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  1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The horrific killing of 12 people at the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo seems disturbingly straightforward. The magazine has a long history of using satire to critique radical Islam (and many other targets). They have published many cartoons depicting Mohammed, something that has provoked violence before. They had previously been firebombed, and have been the target of threats for many years. Several of those killed were named as being "wanted, dead or alive" by al Qaeda's Inspire magazine (alongside Salman Rushdie). Witnesses to the shooting say the gunmen shouted they were "avenging the honor the prophet".

    And yet there is a small but vocal subset of people who consider nearly every major story in the mainstream media to be fake in some way. Every time there is an attack of some kind, a shooting, a bombing, even the events of 9/11, they claim that the story has been manipulated, or that the shootings were not done by who the media says did it, or even that the event was entirely staged, with fake blood and "crisis actors" who play out the roles of shooters and victims in carefully choreographed pretend carnage. This has already started to happened with the Charlie Hebdo shootings, and with an event of such significance and potential for incitement, it is guaranteed to continue and escalate, and become part of the canon of purported "false flag" events. David Icke was quick to chime in.

    [​IMG]

    Over and over the theorists will come up with claims of things they think were suspicious about these events. In the Sandy Hook school schoolings, banal things like the lack of video, or the small stature of the shooter, or the facial expressions of the parents of the victims were offered as "proof" that the shootings never happened. After the Boston Marathon bombings armchair experts opined that there was too much blood, or not enough blood, or the blood was too red, or that people reacted in unexpected ways to having their legs blown off, thus proving that the events were just a charade.

    These claims, of course, are specious. Just shoehorned cherry-picked confirmation bias by people who have already decided that everything is fake, and so everything they see is evidence of that fakery. Many of their claims have been examined at length, here and on many other sites, and have been shown to be either straightforward bunk (errors and lies), or meaningless subjective speculation and interpretations.

    They hide under the excuse of "I'm just asking questions", and claim they are performing a legitimate role of fact-checking the mainstream media - something, they say, which you could not possibly object to. This excuse has the ring of truth about it, as fact-checking is indeed an honorable pursuit and errors in the media should be exposed and corrected. But that's not what they are doing.

    They are finding ordinary and expected inconsistencies in the reporting of chaotic events. They are offering their own subjective interpretations of events as alternative evidence. They latch on to the most trivial of coincidences (with their mantra of "there are no coincidences") as evidence of a conspiracy. Two women with the same haircut is evidence that they are the same woman, and hence an actor, and hence everything is fake. It's self-reinforcing confirmation bias taken to an extreme. It does not seem worthy of response.

    And yet here on Metabunk we've taken them on, and debunked many of their claims. We have occasionally been criticized for doing this, as the claims are so outlandish, denying that people died, that they are deeply offensive to the relatives of the victims. This was particularly the case for Sandy Hook, where the conspiracy theorists have gone as far as harassing the parents of the children who were murdered. Should we even acknowledge these people? In debunking them are we actually giving them more attention than they would get if we just ignored them?

    It's hard to draw the line. Some things are clearly way over it - suggestions than no planes hit the World Trade Center, or that what people saw were giant holograms, or that Sandy Hook School had actually been closed for years. Indeed you might think that the entire notion of events like Sandy Hook being fake, or the Boston Marathon Bombings being fake, is over the line - obviously ludicrous and offensive.

    And yet some people believe it.

    Now we are obviously not going to change the minds of the David Ickes or James Tracys of the world. These are people who's very identity, their entire reason for the way they live their lives, is tied up in their beliefs of a fake media and all major events being fake.

    Nor are we going to change the minds of the "true believer", the conspiracy theorist who has been thinking like this for decades, the type of person for whom evidence that should contradict his beliefs will bizarrely reinforce them. Where pointing out the errors in their evidence is simply more evidence that they are correct. They do come around, but very rarely.

    But then there are vastly more people on the fringes of conspiracy theory than there are deeply buried inside it. In particular there are many young people - people who are very impressionable, with flexible minds that soak up new ideas quickly, but who are also able to drop those ideas when they are shown they are incorrect. It is this group that is the target audience for the majority of the debunking on Metabunk.

    Conspiracy thinking, conspiracy ideation, is a black hole, a dark rabbit hole that once you get deep enough into, it is very hard to escape from. When I debunk I hope I'm preventing people from falling into that hole, or if they are already in it I hope to keep them close enough to the light so they will eventually climb out themselves.

    And that's why I address ludicrous and offensive theories like the Sandy Hook shootings being fake. It's not in the hope of changing the minds of the people who come up with the ridiculous claims of evidence - they are generally deep down the rabbit hole. It's to help people out who are not in too deep, and to help people not fall into in the first place - particularly the young.

    And so yes, I think we should address the inevitable Charlie Hebdo conspiracy theories. But only if it seems like they have some traction, if they might actually be influencing people. We don't need to respond to every single labored YouTube video of "why was this person stood there" type thing - especially if nobody is watching those videos. But if people are being taken in by claims, if their young or overly-open minds are being darkened by bunk, then I think debunking has a place here.
     
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  2. SR1419

    SR1419 Senior Member

    Bunk is Bunk and should be called out as such.

    The risk/reward ratio for any particular claim is worth contemplating but the general aggregate of bunk claims pertaining to an event should have a counter point of truth.
     
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  3. BombDr

    BombDr Senior Member

    Straight off the bat I have read some nonsense about Mossad being involved (who else?) and the motivation being the French voting for Palestinian UN membership and admittance to the ICC.

    Not really debunking, but lets roll with this theory and see it through:

    Would the French change their plans to vote on the Palestinian issue because of this? Probably not.

    If the assertion then becomes that Israel is 'punishing the French' for voting a particular way, and that punishment is meant to correct behaviour, would the French learn from this and vote in favour of Israel? Probably not.

    For the theory to work, it would mean that the Mossad place the offending cartoons in Charlie Hebdo, which indeed would fit in with the classic "Jews control media" mantra, which is implausible for a variety of reasons.

    Finally, when the identities of the assailants is known, my guess would be from precedent that they will be some impoverished lads of North African origin, from a crappy part of town, with low education and most probably not have an opinion either way on Palestinian issues.

    For this to work, the assailant will need a strong Palestinian connection for true anti-Palestinian revulsion to occur, just like all those Iraqis flying planes on 911.
     
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  4. David Fraser

    David Fraser Senior Member

    It is worth noting that France has history with terrorism whether that be with Red Hand and the FLN in the 50's and 60's or with Action Directe in the 80's. Attacks like this where not unknown and given the other former Red Brigade groups it is not unreasonable to think that the capabilty, often learned in Syria or Libya, has been maintained.

    Put that in the context of an extremely poor relationship with Algeria for the past 60 years and the perceived anti-Muslim actions like banning the Burkha in public, as well as previous soft target attacks, this certainly does not surprise me (although I claim no specialist knowledge).


    Edited to add a YouTube video claiming "No blood"
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=R518Myf4c0I

    I will gently bang my head against a wall and return later
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  5. SR1419

    SR1419 Senior Member

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  6. Sgt.Tinfoil

    Sgt.Tinfoil Member

    The 3 assailants has been identified two of them were French nationals(brothers) and ones nationality is not confirmed yet.
    http://www.metronews.fr/info/attent...spects-ont-ete-identifies/moag!6R1qjYdgLbxjQ/

    Don't be so sure the Charlie Hebdo is co-operation of anarchists, communists and trotskyist who in some peoples head are the jews controlling the media.
     
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  7. Auldy

    Auldy Senior Member

    Keep fighting the good fight Mick, you might not know it, but you are a hero for some people.
     
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  8. BombDr

    BombDr Senior Member

    Like I said, a guess.... 2nd generation like Mohammad Merah or the London bombers... However, unlike conspiracy theorists I'm happy to be proven wrong and not get hung up by the naritive changing as speculation is confirmed or denied by facts.

    You second part is also right; there is no end to the manner in which any conspiracy path can lead back to Jerusalem...
     
  9. BombDr

    BombDr Senior Member

    Yes, everyone knows that heads explode and organs spill from torsos.

    It is also easily detectable with the HD cameras you get these days on he ends of shaky-limbed bystanders phones...

    I'm sure a veteran medic like yourself would agree David....
     
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  10. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

  11. Whitebeard

    Whitebeard Senior Member

    My gut reaction is there is gonna be another bunk storm over this, I've already had a facebook wall of 'false flag' claims about it, some being posted as the attack was breaking on the news.

    As mentioned above bunk is bunk and bunk should be challenged regardless because leaving bunk unchallenged could lead new comers to the CT world down the rabbit hole. So if someone is googling the paris shooting in connection to false flags etc there should be something in the results examining the claims and seeking the real truth (as opposed to 'truther' truth), and as metabunk crops up high on web searches it may as well be us.
     
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  12. Hevach

    Hevach Senior Member

  13. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

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  14. Thomas

    Thomas Member

    The suspects ID-cards they found early on the chase, will be labeled as 'too conveniant', or 'getting old'.
     
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  15. Thomas

    Thomas Member

    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  16. Will

    Will Member

    Does Icke even believe what he comes out with himself? Either way, the nonsense he spews is tried and tested formula that makes him a lot of money.
     
  17. BombDr

    BombDr Senior Member

    Wait! we haven't had the 'anti-terror drill' happening in another part of Paris yet....
     
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  18. BombDr

    BombDr Senior Member

    Your guts are right. PressTV are all over it, especialy the comments section, but that site is beyond reason....
     
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  19. heh, either way the killers look too professional to just forget IDs in the car, those are likely planted to deceive police and buy some time
     
  20. Vorsicht Glas

    Vorsicht Glas New Member

    [Admin: The following is typical conspiracy theory meaningless questions, and does not meet the posting guidelines. It remains as an example only. This is how conspiracy theories start]

    Just new here but good to find your site! At first I was shocked at the events, but this morning I did read a lot about False Flags etc, and it did get me thinking. The real troubling things for me were the (lack of) police presence. The girl said she let them in then phoned the police that there were gunmen in the building. - this was no armed response, even though they are in the middle of Paris! Only 2/3 policemen on bikes. We live in France and know about response times etc. there didn't seem to be any!! The roads were empty, even though the car was stationed in the middle of the road for approx 10 minutes. In Paris, you can't stop anywhere without a backlog of vehicles in seconds. Not forgetting this is also the first days of the "Soldes" in France (sales) when towns are crowded and parking is impossible to find. These roads were empty!!
    The other very puzzling thing is, when the police arrived, they were not the masked, helmeted anti terrorist police you see at any "incident " here, but capped and very casual. For having more than 20 victims ( killed and injured) there was just no "urgency", only 2 ambulances, only 1 photo of an injured person. Where are all the injured? There would be a major mobilization!! Who are the other victims?? There are no names available. Even though the world press is all over this, there are no "reports" of what happened inside - no eyewitness statements ( remember there were 11 injured). I am not a conspiracist , just a person who takes an interest in what happens around him. We were watching all this "live" (as stated we live in France. Interested in all your remarks.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2015
  21. derwoodii

    derwoodii Senior Member

    sadly predictable infowars are using this crime as cash source opportunity click baiting the web to subscribe.
    To ignore or to bunk that is the question, my answer is when more harm is being done then measured actions must be taken.
     
  22. Exif

    Exif New Member

    Has there been any official statement to confirm the policeman who was shot at while lying on the ground was indeed shot in the head?

    I don't suppose it matters whether or not he died from a shot to the head or succumbed to his earlier gunshot wounds which appear to have been in the torso area but without official information regarding his wounds should the media not be a little more careful with the facts before running with the 'Executed By Shot To The Head' storyline?

    As I say, I don't suppose it makes a difference which bullet killed him and it certainly looks like the 'head shot' missed to me but it makes for good shock value headlines which whether you like it or not, sells newspapers. If later proven to be inaccurate it will probably be yet another 'anomaly' or 'fake reporting' talking point for conspiracy theorists to jump all over.

    Maybe the media should be running with something in their headlines like '... The Gunman Then Appeared To Shoot Him In The Head' until they know - one way or the other - that it did indeed hit and not miss.

    Early assumptions and confused and conflicting reporting always happens when an incident like this occurs and it's what conspiracy theorists jump on before waiting for the facts to emerge.

    I suppose what i'm saying is; shouldn't the media check their facts before running with assumptions which only serve to feed conspiracy theories?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2015
  23. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    they should, but they won't. It's easier to teach people about the Press than to convince the "press" (mainstream AND alternative) to actually start printing facts, especially when a story first breaks and they are all gung ho to sell newspapers and web hits.
     

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  24. Bruno D.

    Bruno D. Senior Member

    This is the problem with Mass Media. It's such a competitive race, that they need to report unverified things with the most appealing headline possible.

    If they don't do that fast, their competitors will do that first. As already said here somewhere else, it's easier for them to later post obscure "corrections" then miss the headline to the competitor.

    Unfortunately it fuels a lot of conspiracies. They say that MM "changes histories" after some time only too "correct the official/government timeline". It's delusional, to say the least.

    And for the "there's no blood" people, I assure everyone that who says that is not a seasoned soldier or cop who saw a lot of murder scenes or even ongoing combat scenes. The "there's no blood" type are comparing Hollywood with real life and saying: wow, it's not like in the movies, so it's fake. Examples:
    - wow, a victim would not run from gunshots like that
    - wow, there would be more blood
    - wow, there would be less blood
    - wow, he would be screaming from pain, he is too calm
    - wow, they are not crying like they were supposed to

    On which grounds can someone state that?

    It's crazy to see how these people are specialists in everything, and yet forget that the human race is very very complex, with countless personalities and life-histories, creating countless reactions to extreme events.

    Throw a snowball at the face of 10 strangers in the streets, and I guarantee that you are going to have 10 different reactions. Can someone then map the "expected reaction" from the common folk when hit by a snowball?

    So, if there's bunk out there, and they are debunkable, we should give it a try. If we can help one person to see through the fear-mongering fog on each one of these events, we already made the world a better place.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2015
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  25. Exif

    Exif New Member

  26. Ben Harrison

    Ben Harrison Member

  27. Exif

    Exif New Member

    It's been taken down and the person responsible had this to say on Twitter: "My article was exploration of conspiracy theories abuzz online and not an assertion.Apologies to those i've hurt. Will learn from this."

    Here's his article with updated/revised headline: http://www.ibtimes.co.in/charlie-he...ag-conspiracy-theories-go-viral-online-619682

    Just an ill thought out headline if you ask me, we're all guilty of failing to get across exactly what we mean sometimes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
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  28. Ben Harrison

    Ben Harrison Member

    Manged to find the article; all just speculation. http://www.ibtimes.co.in/charlie-he...ag-conspiracy-theories-go-viral-online-619682

     
  29. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    This is a good example of conspiracy thinking. Unbacked allegations about lack of police response and lack of photos of ambulances. Combined with questions the writer could easily have answered themselves. Exactly the type of thing you see in other false flag conspiracy theories. "Asking Questions", but really (intentionally or not) just stirring the pot. I do not think this type of wild speculation deserves a response - because there's an unending supply of it.
     
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  30. Sgt.Tinfoil

    Sgt.Tinfoil Member

    Exactly. For example I have read these headlines about this case:
    - All the suspects has been captured
    - The suspects has not been captured but identified
    - One of the suspects has been captured
    - All the suspects has been captured and one is shot to death
    - One of the suspects has aprehended himsels to the police and he claims to be innocent and was in the school when events happened. The classmates confirm
    - One of the suspects has been shot
    - The suspects has been identified at a gas station
    - The suspects has robbed the gas station
    - The suspects has been seen in the gas station and witnes saw long guns in a car with them
    - The Police has surrounded the suspects in a building at a small town at Northern France
    - The suspects has ditch their vehicle and fleed to the forest and continue fleeing in there

    According to some news that they are not 2nd generation but the family has lived longer in France. Like for example if you take some random American and ask him/her what generation immigrate he/she is the answer is probably I don't know but by family name you can pinpoint that persons origins somewhere in the world. The family name according to news would pinpoint ancestery to Algeria which was colonialized by France 1830-1962 so the family probably moved to France during sometime of that period.
     
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  31. Thomas

    Thomas Member

    They crashed their getaway car and had to car-jack another, it is certainly possible they left a bag or bags with their ID's.
     
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  32. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Generally the Wikipedia entry for stories like this is closest to the most accurate information, as it aggregates the media reports, and there are many eyes on a new story looking for errors. So when looking to fact-check something, I would make this my first stop:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Hebdo_shooting

    For perspective on the ground, here's the actual location. A quiet back street with no traffic:
    10 Rue Nicolas-Appert, Paris, France
    https://www.google.com/maps/@48.859...ata=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sGTXpw4TcnzRDXId-3QCiOQ!2e0
     
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  33. BombDr

    BombDr Senior Member


    Again, I was speculating, but I have also read another report that there is a Yemeni connection, which is about as far away from Algeria one can get in the Arab world. I don't claim infallibility....
     
  34. Sgt.Tinfoil

    Sgt.Tinfoil Member

    Exactly. I higly doubt that any country has a cabability keep SEAL team six like a unit in every city waiting 24/7 inside the helicopters to respond and to actually be at crime scene less than 15 minutes unless it is really a case of national emergency kind situation. Personally I blame the movies for giving this kind image about resources and cababilities of the police organizations. Also middle of Paris is kinda hard to define because it is huge city and does not mean anything if there are some units in the other side of the city because travelling to crime scene takes time.

    Exactly no matter how professional looking and trained you are you are newer be trained enought to not to drop your wallet. Then again I would not be suprised that French secret service had some knowledge from different sources that they were the suspects but they cannot say what the sources for that intelligence was thus just said that ID was found and thats it. No need to explain more how they know who the suspects are. And yes that is a conspiracy theory and I can live with it and I can also live with the fact that they did leave an ID behind.
     
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  35. Whitebeard

    Whitebeard Senior Member

    This is the easiest one to deal with off the bat. (I've worked in magazines and newspapers in the past, only on a small local level, but the procedures are the same)

    Charlie Hebdo is a satirical magazine, it publishes weekly. Now any publication that has a regular daily, weekly or whatever publishing cycle will have a schedule it follows for every issue. This will include several full editorial meetings where the editor, various subs, main contributors, designers etc meet up to discuss where that issue is heading, it's content and its layout etc. Finding out when these are isn't going to be rocket science. For a weekly the first one is normally the day after the previous issue has gone to press, and a second a few days later. These are going to be scheduled events and you could easily find out exactly when they are taking place. You could call the publication claiming to be a contributor and ask when the submission dead line is in order to catch the next editorial meeting; you could even just stake the place out from a parked car or nearby cafe and watch the staffers come and go over a few weeks and use plain logic to work out that if all the key peeps are arriving at 8am on a Wednesday week in week out thats when the meetings are.

    It seams pretty obvious from the reports that this was a well planned hit, the gunmen did indeed know who to shoot, but again this is not suprising. Only a rank amateur (or Hollywood bad guy) would storm a building all guns blazing and mow down all and sundry. It's far more logical to plan the whole thing, work out who your after, exactly what they look like and where they will be; then go in fast, do the job and get the hell out of dodge before the cavalry arrive. And it looks like that is exactly what happened here. Yes it shows planning, but no more than would be needed for a bank job.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
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  36. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I'm just taking this as an example of the type of conspiracy theorist evidence that will come up in the future. There's really two ways this will go (and probably both). Firstly the theorists will realize that the location is a quiet back-street with no traffic, and they will drop the point. Secondly, they will keep repeating the same question, and ignoring the response.

    https://www.google.com/maps/@48.859...ata=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sGTXpw4TcnzRDXId-3QCiOQ!2e0

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sadly the second one is the more likely. It's very easy to say "Paris has crazy traffic, how could they just stop in the middle of the street". It sounds like a valid question. But it's trivially falsifiable. The question becomes how do you communicate this in a way to minimize the bunk spreading?
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
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  37. Ozz

    Ozz New Member

    The claim that these theorists will latch on to the most is that the execution of the police officer was staged. It is a rather silly claim since it is self-refuting and can be retorted right off the bat by using their own logic. It is easier to cover up an operation where there are no videos. So, why in hell would they "stage" an execution? Especially one that is not being shown in the media? It is a useless step in the purported false flag operation and Occam's razor makes light work of it. If it is a false flag operation, the logical thing to do would be to simply state that 12 people had died. Instead they waste time and resources constructing a staged execution (and badly at that according to the theorists) that won't be shown on TV anyways? This is why these theorists are so damn [wrong]. Even if they were to accept that the police officer was not an actor and he actually died (RIP), the next step would be to claim that Mossad agents don't care about deaths and so they killed him to make the operation look real. This is why there is really no winning with these [people].
     
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  38. SR1419

    SR1419 Senior Member

    You counter with the Truth. Paris DOES have crazy traffic but it also has innumerable side and back streets that are much less busy. Having recently been in Paris, I know this to be True. Having walked down many of these side street as a wandering tourist, I know this to be True.

    If V-Glas truly lives in Paris then he/she knows this to be true and is either purposely ignoring this truth to stir the pot...or doesn't really live in Paris.

    Your picture is worth a 1000 words.
     
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  39. David Fraser

    David Fraser Senior Member

    :) Oh yes I do.

    But on a serious note I wonder if it is worth doing a post on terminal ballistics and wound channels/profiles. Bullets are designed to act in a certain and not always how people perceive from TV. I will mull this over.
     
  40. Hevach

    Hevach Senior Member

    There's been some off-and-on talk about a "fun" forum. I think the main worry is that it would descend into noise, but this is exactly the kind of expectation vs. reality thing I think it could be good for.



    Anyway, on the subject of heads and bullets, there is one undeniably real video of a person actually being shot in the head: R. Budd Dwyer's last speech and on-air suicide in 1987. I won't post it here out of respect for everybody's lunch, but it's easy to find online and has been something of a meme in certain internet gutters. And it doesn't look like anything I've seen in a movie or video game, even one striving for realism.
     
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