Why Do QAnon Believers Think Jeffrey Epstein Faked His Death? Because They Have To

Disgraced pederast Jeffrey Epstien’s suicide on Saturday kicked off the Olympic Games of conspiracy theories.  Twitter was overwhelmed by people of every political affiliation, status, profession, and nationality speculating wildly on what “really happened” to the convicted sex offender who was reported to have killed himself while in solitary confinement in the Manhattan Correctional Center.

While conspiratorial beliefs are bipartisan, most actual conspiracies fall under liberal or conservative lines. Not this one. It was the Clintons adding to their body count! It was Trump to cover up his crimes! It was Russia, because Russia can do everything! It was the Royal Family! It was Obama! It was Saudi Arabia! It was Alan Dershowitz!

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The Only Mass Shooting Conspiracy Theory Primer You’ll Ever Need

Over a span of less than 24 hours, America endured two more mass shootings, both carried out by young white men armed with assault rifles, and fed by internet-driven hate. The motivations of El Paso shooter Patrick Crusius and Dayton shooter Connor Betts appear to have been different, with Betts in particular seeming to be driven more by personal animosity and hatred of women than any political cause.

The causes of the two shootings might diverge, but one thing that doesn’t is the conspiracy theories that started up in their wake. The discourse about the El Paso shooting was flooded almost from the first moment with fake news, memes, errors in early reporting, nebulous conspiracy theories, and outright lies.

The Dayton shooting didn’t generate much in the way of conspiracies, but that’s only due to it taking place late on a Saturday night. By then, it was easy enough to lump the two shootings together as part of some kind of vast plot, carried out in two different places by the same shadowy group.

Longtime watchers of the early discourse around mass shootings will recognize everything that was written and said about El Paso, because it’s the same stuff that’s written and said about every mass shooting. They all have the same conspiracy theories, the same fake allegations, the same mistaken eyewitness reports, and the same attempts to flood the news cycle with fakes in order to create chaos.

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Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting Conspiracy Theories

Late afternoon on Sunday, news broke that America did that thing America does so well: walked into a peaceful crowd of celebrating people and started shooting them.

From the details we have, about 16+ hours after the shooting, 19-year-old Santino William Legan decided he wanted to be a martyr for a cause existing entirely in his head, and cut the fence of the Gilroy Garlic Festival carrying a semi-automatic rifle. He opened fire, shooting approximately 12 people, killing three – including a six-year-old boy. Legan was then shot and killed by Gilroy police, ending the rampage.

As used to these horrible shootings as we’ve become, so too have we become used to the fusillade of conspiracy theories that follows each one. The one you’ll hear the most is the one you always hear the most, and the one that pisses you off to the greatest degree: that it was a “false flag” staged by (INSERT PRESIDENT HERE) to serve as a distraction from (INSERT NEGATIVE NEWS STORY HERE).

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The Importance of Getting Things Right

On Sunday, the New York Times posted an article going in depth into the motivations of Anthony Comello, the Staten Island day laborer who allegedly shot and killed Gambino family boss Frank Cali, supposedly after being brainwashed by QAnon propaganda. To show his allegiance to the mysterious conspiracy avatar, Comello got a blue ballpoint pen and scrawled a number of Trump and Q slogans on his hand, including a large, unmistakable “Q” in the center of his palm.

Why someone aligned with Q would kill a Mafia boss, when Q has never mentioned the Mafia, remains a mystery, a baffling element of a baffling murder. Times reporter Ali Watkins spoke to Comello’s lawyer, and both seemed a little baffled by the whole thing.  Which is entirely appropriate, because QAnon can get pretty baffling if you’re not ensconced in the arcane mythology and jargon of the conspiracy theory.

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Hey, What Happened to All Those People Hillary Killed?

Remember when Hillary Clinton killed all those people? Not that time, or that other time. The most recent time she killed all those people. You know, two former state senators in Arkansas and Oklahoma, both found shot dead one day apart. And her brother. And a bunch of NYPD officers. And a bunch of other people. Yeah, that time.

What happened to all that? After a brief burst of activity on conspiracy theory social media, the murders all seemed to disappear from the news. Which seems like an unlikely thing to happen to a string of murders committed by one of the most well-known political figures in the world.

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