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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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HawkerHurricane
HawkerHurricane
3 years ago

I read about this, and I see projection (by the Right, not my fellow commentators).

“Our guy was accused of child rape, therefore your guy (gal) must be guilty of child rape!”

And no amount of evidence will prove Trump guilty. “It’s all a lie!”

Contra wise, no amount of evidence (or lack of evidence) will prove H. Clinton’s innocence. “We know the Truth!”

Concrete_Abstraction
Concrete_Abstraction
3 years ago

“Pizzagate”? As any football supporter will know this is actually the incident when an unnamed Arsenal player landed a slice of pizza on then United manger Alex Ferguson in the tunnel at Old Trafford following a particularly fraught match in 2004.

Leave it to conspiracy theorists to hijack things that actually happened.

Dalillama, Effort Chicken
Dalillama, Effort Chicken
3 years ago

“I cast Magic Missile!”

And then there was the Steve Jackson Affair. In May of 1990, the Secret Service descended on the offices of Steve Jackson Games, seizing the computer they used to run their BBS and several others containing the drafts for their new sourcebook, GURPS Cyberpunk, on the grounds that it was a manual for hackers.
I turns out that because one of the authors ran a (totally separate) BBS which discussed the ‘computer underground’, and had corresponded with people that the SS were suspicious of, the whole company wound up on their shitlist. This information wasn’t released to SJG until late October, though, and they never did get most of their computers back. (They got a settlement in a later lawsuit). The book had to be reconstructed from memory and playtest notes. This incident is actually one of the major things prompting the formation of the EFF shortly afterwards (mentioned earlier, by Steampunked I think).

@Scildfreja

But they can’t make jobs out of thin air, and

They actually kinda could, although I don’t know if Canada allows provincial governments all of the necessary powers. Just off the top of my head, they could float some bonds, finance the start of, say, a windmill factory (If I were organising it, these funds would only go to one organized as a cooperative, but these neoliberal jackasses probably wouldn’t go for that). Guarantee a certain amount of contracts for them for a few years while the province lays in some wind infrastructure to take the load off oil (more jobs there, incidentally), and boom: jobs.

@Makroth

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

Probably just as well, given the sorts of images that the trolls here are like to use.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
3 years ago

And, as I recall, some of Steve Jackson Games’ equipment was destroyed in the process of confiscating it. Probably not deliberately, either; but when you grab a laser printer, shake it around a lot, and don’t pay attention to orientation while transporting it while there’s still toner inside it, the printer is usually an unusable mess afterwards requiring specialized equipment to clean.

I was in University and a fairly active role-player when that happened.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
3 years ago

@Dalillama, don’t tease me like that! I am still angry over the government “privatizing” their oil industry. Used to be that the government owned one of the big oil concerns up here, which made a huge impact on government revenues, ecological concern, and general not-being-terrible. Then they received enough corporate brib- I mean, they decided that it was best to privatize, and they sold off everything. Suncor, I think? Either way, it was stupid and angers me greatly to this day.

I really hope that the NDP do something like that, it’d be excellent. Heaven knows we could use a bunch of money pumped into infrastructure at the very least, and the Calgary wind farm could use some major expansion. You talk a lot about diversification, NDPs, so do it already!

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
3 years ago

This was surprisingly good. Glad to see that Colbert’s sort of returning to his political commentary of the Colbert Report.