Non-Alex-Jones Infowars Editor Super Sorry He Accused Random Guy Of Parkland Shootings

Conspiracy theories
Non-Alex-Jones Infowars Editor Super Sorry He Accused Random Guy Of Parkland Shootings

This week marks the fourth anniversary of the March For Our Lives, a protest organized by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors demanding some common sense gun control that would prevent such a tragedy from happening to anyone else. This, obviously, has not happened. Yesterday, the survivors returned to Washington DC with a message. They put the only things many people and politicians have offered them — thoughts and prayers — in body bags, each representing 150 lives lost to gun violence since the Parkland shooting.

Alas, that's probably never going to happen, because we live in a country in which a significant percentage of the population believes their prayers are magic and that school shootings and mass shootings and accidental toddler shootings are a necessary price to pay for the glorious freedom of AK-47s and gun show loopholes.

Unfortunately, because America, these students' lives were not the only lives ruined that day. Thanks to a lazy Infowars editor by the name of Kit Daniels, a young autistic man was falsely identified as the shooter and subjected to torrents of death threats from enraged conspiracy theorists. Relying on information from 4chan, Daniels wrote and published an article titled “Reported Florida Shooter Dressed As Communist, Supported ISIS,” featuring a picture of a man named Marcel Fontaine of Worcester, Massachusetts, who definitely was not Nikolas Cruz and in fact had never even been to Florida.

In the picture, Fontaine was wearing a "Communist Party" T-shirt, featuring Karl Marx with a lampshade on his head — a shirt frequently worn by people who are not in fact actual communists.

T-shirt showing communist *party*

In 2018, Fontaine sued Infowars for defamation for $1 million. Last month, during a four-hour deposition for that lawsuit, Daniels sobbed his face off, admitted regret, and then blamed Infowars readers for continuing to believe Fontaine had something to do with the shooting even after Daniels admitted his mistake. (Watch the full deposition here.)

Transcript via Huffington Post:

Daniels: If I’d known that photo of Fontaine was not Nikolas Cruz, I never would’ve posted it on the page.

Attorney Bill Ogden: But the bigger problem is even when you take it down, right, there’s still people out there that don’t believe you. There’s comments out on the internet that say, “Oh, they got to Jones. This kid’s involved, but he’s so involved that the higher ups were able to get to Jones.”

Daniels: Well, some of those people, I hate to say, and again, I don’t like labeling people, but some of those people are straight up schizophrenic. Some of these people think Jones is like a part of this grand conspiracy, or they think that he’s [comedian] Bill Hicks or whatever.”

This is true. Many conspiracy theorists now believe that Alex Jones is "controlled opposition" and a Deep State actor, with this belief being particularly endemic on the QAnon side of things. The theory, generally, is that he says some things that are true mixed in with things that are ridiculous, so that sheeple like us think everything he says is ridiculous.

Read More: Alex Jones Doesn't Understand How Free Speech Or Humanity Work

But the fact is, it's people like Alex Jones and people like Kit Daniels who created this mindset to begin with. If you tell people that everything is a conspiracy, you can hardly fault them for then later thinking that you, too, are part of the conspiracy.

In this particular case, Daniels was so thirsty for Cruz to be a communist that he didn't even bother to make sure he had the right guy. His followers then wanted this to be true so badly that they concocted an entirely new story in which Daniels and Jones were covering up Fontaine's involvement in the shooting. Why? Because they'd been primed to do so. As irresponsible as Daniels was, this likely would not have had the same effect on another audience. It would have been a different situation entirely, one in which a retraction and an apology would have been taken at face value. The problem with Infowars is not just that they tell people things that are untrue, it's that it has created a culture in which there is no truth but the one people make up themselves, where nothing anyone says can be believed. That's the real damage.

This all actually relates back to the issues brought up at the beginning of this post. We can't do anything about gun control because people don't want to even talk about what is actually true or what actually works because they are so fiercely desperate to believe that another thing is true. That's what all of this is about. Infowars people want a story where the bad guy is a lefty. Gun people want a narrative about how gun control wouldn't prevent school shootings. Nothing good comes from starting with your ideal conclusion and working backwards.

[Huffington Post]

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Robyn Pennacchia

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


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