in internet

The human cost of conspiracy theories

Hadley Freeman, writing for The Guardian, about Leonard Pozner, a father who lost his son Noah in the Sandy Hook massacre:

Pozner says that, if he hadn’t lost Noah, he might well have believed the pizzagate conspiracy: “I would not have been as immediately dismissive of it, that’s for sure. History books will refer to this period as a time of mass delusion. We weren’t prepared for the internet. We thought the internet would bring all these wonderful things, such as research, medicine, science, an accelerated society of good. But all we did was hold up a mirror to society and we saw how angry, sick and hateful humans can be.”

So what can we do, I ask, now that more of us are realising we can’t just ignore these people?

“It’s too late, and things have gone too far. The whole Amazon is on fire. When I was dealing with these people in 2014 and 15, you could utilise their stories and turn them around. I don’t know if you can even do that now,” he says. “Lawmakers don’t know how to deal with this. Police don’t know how to police the internet, they haven’t been trained, they just tell you to turn off the computer. And people who do police the internet, they are looking for credit card scams worth millions of dollars. For 4Chan trolls, this is their playground.”

He pauses for a moment: “I used to be able to change the channel when stories about these kinds of people were on. I now don’t have the luxury to do that, and when I lost Noah, I woke up and realised that people who spread these stories are more interested in propagating fear than getting at the truth. And the human cost of that is phenomenal.”

I can’t imagine the horror of losing a child, but the idea that Pozner is is now taunted for it and accused of “faking it” is even further beyond comprehension.

  • Carroll Sanders

    Conspiracy theorists are either insane or frauds, mostly insane.

    Most conspiracy theories are just too stupid to be real.