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Conspiracy Theories are on the Wrong Side of History

Student+survivors+of+the+high+school+shooting+at+Marjory+Stonemen+Douglas+High+School+are+being+accused+of+being+actors+by+some+members+of+right-wing+media.
Student survivors of the high school shooting at Marjory Stonemen Douglas High School are being accused of being actors by some members of right-wing media.

Student survivors of the high school shooting at Marjory Stonemen Douglas High School are being accused of being actors by some members of right-wing media.

Student survivors of the high school shooting at Marjory Stonemen Douglas High School are being accused of being actors by some members of right-wing media.

By Ella Ilg, Staff Writer

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Two months after the Parkland, Florida shooting at a high school, conspiracy theories are still being spread. Some people are saying that the traumatized teens are crisis actors. A crisis actor is a label given to people interviewed by news outlets who were not present at the incident. They are mostly used to promote a certain agenda or drop quotes in publicized settings.

A YouTube video about a student, David Hogg, was questioned by conspiracy theorists. The video was able to surge to the number one trending video on YouTube for several hours and shows Hogg doing an interview for a news broadcast in California. People are saying that since he did an interview in California, yet he was involved in the shooting in Florida, that he must be an actor for the “leftist agenda.” Even some politicians have labeled these students as actors, including Benjamin Kelly, the District Attorney for a Florida State Legislator, who wrote an email, directly labeling these kids as actors who were fed lines.

Despite the obviousness, this must be said: the poor students in the building during the shooting are not actors. They are real people who went through a horrific, tragic incident. People are accusing these kids of being fed lines in order to de-legitimize them and their movement. It is a coincidence that Hogg happened to be interviewed twice on the news, once while on vacation and once during a horrific tragedy.

This conspiracy theory is just one of the many efforts to bully these students into submission, similar to how Laura Ingraham made fun of Hogg for not being accepted into colleges, or how people are now saying Emma Gonzalez admitted to bullying the shooter — which she did not — and that she and all of her points are invalid because of it. Constant attempts are made to make these victims into villains, but the fake shooting theories are the worst of all.

People have been creating conspiracy theories about school shootings as long as there have been school shootings. During Sandy Hook, there was a woman interviewed who happened to look similar to a different woman interviewed during a different crisis. People immediately began to accuse her of being an actor. This may seem like a petty accusation, but the root of it is far worse. These theories have a purpose: to imply that all of these shootings were made up by the media or the left wing to enact gun control reform. To say that the people involved aren’t real is to say that all of these events aren’t real either.

These events actually happened. 17 people died during the Parkland shooting, 26 people died at Sandy Hook, and 32 people died at Virginia Tech. Denying these shootings result in choosing feelings over facts. Students presently attending Columbine High School have to walk past poorly plastered bullet holes next to the cafeteria every day. These tragedies happened, and there’s no knowing what school is next. Every school is vulnerable in their own way, including ours, which every student here realized very quickly after the scare last fall.

These conspiracy theorists will be on the wrong side of history, and when we look back, we’ll be seeing them the same way we see Holocaust deniers today. There are theories that are stupid and weird like the flat earth or the fake moon landing that have little real-world consequences, but saying that a school shooting is a lie is not one of those silly theories. Theories might be more pleasant than the facts, and it might feel better to think that none of these incidents ever happened, and all the children are fine and it was just created to support an agenda, but how many more children and teachers have to die until we realize they are real, and they are our past, present, and future until something is done to prevent them?

The victims of Parkland shooting are not acting dead. They are dead, and it’s incredibly disrespectful to say otherwise. At the end of the day, conspiracy theories are just theories, some just may be more — or less — believable than others.

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