If you don’t want to make yourself thoroughly miserable about the state of the world, don’t read the Reddit group r/QAnonCasualties. It’s a forum for people who’ve lost or are losing friends and family to conspiracy theories.
Mum, stepdad and brother have been well down the rabbit hole since about 2013-2014.
Started with flat earth, now Iâ€™ve heard almost all conspiracies you could imagine. Doctors are bad and all drugs are bad, vaccines cause all health problems, billionaires eating babies, flouride, 5g. It all started because YouTube. God. Damn. YouTube.
Since we’ve been in lockdown [my two best friends have]Â become consumed by Plandemic misinformation, anti-mask and COVID denial stuff, and my friend admitted to me the other day that she supports Trump because â€œheâ€™s the only one doing anything about the child trafficking.â€ Sheâ€™s gotten a medical exemption from wearing a mask because she thinks the virus is a lie.
I havenâ€™t mentioned this, but I wonâ€™t trust her around my newborn since sheâ€™s not being safe with the virus, and I also have a condition that puts me in the highly risk category.
In many cases the slide into conspiracy theories began with trauma.
[My boyfriend’s mother]Â really started to subscribe to conspiracy theories over 20 years ago, when her other son (BF’s little brother) was diagnosed with severe autism. That son died last year, just before his 25th birthday, after suffering from seizures his whole life. She blames vaccines for all of it.
Unsurprisingly, she is very suspicious of COVID-19 and masks, has already stated she will never take a COVID vaccine, doesn’t understand BLM or the protests, etc… and yesterday at dinner, she asked us if we knew about “pizzagate”. I braced myself. She claimed that some of BF’s cousins opened her eyes to this theory and she’s starting to believe it.
This one’s from the UK, a woman writing about her boyfriend:
His Grandad has just passed away and I think he was in a vulnerable place making him more susceptible to all this. He was researching more and more, joining more and more groups on Reddit/Facebook, watching countless videos and basically just spending hours and hours getting deeper â€˜down the rabbit holeâ€™
…I feel like Iâ€™ve lost my boyfriend. Heâ€™s normally so level headed and sound minded and normally so smart and switched on but now heâ€™s been brainwashed by these people
It’s a terrible litany of destroyed friendships, families and relationships, made all the sadder by the knowledge that the people who’ve been sucked in by this bullshit believe that they’re the rational ones.
This is absolutely breaking my head, because at this point any sort of rational discussion hits an immense brick wall. How can you argue with someone who always says that all your souces are “fake news”, and all her sources are correct?
It’s also very clear that these conspiracies are spreading far beyond their usual audience.