Threats From Dipsh*t QAnon Terrorists Shut Down Texas Butterfly Center Indefinitely
Queen butterfly at National Butterfly Center, Mission, Texas. Photo by Bettina Arrigoni, Creative Commons License 2.0

The story of the QAnon loonies who think a Texas nature preserve is actually a secret front for George Soros and Hillary Clinton's child smuggling cannibal cabal took a predictably worse turn this week, as the National Butterfly Center announced yesterday that it would be closing indefinitely because of threats from people who still probably think that pizzeria in DC had a basement where it tortured children.

Just to catch you up on the latest wave of dangerous stupid, the Butterfly Center, a private nature preserve on the Rio Grande near Mission, Texas, has been the target of deranged conspiracy theories ever since it sued the federal government in 2017 to prevent Donald Trump's big beautiful border WALL from being built across its land. WALL would have disrupted the habitat for many species of butterflies that are found at the preserve, including threatened Monarch butterflies that migrate to and from Mexico (without so much as a visa!).

In 2019, the wingnut harassment of the center and its director, Marianna Treviño-Wright, ramped up when she was falsely accused of sex trafficking and other horrible crimes by Trump aficionado Brian Kolfage. He's the guy who took in millions of dollars to We Build the (private) WALL that started falling down immediately; Kolfage was charged in 2020 with defrauding donors, along with his pal Steve Bannon (Trump later pardoned Bannon, but left Kolfage to twist slowly, slowly in the wind).

The Texas Tribune is careful to note right near the top of its story on the center's closure that "There are no law enforcement investigations into the organization or its staff for human trafficking." But to conspiracy crazies, that merely proves that the cops are probably in on the scheme too.

Among the bullshit Kolfage spread was a tweet saying that the only butterflies he saw at the center were swarming a dead migrant's body, which bespeaks some real misunderstanding of biology, since human bodies contain no flower nectar or pollen. Kolfage and friends also circulated a meme that lied about the center having a special dock just for child smugglers with rubber rafts.

The butterfly center sued Kolfage and We Build the Wall in state court, for defamation and disparagement, on the basis of Are You Fucking Kidding Me. The harassment continued, as the Texas Tribune reports.

Treviño-Wright said she has been the subject of threats via phone, email and Twitter.

“There’s no way really to navigate it. You get at each day and you hope for the best and deal with whatever the day throws at you,” Treviño-Wright said. “Many of those days for the last three years have been pretty rough, some of them downright terrible.”

As we noted last week, the kooks also started showing up in person. In January, a wingnut running for Congress in Virginia, Kimberly Lowe, showed up with an accomplice posing as a Secret Service agent and demanded to "see all the illegals crossing on the raft," because these crazies all believe that of course there's child smuggling happening everywhere at all times. Facebook posts wouldn't lie about that. Happily, there wasn't any gunfire, although Treviño-Wright says Lowe tackled her, took her phone, and tried to run over Treviño-Wright's son in the parking lot as she drove off.

Read More: QAnon Virginia Candidate Brawls At Texas Butterfly Center And This Headline Is Wildly Insufficient

The Butterfly Center closed over the weekend because a MAGA rally held in Mission was slated to include a "caravan" (GET IT?) of wingnuts to the Rio Grande; a former state representative had warned Treviño-Wright that the crazies might target the center, and that it would be a good idea to be "armed at all times or out of town."

This week, Treviño-Wright told HuffPo that she had decided to close the center "for the immediate future," but that it would continue to pay its small staff.

“The board’s paramount concern is the safety of staff, members and visitors,” she added. “So for that reason, they have made the decision to close the center for the immediate future while they seek expert advice and formulate a plan that will best serve our interests and public safety moving forward.”

She also said that the board of the center's parent organization, the North American Butterfly Association, would need to determine "whether we’re going to stay open or not because of the stochastic terrorism that all of these political operatives are trying to stir up" against the wildlife refuge. She cited the Alex Jones fan who in 2016 fired shots inside Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington DC, believing he would find children being tortured there, as well as the 2019 massacre at a Walmart in El Paso by another extremist who wanted to save America from being "invaded" by immigrants.

HuffPost noted that during the weekend's Hate-A-Palooza, several wingnut looky-loos did show up near the center, including Christie Hutcherson (founder of "Women Fighting for America"), who said in a livestream that the center sure didn't look threatened to her, and who also seemed to think Treviño-Wright had closed the center out of concern for the butterflies. This is because QAnoners are fucking dense.

“Why are you more concerned about butterflies, than you are [about] little children who are being trafficked?” she added, claiming that human traffickers “use the butterfly land.”

Another clip was posted over the weekend by Ben Bergquam, a correspondent for Real America Voice, a far-right news site that also hosts Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast.

In it, he is holding a child’s shoe with the butterfly center’s sign in the background, claiming the shoe is from “one of the children that was trafficked.”

He didn't explain how he knew that; maybe the shoe was autographed by the trafficker, the way they do.

In conclusion, far too many Americans remain armed and certain that pizza and butterflies are part of a plot to murder thousands of children, and they are taking action to keep children safe by doing insane shit at every opportunity. Here's hoping no one gets hurt.

[Texas Tribune /HuffPo / Photo: Bettina Arrigoni, Creative Commons License 2.0]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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