When Nikolas Cruz stormed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with his AR-15 and the marksmanship training he got courtesy of a $10,000 grant from the NRA, he took 17 lives and ruptured the soul of a community. But to hear some conspiracy theorists tell it, none of it actually happened.
In fact, it was only a matter of time before people started claiming that the incident was a so-called “false flag” operation put on by the government (or some shadowy organization), ostensibly for the purpose of justifying the removal of rights, specifically gun rights. This has been the pattern after every mass shooting for years and year, possibly most notoriously after the tragic Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.
Republicans and the NRA, of course, do nothing to forcefully reject these claims, because it benefits their cause to have highly motivated supporters at all times, even ones that you or I might consider to be crazy people.
But what’s truly troubling is when those “crazies” are actually in positions of authority.
That’s the case with Michael Davis, a vice chairman of the Cobb County Republican Party in Georgia. WXIA-11 reported Monday that Davis had shared a video on his Facebook page claiming that the students at MSDHS were “rehearsing” for the “staged” event, although what the video actually depicted was the sad new reality of American high schools: That students must now do “mass shooter drills” the way we remember doing fire and earthquake drills when we were kids.
When the Atlanta-based station contacted the Cobb County GOP about whether or not the “false flag” theory was the official position of the Party, Chairman Jason Shepherd was defensive, complete with a misspelled statement of response:
“Maybe 11Alive should focus on the fact these so-called ‘student lead’ protests are anything but with left winged organizations from the ACLU to the SCLC just in Cobb County when it opens the door legally for outside political organizations using students to disrupt the school day when the US is already ranked near the bottom in education among industrialized nations. If a school district opens the door to one, then under Equal Protection they must allow any group of students to stage walkouts. What will this do to education in America?”
That’s quite notably NOT a denial that the Party believed the shooting was faked.
Tell it to the families of the dead, Mr. Davis.
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