Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Marooned on Gullible's Island

Scalawag and Vagabond
So this happened last Sunday: A North Carolina man who read something on-line drove north to Washington, D.C., with three guns in his car (a Colt long rifle, a .38-caliber revolver and a shotgun. One early report said he also had an AR-15), found Connecticut Ave. and drove north until he got to 5037, the home of a pizza parlor named Comet Ping Pong.

He entered the restaurant fully armed and caused panic for 45 minutes. He shot off the lock to a storage room door (according to one source; another report says he fired a shot into the floor to cow everybody). He was looking to rescue child sex slaves who were allegedly making money for Hillary Clinton.

When he didn't find the child sex slaves, Edgar Maddison Welch surrendered to D.C. police. He's alive. He had the good sense to surrender by walking backward out into the street with his hands in the air. He's white. He's gullible. In his own eyes he's Moses, looking to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Did you not know that Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were peddling child flesh for cash? Also indulging in a little Satanism on the side. It's #pizzagate, Baby! The fake "news" story that someone cobbled together out of "hints" in the Wilileaks-email-dump that went viral before the election, especially among the under-informed.

Outrage followed, mixed with over-the-top, life-or-death, armed-resistance-to-the-rescue fantasizing. Self-righteousness blazed forth. Take Alex Jones, for example -- a talk-show host and leader of the right-wing website Infowars:
“When I think about all the children Hillary Clinton has personally murdered and chopped up and raped, I have zero fear standing up against her,” Jones said in a YouTube video posted on Nov. 4. “Yeah, you heard me right. Hillary Clinton has personally murdered children. I just can’t hold back the truth anymore.”
We don't know yet where Edgar Maddison Welch, the 28-year-old resident of Salisbury, N.C., got his news, but some of his backstory has come out. According to the reporting of Marc Fisher, John Woodrow Cox and Peter Hermann:
Earlier this fall, in Salisbury, Edgar Maddison Welch saw some friends doing drugs and he started preaching at them, aggressively.
Danielle Tillman, 23, was the best friend of Welch’s girlfriend. She said she had just taken acid when Welch got upset, chanting Jesus’ name at her.
“He grabbed my hand and got in my face and was like, ‘Let the demons out of her,’ ” Tillman recalled. “It was super weird.”
Welch, known to friends as Maddison, had struck friends as a sweet young man who’d had trouble finding his way....
A few years ago, he told his hometown newspaper that through hiking, he had broken his addiction to the Internet.
But Welch had another habit. He was arrested several times on drug-possession charges and his name appeared on a forged prescription, according to police ­records. He was convicted of marijuana possession and public drinking and was sent to a ­substance-abuse program.
Friends say Welch, 28, in recent months grew far more outwardly religious. “He sees himself as someone who is a protector,” said his friend Charles Dobson, 28. “He is just a thrill-seeking guy.”
I'm not going to say that #pizzagate is a sign of the times, which heralds more to come. I'm not going to say that Trump Nation is now the Land of the Facts-Free. I'm not going to exaggerate the very real damage done to actual people by fact-free fantasies, especially in the #pizzagate case. (Get a load of the abuse the owner of Comet Ping Pong has endured; his neighboring businesses have also been threatened.)

What I am going to say is that the Trump administration is and has been a pass-through for facts-free rumors, poison-drops, rabble-rousing incitements. Forget the bilge that Trumplethinskin himself has tweeted for months and continues to tweet. Have you even looked at Breitbart, the creation of Trump's right-hand-man Steve Bannon?

More to the point of armed men seeking vigilante justice and Trump's part in creating that environment ... Do you know that Trump transition official Michael Flynn Jr., who is also close adviser to his father Michael Flynn Sr., whom Trump selected to serve as national security adviser, sent numerous posts on Twitter about the conspiracy theories of Pizzagate? Michael Senior has also been found to have an itchy Twitter finger. The Flynn boys are not that different from Edgar Maddison Welch. They just have a much bigger arsenal at their disposal.

Does nobody under the Trump influence have a shit-detector? (I exempt Mr. Trump from that question, since it's clear he's merely a manipulator and probably knows a hawk from a handsaw, and likes confusion.)

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