Conspiracy Via Email

My husband was forwarded an email recently from a family member. Another family member on the same email chain told my husband that he was not using logic and facts to understand the situation in which we find ourselves as a nation. Hours after the email exchange, it kept eating at me. How many facts and how much logic are involved in this forwarded email? What if instead of clicking “forward” and “send”, he had taken five minutes to search the Internet for reliable sources to put this in perspective? So I decided to do it myself.

Notes: Email is in red, then my fact check/analysis below in black. And if you consider mainstream media to be an unreliable source, I’m unlikely to change your mind so you might as well stop reading if you ever started. You are too far gone, and don’t @ me with talk about logic and facts. You lost the argument before it even began.

The US Population is 330,000,000 and in 5 months the number of deaths was 130,000 . The number of deaths as a percent of the population is 0.03939 %, compared to the number of cancer cases diagnosed in 2019 (1,762.450) and 607,000 deaths.

This doesn’t seem far fetched because it is happening before our eyes.

These numbers are correct: At the time of this email, the United States population as 328,200,000 and the COVID-19 deaths totaled approximately 130,000, which equals approximately .04% of the population. However, then the writer contrasts COVID-19 with cancer in an attempt to show you that it’s much more serious than COVID. First of all, this isn’t an apples to apples comparison. One statistic shows the number of deaths as a percentage of the U.S. population. I think the intention of the second one is to cite the number of deaths from cancer as a percentage of cases.

So, the conclusion the author wants us to come to is basically this: cancer is far worse than COVID, and we are overreacting. I think.

However, a quick Google search brought me to a Business Insider article that compiled all the data, and found that COVID-19 was killing more Americans weekly than heart disease or cancer did on average per week in 2018. Moreover, the article is from April, and predicted that by August our death totals may be in the 60,000 range. Well, here we are: August and the total number of deaths is more than 170,000. Draw your own conclusions there.

A very well orchestrated plan, or a unimaginable set of events that just fell into place … with the United States front and center. You tell me!!

Scare people with a virus, force them to wear masks and place them in quarantine.

Count the number of dead every second of every day, in every News Headline. By the way, ninety-nine and eight-tenths of the people who get the virus, recover. About one to two tenths of one percent who get the virus, die. Most all of them have other medical problems. Did you catch that ? Less than 1/2 of a percent die.

There’s a hyper focus on death here, as if that’s the only thing that matters. I offer two thoughts: first, even if the percentage is low, does that mean you’d rather play the odds? What if your sister or husband or good friend is in that percentage?

Secondly, even if one does not die from COVID-19, they are likely still hugely affected. Someone who doesn’t have health insurance could be bankrupted by medical bills. Someone who is on a ventilator and suffers a severe case of COVID-19 is looking at PTSD and rehabilitation. What about their lost wages because they were suffering from this disease, even if they didn’t have to go to the hospital? We should be worried about people needlessly suffering when we have the power to control the situation.

Close businesses = 35,000,000+ instantly unemployed.

Remove entertainment and prohibit Recreation; Closing parks, gyms, bars, restaurants, sports.

No dating. No touching. Isolate people. Dehumanize them.

No doubt that closing businesses resulted in unemployment. It was also necessary to flatten the curve. Just look at the data from other countries that did this well. South Korea is a good example: 14,000 cases and 300 deaths, while the United States spirals out of control.

In addition, these are not permanent closures; this is supposed to be a temporary situation. It is hardly dehumanizing to ask people to make an effort to stay home during lockdown to help control a worldwide pandemic. Is this hard? Of course. But the sender of this missive doesn’t seem to grasp that this is not just about the United States. (The sender notes the “US is front and center!) Yet this is a worldwide pandemic. And we, the richest country in the world, cannot manage to  do our part, when we have the resources and the ability to do so.

Close Temples and Churches, prohibit worship. Create a vacuum and let depression, anxiety, hopelessness and desperation set in.

This is a ridiculous argument. Worship is not being prohibited because a building is closed. God doesn’t live in a temple or a church. No one is being prevented from worshipping on their own time, in their own homes. I believe at home worship is a more personal experience anyway, and a more direct connection to God. But I suspect this section is more about appearances than actual worship.

Then… ignite hatred and civil unrest, creating Civil War.

Again, this makes no sense. Who’s igniting the hatred? It’s the President of the United States. At a bare minimum, review what he’s said over the past 3.5 years. He makes derogatory comments about women, Mexicans, and Blacks, just to name a few. He calls certain places “shithole countries.” He makes up juvenile nicknames for people he doesn’t like, and tells lies about them to confuse his supporters and ensure they hate those people too. I could go on, but that’s an entirely different article.  

And these protests and civil unrest are in response to the systemic racism running rampant through the United States. Watch the video of George Floyd being pinned down. It’s cold, and it’s terrifying, and it’s time the system changed. What’s that got to do with this virus? Nothing, unless you’re a conspiracy theorist, as it appears the author of this email is.

Empty the prisons because of the virus and fill the streets with criminals.

This section is, quite frankly, utterly insane. The prisons are certainly not empty. And those who have been released are non-violent offenders and are almost finished serving their sentences. Each state has created specific criteria for those who are to be or were released. The numbers are low. Simply put, there is no deep state plot to allow criminals to run rampant through the streets.

Send in Antifa to vandalize property, as if they are freedom fighters. Undermine the law, Riot, Loot and Attack all Law Enforcement, but tell government to order a stand-down.

Blame “Antifa” and suddenly you’ve got people’s attention. A couple of actual facts: the Guardian found that they have been responsible for zero murders in 25 years of existence; a report from Reuters states that  “U.S. federal prosecutors have produced no evidence linking dozens of people arrested in anti-racism protests in Portland, Oregon, to the antifa or anarchist movements, despite President Donald Trump’s assertions they are fueling the unrest.” It’s more fearmongering and attempts to delegitimize peaceful protests, which are permitted under the Constitution.

Then… Defund Law Enforcement and abolish Police. We are all being played by those who want to destroy America! This is how you destroy a Nation from within, and in very short order. Will it work, I guess that depends on you and me.

One ludicrous claim after another. Words matter. (Just like Black lives!) Using the words “defund” and “abolish” again is intended to obfuscate and fearmonger. At a high level, the proposals involve diverting funds to other social services to allow for the proper agencies to respond to requests for help. This move would allow the police to focus on responding to the calls for which they are properly trained. In addition, some proposals call for increased mental health counseling and training for police officers.

The author of this email—and everyone who just forwards it without thinking – should be ashamed of themselves. In this age of 24/7 information, it is incumbent upon all of us to be responsible with said information. Instead of immediately typing some email addresses into the to: box and hitting send, we should be researching, thinking critically, and analyzing. It’s all too easy for us to be keyboard warriors scrolling and commenting incessantly.

The future of our democracy—currently a precarious 200 year old experiment—is at stake.

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