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Pizzagate “researcher” arrested after firing an assault rifle in DC pizzeria

Guns: Worse than anchovies as a pizza topping
Guns: Worse than anchovies as a pizza topping

Comet Ping Pong, a Washington DC pizzeria, has been the central obsession of some of the Internet’s most, well, creative conspiracy theorists for several months now.

“Pizzagate” theorists have convinced themselves, on the basis of weird conjectures and bizarre leaps of illogic, that the pizzeria is the front for an international pedophile ring involving Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, and other political bigwigs. The owners and staff of Comet Ping Pong and several nearby businesses have been harassed and threatened by Pizzagate true believers since the theory first took form on 4chan.

On Sunday, one of these true believers showed up at the restaurant with an assault rifle, firing off several rounds before being taken into custody by police, who said he told them he was there to “self-investigate” Pizzagate. (Why his “investigation” required a rifle I don’t know.)  No one, thankfully, was hurt — most or all of those in the building apparently fled before the shots were fired — but the incident is a troubling reminder of the ways in which fake news can have real-life consequences. Sometimes involving guns.

The Pizzagate theory seems to be an almost pure product of “apophenia,” the tendency of human beings to find seemingly meaningful patterns in random data. In this particular case, Pizzagaters have convinced themselves that references to “pizza” and “hot dogs” in the giant pile of Podesta emails leaked by Wikileaks are actually coded references to child sex trafficking. The more baroque versions of the theory, harking back to the “Satanic Panic” of decades past, posit that there are Satanic rituals involving human blood and child rape taking place in secret tunnels beneath Comet Ping Pong.

But this is a Satanic Panic with a decidedly Trumpian alt-right twist. The theory has been pushed hard by a motley crew of alt-rightists and fellow travelers — from Infowars to the Daily Stormer, from Mike Cernovich to Theodore “Vox Day” Beale.

Somehow I doubt this will be the last time someone with a gun goes after an enemy of the alt-right.

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Weird (yeah, it CAN happen here) Eddie
Weird (yeah, it CAN happen here) Eddie
5 years ago

@ Lea, re: good dad

Well said!

@ Scildfreja, re: @losername

Thanx, you frame these issues so very well. And, thanx for the insight on “how brains work”, explains why logical thinking is so seldom logical!

Foreword to “Idiot America” (2009):

It also represents the ascendancy of the notion that the people we should trust the least are the people who know best what they’re talking about. In the new media age, everybody is a historian, or a scientist, or a preacher, or a sage. And if everyone is an expert, then nobody is, and the worst thing you can be in a society where everybody is an expert is, well, an actual expert.

So, it doesn’t matter how many authorities have said the Comet Ping Pong conspiracy is untrue, because those people are LYING… and the more of them that say it, the more we KNOW it’s true. It doesn’t matter how many times the Justice Department has said the allegations against the Clintons are false, because those people are LYING… and the more times they say it, the more we KNOW it’s true. It doesn’t matter how many researchers say the climate is changing, it doesn’t matter how much evidence NASA has that yes, we DID go to the moon, it doesn’t matter how many people say the Earth is NOT FLAT…. We know the Sacred Truth.

ETA: @ Subtract Hominem

Thanx, I didn’t brain EITHER of those!!

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
5 years ago

Anyone else here old enough to be having Satanic Panic flashbacks?

Bina
5 years ago

Anyone else here old enough to be having Satanic Panic flashbacks?

Yep…And a lot of other “panics” that proved to be nothing, too. Remember when Dungeons and Dragons was the devil’s plaything?

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
5 years ago

Oh, yes. D&D, Satan’s game.

“Roll the dice to see if I’m getting drunk!”

PeeVee the (Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Noice) Sarcastic
5 years ago

*Headdesk*

Ow.

My. Brain. Hurts.

Makroth - Agent of the Great Degeneracy
Makroth - Agent of the Great Degeneracy
5 years ago

They’re already calling it a false flag:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0e4_1480893302

Just read the description if you don’t wanna hear his bullshit.

Lea
Lea
5 years ago

That Satnic Panic stuff was very real here in the Bible Belt.

I still meet social workers who think it was real.

PeeVee the (Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Noice) Sarcastic
5 years ago

Fucking LiveLeak.

Own the shit that assholes like you start!

Bloody moron Tamaran.

Lea
Lea
5 years ago

Propaganda works, y’all.

Ben
Ben
5 years ago

What always gets me about these “conspiracies,” beyond how scary the threat of stochastic violence is, is that they’re always so small and pathetic. Really, a child-trafficking ring that involves such massively wealthy, powerful, and influential people as the Clintons and their inner circle, and the linchpin is a modest restaurant? A restaurant run by a guy who has a nom de guerre that playfully references his illegal activities? And you really expect that some random guy is going to be able to walk in with a gun and just find all the children they’re hiding there? Really really?

I feel like it’s really telling that this is the biggest conspiracy that they can gin up. It’s not even on the level of something they saw in a Bond movie or on CSI, it’s something so basic and easy that they could imagine themselves doing it, if they were decadent and evil people like John Podesta.

sillybill
sillybill
5 years ago

@Weird Eddie,

FWIW, in the military and law enforcement it’s called ‘negligent discharge’

Weird (yeah, it CAN happen here) Eddie
Weird (yeah, it CAN happen here) Eddie
5 years ago

@ Bina

Remember when Dungeons and Dragons was the devil’s plaything?

I grew up in a VERY fundamentalist church… I remember when EVERYTHING was “the devil’s plaything” 🙂 🙁

@ All: Is “Satanic Panic the name of a band???

@ sillybill

Thanx! (… actually I thought “negligent discharge” meant I’d inadvertently peed my pants :$ )

Belladonna "Toxic Hag"
Belladonna "Toxic Hag"
5 years ago

I thought negligent discharge was a synonym for premature ejaculation. Either way, premature ejaculation might be a good metaphor for why this guy fired into the floor. He was just so excited that he couldn’t quite wait to point his gun in the air.

Falconer
Falconer
5 years ago

@Weird Eddie: Satanic Panic was this idea, back in the late 70s, early 80s, that day care workers were Killing Babies!! to Propitiate Dark Lord Satan!!!

Lots of people went to jail for nothing.

And it all comes out of the same desire to be doing something Heroic where all the Planned Parenthood protestors get their convictions that Babies! Are Still! Getting Murdered!!!

And there was an offshoot. Some college kid disappeared for a few days and the private investigator who tried to find him decided it was because of D&D. Some older teens killed a younger kid and the media discovered that the teens played Vampire The Masquerade so it must have made them do it.

hottotrotsky
hottotrotsky
5 years ago

It’s much easier to believe that you can be a hero without any hard work, and that The Others are putting 100% more effort into their crimes than the effort you’ll expend to thwart them than it is to consider that you’re just one little blink in the eye of geological time and that awful crimes are thwarted by massive collective effort which involves much harder work than committing those crimes in the first place because trying to do right involves ethics and planning and thought.

Note the effect that positivism has had in these sorts of things– the idea that anyone, anywhere is capable of objectivity is just asinine. But conspiracy theorists rely on assertions of their own objectivity as scaffolding for their ridiculous arguments.

Falconer
Falconer
5 years ago

Satanic Panic at Wikipedia.

Also, Belladonna beat me to it.

RosieLa
RosieLa
5 years ago

One of my all-time favourite conspiracy theories is Bohemian Grove – it is tangentially related to the Satanic Panic. I am quite sure that Bohemian Grove, if its narrative were to continue to grow, would manage to incorporate Pizzagate.

kupo
kupo
5 years ago

@Falconer
There was a larper who killed someone in my area maybe 20 years ago or so and the media tried to blame the larping. Of course.

Makroth - Agent of the Great Degeneracy
Makroth - Agent of the Great Degeneracy
5 years ago

OT: I just discovered this site has a G rating, at least for gravatars.

sillybill
sillybill
5 years ago

@Weird Eddie & Belladonna,
Ha! yes that’s exactly what we used to say in the Navy about wet dreams or PE.

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo
weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo
5 years ago

Rosie La,

Since Alex Jones is a big proponent of the Bohemian Grove conspiracy theories, I imagine there is already a huge overlap between Bohemian Grove believers and Pizzagate believers.

Belladonna "Toxic Hag"
Belladonna "Toxic Hag"
5 years ago

And don’t forget that nasty piece of work Chris Pritchard who helped stain D&D.

The poor McMartins.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
5 years ago

It was Flynn’s adult son posting about “Pizzagate.”

NicolaLuna - epic slut
NicolaLuna - epic slut
5 years ago

I’m so thankful nobody was hurt. But this isn’t the last time this is going to happen.

On Umberto Eco’s list of what defines a fascist it states that they have an army of people who will fight for them. Trump has this now. They’re organised differently these days because of the internet but they are definitely willing to fight for him.

I notice they gave zero fucks about him awaiting trial for having sex with a child though.

Bina
5 years ago

@Eddie:

Is “Satanic Panic the name of a band???

I dunno, but Manic Panic is the name of a fairly popular brand of hyper-colorful hair dye:

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