There's a secret killer. Something that you probably have ignored, or dismissed many times. And it's something who's power and reach is growing relentlessly, with NO end in site.
First, let me ask you a question.
If I go onto most public forums and start calling people a motherf$*ker, what will happen to me?
The answer is, as you all know, even on the most un-moderated forums on the internet, I will, with few exceptions, be banned.
Because most places on the internet censor that sort of speech; they've determined that you can't meaningfully converse if everyone is angry, or if people are allowed to attack everyone in site.
Extreme language, bad behavior, bullying - all ban-able offenses.
Now, let me ask you this.
If I go onto the SAME forums, and claim that the President, working with Israel, blew up the Twin Towers and murdered thousands of Americans, and that there' tons of evidence, what will happen?
Will I be banned?
No, of course not. Maybe in a few instances, but largely no.
Because lying through my teeth, spreading false information - totally fine. In fact, most of us would go so far as to say that's a First Amendment/Free Speech issue.
Well, we keep hearing that this mother of the Sandy Hook shooter was a prepper, a economic doomsdayer, yes, and that THAT is why she owned these guns.
“Last time we visited with her in person we talked about prepping and you know, are you ready for what can happen down the line when the economy collapses,” said the gunman’s aunt.http://www1.whdh.com/...
Why did this seemingly very intelligent woman believe in a coming economic collapse?
Well, the main reason is because no one on the internet calls bullshit on crazy ideas, on lies and on what are often guerrilla marketing schemes to sell things like gold.
What you'll find is multiple websites telling you how to prepare, but also forum after forum describing, mostly though lie and exaggeration, the signs of an impending collapse.
Glenn Beck famously pushed this on his show as well (while hawking gold during the ad breaks).
And NO ONE can stop this.
On NBC, if Brian Williams - for example - went on the air every day and screamed about the end of the world, he'd be fired. Same goes for the NYTimes or any major media outlet.
But guess what? Thanks to many factors (including somewhat ironically, multiple fact-checking scandals) people are turning of the "MSM" and getting there news from the internet. and that trend won't reverse.
People are also completely rejecting the internet version of newspapers, unless they're looking for sports scores and movie listings, and instead going to "news aggregating" sites. That trend will also not reverse.
The upshot is that people are moving further and further away from fact checkers, from editors and from new sources that force their "reporters" to be accountable.
This has given rise to the huge resurgence of the conspiracy theory (CT), and in fact, these "theories" (e.g. Obama is the bastard child of a stripper and a Marxist, born in Kenya, and bent on deliberately crashing the economy to force Americans into accepting Marxism) are growing in popularity.
In the last year I have gone from NEVER seeing conspiracy theories on Facebook, to seeing them on an almost daily basis.
Hell, even the "History" Channel runs shows on CTs.
And they all aren't as absurd as the Obama one. Many have little grains of truth.
Go read the Ron Paul forums - search for "Federal Reserve" and you'll see so much half-truth and paranoid ranting and raving as to make your head spin. And again, those lies are completely un-moderated.
Go read the comments on any major news site; how long until you find a conspiracy theory? Five minutes maybe?
As a society, as news consumers and as lovers of the internet, we are shooting ourselves (just barely metaphorically) in the foot.
The shooters mom was lied to. She believed those lies. In fact, I'd bet she could send you dozens of links backing up here delusions, all of which seem legitimate.
So what can you do? What can any of us do?
The only thing you can REALLY do is educate yourself and go out there and spread the truth. Don't ignore conspiracy theories, but engage people and educate them. Don't just shrug and assume that they're the fringer; that there's no consequence to society if the internet has as much BS as truth. There is. Sandy Hook is that consequence.
Of course we need to change gun laws, of course we need to do everything we can to protect people from crazy people. etc., etc., but this is bigger than that. Video Games didn't kill those kids - Internet bullshit did - or at least it supplied the guns.
EDIT: I incorrectly labelled the shooters mother as a teacher - she obviously isn't. Thanks for pointing that out in the comments. For the record, she most recently worked in the financial industry - a place that thrives on emotion and rumors and fear, as much as analysis and mathematical forecasts.