June 16, 2015

Conspiracy theories continue to abound about #TwinPeaks shooting

Most these conspiracy theories started among hardcore libertarians, bikers, or gun nuts. Unfortunately, as I'm discovering, more and more progressives are buying the idea that the Waco Police Department "set up" the bikers who met at the Twin Peaks Restaurant on May 17.

First, bikers were firing at other bikers first. That's not just Waco PD claims; one biker firing at another was caught on video; read the story as well as seeing the video footage in this account. Second, per a Cossack who wants to stay anonymous, for obvious reasons, the whole event was a set-up by the Bandidos.

Second, if it really were a set-up, why didn't Waco PD have 40 cops there instead of 14? Why didn't it kill 30 people instead of the 9 it allegedly did kill?

Survey says: Because it wasn't a set-up.

Update, June 18: Survey does say that the Cossacks came loaded for bear.)

Survey says that conspiracy thinkers will say: Because this was all part of the conspiracy.

Yes, the Waco PD did do a pretty broad dragnet on its arrests. And yes, local judges, at the prompting of a hang-em-high DA who has Texas' fifth-worst record, by county, for pretrial detention time, set bonds high. But, a little more than half the arrested are now free on bond, most with reductions from the original $1 million to $100K, $50K or even $25K. Judges are trying to speed this up even more. And, that's as those who are in jail engage in deliberate monkey-wrenching as jailhouse lawyers.

Third, this is part of broader issues, though.

As I've told others, although I vote Green because it's the only left-liberal option here in Texas, this is part of why I'm not an official member of the Green Party. Too much anti-vaxxerism (though a lot of that runs around in libertarian circles, too, like Orange County, California), and too much anti-GMO-ism, among other things.

The GP 2012 platform says that farms and ranches should convert to organic, (as part of broader ag issues that, if all implemented, at once, would probably cut our food production 20 percent) which would mean it's officially anti-GMO, presumably in part for conspiracy thinking reasons.

On medicine, it officially supports "alternative" medicine as well as .. well, as well as medicine! Alternative medicine, when I'm in an extra-snarky mood, I call pseudo-medicine. It's either tested and confirmed of value, tested and disconfirmed, or not tested. Categories two and three are not medicine.

Specifically, these items of GP-endorsed pseudomedicine:

Chronic conditions are often best cured by alternative medicine. We support the teaching, funding and practice of holistic health approaches and as appropriate, the use of complementary and alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and other healing approaches.
(Previous Green platforms also mentioned Ayurvedic techniques by name.)

I cut third parties more slack, because the American system is stacked against them. But, that doesn't mean I have to join them while voting for their candidates.

And, this isn't something new. I blogged about Greens and agriculture three years ago. Besides, Grist, a national respected strong, in-depth environmental magazine, shot down most GMO myths a year ago. That said, I've had people say Grist is "on the take." Which just proves there's no arguing with conspiracy theorists.

Or, I blogged earlier this week about the dumb idea that banksters are mysteriously dying in massive numbers. (I guess the idea is that their higher-ups are killing them off before they spill all the beans on yet-uncovered financial shenanigans.)

That said, at least any progressive types who are conspiracy thinking are being open about this.

Even if "not even wrong," per Wolfgang Pauli.

Have I believed any conspiracy theories? Once, on a lesser one, yes.

At one time, I believed that Sarah Palin was not Trig Palin's mom.

That said, first note that "at one time" in italics. When I had a better plausible explanation, as suggested in part by someone else (the not Trig's mom was originally suggested entirely by other people), I ran with that. I actually found two better plausible explanations, and they're not mutually exclusive.

I also noted on this blog that I had abandoned that original idea; in fact, on my own, even before officially abandoning it, I was finding it less likely. And, I actually read something from a fairly big conservative blogger (blind hogs and acorns, if you will), that was part of my final abandonment of that issue.

Which I also publicly noted on this blog.

That said, Sarah Palin acted a lot more weird and suspicious than the Waco PD. And, if you don't believe that, then we're past the point of reasoning together. And, while my next statement may be in part self-rationalizing behavior, given what I said about Sarah Palin vs the Waco PD, and the amount of detail publicly reported about the shooting fallout vs. the Trig Palin birth fallout, this is a conspiracy theory that's more easily corrected.

Will it be?

Quasi-looping-reference intended, call me skeptical. Being skeptical about the McLennan County DA, with a known, provable hang-em-high reputation, is one thing. I am myself, to some degree, though less than others.

The murder by cop? No.

And, that's not the first time for me. I was very skeptical about the worst claims against Darren Brown in Ferguson, while giving more credence to those about the Ferguson PD in general, or even the whole city apparatus.

Know what? Then-Attorney General Eric Holder ultimately agreed.

And,  yes, sometime in the near future, I'll probably do a rewrite of this to focus further on left-liberal conspiracy thinking. It happens. And not just with the items I mentioned above. Certain elements of the far left, as well as the libertarian-type far right, worry about things like contrails, too.

And, it's not just the far-left or far-right. It's the far-nonrational in general.

Folks, in my day job as a newspaper editor, I've seen plenty of conspiracy theories about police in particular and local governments in general.

Do I give a kneejerk rejection? No. I investigate.

That said, only a couple have come even close to having actual fire behind the alleged smoke. Most were neither empirically nor psychologically plausible.

But, because Homo sapiens wasn't built to be a slow-thinking, cogitating animal, we don't do it well.

I don't claim to do it perfectly, myself.

I DO claim to be committed to continuing to improve at it.

I wish others would make that same claim. No matter their political stance, no matter their religious beliefs, no matter other things.

Related to that, sometimes I get in a mood, or a mindframe, where I blog more about sports. Or about science. Or about something else.

I feel the need to blog more about skeptical issues likely popping up in the future.

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