There is very little that isn’t completely baffling about the October 1st shooting in Las Vegas, NV. The facts that have been presented to the public are nothing if not vague, convoluted and perplexing.
Still, for those who have dared to question the attack and the facts surrounding it, they are swiftly labeled lame SJWs (Social Justice Warriors) as if those championing social justice are somehow lesser than the rest of us.
The internet has birthed citizen journalism and conspiracy theory in kind. The thin line between the two is virtually imperceptible. However, telling the difference between the two has become even more difficult of late thanks to two words that are constantly being slung around by the alt-Right.
Those words, of course, are “fake news,” a term popularized by President Donald Trump in his post-Election Day Tweets and addresses. And while Trump didn’t exactly coin the phrase, it has caught on with people who want to discredit allegations made by folks from both sides of the aisle. This is especially true when it comes to people’s attempts at exposing the truth behind national tragedies and government malfeasance.
Which is not to say that fake news isn’t out there. It most certainly is and most certainly was in the immediate aftermath of the Vegas shooting. You had the Islamic State claiming credit for the attack, you had major newspapers calling it the worst shooting in US history (it wasn’t) and you even had one heartless prankster posting a pic of a male pornstar on Twitter with the status, “My dad is missing after Las Vegas shooting. Please RT and share. We are distraught.”
Far-Right wing radio host Alex Jones claimed that the supposed “lone gunman” Stephen Paddock was a member of the Antifa while 4channers actively plotted to make up non-existent victims and spread lies about Paddock’s Leftist leanings.
A political maelstrom erupted in the wake of the massacre as Washington bureaucrats raced to push new legislation that would further restrict firearms and outright ban bump stocks like the one allegedly used by Paddock.
Madness was unequivocally in the air as everyone scrambled to understand what had happened. But now that the smoke has cleared, and those directly affected by the attack have had the opportunity to clear their heads, it would appear that they are being deliberately silenced by TPTB.
After it was reported that Vegas shooting survivor and key witness Kymberley Suchomel was found dead in her home under mysterious circumstances (a 28-year old dying suddenly in her sleep), much was made about the fact that she openly claimed to have been chased by multiple shooters on the ground.
Suchomel used social media to get the word out that Paddock was not the sole gunmen which is why eyebrows were raised by the alternative press after her death. But sites like Snopes refused to acknowledge her death as anything other than fake news, writing, “she passed away…from causes as yet unknown but quite possibly related to her existing medical conditions (compounded by the stress of her terrifying experience).”
They even went so far as to call her recollection of the tragic events an “exaggerated account.”
In one of her final Facebook posts, Suchomel wrote, “We couldn’t hide because they (and I do mean they were chasing us…Bullets were coming from every direction. Behind us, in front of us, to the side of us.”
It’s fairly hard to try and understand why or, indeed, how one can attempt to call something like this “fake” or “exaggerated” when it was written by someone who actually lived through the event. It’s even harder to comprehend why the media wouldn’t find it alarming to learn that a person who insisted that the official narrative was incorrect wound up dead no more than a week after the shooting.
Unless the mainstream media did find it alarming…alarming that people were coming out publicly and insisting that the mainstream media got it all wrong.
To be sure, so-called “conspiracy theorists”—a term that has come to be a euphemism for people who wear tinfoil hats—can make some wacky claims. Whether it’s the assertion that The Beatles never actually existed or that Former-president Barack Obama deliberately manipulated weather conditions to distract people during White House scandals, there are plenty of articles and social media posts online that are obviously absurd and made-up.
That being said, there is a world of difference between someone saying that the moon doesn’t exist and someone who has dodged bullets sharing their first-hand account of what went down at a mass shooting.
And for the press to ignore the ominous fact that two other survivors just so happened to die in a fiery car crash mere weeks after the massacre is like admitting that we live inside the Final Destination franchise and that Death will find us if we escape a mass murderer.
Several news outlets have spoken about the excessive flow of “fake news” following the shooting, many of them noting the bad behavior of some trolls who lashed out at survivors on Facebook.
Although they are absolutely right to consider this behavior reprehensible, especially when such a commenter writes something as indefensible as, “You are a lying piece of sh*t and I hope someone truly shoots you in the head,” they shouldn’t use it to obfuscate the greater truths that may be eluding us.
To write off the entire conspiracy theory community because of a couple sour apples would be quite devastating to the progress we can make as a concerned public. What the best “Social Justice Warriors” do is reveal the truth or attempt to reveal whatever breadcrumbs of the truth they can find.
The more one looks at posts on Reddit and YouTube concerning such a national tragedy, the more it becomes apparent just how tirelessly they work to try and see what the media doesn’t want us to see. They work their butts off to hunt down cellphone footage, aerial footage, alternate camera angles, et al.
Not because they have to, not because they get paid to (they don’t) but because they feel that a truly free society deserves to know what’s really going on unlike places like Turkey. Fortunately for them, they are not alone.
Additional eyewitnesses have come forward on social media to confirm their suspicions. Amy Lipman is among those survivors who have taken to Facebook and Twitter to say that there were, indeed, multiple shooters on the ground.
She writes, “This was the most terrifying night of my life. 100% there were multiple shooters, it was coming in multiple directions.”
Some media outlets have even covered the curious actions of Stephen Paddock, particularly the fact that he was checked into more than one hotel room. That was on October 4th. Two days earlier, the National Review had called the shooting “very, very strange.”
Alas, that’s where it stopped. The subject of his checking into numerous hotels was never broached again. Granted, The Blaze has recognized that the official narrative doesn’t add up in a piece entitled “Las Vegas hotel says police timeline of shooting is false—here’s why.” But this only scratches the surface and hardly legitimizes the claims of those who lived through this horrific nightmare.
For them, the fear and loathing can only intensify as they are slapped with a label that reads “actors” by the conspiracy theory crowd and categorized as fake news if they try to speak out about the ordeal they endured.
After an atrocious event like the one at the Route 61 Country Music Festival, our kneejerk reaction is to call for stricter gun control, and send our thoughts and prayers to the victims. But the survivors of this attack do not need your prayers, they need your support.
There is more than one way to show your support. Last month, many people chose to donate blood to the victims. Another way to show support is to give them a platform on which to tell their story. Still another is to allow them to say and do what they please, so long as it isn’t hurting anybody else.
Many people believe that the press and the politicians shouldn’t be going after off-the-shelf AR-15 accessories just because the Vegas shooter used one. And others believe that the crowd could have protected themselves if they had concealed carry weapons.
If the government strips the people of their 2nd Amendment right, they’re only ensuring that they will be sitting ducks at the next mass shooting. If the media discredits survivors who are positive they saw multiple shooters, they are stripping them of their 1st Amendment right, and I can’t imagine there’s anything a victim wants less than to be gagged.