Well Why Wouldn't A QAnon Mom Try To Kidnap Son From Foster Care If She Thinks He's Being Trafficked?
In January of this year, Cynthia Abcug of Colorado and a number of people she met in QAnon circles online plotted to kidnap her disabled son from foster care, because they believed he had been kidnapped from her in order to be sex trafficked. This week, a judge determined that Abcug's purchase of a gun was sufficient evidence that she actually planned to go through with it, and that she can stand trial.
Judge Lawrence Bowling said his decision was a "close call," because it was not explicitly clear what Abcug's role was meant to be in this raid, but the gun purchase made it clear that she planned on doing something. Whether or not Abcug was mentally well enough to stand trial, be held responsible for her crime, and aid in her own defense does not appear to have factored in.
Abcug was initially reported to police by her 15-year-old daughter, whom she had told about the plan. Her daughter told police that her mother was "spiraling" ever since losing her son to Child Protective Services, had become obsessed with conspiracy theories, and had stopped going to therapy.
Via NBC News:
The girl also said that her mother had procured a gun and that an armed man — who she said was "definitely part of this group QAnon" and was sleeping on their couch for "self-defense" — planned to carry out the kidnapping raid with her mother, according to the affidavit.
The girl said that she thought the man, identified only as Ryan, was a former military or police officer and that her mother told her that he was a "sniper," according to the affidavit, which quoted as saying they never left the house without Ryan.
But the only time Abcug left the house was to go to QAnon meetings or to practice shooting at a gun range, her daughter told police. She said that she did not think her mother knew where her sibling was housed but that her mother said people involved with QAnon knew.
The girl said she did not know when her mother planned to carry out the kidnapping, but she said she was concerned that people were going to be injured because her mother said that "they took [her sibling] wrongfully" and that those people are "evil Satan worshippers" and "pedophiles," according to the affidavit.
There are multiple videos still available on YouTube in which Abcug, being interviewed by her supporters, lays out her "case" against CPS, claiming that they kidnapped her son for the purpose of giving him to pedophiles. Not only did she believe that this was true herself, but she had all kinds of other people backing her up and telling her that yes, this was definitely what was going on. A GoFundMe to support her raised nearly $10K.
In June of last year, Megan Fox — whom you may remember as the "Christian homeschool" mom who made videos of herself flipping out at the Field Museum and the Brookfield Zoo over the fact that they were teaching that evolution was real — even wrote a supportive article for PJMedia about Abcug's battles with CPS.
As hard as it is for us to wrap our minds around it, people like Cynthia Abcug truly, truly believe this is what is happening in the world. It's hard to imagine, but if such a thing were really happening, Abcug's actions absolutely would be moral. Righteous, even! If her son actually were abducted by sex traffickers embedded in Child Protective Services and she and these people rescued him, there would be a Lifetime movie about it.
So should she go to prison? Is that the best solution in this situation or others like it?
According to a recent investigation, millions and millions of people belong to QAnon groups on Facebook. There are people running for office who believe in it. The media these people consume and the politicians they support are not doing a hell of a lot to disabuse them of these notions, because they are politically helpful. It's no skin off the Right's back if their people believe that Hillary Clinton eats babies. They've also been told that the liberal media lies to them, so they're not going to believe us when we say these things are not true. They've been told that Snopes lies, that all the fact-checkers lie, that academics are evil liberals out to deceive them.
This was done by design, by the Right, to shield themselves from criticism. To protect Donald Trump from fact-checkers pointing out his many lies. Now there is practically no way to tell anyone on the Right that something they have decided to believe is not true. There's no such thing as expertise, there's no such thing as the truth.
Abcug's defense attorney has noted that the conspiracy theory is supported by "some elected officials," and that Donald Trump himself has retweeted QAnon-supporting accounts. It's fair to ask — how was she actually supposed to know that she was wrong?
Things like pedophilia and cannibalism of babies are so horrific, so appalling, that one can justify practically any measure in preventing them — up to and including murder. That's what makes this QAnon shit so incredibly dangerous.
I don't know that our criminal justice system is built to handle this. Cynthia Abcug is far from the only person this year to commit a crime based on a belief in QAnon, and we can only expect more down the road. We understand guilty and innocent. We understand sane and not sane. This goes beyond that, and there's not really a good solution just yet.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse