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Putting the 'False' in 'False Flag'

What amazed me regarding April 15 is that, for much of the day following the bombing of the Boston Marathon, reaction seemed somewhat level-headed: All day, I heard reports of people opening up their homes, sharing food, organizing ways to find loved ones - generally, that news of good-hearted deeds overshadowed news of the tragedy.

Then notes of conspiracies and "false flags" came popping into my news feeds.

A "false flag" is the name given to an operation by one country or organization assuming the banner of another, with the intent of concealing the actor behind the attack - say, if Iraq carried out 9/11 and blamed Al-Qaida, perhaps. And in recent years, "false flag" has become a conspiracy theorist buzzword.

Take those such as Alex Jones of Infowars, who didn't even wait for the smoke to clear before declaring that the bombing "smelled like a false flag" ­— after saying that his thoughts and prayers were with the victims, of course.

It was about that time that Truthers started coming out of the woodwork - that it was too coincidental that Boston Fire had started using a new device designed to aid in mass casualty situations; that it was weird that bomb-sniffing dogs were in the area; that evacuation exercises were drilled - all things that seem somehow out of place before a world-famous event, right?

Worse was that the very first question asked to Mass. Governor Deval Patrick during his press conference following the bombing was whether or not the explosions were "another false flag attack staged to take our civil liberties."


The thing is, Truthers aren't insane -they're misanthropic and paranoid, too dedicated to their old, slightly-anarchic political science professor. They expect the government to take their liberties, their guns, their livelihoods - and they vote for Ron Paul.

Just kidding. No one is that crazy.

But we can do better than this, can't we? We can show concern for people who are suffering and stranded before firing off another half-cocked Google search, desperate to somehow tie North Korea to an IED in Boston, right?

If you're reading this and believe in these conspiracies, do me a favor: Stop reading, find a charity you like, and donate - then go back to Truthing. Personally, I'd call up the Red Cross (1-800-RED-CROSS), and schedule an appointment to give blood.

Paranoid or not, we're in this together, people. Let's act like it.

The Week On Our Blogs

On The Range, we followed the news of the Boston Marathon, crossing our fingers regarding the safety of the Southern Arizona participants; showed you how animals eat their food; got excited for the future football series between BYU and UA; asked you how you feel about our comics; noted that Chuck George is taking another break; kept track of the ongoing fight for background check legislation; and more!

On We Got Cactus, we got excited about the tour headlined by Arizona rockers The Maine; became excited for HUB's ice cream partnership with Rialto on April 19; began camping for tickets to the Rodrigo y Gabriela show on July 17; and more!

Comment of the Week

"I've seen an alligator eat and this is not how they eat." — TucsonWeekly.com commenter "nasirshakouri," who might have missed the joke somewhere along the line ("'How Animals Eat Their Food' Is Funnier Than It Has Any Right To Be" The Range, April 12).

Best of WWW

Remember Charles Carreon - the Tucson lawyer who became Internet famous last year for suing a webcomic artist (and the charities he was raising money for!) for defamation (see "The Internet v. Charles Carreon," June 21)? He later started a lawsuit against a guy ("Satirical Charles") whose website parodied him - then dropped the suit after it drew out a few months.

According to Ars Technica, Carreon has been ordered to pay more than $46,000 in legal fees to "Satirical Charles" - 230 times Carreon's offer of $200 to cover legal fees incurred by months upon months of drawing things out.

Looks like the Internet won. Sorry, Charlie.


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