streets; they couldn’t. The idea is as absurd as Alex Jones is loud. And absurd.
The first seed of a conspiracy theory came very shortly after the bomb went off just before 3PM. Within an hour and a half, a news outlet in Mobile mentioned that a local college cross country coach, Ali Stevenson who was participating in the Marathon had commented that there were bomb sniffing dogs on site before the explosion:
“They kept making announcements to the participants do not worry, it’s just a training exercise,” Coach Ali Stevenson told Local 15.
Stevenson said he saw law enforcement spotters on the roofs at the start of the race. He’s been in plenty of marathons in Chicago, D.C., Chicago, London and other major metropolitan areas but has never seen that level of security before.
“Evidently, I don’t believe they were just having a training exercise,” Stevenson said. “I think they must have had some sort of threat or suspicion called in.”
CNN reports a state government official said there were no credible threats before the race.
A major problem with his testimony, of course, is that he has never been in a race that exploded before. It seems only natural that salient measures of security are now receiving his attention after the Boston Marathon when they haven’t before. Basically, this is a post-9/11 world. There is security at all major events. The presence of bomb dogs is not surprising. Further I want to talk about “police spotters” on roofs. How does he know they were police spotters?
One person who actually was walking on a roof near the explosion has actually received a lot of attention on the Internet. Here he is:
What? You don’t see him? Here’s a close up of this sinister character.
I think it’s Bigfoot.
I understand that as much of the crime scene as possible needs to be documented, but that this guy was being circulated on twitter sort of befuddles me. There is nothing peculiar about someone being on the roofs along the Boston Marathon route. In fact, at the finish line, this is common. Actually the police had been enforcing rules against the gatherings after a young man fell through a skylight in 2011. So, it’s clearly not unexpected that there would be people on the roof.
One of Alex Jones’ defective correspondents, Dan Bidondi, managed to get into a couple of press briefings. First he asked what actually would have been a reasonable question. Had a threat been called in (referring to the Stevenson narrative of dogs and drills)? The answer? No. Security had been upped as a matter of course. At a later conference, the same guy asked the governor a question if it was a false flag operation to take away our civil liberties and let the TSA slip their hands down our pants. The governor said, “No, next question,” basically slam dunking the idiot back into irrelevancy.
A trend being rehashed from the Sandy Hook conspiracy theories, and the idea of a “crisis actors,” which are supposed to be actors paid to act out drama. Take for instance this image, which comes from Peter Tierney’s collection of rather depressing facebook shots:
Crisis actors actually seem to me to be a manifestation of something that you often see in the conspiracy world, what Michael Barkun calls “fact-fiction reversals.” Conspiracy theorists see fiction as more real than reality, so they take the 1970s April fools “documentary” about elites secretly going to Mars (Alternative 3) as factual and think that aliens are putting story lines into the heads of Star Trek writers to prepare us for the alien invasions to come, while simultaneously believing that the news is being staged. For some reason, conspiracy theorists seem to be unable to believe in reality.
One last type of evidence that we see is searching for predictions of the event in popular culture. The only one I have seen so far is supremely cynical, in my opinion, which has to do with a recutting of a Family Guy episode so that it suggests Peter is detonating a bomb at the Boston Marathon. Seth MacFarlane has slammed the conspiracy theory, calling it “abhorrent.”
Actually, I’m hopeful that people are starting to pay attention to the horridness that is the conspiratorial mindset. One clever, civic-minded netizen grabbed up a number of likely conspiracy theory website domain names with the purpose of “keeping some conspiracy theory kook from owning it,” which gives me a small measure of hope.
The seeds of the Boston Marathon Conspiracy:
Alex Jones is horrid:
In the Infobunker with an Infochick. Also, Info.
“Hands in our pants” comment:
The man on the roof:
Human toilet Mike Adams opines:
Family Guy predicted the bombing. Also, I hate Earth:
Seth MacFarlane replies to the Family Guy conspiracy:
You see those things behind the man on the roof? those are lounge chairs on a deck open to people in the apartments lactated in the building. WOW! nice place to watch. But nothing more sinister.
lactated in the building? Located Sorry
Yeah, that made me chuckle. This one was a very easy one to bust. And there is a tradition of people watching the end of the race from that vantage point. So there was no there there.
Anyone can debunk the theories of paranoid schizophrenics. I am not impressed. Why don’t you try debunking the real evidence, which I’ve summed up here:
I see you’ve given up your conspiracy round-ups lately. Considering the recent statements by Alex Jones (in re HARP being used to cause the Moore Tornado), and Pete Santilli (in re Shooting Hilary Clinton), I wondered if the insanity was just too much for you to bear any more?
No, I still embrace the insanity. I’m doing a lot of work with the Burzynski thing right now. I may be redirecting some of my anti-conspiratorial energies to CSI’s website when I get a chance. 🙂 I’m still researching and teaching about conspiracies. I’m just over-extended right now. I still get all the feeds and everything, so I can pick up at a moment’s notice. But yeah there is a lot to be very very weary of right now! 🙂 I should have jumped in on the Boston thing, but you know what, I saw so much naked public disgust with Jones and his ilk that I didn’t see it as particularly urgent. But it’s good to hear from you!