A few days ago, I wrote about how the vast majority of the inevitable conspiracy theories about the Las Vegas terrorist attack weren’t worth the time or trouble to debunk.
Naturally, the flow of conspiracies and allegations about the attack has only gotten worse.
Thanks to the totally unfounded “intel” posted on social media by “citizen journalists” who all want you to give them money, the internet has determined what actually happened and what “they” don’t want you to know.
The working theory, or at least the most prominent one, is that a second shooter was firing into the crowd from the 4th floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, and the proof is found in a video of muzzle flashes from a 4th floor window, along with a large room service receipt made out for two guests, showing that the shooter had ordered two soft drinks.
No, really, that’s it. A massive government cover-up to kill and wound hundreds, and use it as an excuse for massive gun confiscation was refuted by 30-second YouTube clip and a picture of a room service order.
For the record, the video of “shots fired” from the 4th floor actually shows the reflection of light from the stage of the concert well before the shooting happened. Also, if there was a shooter there, they must have had some amazing gun, because the 4th floor windows facing the concert stage weren’t broken.
As for the room service receipt, there’s been nothing substantiating that it’s real, and even if it is, it proves nothing other than the shooter might have eaten with someone or might have really liked Diet Coke. It might not even prove that. Ever ordered a bunch of take-out and gotten more utensils than people in your party? Does that mean you’re part of a government terrorism plot? It likely doesn’t.
This is why so many of these insta-conspiracy theories are so worthless: they’re easily refuted nonsense, and exist only to drive clicks and social traffic. They provide only tiny pieces of context-free information. They’re not smoking guns, they’re noise.
Does any actual investigator or journalist look at two completely random pieces of evidence and declare their work is done? Of course not.
But that’s what makes creating conspiracy theories so lucrative: if you make up enough nonsense and get it out to as many people as you can, some of them will believe it. And they’ll give you money to make more of it, because they want to believe it.
The reason they want to believe is because the alternative is too horrifying to contemplate.
It’s the reason why, over 50 years after President Kennedy was assassinated, people still believe he was the victim of a powerful conspiracy. There’s been little compelling new evidence, but even now, there are smart, capable, perfectly well-adjusted people who will swear up and down that he was taken out by multiple shooters working on behalf of a nefarious higher power.
They’re not crazy for thinking this. Extensive investigation hasn’t proved them right, of course, but it hasn’t made the initial act of Kennedy’s murder any more logical.
JFK was the most powerful man in the world, a rich playboy with the world at his fingers, a hero, an icon, a legend. Lee Harvey Oswald, his killer, was a nobody who had accomplished nothing and who would be remembered by no one.
Heroes and legends aren’t supposed to be killed at random by losers. That’s not how it works. Hence, the need to uncover a different truth, a truth where the most powerful man in the world is killed by a conspiracy worthy of his status, not some mook working in a book warehouse.
Likewise, it’s utterly horrifying to contemplate the reality of what happened in Las Vegas, at least as we know it so far: a man bought two-dozen semi-automatic weapons, rented a hotel suite overlooking a concert, and opened fire, randomly shooting nearly 600 people and killing nearly 60.
Some of the particulars might change through law enforcement and journalistic investigation, but the core of the “official story” likely will be solidified.
So the idea of a second shooter and a cover-up provide a kind of security blanket, that at least it all happened for a reason, perpetrated by top men working in the highest corridors of power to consolidate their hold on the population.
But if the shooter was just one guy with a bunch of guns shooting people at random for no reason, that means anyone could do anything to anybody. That you’re safe nowhere, and no gun on your hip or ideology can ultimately protect you.
And who the hell wants that to be true?