Humans endeavor to make sense of events by weaving narratives that match their world views. One result of this is the notion that some (or all) school shootings are false flag attacks rather than being as described by the mainstream media.
In this context, a false flag attack is when the attack is supposedly conducted by some mysterious force (such as the deep state) to advance some political goal (such as destroying the Second Amendment and taking away guns). In some cases, the false flag is alleged to be entirely false—it is claimed that there was no attack and the event is a fiction spread by the media and the force behind the false flag. In other cases, it is claimed that there was a real attack, but that the agents carrying it out were acting at the behest (wittingly or not) of this mysterious force.
From a philosophical perspective, these alleged false flags present an epistemic problem: how does one know that the attack is a false flag? As would be suspected, those that advance the false flag narrative tend to be rather short on actual evidence and long on suspicion and conspiracy theory. While a proper investigation would require considering each case, David Hume offers a general principle that can provide a guide here. When writing about miracles, Hume contends that the certainty one places on the truth of any matter of fact should be proportional to the strength of the evidence. I will apply this principle to the falsest of false flags first, the fictional attack.
Some conspiracy theorists, such as Alex Jones and James Tracy, claim that no one was killed at Sandy Hook. These conspiracy theories have been debunked by Snopes, but conspiracy theorists tend to double down in the face of efforts to disprove their claims. That said, it is worth considering the false flag claim in the light of Hume’s principle as well as using the standard inference to the best explanation.
Completely faking a school shooting would be a large undertaking that would require the involvement of many people. The fake parents, fake students, fake police, fake teachers, and so on would need to be in on the conspiracy and would need to maintain the façade in the face of years of investigation. School records, police records and so on would all need to be faked. There would need to be fake funerals with fake bodies. And so on for a massive conspiracy involve hundreds and perhaps even thousands of people. Given what we know about the ability of people to keep secrets, it is wildly implausible that such a conspiracy could occur and occur repeatedly, as the conspiracy theorists allege.
While it could be countered that the secret force behind the conspiracy has the power to engage in such massive fakery and maintain the fiction for years, this simply creates another problem: if this secret force is so powerful, so capable and so disciplined, then it should already rule the country, doing what it wants. That is the trouble with proposing such a force—it would have no need to remain a dark conspiracy when it could simply rule. The best explanation is, of course, that the shootings are not complete fictions. This, however, does leave open the possibility of a false flag that is not a fiction.
Other conspiracy theorists advance the idea that some or all school shootings are real shootings, but the shooter is acting at the behest of the secret force that makes such things happen. In this case, only the shooter needs to be involved in the conspiracy—either wittingly or by being somehow manipulated by the secret force. There is, of course, also the option that the real shooter is an agent of the secret force and then a patsy is put in their place, perhaps already dead.
Those arranging the attacks are supposed to be acting as architects of fear who hope to scare the public into backing attempts to destroy the Second Amendment and take away guns. These conspirators might be liberals who hate guns so much that they are willing to murder children, or they might be something else—there are various theories.
As before, the way to assess this claim is to consider the evidence that is available in favor of false flags. The obvious problem is that conspiracy theorists will tend to claim that any opposing evidence is the work of Them and they will carefully select their evidence to confirm their theory. A more objective assessment will indicate that the conspiracy theory is far less plausible than the alternative. After all, the conspiracy theory requires a secret force that can operate in an amazingly effective manner yet is somehow unable to achieve its alleged ends by other means. That is, it is both extremely powerful and extremely ineffective—which is an odd combination. If this secret force is alleged to have control of the state, then it should be able to achieve its goals. If it is not in control of the state, then there is the obvious question of why the state remains ignorant of its operations or choses to ignore them. Once again, the best explanation is that the alleged false flag operations are simply what they appear to be.
“Never attribute to malice that which can be easily explained by incompetence” Or perhaps,
“when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, one should select the one that makes the fewest assumptions.”
I think these are pretty good maxims to follow when trying to assess false flags. As you point out, the level of conspiracy and cooperation, along with the sheer volume of willing participants that would be necessary to create a scenario where the Sandy Hook shooting did not happen makes the entire theory completely preposterous.
There are also those who deny the Holocaust for similar reasons.
However, falling just short of the “This Was Planned By Gun Control Advocates To Advance Their Agenda” emerges the narrative, “See? We Told You So!” which is where we are now. With regard to the Parkland school shootings and others like it, the gun-control advocates have seized upon the event and are using it to promote their misguided agenda.
There is a laundry list of failures in various systems that might have prevented the Parkland shooting – from the demonstrated mental decline of the shooter to the series of events (threats, fights, etc) that should have flagged him from the start – or the policy that these “internal problems” should not be reported to the police – all the way up to the way in which the attack was handled by local law enforcement once it had begun.
And yet, these facts, these clues, these doorways to viable solutions that are being left wide open, are being largely ignored (or at least not given equal attention) in favor of the politically charged gun control agenda.
THAT is the false flag, at least in this instance. Is it malice? Ignorance? Would it fall under the third maxim, which has very little to do with finding, or even wanting to find, the truth –
“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
And yet false flag operations do exist. One of the stock arguments for increased gun control was that guns purchased in the U.S. were finding their way into Mexico. Lo and behold, we later learn the the U.S. government was itself sending guns into Mexico to bolster the case for more gun control.
That’s actually never been proven, I don’t think – but it is plausible. As far as I know, the US turned a blind eye to illegal gun purchases near the border so that they could track them to the drug cartels. If it wasn’t outright malice, it certainly was incompetent and downright stupid.
On the other hand, the biggest False Flag that I suspect is Obamacare; I think they abandoned any hope of it actually working right at the outset. I do believe that the long term plan was to ensure its failure and pave the way to a single payer system. Had Hillary won the election, this is what the agenda would be – I feel very certain about that.
I think there is no question that tha ACA was never meant to be a permanent solution, but merely a stopping point on the way to single payer.
DH, check this out:
“there is no question that tha ACA was never meant to be a permanent solution, but merely a stopping point…”
Agreed. As a matter of semantics, would you call that a “False Flag”? I might – but I would resist going down that rabbit-hole of word-parsing and interpretation. Never really liked the term anyway.
Thanks for the link. Despite my stated reluctance toward semantics, in this case it’s probably warranted to some degree. There is a difference between “Convincing” and “Proven”. I agree with the conclusion that the scandal was at least used to make the case for increased gun regulations. Nor do I think it is unreasonable to suggest or even investigate as to whether or not that was the original intent. It’s one of those things that probably could be proven in a court of law if anyone wanted to push it that far, but no one does. Too much to uncover, too many opportunities for political retaliation, too many party loyalists eager to perjure themselves to protect the greater good, or to at least secure a quiet retirement somewhere.
The article you posted is compelling, convincing, and bears the nature of a “smoking gun” – but it was published almost seven years ago. Where are we today? Eric Holder held in contempt, Barack Obama claiming “Executive Privilege”. A few low-level players were scapegoated and fired. John Dodson got a book deal. More fuel on the fire of the “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” or even the charges of anti-Obama racism. Nothing really proven in a court of law that would have any effect on the US Government’s idea of “Business As Usual”.