Late on Friday night, South Carolina state representative and Donald Trump endorsee Katie Arrington was seriously injured while riding as a passenger in a car hit by a driver going the wrong way. The driver, 69-year-old Helen White, was killed.
A state legislator involved in a car accident normally isn’t the kind of thing that makes national news, but Arrington just won a tough primary against sitting House member Mark Sanford. In turn, Sanford had drawn the wrath of President Trump after Sanford dared to disparage Trump.
Unsurprisingly, a Trump-backed insurgent candidate nearly being killed in a random car accident drew the interest of conspiracy theorists, and in particular, the amateur slueths of the QAnon movement.
After all, if there are no coincidences, there probably are no accidents, either.
And so countless Reddit threads and tweets speculated without evidence that Arrington had been the victim of a botched hit, from either a one-way assassin or a remote hijacked car.
To be sure, the accident is pretty bizarre, as White was driving northbound in the southbound lanes of Highway 17 near Adams Run, SC, striking Arrington’s car head-on. That area is apparently fairly accident prone, with low visibility leading to a number of fatal crashes.
Thus far, there’s no information on why White was driving on the wrong side of the road. Did she lose control of the car? Did she fall asleep? Was she drunk? Was she suicidal? We have no idea, and might not for a while.
But strange car accidents happen all the time – and they aren’t targeted assassinations. Wrong-way driving crashes kill about 300 to 400 people every year, making up 1% of all auto accident fatalities. So while it’s rare, it’s not like it never happens.
To think that every twist of fate is actually intentional string pulling is absurd and insulting. But it also makes perfect sense that it’s what conspiracy theorists think. If a giant cabal of evil child-eating Satanists controls everything, then they’d think nothing of taking out anyone in their way.
Hence a wild conspiracy theory that Big Pharma is killing doctors, or that the deep state is crashing military planes, or causing train accidents, or that the Clintons have massacred hundreds of people, etc.
If nothing happens by accident, then everything happens on purpose. Ergo, Katie Arrington wasn’t hit by a car on accident, she was hit by a car on purpose.
But why? To benefit who? To accomplish what?
Why use a 69-year-old woman and not a professional killer? Why a car accident that the victim could presumably survive? Why take so many chances?
The argument that the car was hijacked is even harder to prove. It’s a technology that exists and has caused a reasonable amount of fear in tech circles, but despite conspiracy theorists believing that such technology is seamless and easily usable, there’s no evidence that such a method has ever been applied to an assassination.
We don’t even know what kind of car White was driving. If it was an older model car (not an unreasonable guess, given what we know about her), then it would have had no sophisticated electronics to take control of.
And why a prospective House member in a conservative-leaning district that Republicans should hang on to? Why not a pro-Trump Senate candidate or governor? Why not a cabinet member? Was it just to send a message to Trump? If so, why Arrington and not someone else he’s endorsed?
These are hard questions that anyone seriously pushing this as a conspiracy theory should at least have a cursory answer to. But they don’t, because they aren’t interested in answering hard questions. They want to add fuel to the fire they started, and if it happens to be based on confirmation bias and wishful thinking, hey, who cares?
Fortunately, Katie Arrington is expected to make a full recovery. She’ll likely go on to continue her campaign, and judging by the demographics of her district, is likely to win.
So if it was a hit job, it wasn’t a good one. One imagines the deep state can do better.