Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Conspiracy Theories and Sandy Hook

Seeing this story about Gene Rosen, the psychologist who sheltered children after the Sandy Hook school massacre, is upsetting.

It appears the poor man is getting harassed by folks who think the school shooting was a government conspiracy or plot intended to change public opinion on gun control, and they believe that Mr. Rosen is part of the plot.

I have a hard time with conspiracy theories here in America, as a rule. We've always had them to some extent. Some have borne out later to be pretty true, such as the Alger Hiss case and communist moles in the State Department. The old Soviet archives revealed that the Congressional Un-American Activities Committees maybe weren't so wild-eyed after all. Yet, other conspiracy theories are the work of complete nut jobs. A lot of discernment and diligent, accurate research is required, and many of us don't have the time.

While I have to admit times where I wonder (sometimes things just seem too convenient in timing), ultimately I highly doubt that there was any such conspiracy at Sandy Hook. The kid was from all appearances off his rocker. But having said that, I also get a bit concerned at those who go off the deep end on the other side, insisting that conspiracies can't and don't happen. Or that it's impossible here in the United States for such a thing to happen.

History shows us (that is if you've studied any history) that this is not true. There is a reason for terms such as "agent provocateur." Remember a little incident in the early days of Nazi Germany called the Reichstag Fire? It is believed by many that the Nazis set this fire on purpose to inflame public opinion. To this day, historians and investigators still debate whether the Nazis did it. Such an incident is called a "false flag" incident. Even aside from that, Josef Goebbels was notorious for vicious propaganda intended to manipulate public feeling.

Outside of a restored relationship with God through Christ—which changes the heart and gives someone a new nature—human beings are capable of anything, especially if they hunger for power and control—and if they are driven by an all-consuming political agenda. To the zealot, the cause is everything, and incidents are only means to an end—completely justified to them if it advances the cause. Both the far right and the far left can, and have, done it.

Therefore, my view is that we ought not to jump to wild conclusions without solid evidence. We're all capable of doing so when we're upset. But don't be naive about human nature either, and the ability of a government to do evil things to gain more power and enrich itself at the expense of citizens. It is not impossible. History teaches us this. It also teaches us that people seldom learn from history.

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