Updated at 4:15 PST
As sure as the sun will come up and the tides will roll in and out, there will be a mass shooting somewhere in America.
Today, it was at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, a suburb of Galveston. As of this writing, 10 people are confirmed dead, including one teacher. Details are still coming in, but the a suspect is in custody, a male thought to be a student at the school.
As much as mass shootings are a sick reality of life in this country, so too are the instant conspiracy theories that spring up in the minutes and hours after the bullets stop flying.
Because these conspiracies and hoaxes have little substance to them, there’s usually not much there to debunk. But it is useful to at least shed some light on them – not for this particular shooting, but to train minds that are so fried by the constant onrush of news to filter out noise and accusations that have no legitimate reporting behind them.
So here are the ones circling around Santa Fe High, so far.
There’s usually a flood of fake names associated with mass shootings, tossed out by users of the image boards 4chan and 8chan, as well as social media. So far, they’re a mix of new names and old favorites.
If you see anyone pinning the shooting on “Ant-awan Al-Kumiyya,” “Paulo Deninez,” “Paul Denino,” or familiar hoax shooter Sam Hyde; then they’re falling for a 4chan/8chan hoax.
In fact, the midst of writing this, the shooter WAS identified as 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis. His motives are unknown right now, but that didn’t stop fake news machines in Russia from cranking out a series of Facebook pages designed to make us think he was a member of antifa and a rabid Hillary Clinton supporter.
In fact, it looks much more like the shooter gravitated toward Nazi iconography, guns, and World War II memorabilia.
Like the fake accusations against non-existent shooters, conspiracy theorists tend to instantly declare that the shooting must have been a staged false flag, a hoax, or a distraction to throw us off from “real news.”
The false flag accusations, that is to say the government planned or staged the shooting, rather than it taking place organically, are already flying. Many come from followers of the conspiracy theory #QAnon, who think that the anonymous account supposedly dropping breadcrumbs of classified intel predicted “something” would happen in the next week, to distract us from major events.
In this case, news events that would be supposedly served by a distraction are an unsealed court filing related to Anthony Weiner, the shootings in Gaza, or the upcoming release of a Department of Justice inspector general’s report supposedly implicating the FBI in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Another #QAnon theory, which has no evidence to support it, is that the shooting was staged to distract from a series of new Q posts featuring pictures of crates and a bus in London – supposedly evidence that the “white hats” fighting on the side of Donald Trump have bugged the phones of the “deep state.”
Of course, when you believe everything that happens is a false flag, it’s easy to point to an event and call it a false flag that you predicted – even if something else would have served that purpose had the shooting not happened. That’s how most psychics and mediums work – throw stuff out really fast, and wait for something to stick.
Another typical aspect of these allegations is that they’re an excuse for the government to enact draconian gun control measures, up to confiscation.
But as always, it’s important to point out that every time the gun control movement has had significant wind in its sails, such as the Douglass High School shooting in February, the Las Vegas massacre before that, and Sandy Hook before that; almost nothing has happened in terms of wide-ranging gun legislation.
So if the government really is taking the risk of pulling off hoax after hoax as a way to gin up support for gun confiscation, they’re not doing a very good job of it.
Another accusation thrown around constantly after the Parkland shooting was that the survivors were “crisis actors,” hired by the shooting planners to spout anti-gun rhetoric and steer the conversation toward gun control.
The biggest target of these was David Hogg, an outspoken student who has drawn the wrath of the entire far right infotainment machine for daring to suggest that something should be done about the shooting of children. In fact, the infotainment machine is STILL attacking Hogg, months after the Parkland shooting.
The accusations against Hogg have all proven false, but that won’t stop whoever emerges out of this shooting as a leader among survivors to meet the same fate. Be on the lookout for hoaxed images and video that “prove” whoever this person is was given a script, doesn’t go to the school, or is actually an actor. In fact, it’s already started.
Finally, there are already accusations that the shooting was “conveniently timed” around a “mass casualty drill” held by the school just weeks before.
I’ve written extensively about the actual reason why terrorist attacks and drills seem to coincide a lot: drills are constantly being run, and there’s no logical reason why someone planning a false flag attack would want one to coincide with a drill.
Active shooter or shelter in place drills are now, unfortunately, a common element of school attendance in the US. Some schools run them as often as once a month. Santa Fe High School appeared to run them on a quarterly basis. So the timing of a shooting with a shooting drill is likely to match up in some way.
Adding to the confusion is that, like the Parkland shooting, a fire alarm was pulled either just before or during the attack. It’s been speculated that the alarm was pulled by a teacher to get students out of the building, but we don’t know that yet.
Be extremely skeptical of any report that doesn’t come from a trustworthy source, and even then, know that many times the initial reporting in these incidents is wrong. Such is the nature of a mass shooting – there are always far more questions than answers, and humans are hard wired to make up answers if none present themselves