Friday, August 21, 2020

Conspiracy Theories and Family Breakdown

Every so often a news story emerges that suggests our problems are all interconnected at a deep level. Witness the news that Millie Weaver, a "reporter" for InfoWars whose usual beat is the Deep State conspiracy that she claims controls the world, had been arrested. She live-streamed the event, claiming she had no idea what she might have done and hinting she was about to publish a major scoop. Her supporters set up a legal defense fund for her that quickly gathered $170,000 in donations.

Eventually the police filed paperwork at the courthouse about the arrest, and this their version of the story:

Weaver is formally facing three felony charges for robbery, evidence tampering and obstruction of justice, as well as a misdemeanor domestic charge over an April family fight gone wrong. Weaver’s husband, Gavin Wince, and her brother, Charles Weaver, are facing the same charges.

The incident in question took place on April 25, when Millie Weaver began arguing with and insulting her mother, Felecia McCarron, according to a police report. McCarron started a recording on her phone, in an apparent attempt to catch Weaver, Weaver’s brother, and Weaver’s husband talking about her. The Weavers and Wince allegedly tried to take her phone away in a scuffle, and all three allegedly “wrestled Felicia to the ground.”

“Chuck grabbed Felicia’s arm as Gavin grabbed the other,” the report reads. “Millie joined in and they all threw Felicia to the ground and held her down.”

The trio succeeded in taking the phone, according to McCarron’s account, in what constitutes the “robbery” Weaver is charged with. McCarron, who suffered a small abrasion in the scuffle, fled to a neighbor’s house and called 911. While there, she saw Charles Weaver running to the back of the house, in what she took to be an attempt to hide her phone.

When deputies arrived, the Weaver siblings and Wince claimed that McCarron suffered from mental issues and had in fact lost her phone days earlier, the report alleges. But deputies became suspicious of the trio, suspecting that they were making up the explanation on the spot.

So here we have a conspiracy-mongering "journalist" who springs from the sort of family where people videotape each other's tantrums to be used as evidence later, shove their own mothers around, lie to the cops, and steal each other's phones. Is there a connection? Is our crazy politics just a reflection of our disordered private lives, of the craziness we show outside the voting booth?

I had a vision of an America like this when I was watching "Tiger King" with my sons, of a crazy nation of narcissistic lunatics cuddling with tigers, waving guns around, taking too many drugs, nursing grudges, blaming everyone but themselves, and so on, spiraling up what looks like attempted murder.

I don't think this is our whole problem. There are plenty of very angry people with decent family lives and steady jobs. But I do think some of our national craziness just reflects the craziness of our citizens.


JustPeachy said...

On the other hand, the mother in this story has chimed in, emphatically saying she did not wish to press charges in the incident. So... really dysfunctional family, but probably business as usual for them, and they all seem pretty miffed that anyone wants to prosecute. I would think "consenting adults" should apply here, with perhaps a misdemeanor charge for getting the police involved, if such a thing is possible. Trashy people gonna do trashy things...

I've watched the documentary she released, and... meh. I don't find her "whistleblowers" very credible, and they're not saying anything that Snowden didn't tell us years ago. Ho hum. But apparently some people thought it was groundbreaking stuff?

The thing is, the timing, and the pettiness, of the arrest tends to give her a lot of extra "street cred" among the conspiracy crowd. What were they thinking?

Shadow said...

And my vision is seeing these four tussling around and around on the ground -- Roll Models for the family impared.

David said...

Every time I read or hear a story like this, I wonder what the AI must think of us. We really are just a bunch of primates, screeching and throwing our dung at one another.

I also think there is something to this analysis of the draw of conspiracy theories, at least in some cases. I think for others, a conspiracy theory serves to give life meaning, and a kind of (illusory) grandeur that the believer can own. For still others, I think it can serve as a way to project onto some outside force a hostility and rage that actually originate inside the conspiracy theorist themselves.

G. Verloren said...

"I don't think this is our whole problem. There are plenty of very angry people with decent family lives and steady jobs. But I do think some of our national craziness just reflects the craziness of our citizens."

All Republics are only as good as their citizens. Garbage in, garbage out.