Crisis Actor? False Flags? Answering Basic Questions About Conspiracy Theories

There has been an avalanche of conspiracy theories regarding the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida. Many revolve around concepts like false flags and crisis actors – terms that are familiar to those who study and write about fringe culture, but are new to the populace at large.

This can lead to an air of authoritative knowledge by those who decidedly do not have it. And unfortunately, they seem to come up for every tragedy – be it a shooting, terror attack, or even a deadly accident.

In the case of Parkland, Douglas High School student David Hogg has been described as a “crisis actor” paid to espouse gun control views. The whole thing has been called a government-perpetrated “false flag” by prominent conspiracy theorists and conservative infotainment figures. Rumors are flying that the shooting was covered up by an active shooter drill that “went live.”

But what does any of that mean? Are these real concepts? Have these things been done before – and could the shooting in Parkland be the next iteration?

While these concepts are mostly unknown to the public (who are then appalled to hear them), I’ve been writing about them for years. On Skeptoid Blog, I wrote posts diving into each one of these ideas, and am extremely familiar with how they work – and don’t work.

This piece summarizes what I wrote there, and if you want more information, feel free to read the original posts. They have crazy comments!

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