A man with a rifle who claimed to be "self-investigating" a baseless online conspiracy theory entered the Washington, D.C., pizzeria Comet Ping Pong on Sunday, according to local police.The man allegedly pointed the gun at a restaurant employee, who managed to escape, then fired the weapon inside the restaurant. There were no reports of injuries, police say. A North Carolina man has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon in connection with the shooting.It's a disturbing development in what has already been a weeks-long ordeal for Comet Ping Pong, a kid-friendly pizza restaurant that also hosts live music events.Internet users have developed a wholly fictitious conspiracy theory that maintains Comet Ping Pong is the site of an international Satanic child sex abuse cabal hosted by powerful Democrats, including Hillary Clinton. Speculation and fabrications tied to the bizarre conspiracy theory have been relentlessly circulated by politically motivated fringe sites.As NPR's Linda Wertheimer put it last week, even the most cursory examination of "#Pizzagate" reveals stories that are "completely and not very skillfully made up."One of the key pieces of "evidence," for example, comes from the emails WikiLeaks says came from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta. The emails include references to pizza. The conspiracy theory holds that based on how frequently pizza comes up, "pizza" must be code for pedophilia.Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis told NPR that the entire theory is "an insanely complicated, made-up, fictional lie-based story" that people in the "reality-based" community quickly dismissed as an "insane sort of joke."But on the fringes of the Internet, some people have been taking it seriously. The restaurant has received hundreds of death threats. Now it has had an actual armed assault.And the "fictitious online conspiracy theory," as D.C. police have called it, shows no sign of going away.On Sunday night, after the gun was fired inside Comet Ping Pong, Michael Flynn Jr. -- the son of incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn -- posted messages supporting the conspiracy theory."Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it'll remain a story. The left seems to forget #PodestaEmails and the many 'coincidences' tied to it," the younger Flynn tweeted.He stood by his tweet as the night continued, retweeting people who were accusing the mainstream media of being part of the conspiracy to cover up the pedophilia ring.In a statement on Sunday, Alefantis vowed that Comet Ping Pong would "continue to operate safely and securely," and he condemned those who are working to spread the malicious accusations."What happened today demonstrates that promoting false and reckless conspiracy theories comes with consequences," he said. "I hope that those involved in fanning these flames will take a moment to contemplate what happened here today, and stop promoting these falsehoods right away."
Can someone please make sense of pizzagate for me? I'm generally busy, but have been seeing it pop up way too much. Thanks in advance.pre-emptive tl;dr
The younger Flynn, who has served as his father's adviser, linked to the account of Jack Posobiec, whose Twitter account describes him as the special projects director of a group called Citizens4Trump.
Flynn ' s son has been let go by the trump transition teamhttp://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/308965-flynns-son-is-no-longer-involved-in-transition-effortsFlynn himself has tweeted other variants of the conspiracy theory.honestly can't decide whether I hope trump goes through with appointing him as national security advisor. part of me says of course not, the last thing we need with a president trump is an even bigger alternate reality fan advising him. but another part of me wants the craziest of the crazy on full display in this administration, in the (probably foolish) hope it will finally click for everyone that this is mental illness we're looking at; that the alt-right and fake news fans are not people with different opinions, they're people with different realities.
Easy to say when you're trapped in a coal mine above the arctic circle.
Where did he learn about the fake news involving Comet?He said it was through word of mouth. After recently having internet service installed at his house, he was "really able to look into it." He said that substantial evidence from a combination of sources had left him with the "impression something nefarious was happening." He said one article on the subject led to another and then another. He said he did not like the term fake news, believing it was meant to diminish stories outside the mainstream media, which he does not completely trust. He also said he was not political. While once a registered Republican, he did not vote for Donald J. Trump. He also did not vote for Mrs. Clinton. But he is praying that Mr. Trump takes the country in the "right direction."