False Flag (and other bullshit) Detox Help

I’m a long time reader, and occasional commentator, who has just had a rather unsettling evening. I’d like to harness the collective experience and intelligence of fellow Boingers (if I may be so bold as to use that word) to try and make some sense of what the fuck just happened this evening - and to possibly help a friend who I perceive to be in some need of assistance.

Had an evening out with 3 of my old school mates, all of us rapidly approaching the start of the second half of our century on this planet. Few beers, some good Japanese food, lots of chat.

Then. I can’t quite remember what led to this point in the conversation, but suddenly one of my oldest friends is trying to tell us that both Parkland and the Vegas shootings were false flags or some such nonsense. Lots of vague details about there being two windows broken at Mandalay Bay - and two shooters, and how some girl ‘walked out from Parkland’ with the murderer. Honestly couldn’t parse what I was hearing (compared to, you know, reality), so after some to and fro I decided to give it up for now.

We grew up in London. Now live in different parts of the UK. He was always a bit oddball - but to be honest that could apply to all 4 of us.

Question is (and I can’t ask at him until I’ve calmed down); why? It’s not like he has any invested interest in gun law in the US, and I’m wondering if this is some spill over Trump supporting bullshit - but I’m genuinely perplexed (and somewhat upset if truth be told).

Hence this incredibly vague post for assistance - what do you all think might have led him to these conclusions? It’s late here so will pick up on any replies tomorrow, and my thanks in advance for any insights you may have. Because I sure as shit don’t have any.


I think you have to look at it from the point of view of psychology:

But, beware, your friend might not like being psychoanalyzed!

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Don’t have a lot of personal experience deprogramming, but this piece from last year has some insight.

The only bad thing I have to say about it is that it uses Randall Munroe (xkcd)'s comic The Difference without attribution.

Also, sympathies. That situation really sucks.


Conspiracy theories are appealing because it is impossible to engage with modern media without a pervasive sense of being maliciously deceived because, of course, you are. There really is a conspiracy, except it’s not a buch of guys in a smoky room somewhere, it’s the system that’s designed to be your enemy from the get go. Indeed, if you are as lefty as I am, you might call popular conspiracy theorism[1] a pathology of class consciousness. You dimly perceive some vast shadowy thing arrayed against you, but you misidentify it as the Illuminati or what-have-you.

[1] As opposed to the specialized variety animated by actual clinical paranoia. But I doubt your friend needs antipsychotics.

I’ve had great luck in helping people let go of silly beliefs by acknowledging that their root sense of paranoia is actually a perfectly valid feeling provoked by absolutely real events. A discussion of actual false flag events and similar (a copy of Manufacturing Consent is a handy aid to this) and comparing them to the woo-flavored version is also handy.

This is a rhetorical coup because you aren’t putting yourself in the position of someone trying to say the government wouldn’t (because past history shows that there’s hardly an act so vile that the powerful wouldn’t do it if they thought they could get away with it) only that, in this instance, it didn’t. This means you can’t be dismissed as a, I don’t know, one of the sheeple or a disinfo agent, or a Kremlin plant out to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids.


Thanks for the link - I did see the headline a while back but didn’t check it out, will have a read!

Thanks for the link - another good read for my pile.

He’s still someone I consider a good friend, but the weirdest thing was the matter of fact way this dropped into the discussion. It reminded me (although to lesser degree) to a taxi driver who we rode with in Las Vegas a few years back. Very laid back, smiley kind of guy, who proceeded to quietly and earnestly tell us all about the CIA satellites that were sending him mind control beams. The disjoint between what he was saying and the way he was saying it was… fascinating. Can’t say I wasn’t glad to get out of the cab though!

I will definitely check that out, thanks for the insights.

(Edited because I’m hung over and forgot to use quotes instead of trying to reply multiple times :tired_face:)

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