The man charged through the front door of the restaurant and dodged diners as he ran to the back, into the kitchen. He carried a bat in his hand and a gun at his waist. He was ready. He was ready to save children that were being held against their will as part of a sex ring run by a well-know politician. Thank God he stopped when all he found in the kitchen were cooks and food prep equipment.
True story. A popular conspiracy theory about the deplorable activities taking place in the back of the restaurant was what led him to nearly kill someone.
Conspiracy theories, fueled by the Internet, are powerful and dangerous. When they’re presented by kooky characters, they’re viewed in context. But when they’re repeated, supported, and even promulgated by elected officials, they’re freaking scary.
There’s a very public one going on now where the current president is accusing the past president of illegal activities that should cause the ex-president (and others) to be jailed immediately. Obviously, this is my huge simplification of the situation, but when citizens believe one side or the other and take action on their beliefs without supporting evidence, it’s seen just how damaging conspiracy theories can be.
The pandemic has shaken up the status quo. As a result, wild theories and accusations are flying all over the place.
There are lots of conspiracy theories about whether the pandemic was created by one political party or another to oppress the rights of the other party or if it really exists at all – sort of like the holocaust never really happening. Many suspect it’s the news media that is creating a falsehood about the virus and how prevalent and dangerous it is. Lots of people question the method of transmission or just how many cases there are. Some media sources try to control our lives by their lies. Those lies are creating a tyrannical situation among citizens. And then there’s the whole issue around wearing or not wearing masks. Masks are not a gross infringement on anyone’s freedom. Wear the damn mask!!
Conspiracy theories are often complex and convoluted. And they can be difficult to prove. It’s often a “he said, she said” situation.
There is one sure way to identify a conspiracy theory as bogus. The evidence will lead the way to the truth. If what you are promulgating is truth, show me the evidence to support your claim. Most of the time, the theory is repeated over and over with nothing to indicate why the speaker assures us it’s true. A theory that is being used to whip up the crowds falsely against another person or idea will have no evidence to support the theory. Stand your ground and continue to repeat, “Show me the evidence. Show me the evidence.”
It can be just as dangerous to believe phony “truths” or fake news in support of any conspiracy. Dip below the headlines to see what evidence is being shared. Do you blindly trust the sources or have you done enough to look at: who is doing the reporting, do the numbers make sense, is the “valuable” source even an entity, and what is the past track record of the person sharing the theory?
Something can’t be true because it’s partly true or because you want it to be true.
It’s up to you to do the work of getting to the bottom of any controversy — especially before repeating it verbally or on social media. It’s easier to just go with the masses and believe the more sensational reporting, whether they are reliable sources or not. Don’t fall into that trap. Don’t be one who enhances the false news by falsely sharing sensational news that isn’t sourced. Don’t even waste your time in the fake place.
Be the leader of the truth. Our future depends on it.