When Thoughtful People Think Illogically

This man with whom I corresponded believes Sandy Hook and the Boston Marathon were staged and that those involved, even the children, are “crisis actors”—employed by a government whose aim is seizing guns, passing gun control laws, and creating a climate of fear. I asked about hospital staff, those who treat the injured and the spokesperson that provides information about a patient’s condition. His answer, “Crisis actors.”

I told him about Carlos Arredondo, a peace activist, whose son Alexander was killed in Iraq in August of 2004. Arredondo, a medic on the scene at the Boston Marathon, was photographed at the side of marathoner Jeff Bauman whose legs were blown off below the knee. My friend said the victim actually lost his legs in war and is a “crisis actor.”

I told him I know Carlos, that I met him at a peace event. And that Carlos is not a “crisis actor.”

I hit Google and found a site with a writer claiming that the bombing was staged and a link to an enlarged photograph showing that an “amputee actor” portrayed Bauman. The question is asked: “Did Lt. Nick Vogt Play Role Of Blast ‘Victim’ Jeff Bauman…?”

Insert: Years ago on a warm summer evening, my husband and I attended a party at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. I noticed two children following me. Finally, one approached and asked if I were in Steel Magnolias. “Yes, darling, I’m Julia Roberts,” I said. Truth is people say I resemble Sally Field and Ali MacGraw.

My point: Many of us have lookalikes—lookalikes who are actors.

Anyway, I challenged this man (who’s honorable yet a grump) that if the aim of staging mass shootings is strict gun control OR no guns in the hands of the people who may want to form a militia, the objective is a huge failure. After all, in the wake of these shootings, there’s noisy demand for stricter gun laws—never followed with legislation. Instead, most of these shootings result in greater gun sales, people flooding stores that sell guns because they think the possibility exists that they could someday be unavailable. The NRA and weapons manufacturers will make sure this never happens.

And I told him that whatever weaponry any ordinary person might secure for defense wouldn’t equal the arsenal the U.S. government has at its disposal to protect fascism.

Eventually, he wrote, in a condescending uppercase tirade. Said he had to “sketch” for me what I could not see because I either have “inadequate training in the scientific method” or am “conditioned and zombified” in my “beliefs in a wonderful government.” He provided his knowledge about Viet Nam with accuracy, the lies told to take us to war, lies told and evidence faked to launch us into all wars.

This was prefaced by a declaration—that his “intent to insult” was clear. As IF I had any doubts.

Although I’m thick skinned, I emailed, saying we needed to be done with each other. His “intent to insult” didn’t contribute to my decision. (I found that amusing.) Instead it was his logic.

Warning: run-on sentence: It’s almost impossible to grasp that anyone who understands that this government, with its foreign-policy mission statement that might as well be, “We think the price is worth it” or “Let them (including the troops) eat depleted uranium,” commits acts of atrocity all over the globe using weapons of mass destruction, drone attacks, sanctions resulting in the deaths of 500,000 children and a domestic policy that’s no better, including the possibility of complicity in the murder of more than 3000 on 9/11, the callous disregard for the impoverished during Katrina and in its aftermath, the necessity for a movement called Black Lives Matter and a mission statement that might as well be, “We think the price is worth it” or “Let them drink lead,” that he, my former friend, doesn’t think this same government would kill 20 children at Sandy Hook or bomb the Boston Marathon without having to hire actors.

How does he reconcile the callous disregard for life in some areas and draw the line at others. As IF the U.S. government would NEED to stage death, when death is on its agenda daily, somewhere.

Really, who’s the naïve one here?

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com