This week, the cluster of suicides plaguing the NYPD added another name to its tragic ranks today, with news breaking of the suicide of an unnamed veteran officer who worked patrol in the Bronx.
This marks the fourth NYPD officer to die by their own hand in June. First there was 38 year NYPD veteran Deputy Chief Steven Silks of the Patrol Borough Queens North, who was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot on June 5th. The next day, the body of veteran Brooklyn Homicide Detective Joseph Calabrese was discovered in a grove of bushes near a beach, also dead by his own hand. Then on the 14th, a Staten Island patrolman, with six years of experience, killed himself behind his precinct.
The four suicides have been deemed a “mental health crisis” in the NYPD, shedding light on the high suicide rates of police officers around the country.
Sadly, they’ve also been latched onto by conspiracy theorists as part of both the QAnon conspiracy and the ever-expanding “Clinton Body Count” – the list of people supposedly killed by the Clintons over the last four decades.
QAnon may be posting with the frequency of Halley’s Comet (not at all, then a bunch, then not at all), but the industry of merchandise makers, book writers, swag producers, and shirt printers is alive and well. The wagon train of Q-branded merch goes on even as the movement splinters – seemingly finding new ways to slap a flaming Q or a Matrix-font WWG1WGA on just about anything.
A search on Amazon for QAnon brings up over 1,000 items; while a search for WWG1WGA brings up over 500. Most are simple t-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, or an avalanche of self-published and anonymous books. But a few are so weird, so useless, so obnoxious, and/or so expensive that they deserve further scrutiny.
All of these are publicly available, and just waiting for YOU to hit “buy” on:
As part of what’s sure to be a long, brutal, insanely divisive 2020 presidential campaign between Donald Trump and the eventual Democratic nominee, conspiracy theories are already emerging about the top liberal frontrunners. And the first target for the churn of right wing plots, fake hit jobs, and hysterical rumors is Joe Biden.
The former vice president is leading Democratic polling, but only with about a third of the vote. He’s also run a fairly lazy and outmoded campaign, relying on wishful thinking that Republicans will come to their senses and throw Trump under the bus – along with a good deal of old school tactile politics. It’s that reputation (earned or not) of Biden as a handsy, touchy creep that’s powering the first big Biden conspiracy theory: that his college roommate went on the record with a bombshell that Biden has admitted to being sexually attracted to children.
While not all Trump supporters are QAnon believers, virtually all QAnon believers are Trump supporters. How could one subscribe to a prophecy cult that puts Donald Trump at the center of a massive effort to destroy the Democratic Party if you didn’t believe Trump was smart enough to pull it off?
Since the far left and far right have far more in common than they’d like to believe (distrust of mainstream media communicators, ideological puritanism, reliance on dubious sources and wishful thinking, etc), it’s worth looking at whether or not there’s a far left version of QAnon – and what it has in common with the actual QAnon.
One day Chris is going to accidentally slip into extremely online speak on air for 20 minutes and it's gonna spur MSNBC viewers to start liberal qanon and I truly cannot wait https://t.co/WDiSuHoNAk
As it turns out, there’s nothing that’s an exact match, not the least of which is because QAnon is full of lurid details like baby-eating and ritual sacrifice, stuff that gets pushed hard in conservative circles. Beyond that, the Trump years have imbued liberalism with a sudden distrust of government in general and police in particular, a role that had previously been filled by right wingers gathering guns and ammo for the inevitable great government gun confiscation that was just around the corner.
But there are definite similarities between QAnon and several of the biggest pet conspiracy theories held near and dear by liberals. And it’s useful to examine them, and see why outlandish conspiracies have taken such a firm hold of our politics. Because they totally have.
Some conspiracy theory claims are so ubiquitous and baked into fringe culture that you might assume they’ve been around for decades, or even centuries. This goes particularly for the Rothschild banking family (to whom I am not related!), which has been at the center of anti-Semitic rhetoric since the late 1700’s.
So after the umpteenth occurrence of some conspiracy believer bringing up the Rothschilds “hunting humans” on their vast estate in Austria, I decided to go searching for the source. Not because I feel compelled to defend a wealthy family to whom I’m not related. But because I like tracking things down to their source, where it’s a nutso blog post or a self-published book or just thin air.
The QAnon community is very upset because they believe the Rothschild family literally hunted children on an Austrian estate.
So where did the rumor that the Rothschilds hold great hunting parties where they track down and slaughter children for sport start? Was it some Nazi-era bit of propaganda? An old Napoleonic canard? Something more recent from the poison pen of David Icke or Alex Jones?