“David Hogg Wasn’t At School” – A Conspiracy Theory’s Genesis

Having survived the shooting of his classmates, Douglas High School student David Hogg has since been the subject of a firehose of conspiracy theories calling him an actor from Los Angeles, a stooge of his FBI-linked father, and a plant paid by George Soros.

Now comes a new accusation against Hogg: that he wasn’t even at school the day of the shooting, but instead rode his bike there afterwards, shooting footage and pretending like he’d survived the incident. Naturally, if Hogg didn’t actually survive the shooting, his activism would be a sham, and his instant celebrity would quickly fade.

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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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Debunking Parkland Shooting Conspiracy Theories

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, unleashed wave after wave of conspiracy theories. And rather than ignore them, our posture should be actively debunking them.

LA Times correspondent Matt Pearce made an observation about the inevitable churn of conspiracy theories and nonsense that now follow every such event:

As soon as the shooting in Parkland became public, so too did the un-evidenced claims that “something wasn’t right” about the “official story.” Usually, the accusation is that the shooting was a “false flag” planned by the authorities to either restrict gun rights or instill fear in the population.

As “evidence” that the shooting was “fishy,” conspiracy theorists almost always amplify early reports that a second shooter was involved. A second gunman increase the body count and create more fear, and exposing them instantly puts a lie to the “official story.”

Sure enough, the right wing grief ghouls and professional conspiracy grifters instantly found a video of a traumatized student saying she spoke to the shooter, and also heard shots coming from another part of the school.

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