As soon as major news networks began reporting on the Washington Navy Yard shooting, Internet fringers were eager to dissect the information and contradict the official claims. From alarming date mix-ups to the probing question — “How many shooters?” — read on for the top 10 pervading conspiracy theories of the events that occurred in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
1. The Gun Control Conspiracy
Military-grade “assault” weapons have been legal since 2004. Since then, gun control advocates have been lobbying for reinstated legislation, similar to the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban. The AR-15, a rifle at the center of the debate, has been forefront in civilian shootings since it was legalized — most notably in the “Batman Massacre” in Colorado and the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Initially, it was widely reported that Aaron Alexis wielded an AR-15 in the Navy Yard massacre. The New York Daily News even made the controversial AR-15 the subject of its front page the next morning, editorializing that this was the weapon of choice for mass murderers.
But, after the world was led to believe an AR-15 gunned down the 12 victims of the shooting, the FBI later clarified that Alexis did not wield a rifle (even though the New York Times says he wanted to).
Why the misinformation?
With the AR-15 detail debunked, news outlets focused on the ability of Alexis, who reportedly suffered from mental illness, to easily buy a shotgun and ammo the day before the massacre. Why did current law allow this?
Fringers are claiming that the erroneous AR-15 information as well as the intensive focus on an unstable man’s ability to obtain arms represents an effort for the American government to villainize all forms of firearms and push for strict, anti-Second Amendment legislation. And thus, a totalitarian, militarized government.
2. The Time Stamp Conspiracy
For believers, this is probably the most compelling evidence of a U.S. government-coordinated attack.
The two above screenshots are articles about the shooting with published time stamps up to a day before the attack. The Daily Courier has it down to the hour; Sunday, September 15 11:51 EDT PM, almost a full nine hours before the first shots rang out.
Both articles’ time stamps have since been reverted to ones that more accurately fit the timetable, with ABC and The Daily Courier citing server issues.
3. The Number of Shooters Conspiracy
Shots first rang out around 8:20 a.m. EDT in the Naval Sea Systems Command building 179 at the Washington Navy Yard. Yet even at 1:35 p.m., law enforcement officials were still unsure how many shooters there were. The FBI claimed it was in “all assets out” mode.
Yet the aptly named “Navy Yard Metro” public transit station remained open during the crisis. If they were unsure of how many shooters there were, why would they leave open a viable escape route? The Washington Post reports:
[Metro spokesman] Dan Stessel Stessel said the New Jersey Avenue entrance of the Navy Yard station was reopened after police set up a perimeter around the area where the shooter was believed to have been located.
Shooter or shooters? The confusion went along well into the evening.
Adding to this numbers game, the attacked building has over 3,000 employees. Only a handful confirmed seeing a shooter.
4. ‘Shots Heard, Not Seen’ Conspiracy
In an interview with NBC, Sherrie Lawson, an employee at building 179, said she heard something like somebody “dropped a table.” She didn’t see anything, but scaled a 10-foot wall to escape the complex.
Meanwhile, Commander Tim Juris was on the fourth floor of the building when he heard shots, he told the BBC. “It sounded like a tap gun as opposed to a real gun,” he said.
Interesting words from a man who would presumably know a little about gunfire.
5. ‘Active Shooter Drills’ Conspiracy
In the days prior to the shooting, the Navy Yard had been conducting evacuation drills for a variety emergency scenarios.
Dave Sarr, an environmental engineer, was walking down a nearby street when he saw people running from the Navy Yard. Sarr had seen an evacuation drill a few days earlier at the Navy Yard. “At first I thought it was another drill,” Sarr said. “Then I saw an officer with his weapon drawn.”
Oddly enough, an active shooter drill was planned for September 19.
6. Lack of Bodies Conspiracy Conspiracy
One of the more interesting things noted was that all the victims were airlifted from the roof of building 179. No media captured quality images of the scene, and lack of blood was noticed from what few photographs/videos emerged.
As is the case for Sandy Hook, some fringers are claiming that these people (A) didn’t exist or (B) are crisis actors.
7. ‘Aaron Alexis, Invisible Man’ Conspiracy
One huge realization when alleged lone shooter Aaron Alexis’ name was released was his lack of social media usage.
In an era where even baby boomers have trace information disseminated on the Internet, 33-year-old Aaron Alexis had no Facebook, no Twitter, no MySpace. This could be a sign of a higher military ranking than reported?
Indeed, even Daily Mail is now reporting that Alexis had “secret security clearance.”
Could this military electrician be more than what’s on paper?
8. ‘Aaron Alexis, PSYOPS Victim’ Conspiracy
According to Wikipedia, PSYOPS are:
…planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.
Could Alexis have been a pawn for federal gains in winning favor?
Moreover, could he have been controlled to do the attack on the Navy Yard?
Given his documented, chaotic past, he does exhibit telltale signs of mind control.
Of the most alarming were “blackout” episodes with firearms. The Guardian reports:
In 2010, while he was based at Fort Worth in Texas, he was arrested after discharging a firearm. In 2004, police in Seattle questioned him after what they described as an “anger-fuelled shooting” involving the car of a construction worker.
Alexis stated he didn’t remember discharging the firearm and that he had “blacked out.”
9. ‘Aaron Alexis, 9/11 Involvement’ Conspiracy
[His stepfather, Frank Calderon] said, “[Aaron] was coming up the escalator from the subway station when the first of the towers collapsed. He was on his way to his shift. The planes had hit the towers, but Aaron said he was on the escalator coming up from the subway station when he saw the building come down. It was right in front of him, and he said he saw it collapse. The planes had already hit the Twin Towers and he was on the subway below the building. That day was traumatic for everyone involved. He did not talk much about it, but he said he helped out. He was a strong young man so he would have done what he could.
Could Aaron Alexis have actually been involved with 9/11, if theories claiming it was an inside job prove to be true? Or could he have seen something he wasn’t supposed to?
Sounds like an episode of Homeland.
10. Distraction Conspiracy
Obviously the biggest and most obvious conspiracy is a diversion from global events in which the U.S. is involved, with an emphasis on Syria. Although some fringers are claiming that this could be cover for Benghazi proceedings.
Whatever the case, the truth is out there.