As some of you might have noticed, SOFREP experienced a service interruption last night. We are still looking into why. This morning several of us writers met at a secure undisclosed online location and joked about which government agency might have been responsible. Later I had a friend reach out and ask me about the interruption and what might have caused it. The conversation went something like this:

Friend: “Is your site up and working”

Me: “Who sent you to ask me this?”

Friend: “Huh?”

Me: “Just kidding, we seem to be up, now comes the hunt for the culprits!”

Friend: “Any suspects?”

Me: “Right now, all the evidence points to the United States Board of Geographic Names (USBGN). They’ve had it out for us for a very long time.”

Friend: “lol”

Me: “Those $#%^&%$3!! They’re actually running the entire country and nobody even knows it!”

Friend: “I didn’t even know that existed”

Me: “OF COURSE YOU DIDN’T! The USBGN couldn’t very well run the entire country secretly if you knew who they were!”

My friend stopped talking to me (or was taken offline by someone else) before I could explain further.

Of course, all of this was said in jest, but all over the country millions of people have conversations exactly like the one above. The difference is that they aren’t kidding.

Regarding the Nashville Christmas explosion, rumors and third-party hearsay (which one should always be skeptical of) are afoot. Some say that the accused bomber, Anthony Warner, was heavily into conspiracy theories like 5G communications towers causing cancer, spreading COVID-19, surveilling the public, and brainwashing it. He also was said to believe in Lizard People who are an alien race secretly running the world (using the USBGN to run things for them in the U.S. no doubt). The theory goes that Warner tried to blow up an AT&T switching center in order to save the world from the perils of faster data flow rates on your phone and laptop, which gives you cancer and maybe control your mind.

“Not so fast!” was the reply of other conspiracists who offered their own theory that cuts Warner completely out of his own actions (he was a scapegoat). Their theory is a bizarre game of connecting the dots as seen by the post below, which is already circulating on social media and forums.

“AT&T got a contract to do a forensic audit on Dominion voting machines and those machines were being moved to Nashville this past week.

The former owner of the AT&T building in Nashville, William Kennard, is a board member for Cerberus Capital Management and AT&T… He also was Bill Clinton’s FCC chair and Obama’s Ambassador to the EU. Dominion Voting is owned by Cerberus Capital Management… Cerberus is run by Staple Street Execs. Joe [Biden’s] brother in law, Steven Owens, is the co-founder of Staple Street Execs along with William Kennard (mentioned above).
Super Computer in TN was connected to the AT&T internet in NASHVILLE… Yesterday evening the Cumberland river cooling system was compromised due to an internet outage and the Supercomputer fried…..
If you don’t know, “Kraken” is a reference to a supercomputer that former prosecutor, Sidney Powell, has been talking about.
So, the explosion ‘just happened’ to be at the AT&T location from where it “just so happens” that the cooling system for the supercomputer is controlled and the Dominion Voting machines and drives for forensic audit are housed…
Does it make sense now why no lives were lost? Does it make sense now why the FBI task lead couldn’t even put together a coherent sentence in the press conference yesterday? Does it make sense why the mayor was making light of the situation, almost laughingly, yesterday? Still think we are all crazy?”
I’m not going to pick this apart here. It’s been done very thoroughly and convincingly dozens of times and you can read about it here, here, here, and here. Do an online search for “AT&T audit dominion voting machines” and you will get over 700,000 results. The first several pages are devoted to recent articles in news outlets and fact-checkers shredding this thing as made up nonsense.
Obviously, they are all in on it too.
The thing about conspiracy theories is that the more you point out the errors and counterfactual thinking that go into them, the more their adherents tend to believe in them. Part of the mindset of the people who adopt these theories as truth is the certainty that facts offered in rebuttal are part of the conspiracy to hide the truth.
Say, for instance, someone believes that the country of Japan doesn’t really exist. They’ve never been there to see it with their own eyes which would be certain proof. After you give them that look of incredulity, you try to patiently explain that there are aerial and ground photographs of Japan, that it has a written language, history, artifacts, religion, and even people who bear a distinct genetic similarity unique to that island. You give your friend this information because they are engaged in faulty thinking. You think you can turn them away from this goofy idea with facts.
Instead of your friend laughing and saying, “Jeez, you’re right, what was I thinking?” they look at you suspiciously and claim that what you’ve just told them is evidence of a cover-up by people who don’t want anyone to know that Japan doesn’t exist. This is your cue to finish your beer quickly and leave, being careful not to turn your back on them or make eye contact for too long.
Psychologists have studied the tendency of people to believe in conspiracy theories. They say that adherents are attracted to them by three main things:
  • A need for understanding and certainty.
  • A need for control and security.
  • A desire to maintain a positive self-image.
Put simply, people want to understand events and have a sense of certainty about things in their lives. When faced with confounding events their mind looks for an explanation. Ever felt like someone’s small act or gesture slighted you? Did you dismiss it as unintentional? Or did you concoct an elaborate back story about why they may not like you secretly and plotted to embarrass you to avenge something they think you did to them? Both dismissing it and making it into a huge deal are ways that people deal with uncertainty to try and understand it. In this case, we have a bombing on Christmas Day in Nashville. Some people make sense of it by ascribing mental illness to the bomber, others make it into an elaborate conspiracy that totally cuts Warner out of the conspiracies that may have motivated him.
They create a conspiracy that makes him a dupe, a patsy, a distraction. He’s innocent.
Pretty ironic, huh?
The need for control and security can make people believe in conspiracy theories because it allows them to avoid an unpleasant reality. A rationalist view of the Nashville bombing (on the evidence we have so far) is that Warner probably suffered from an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness that made him dangerous. He also appeared to live a quiet, unassuming life and avoided confrontations with the police or even his neighbors. He wasn’t a raving loon out in the street. It’s actually pretty frightening to consider that your quiet, polite next-door neighbor might be planning to blow up a city block. It makes life so unpredictable and uncertain. It’s much easier and more comforting to imagine a conspiracy involving voting machines, the Obamas, Bidens, and supercomputers that were decommissioned six years ago to hide an election stolen from Trump.
None of that lives next door to you.
None of that can hurt you or your family.
And in that fantasy, you aren’t the victim. Somebody else is. You are safe from the unpredictability of the bomber who may be living next door.
A desire to maintain a positive self-image is also a big factor, and maybe even the central one, as to why people believe in conspiracies. The people who seriously embrace theories whereby Lizard People and Aliens run the world don’t really get a calm respectful hearing of their claims in the lunchroom at work. They get mocked and scorned, socially ostracized as kooks, loons, and weirdos. And not unfairly. This would be damaging to anyone’s self-image. The Internet has connected us to the world unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The downside is that it also connects people who probably are better off isolated from like-minded thinkers. This co-worker of yours goes home at night, logs onto their computer, and in a few minutes is connected to hundreds or thousands of people who also believe in Lizard People. What they find there is acceptance and community.
And that has its own dangers. You see, people in groups holding extremist views tend to be exclusionary. There isn’t anybody in the Lizard People Group to say to everyone, “Hey, you guys, this is completely nuts!” and temper or moderate the views of others. Instead, if you want to stand out among your peers in the Lizard People gang, or the 5G causes cancer gang, you become more extremist in your outlook until buildings blow up and 5G towers are set on fire.
Closed groups holding extreme views tend to get more and more extreme as a way for members to move higher in the group and be noticed. Less extreme members tend to go along because they don’t want to be excluded. It is a vicious cycle.
If it turns out that Anthony Warner was a Lizard People and 5G conspiracy-believing extremist who tried to blow up a city block in expressing those beliefs, he’d currently be the most extreme among those who hold such views. He’s a hero to them right now for taking action, for doing something to expose the truth they think is being hidden from them. They really can’t see that their human need for understanding, control, security, and a good self-image is turning suicidal and homicidal.
The danger is that somewhere, someone who believes in such theories is looking at what Warner did and is thinking to himself, “I’ll bet I can top that.”