Aside from my focus on religious freedom issues, I try to keep Augoeides relatively apolitical, but this is just getting ridiculous. On Sunday, a man armed with an AR-15 rifle walked into the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant in Washington DC to "investigate" the fake story that has come to be known as "pizzagate." According to this bizarre conspiracy theory, the Clinton presidential campaign was operating a child sex ring out of the restaurant's basement.
Washington police said Edgar Maddison Welch, 28, walked into the front door of the Comet Ping Pong restaurant Sunday and pointed an assault rifle in the direction of a restaurant employee, according to The Washington Post. The employee escaped, but Welch allegedly fired the rifle while inside, officials said.
Welch, who is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, told police he was there to "self-investigate" a conspiracy that likely involved internet rumors that Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign operated a sex ring out of the site's basement. The hoax conspiracy, known as "pizzagate," is a fake news story that emerged during the presidential election.
I have a number of thoughts about this incident. First off, this isn't a joke any more. Fortunately, no one was injured or killed this time around, but if we keep taking implausible nonsense like "pizzagate" seriously, I guarantee that somebody will be. Over nothing. Not only that, one of the people who isn't giving it up is Michael Flynn Jr., the son of Donald Trump's nominee for National Security Advisor. As reported by that Slate article, Flynn Jr. believes all sorts of crazy stuff, which suggests that critical thinking was not at all stressed while he was growing up.
I also want to point out that critical thinking is vital to pursuing magical spirituality, at least if you want to get anywhere with it. So if you happen to be an occultist who took this story seriously, knock it off. Right now. Even marginal critical thinking skills should lead anyone to the conclusion that this is made up. And sure, you could look up this comprehensive debunking over on Snopes, but you shouldn't even need to go that far. Just think about it for a minute.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are two of the most intensely scrutinized individuals on the entire planet, and have been throughout their political careers. It makes absolutely no sense for either of them to be engaged in anything as illegal as a child sex ring - because look at how much bullshit gets spun about their legal activities by their political opponents! Yes, the Clintons try to protect their privacy despite all that, which sometimes reads as dishonest even when they're telling the truth - but seriously, given their history, can you blame them?
I did not support Clinton in the Democratic primary, but this strange notion that candidates you don't support have to be irredeemably evil in some fashion boggles the mind. My issues with Clinton are based on her history of working with the Democratic Leadership Council, whose legacy was to make the Democratic Party more conservative and corporatist. That's a real issue. Meanwhile, there are folks out there - even some occultists! - who believe that the Clintons go around murdering people.
Can I just point out, as a friend mentioned on Facebook, that the continued survival of Anthony Weiner pretty much proves that the "Clinton body count" is a lie? Talk about a political liability! Not only that, the guy who made up most of the story (and admitted that he made it up), David Brock, worked for the Clinton campaign. Would anybody who thought that the Clintons randomly murder their staffers ever take a job with them?
Oh, and on top of all that, the restaurant doesn't even have a basement. Just saying...