People light candles in front of mementoes placed in front of the fence of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to commemorate the victims of the mass shooting, in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins.
(photo credit: CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS/ REUTERS)
NEW YORK – The Anti-Defamation League is sounding the alarm against alt-right conspiracy theorists who are attacking survivors of February 14’s deadly Florida school shooting.
The conspiracy theorists, some of whom self-identity as members of white supremacists groups, claim that the shooting incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland was a “hoax” performed by “crisis actors.”
Others have accepted that the shooting occurred but survivors, they say, are being coached by “liberal” operatives who seek to enact more stringent gun-control laws.
“The ‘crisis actors’ theory’ often gains steam in the aftermath of mass shootings and related incidents in this country,” the ADL stated in its report published on Thursday. “A range of people on the far Right contend that the US government stages mass shootings for the purpose of seizing guns and then features actors on TV to talk about the shootings to elicit sympathy for their cause.”
The ADL noted that similar fringe theories began proliferating soon after the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 children and six adults dead.
The online attacks have mostly focused on student activists and survivors of the incident, including David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, who have been especially outspoken critics of gun control policy in the US
An aide to Florida state Rep. Shawn Harrison (R-Tampa), Benjamin Kelly, claimed that the two students “are not students here but actors that travel to various crisis when they happen.”
Surveillance video shows Florida gunman after shooting (YouTube/CNN)
Kelly tried to “prove” his point by sending links to conspiracy theories about Hogg and Gonzalez on YouTube. Kelly was later fired.
Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, who writes for the white supremacists site The Daily Stormer, accepted that the shooting occurred but insisted that the students were being used by gun-control advocates.
Anglin asserted that Gonzalez and Hogg “are either not from the school at all and were brought in after the shooting to pretend to be students or, more plausibly, were chosen from the school and coached to play the role of actors running a movement to strip Americans of guns.”
“Lee Rogers, who runs the white supremacist site Infostormer, went further in his article,” the ADL stated in the report.
He used disparaging words to describe Hogg and Gonzalez, claiming that they were performers who are reading from scripts. Ominously, Rogers suggests that “someone needs to find this Hogg bozo and confront him on all this s***.”
Marcus Cicero, a pseudonym for a white supremacist writing for the website Occidental Dissent, was much more explicitly antisemitic in his article on the shooting and the students speaking out against it.
He titled the article: “Sniveling Little Brats Team Up to Demand Goyim Gun Seizures.” Cicero claimed the that shooter, Nikolas Cruz, who admitted to gunning down 17 people at Majory Douglas on with an AR-15 rifle on Valentine’s Day, is Jewish.
He wrote: “Only in America will you find that a massacre of Jews... by a Jew typically leads to demands that the White Man surrender his weapons to the caring and compassionate authorities.” Later, Cicero claims that if whites had “banned Jews and Hispanics during the heyday of the White Race in America, Cruz would never have even existed – let alone go full Baruch Goldstein inside a random Florida school.”