I continue to have the same ongoing dilemma about how much I should spend time answering questions from conspiracy theorists, or arguing with them? At what point am I just wasting my time? Sometimes the decision when to end a conversation is made for me. I was recently kicked out of a Facebook group where I was told by more than one person, “you don’t belong here.” They only wanted to hear from one side of the story, and the less your “facts” were connected to reality the better. One of the last things I posted there was a video of former FBI Agent, Robert Frazier, the lead firearms and ballistics examiner on the assassination case in 1963. Someone had told me that Frazier did not agree with me on the case, so I found this excellent short interview to rebut him:
I love how you can feel the emotion of what Frazier lived through and his confidence that Oswald alone did the shooting. BTW, the person I was replying to with this video never responded to it.
A couple days after that exchange I received a Facebook message from a man I’ll call D (since he was not posting in a public space). He said he watched my film, Conspiracy Theorists Lie (2015) and liked it. He said he learned some things, like the stuff about the nutty John Birch Society, who thought Earl Warren was a communist agent, but then he asked me what I thought of the film, JFK: The Smoking Gun (2013). That film advocates a really fringe theory, where the fatal head shot was accidently fired by a Secret Service Agent in the car behind the President. I told him that I tried watching the film when it was on the Reelz Channel and it was so sensationalistic and distorted that I couldn’t even get 30 minutes into it. I pointed out some things I believed to be wrong with it and he jumped back with a barrage of questions, details, and links that could easily take days, or longer, to debunk. I told him, in so many words, that I was not going to waste my time playing this wack-a-mole game. I know for a fact that he has not found some great, hidden, secret truth that all the scientists, investigators, and historians have missed or lied about. This theory has been around since the 1970s and it has never gained traction because it is so clearly not true. Reelz Channal got some attention for themselves by updating this outlandish story but that doesn’t make it any less outlandish and there is no reason for me to dig into it further just because D is personally obsessed with it.
D kept asking me questions so I cited this blog post by Emmy Award Winning animator and author, Dale K. Myers, who has made the most accurate 3D model of the Kennedy Assassination out there. Myers found The Smoking Gun and the film’s argument to be laughable, and so do I, but D was relentless. He said things like, “And remember – dismissing or filtering out evidence that doesn’t conform to current belief is exactly what conspiracy theorists do…” and “Sorry, but you sound exactly like a conspiracy theorist who refuses to debate facts, all of your claims amount to “if it were true it would be the official story”, which is simply not a rational argument.” I was amazed that this conspiracy theorist was accusing me of acting like, “a conspiracy theorist,” for not addressing every little false fact he could throw at me, while at the same time he was comfortable ignoring the 400+ people who worked on the Warren Commission and the hundreds of others who worked on the HSCA, and every serious historian out there. CTers always seem to have a very skewed notion of what, “burden of proof,” means. For them, the most impossible things are perfectly plausible and equally valid as anything else (e.g. a Secret Service Agent discharged a weapon and there is no hard evidence of this, including photographic evidence from the many cameras going off in the area, then hundreds upon hundreds of people over multiple generations have covered up the truth and they are still doing it to this day). The only thing that matters to a CTer are their personal beliefs and their selective, “evidence;” the rest is just an, “official story,” which can be dismissed merely because it is an official.
I finally had to block D. I’m not going to bang my head against a wall for his amusement. This was not, however, my worst encounter with a CTer last week. Hajj Amin (at least that is his name on YouTube) came across my film, You don’t know Hitler (2006), which uses Nazi propaganda films and other material to tell the story of Hitler’s horrific reign.
Hajj posted in the YouTube comments section, “I thought I would see a balanced view here but usual bull,” and then went on to link to a film glorifying Hitler. I got into an exchange with him, trying to explain what a misguided view of history he has and he threw back the usual Jew Hating crap (e.g. he doesn’t hate Jews, he just hates the International Zionists who are trying to rule the world, and blah, blah, blah). Like D, he tried to paint me as close minded and intolerant of different opinions, or a blind follower of the official story; because there are, “always two sides to any issue” (an often repeated and misleading axiom). Hajj claimed that, “history is written by the victors,” (another often repeated but rarely true axiom) and he insisted that the, “common view,” of Hitler and the Nazis is just, “political correctness.” The icing on the cake was when he accused me of being a, “German hater.” I finally blocked him too.
These may be extreme examples but I see this kind of mentality all over the place. How many times have you heard people like Donald Trump invoke, “political correctness,” when they doesn’t want to admit that their a-hole comments are a-hole comments? How often do you hear people talk about respect for, “my opinion,” when the question at hand is one of facts, not opinions? I hate to be pessimistic but sometimes I feel like the majority of people are not very good at thoughtful, rational thinking. The saving grace for most people, however, is that they keep their mouth shut when they don’t know anything about the subject (like me when others are talking about sports or cars). Then there is that aggressive minority, which seems to reveal in their ignorance, and my work attracts them like a flypaper.
Okay, I’ve ranted enough. Back to the grind. Have a great day!