I wrote this essay in 2016 after the Pulse massacre in Orlando. I rerun it now in the wake of another Floridian tragedy—the Valentine’s Day massacre at a Parkland, Florida high school, which took 17 lives, most of them high school students. In between, of course, we had what is the new worst mass shooting in US history, Las Vegas’s Harvest Festival massacre, in which 58 people died.
This article deals specifically with the irrational leap to conspiracy theories that are thick in the air after such tragedies when some people are unable to bear reality.
I did not intend to republish this essay. I feel it’s important do so and to make a plea for people to look unwaveringly at the reality of these experiences rather than trying to explain them away by assigning blame in elaborate constructs about “false flag” operations.
Once again, we are enduring a national tragedy—the worst mass shooting in the history of our country. Fifty souls suddenly and unexpectedly severed from this world in a place they felt safe and welcome.
Naturally, the first thing some folks want to do is assign blame. On the list of “blamees”: President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Muslims, the LGBT community. And naturally, there are those who immediately leapt to the conclusion that this was yet another “false flag” event staged by the liberal Obama Administration to separate the real victims of the tragedy—gun owners—from their Second Amendment rights.
The problem with the false flag argument is that it fails in several different ways.
First, the Obama Administration has never shown any interest in confiscating the guns of law-abiding gun owners.
Second, it ignores the fact that even if it did want to do this, massacres have repeatedly failed to have the allegedly desired effect. In fact, they have had the opposite effect—gun sales spike and more legislation passes that expands gun rights than limits them.
Third, (and as a direct result of point #2) it defies logic by assigning causality to entities that, in reality, derive no benefit from the false flag.
There are entities that derive benefits from such destruction, but they have been ignored by those that invent false flag scenarios.
To illustrate how easy it is to twist circumstance to suit, let’s apply a scientific device commonly referred to as Occam’s Razor to the idea that Orlando, like Sandy Hook, and (your false flag here), was orchestrated or “allowed” by the Obama Administration to make way for the confiscation of guns.
Occam’s Razor, for those who are not familiar with the term, is a maxim stated by a Franciscan monk named William of Occam, who was unarguably one of the most influential philosophers of the 14th century. He asserted that: Entia/Essentia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. (Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.) In other words, Keep It Simple, Sweetheart.
A corollary of Friar Occam’s truism is that when in doubt about who’s pulling the strings in a given scenario, follow the money.
With that in mind, let’s look at what has actually happened as a result of these vicious attacks on innocent people.
- Gun rights organizations cry foul and assign blame to (favorite target).
- Conspiracy theorists theorize, thus entrenching and hardening hatred of (favorite target).
- Gun rights advocates double down on the maxim that the solution is, as ever: more guns.
- Sales of guns spike as citizens, terrified that (at long last) the apocryphal “They” are coming for their weapons, run out to purchase more.
This, obviously, is of great benefit to gun manufacturers, gun vendors, and organizations like the NRA and GOA. Gun manufacturers and gun vendors make a lot of money from the occasional high-profile mass shooting—money they would not have made if the massacre had not occurred. Representatives of these organizations have, in the past, reminded us of that fact in deploring the silliness of the gun violence activists they believe are their enemies.
So, if we apply Occam’s Razor and follow the money, it does not lead to Mr. Obama’s administration or a particular political party or liberals or gun-violence activists, or crossbow manufacturers. It leads to those who profit from this particular brand of human misery.
Ergo, it is more logical that agents of the “pro-gun movement” are committing these false flag massacres to increase profits and score political points—both of which are proven benefits of mass murder.
I rest my case. I thank the court for its indulgence.
(For the record, I don’t believe that any of the above-mentioned tragedies were “false flags” of any type. Logic and logistics militate against it. They are, however, extreme and horrific tests of our humanity, which some of us, alas, fail in spectacular and diverse ways.)
The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.
We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned. They that are intoxicated by self-conceit have interposed themselves between it and the Divine and infallible Physician. Witness how they have entangled all men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. They can neither discover the cause of the disease, nor have they any knowledge of the remedy. They have conceived the straight to be crooked, and have imagined their friend an enemy. — Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, CVI