Derek Gentile: Stop the conspiracy theories


PITTSFIELD -- So in the wake of the horrific shootings in Connecticut, we have the theory that this was somehow staged to enable the anti-gun legislators to have something to hang their hat on.

To quote comedian Dennis Miller, "Hey, this is America, and you have a right to believe anything you want, but -- come on."

Yes, I realize that the people who put forth these wacky theories are seriously deranged. But the Internet dispenses this stuff whether it's true or not. No filter.

As far as I can tell, there are two scenarios. The first is that these killings -- of children, mind you -- were somehow carried out by government operatives. As if the government, no matter how evil one might think they are, could find a shooter or shooters nutty enough to pull that off.

The second scenario is that the liberal media conspired to run this story, which never happened, to sell papers and boost ratings or whatever.

So, OK. Let's assume that's true. (Just wait, I have a point to make!) How does one explain the reports coming out of the BBC? They would love to make the Yanks look bad. They'd never go along with this.

It seems to me that this conspiracy theory hysteria emanated from 1963, with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I happen to believe that there was more to it than Lee Harvey Oswald shooting from the Texas Book Depository. And we'll doubtless find out more in 2038, when the files are unsealed. I can wait.

But the ensuing confusion post-assassination (not to mention the shooting of Oswald a few days later) seems to have uncorked a river of paranoia on the part of the American people.

I follow news from around the world. Not every country, I will admit, but this belief that the U.S. government is responsible for every bad thing that happens in this country is relatively unique. Even in developing countries where the government IS responsible for a lot of bad things, they are not behind every bad thing.

I remember post-9/11, when the theory that President Bush ordered the planes into the World Trade Center towers was hotly debated.

To just about anyone who seemed rational, I pointed out that virtually every scenario proffered would have had to include Democrats as well as Republicans.

The military (who presumably carried this out) is made up of people from both parties, right? So in addition to an evil George Bush, you would have had to have an evil Ted Kennedy or evil John Kerry. In that context, it doesn't make sense.

Sooner or later, someone would have to talk. To date, no one has.

That has not prevented a number of conspiracy theorists from sending emails to me proving the existence of a plot and subsequent cover-up. I have gotten a large number of videos from people purporting to have shot "black helicopters" flying near the Trade Center at the moment of impact by the jets. Fine, except that these images are regularly re-"Photoshopped" so that one helicopter has become two and then three. Soon, I suspect, I'll see some of those aliens on flying scooters from "The Avengers" flying around up there. Or maybe the Hulk.

There are bad people in the government. There are also stupid people. And gutless people. And people hungry for power and prestige. The problem is that one would need lots of all four groups to pull something like fake Newtown shootings. One or two people couldn't make it happen.

And the thing is the event itself was bad enough. We don't need conspiracy theories to muck it all up.

Derek Gentile is an Eagle reporter. Follow him on Twitter, @DerekGentile.


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