Las Vegas Shooting Creates Huge Spike in Searches for "False Flag"

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Mick West

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Conspiracy theorists like to call just about anything a "false flag" now. But the phrase itself was not particularly common in conspiracy culture in the first decade of the 2000s. It only started to be used reflexively by theorists after a sequence of three events: the Aurora theater shooting in July 2012, the Sandy Hook School Shooting in December 2012, then the Boston Marathon Bombing of April 2013. After that there were minor spikes for a chemical weapons attack in Syria and then the shooting down of flight MH17 over the Ukraine. Then two attacks in 2015 in France (Charlie Hebdo and the Paris attacks) got the attention of Alex Jones, followed by the San Bernardino shooting and the Pulse Nightclub shooting.

These were all eclipsed by the conspiracist frenzy following the Las Vegas shooting, where it quickly became apparent it was going to be in a class of its own as a target for conspiracy theory false flag speculation. Even though a similar number of people died in the Pulse nightclub shooting, the reaction seems different.

I suspect this is due to the unfamiliarity of the perpetrator. The public had become used to mass killers being psychopathic young men or, more recently, Jihadist terrorists. A young Muslim extremist killing 49 in a gay nightclub might be a false flag, but it's not without a context that explains it. An old white man acting alone with no discernable motive just seems inexplicable, and the conspiracy mind, abhorring the inexplicable, rushes to fill the void with an explanation: a false flag, designed to take away our guns.
 
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Whitebeard

Senior Member.
I for one tend to google 'false flag' a fair bit whenever news of import breaks, as in 'Las Vegas concert shooting false flag'. Just to see what the conspirasphere is talking about in relation to the incident. I know a fair few other rationists, skeptics, debunkers and CT baiters who do the same. That kind of activity could account at least in part for the spikes that crop up around the events.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
It's perhaps possible that it's the public themselves googling to find out what a "false flag" is. This shooting had 489 injured and 58 dead. A city of 2 million, that is a recognizable name around the world.
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
I for one tend to google 'false flag' a fair bit whenever news of import breaks, as in 'Las Vegas concert shooting false flag'. Just to see what the conspirasphere is talking about in relation to the incident. I know a fair few other rationists, skeptics, debunkers and CT baiters who do the same. That kind of activity could account at least in part for the spikes that crop up around the events.
It's now usually the first thing I do if I've heard about a tragedy in real time.
I want to see if CTs--trying to be first--have made an evidence-free short YouTube vid in the first 10 minutes.
 

Mick West

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It's perhaps possible that it's the public themselves googling to find out what a "false flag" is. This shooting had 489 injured and 58 dead. A city of 2 million, that is a recognizable name around the world.
The Google Trends data obviously does not only reflect the conspiracy theorists, so it's quite possible that this reflects a situation where the media is focussing on the claims of "false flags", and hence drawing attention to them.

Either way though this seems far bigger than previous such events. There's unprecedented things here, like YouTube altering their search algorithms because of this:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news...gorithm-over-fake-las-vegas-conspiracy-videos
What's not really clear is to what extent this is because this the event is different, and to what extent it is a progression, an accumulation of events that has simply brought us to this situation. It's probably a degree of both - clearly this is a very unusual event, but the media and public reaction is also built upon what came before.
 

Gary Cook

Active Member
Interesting stats and well presented.

In defence of CT, news media like CNN and even Infowars does need to do more to be neutral and objective. I just saw a clip of a news segment where they were explaining what a butt/bump-stock is with an animation that had a under-rail grenade launcher. When over suspicious people see things like that it only becomes confirmation bias of CT.
 
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SR1419

Senior Member.
inexplicable,
It's probably a degree of both
I think the lack of discernible motive is the biggest factor. People need an explanation. In lack of one, they will make up their own or borrow someone else's. The internet exacerbates that through its echo chambers and perhaps thats why we see the spike as "normies" who are used to being fed a narrative are forced to search and make up their own?

Alas, it seems to me, if if truly was a 'false flag' the PTB would have a bombproof motive and narrative in place and ready to go.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
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I think the lack of discernible motive is the biggest factor. People need an explanation. In lack of one, they will make up their own or borrow someone else's.
The real explanation is probably quite simple. The guy, by all accounts, was a bit of an asshole. He decided to kill himself. Now people generally don't need an explanation when some old guy shoots himself. So really they should not need one here, he decided to kill himself with a gun, just like hundreds of old guys do every year. That part does not need explanation.

So he's an old man, who has decided to kill himself, and also decides to shoot a lot of people at a concert before he shoots himself. While we don't know what exactly prompted this additional decision, it's hardly a stretch to come up a bunch of banal explanations. He's just a psychopath.

People don't want simple banal explanations though, they want explanations that are proportionate to the crime. ISIS is a large evil foreign organization, so is a reasonable sized explanation for the Pulse shooting (even though the shooter himself was just a crazy radicalized loner). But a crazy old guy acting alone just does not seem big enough of an explanation, even if it's a perfect fit.
 

NobleOne

Member
The real explanation is probably quite simple. The guy, by all accounts, was a bit of an asshole. He decided to kill himself. Now people generally don't need an explanation when some old guy shoots himself. So really they should not need one here, he decided to kill himself with a gun, just like hundreds of old guys do every year. That part does not need explanation.

So he's an old man, who has decided to kill himself, and also decides to shoot a lot of people at a concert before he shoots himself. While we don't know what exactly prompted this additional decision, it's hardly a stretch to come up a bunch of banal explanations. He's just a psychopath.

People don't want simple banal explanations though, they want explanations that are proportionate to the crime. ISIS is a large evil foreign organization, so is a reasonable sized explanation for the Pulse shooting (even though the shooter himself was just a crazy radicalized loner). But a crazy old guy acting alone just does not seem big enough of an explanation, even if it's a perfect fit.
This was said very good. Upon this formulae anybody can conclude where conspiracy theorists can jump in. This is their space when they act. They create stories which fits as a missing piece as a response to those people who can not yet resolve the tragic situation happening to them and the quantity of evil that is happening in the world sometimes.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
I think the lack of discernible motive is the biggest factor.
A conspiracy theorist I know has big problems with the Las Vegas shooting precisely because she can't see a motive. It's a strange world she lives in, where the government can be so horrible, yet she can't get it in her head that people would do terrible things for little reason.

Perhaps most interestingly, of all the high profile cases in recent years, the only one she doesn't think is 'fake' is the 2015 Planned Parenthood shooting. The reason being there, she can understand why someone would do that, given the "crime" that is abortion. (Yes, she's religious.)

It's certainly further opening my eyes to the curious way a CTist sees the world and other people.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
shooting precisely because she can't see a motive.
the only one she doesn't think is 'fake' is.... (Yes, she's religious.)
these are contradictory statements. Most shootings (workplace or strangers) there is an easily discernible motive. Orlando was radicalization and maybe gay issues (either hating gays or the shooter having his own gay feelings that he couldn't deal with).

I don't see why "wanting attention" cant be a motive. The vast majority of conspiracy theorists just want attention, if you ask me. They thrive on video view numbers and subscription numbers, how many FB likes they get. I think that's why they don't take posts and videos down once they get debunked. They don't want to delete their "likes".

So how is it hard to comprehend, that the possibility that the 1 October shooter 'just wanted attention' could be a motive?

I think the lack of discernible motive is the biggest factor.
Boston Bombing has the biggest spike if we remove this latest tragedy. And there was a very clear motive in that case.

Too many conspiracy theorists think ALL or most tragedies are 'false flags', so lack of understandable (to them) motive, doesn't really explain the rise of the term in searches, imo. The Sandy Hook shooter's motive is a lot harder to understand than 1 October.

*1 October is apparently what they've decided to call this current (Las Vegas) shooting event.
 
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ZoomBubba

New Member
So he's an old man, who has decided to kill himself, and also decides to shoot a lot of people at a concert before he shoots himself. While we don't know what exactly prompted this additional decision, it's hardly a stretch to come up a bunch of banal explanations. He's just a psychopath.
From recent stories, it looks like he was original plan was to have a shoot out with the police and escape: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41557228


The suicide in the hotel room may have been made shortly before the police entered, when he realized he had no escape.

No telling what else he may have had planned had he escaped.
 
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Joe

Senior Member
The real explanation is probably quite simple. The guy, by all accounts, was a bit of an asshole. He decided to kill himself. Now people generally don't need an explanation when some old guy shoots himself. So really they should not need one here, he decided to kill himself with a gun, just like hundreds of old guys do every year. That part does not need explanation.

So he's an old man, who has decided to kill himself, and also decides to shoot a lot of people at a concert before he shoots himself. While we don't know what exactly prompted this additional decision, it's hardly a stretch to come up a bunch of banal explanations. He's just a psychopath.

People don't want simple banal explanations though, they want explanations that are proportionate to the crime. ISIS is a large evil foreign organization, so is a reasonable sized explanation for the Pulse shooting (even though the shooter himself was just a crazy radicalized loner). But a crazy old guy acting alone just does not seem big enough of an explanation, even if it's a perfect fit.
No he spent to much time planning to just be a asshole whos getting old, (That could be any of us ) Seems he wanted to send a message or make a statement ? The story keeps changing , Now he shot the security guy first six minutes before he started shooting ? Makes about as much sense as the fact they said he was using a bump stock on a AR-15 when the rate of fire was way to slow to be a AR , Nobody trust the FBI anymore to tell the truth . Ill wait for facts but doesnt seem like we are getting any , How did he slide his leg under the rifle with the Bipod ?
 

Rory

Senior Member.
No he spent too much time planning to just be an asshole who's getting old (that could be any of us). Seems he wanted to send a message or make a statement?
Maybe he just wanted to go out with a bang. Maybe he'd been thinking about something like this his whole life. I remember a kid at my school used to fantasise scenarios like this. God only knows why. Probably just wanted attention or something.
Now he shot the security guy first six minutes before he started shooting?
Where does it say that?
 
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Joe

Senior Member
Maybe he just wanted to go out with a bang. Maybe he'd been thinking about something like this his whole life. I remember a kid at my school used to fantasise scenarios like this. God only know why. Probably just wanted attention or something.

Where does it say that?
LA Times
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
The story keeps changing. Now he shot the security guy first, six minutes before he started shooting? Makes about as much sense as the fact they said he was using a bump stock on an AR-15 when the rate of fire was way too slow to be an AR. Nobody trusts the FBI anymore to tell the truth. I'll wait for facts but doesn't seem like we are getting any.
Er, isn't that what you were just given?

Plus, if there's something fishy about this addition to the timeline of the shooting of the security guard, why would The Powers That Be put that in the mix? The only thing that doesn't make sense here is that someone would think this is further evidence of dodgy dealings.

Note: it is an addition, not a change, and still says that it was 2218 when he told the LVMPD officers that he had been shot.
 
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vooke

Active Member
This is the first event since Trump was sworn in. His election with allegations of interference by Russia and subsequent investigations probably sucked many into conspiracy theories
 

qed

Senior Member
This is the first event since Trump was sworn in. His election with allegations of interference by Russia and subsequent investigations probably sucked many into conspiracy theories
What kind of people do you see being sucked in and why? Conservative, democrat, right, left, etc. Are they sensing a conspiracy by Trump and Russia, or a conspiracy against Trump by FBI, Justice Dept. etc?
 

vooke

Active Member
What kind of people do you see being sucked in and why? Conservative, democrat, right, left, etc. Are they sensing a conspiracy by Trump and Russia, or a conspiracy against Trump by FBI, Justice Dept. etc?
No group in particular, just the general American populace. We had fake news or propaganda passionately and aggressively peddled, then we had most of these debunked so in my opinion the episode sensitized Americans on propaganda and conspiracy theories. With that in mind, I conjecture that many opwho searches for false flags were probably looking for foreign state actors or something.
 

SR1419

Senior Member.
Boston Bombing has the biggest spike if we remove this latest tragedy. And there was a very clear motive in that case.
Sure- take away the data that supports the argument to make it look its not the case. The response to Vegas for false flag searches was DOUBLE what it was for Boston.

I think that was just incredulity - 2 seemingly westernized kids being radicalized right under people's noses. There was no way those kids could have done it- they were patsies...must be a false flag.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
This is the first event since Trump was sworn in. His election with allegations of interference by Russia and subsequent investigations probably sucked many into conspiracy theories
It may indeed simply be a different climate, and a term that has reached some sort of 'tipping point'. I think it's only about a year ago that I first heard it, and probably about the same span of time since I learned that every major event is now instantly followed by a barrage of CT videos and hoax claims. If there are a thousand people in the same boat, and they each tell ten people that this is going on...well, that's how something goes viral.

I guess we'll just have to see how the next one is greeted.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
2 seemingly westernized kids being radicalized right under people's noses. There was no way those kids could have done it
that's true. I was comparing it more to like Sandy Hook just a few months prior. That was a pretty 'unbelievable' event also.
 

Cube Radio

Member
the conspiracy mind, abhorring the inexplicable, rushes to fill the void with an explanation
This sentence almost perfectly describes the cod psychology and false attitude of the skeptopath or false skeptic aka debunker. In essence it's a straw man.

I have precisely zero interest in any of the "false flags" or "conspiracies" you mention in the OP and don't care if they're actually as described or not.

But your characterisation of the "conspiracy mind" is merely crude and deliberate misrepresentation, designed to lump in those who have genuine questions with others who have bizarre and ridiculous theories about the world.

It's actually easy to tell these two groups apart. Genuine skeptics (almost entirely absent from this site in my experience) ask important questions about events without claiming to necessarily understand the bigger picture. They ask disturbing questions because they are disturbed by events they cannot easily explain and do not claim to understand.

Sites like this offer easy answers (almost always by reinforcing the official narrative, whatever it may be) and fulfil the psychological need for "total understanding" without genuinely encouraging critical thought, and actually shutting it down.

By blurring the lines between skepticism and conspiricism, you make it easy to generate ad hominem attacks on a whole "group" that you yourself have defined, only allowing real questions to be asked in a comforting context of scoffing superiority.
 

Mick West

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It's actually easy to tell these two groups apart. Genuine skeptics (almost entirely absent from this site in my experience) ask important questions about events without claiming to necessarily understand the bigger picture. They ask disturbing questions because they are disturbed by events they cannot easily explain and do not claim to understand.
So how do you tell the groups apart, if they both ask “disturbing questions?”
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
have precisely zero interest in any of the "false flags" or "conspiracies" you mention in the OP and don't care if they're actually as described or not.
How can you not care? If they were true then that would be both directly relevant (to 9/11) and earth shattering.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
So how do you tell the groups apart, if they both ask “disturbing questions?”
i think by "genuine skeptics" he means the conspiracy theorists. It's a bit confusing because after he makes fun of your sentence, he turns around and repeats it almost verbatim.

p.s. @CubeRadio "who ordered the porta-potties?" is not an important question. And 9/11 is not in the OP, so if you have 'zero interest' in any of the false flags in the OP, then why are you commenting?
 

Rory

Senior Member.
But your characterisation of the "conspiracy mind" is merely crude and deliberate misrepresentation, designed to lump in those who have genuine questions with others who have bizarre and ridiculous theories about the world.
Well, we all generalise from time to time.
This sentence almost perfectly describes the cod psychology and false attitude of the skeptopath or false skeptic aka debunker.
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
The speculation-echo™ is big on this event.
People don't have answers from any source, so they went looking on the net.

Without answers, the net (social media) is quick to provide plenty of speculation and certainty to feed the curious.
(Speculative Certainty™ )

Trump's over-used excuse of "Fake News" might contribute some, leading people to also come across the term "False Flag"......and search it too.
The phrases are related, like cousins.

Google trends of the phrase "fake news"......
fake.png
https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q="fake news"

Highest spike, in January:

Spike in late June:
The Vegas shooting spike has a ramp to it (perhaps that was September's Nibiru (un)apocalyptic scare).

Interesting though, is to see it's 11 month steadiness ever since Trump's election.
 

BKB

New Member
I explained to a friend today that one's take on Las Vegas has become binary: if you have a single nagging question about the event you are embraced by the conspiracy theorists; if you have a single doubt about the conspiracy theory you are labeled a 'schill.' This is not conducive to meaningful discussion.

I recently posed a question (can't remember where) that went something like this: "Please describe to me a mass killing in recent memory that was NOT a hoax or a false flag. I am trying to discern if the desire to categorize these events as such is reflexive or the product of serious analysis."

It has been a few days- no response yet. I will keep you guys posted.

BKB
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
I recently posed a question (can't remember where) that went something like this: "Please describe to me a mass killing in recent memory that was NOT a hoax or a false flag. I am trying to discern if the desire to categorize these events as such is reflexive or the product of serious analysis."
I asked a CTist the same question not too long ago: the only events she came up with were ones which had motives she agreed with, such as the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic. Not being able to understand shooters'/terrorists' motives seemed to play a major factor in whether they could accept these events as real. Also how much media coverage they received - which seems an odd one, given that large events will always receives lots of media coverage. Though mostly it seems reflexive and immediate - hence how 'false flag' videos will appear on youtube within minutes.
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
I explained to a friend today that one's take on Las Vegas has become binary: if you have a single nagging question about the event you are embraced by the conspiracy theorists; if you have a single doubt about the conspiracy theory you are labeled a 'schill.' This is not conducive to meaningful discussion.

I recently posed a question (can't remember where) that went something like this: "Please describe to me a mass killing in recent memory that was NOT a hoax or a false flag. I am trying to discern if the desire to categorize these events as such is reflexive or the product of serious analysis."

It has been a few days- no response yet. I will keep you guys posted.

BKB
Last time I asked a CT that he told me EVERYTHING is a false flag, cos 'they'* control everything in the holographic electric reality we live in!!

(*Jewish NWO lizard people - he was a disciple of a certain Mr Icke)
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Turns out that the spike was partly due to Google extrapolating data for the month. When the rest of the data is in place then it be comes only the second highest spike after The Boston Marathon Bombing
Google Trends False Flag 2010-present.png
It peaked early, so essentially had less than the Pulse Nightclub shooting, which is spread over two months.
 
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