I think the worst part of the aftermath of this tragedy is I don’t know who to trust. Should I trust reporting on this event that comes from CBS after their vice president announced on social media that she had no sympathy for the victims because many were Republicans? When President Obama tweeted “A violent felon can buy the exact same weapon over the internet with no background check, no questions asked.” — @POTUS #StopGunViolence”, the media fact-checked this and stated it was ‘mostly true’, so should I trust any of them? What news outlet can I trust to give me a truthful account of what happened?
Should I trust the FBI? James Hodgkinson was a member of numerous anti-Republican newsgroups (like “Terminate the Republican Party”), believed Donald Trump was president because of Russian collusion, took photos of the baseball field after the New York Times published an article on where and when the Congressmen would practice as well as the fact that there would be little security, traveled to the D.C. area and was living out of his van right next to the baseball field for days before the attack, Googled “2017 Republican Convention” hours before the attack, and asked “Is this the Republican or Democratic team?” before firing on the Republican Congressmen. This man shot up a bunch of Congressmen and what did the FBI say about all this? They said that Hodgkinson “…had no target in mind” when he shot them, that they didn’t know who he planned on targeting, and that he may have just “happened upon” the baseball game and “spontaneously” started shooting. Should I trust the FBI on this one? All the information at the beginning of this paragraph was from the FBI and the latter part is the conclusion they drew from the info. The FBI also said they didn’t wiretap Trump Tower, then admitted that they did…at least twice.
Very little of substance is being released about Stephen Paddock. It appears he was an unbelievable gambler, winning tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars regularly, with over 200 law enforcement reports of his financial transactions in the last 3 years (over $10,000, I assume). His girlfriend was a bigamist, had two Social Security cards with different birthdates (and years), and was in the Philippines where he transferred at least $100,000 to her recently. The press and FBI have been reporting this as if it is unremarkable. But what if this guy was subscribing to a bunch of Islamist discussion groups? What if he wasn’t an unbelievable gambler, but was laundering money for ISIS (you put tens of thousands in a slot machine, spin a few times, hit print, and claim the ‘winnings’ as legal gambling revenue) and sending it off to Muslim terrorists in the Phillippines? Would the FBI tell me or would they just say “…there is no apparent motive.” Would the press tell me either?
This lack of credibility in our government and press makes incidents like this even worse for society. It makes us more alone, afraid, and susceptible to conspiracy theories. I suspect that was the point of destroying those institutions and the frightening thing is that I don’t know how we will get them back.