In the 1972 black comedy The Ruling Class, Peter O’Toole plays Jack, a paranoid schizophrenic British nobleman who thinks he’s Jesus. Jack’s family members hatch a plot to seize his fortune and have him committed, but Jack’s psychiatrist, desperate to keep his patient from being institutionalized, hatches a plan of his own. He puts Jack in a room with another paranoid schizo who also claims to be Jesus. Pointing out that both men cannot be Jesus, the psychiatrist essentially lets them fight it out, which they do, until the cognitive dissonance finally “cures” Jack of his delusion.
I’ll admit to having used that trick myself a few times. Whenever I get into it with a nutty conspiracy theorist (which, due to the high volume of them in my social media circle, happens frequently), one of my favorite games is to take two conspiracy theorists who claim to be experts in the same “field,” but who promote competing theories, and play them against each other. For example, when I get hassled by a 9/11 “truther” who “knows” that the WTC buildings were brought down by thermite, I’ll tag a 9/11 truther who “knows” with equal certainty that the buildings were “dustified” by a “directed energy weapon.” The two “experts” will then go at each other, and voilà, it’s not my problem anymore. Now it’s two deluded nutcases arguing over which one’s delusion is real.
Last week I learned, somewhat to my surprise, that there are now two contradictory conspiracy theories involving the recent spate of mass shootings in the U.S. I was already aware of the main claim, that such shootings are “false flags,” that the dead and injured are “crisis actors,” and that the point of these stage-managed productions is to create anti-gun hysteria so that “they” can come grab our firearms. This is the line spouted by false-flag fraudsters like Jim Fetzer and Kevin Barrett. I made my opinion of “false flaggots” quite well-known in a piece from last year, so I don’t want to retread that territory. But this new mass-shooting theory is interesting to me, and I think it merits examination.
To be frank, I’m not entirely unsympathetic toward those who are skeptical of the official line regarding some of these incidents. In the case of the Las Vegas shooting, for example, the way in which the investigation has been run practically invites conspiracy theorizing. Between the hotels, the local police, and the FBI, the investigation has been marked by secrecy and confusion. Considering the fact that, due to Stephen Paddock’s highly unlikely profile as a mass shooter, this story was already a bit odd, if any large-scale crime demanded and deserved transparency from all involved, it’s this one. My hunch is that we’re eventually going to find out (most likely via a civil suit) that lots of people, at all levels, dropped the ball when it came to either preventing the massacre from happening or stopping it once it started. I think the wall of silence is due to everyone trying to play save-ass regarding liability.
But that’s Vegas. There have been a good half-dozen mass shootings since then, and most have been open-and-shut regarding perpetrator, motive, and timeline. Yet regardless of the facts in each case, the false flaggots have kept up the chant: “These are staged drills meant to create panic so that the ‘sheeple’ don’t resist when the government comes for our guns!”
And now, into the fray wades Amy Siskind with a theory of her own! Leftist extraordinaire Siskind is president of the feminist “think tank” The New Agenda. Last month, mere hours after a mentally ill man gunned down five people in a small town in rural Northern California, Siskind belched out this beauty to her 190,000 Twitter followers:
People ask of Northern California shooting: why isn’t it on the news? This is how we normalize mass shootings by white men, almost all of whom have a history of domestic violence and still own guns, in America.
Considering that Siskind lives in New York, if the shooting never made the news, how did she hear about it? Unless, of course, she has a secret life in rural NorCal as a pot farmer. Also, white men account for only about half of the mass shootings in the U.S. (according to PolitiFact, “white men appear proportionally less likely to commit a mass shooting” than men of other races). Plus, it is not true that “almost all” mass shooters have a history of domestic violence (according to a study by Time, about 33% do). That’s a lot of stuff to get wrong in one two-sentence tweet! But beyond all the falsehoods, what we have is a beauty of a conspiracy theory: The massacres are purposely being downplayed in order to “normalize mass shootings by white men.”
The fascinating part to me is that now we have two completely contradictory conspiracy theories regarding mass shootings. From the false flaggots: “They are playing up mass shootings in order to spread fear and panic so the public will demand gun control!” From Siskind and her Twitter devotees: “They are downplaying mass shootings in order to normalize white male violence.”
There you go—there’s your two psycho Jesuses duking it out over whose delusion is real.
That said, there is an unintended nugget of value in Siskind’s tweet. It is indeed true that these mass shootings just don’t seem to get as much attention in the press as they used to. In past years, something on the scale of the Vegas shooting would still be in the news cycle, even two months later. But, as Matt Walsh smartly observed last week in a DailyWire piece titled “58 People Were Killed In Las Vegas, We Still Don’t Know Why Or How, And Nobody Cares”:
There was a time when a mass shooting of this magnitude would dominate the news for weeks and weeks. Columbine—which paled in comparison to this—was the only thing anyone talked about for at least a month. Even more recent shootings—Charleston, Aurora, Orlando—were in the headlines for much longer than Las Vegas. Yet there were more people shot in Vegas than in Columbine, Charleston, Aurora, and Orlando combined. Twice as many, easily.
This seems to be something left and right agree on. In response to her tweet, several of Siskind’s leftist friends chimed in with sentiments similar to Walsh’s. “There was a time, in my lifetime, when a shooting in which five people died would have been news for days. Now it’s news for hours, if that. We have become frighteningly inured to mass shootings in the U.S.,” wrote “progressive feminist” Melissa McEwan. “Crazy dude shot up a school full of kids earlier today and IT IS ALREADY OLD NEWS wtf” asked Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing and Wired. “It’s only been ten days since Sutherland Springs and there’s been another mass shooting. It’s barely made a dent in the news cycle,” noted Mashable’s deputy managing editor Kate Sommers-Dawes.
I can’t argue with Walsh, and I can’t argue with the SJWs. They all have a point.