The local News was on, and dinner was spinning in the microwave as I sat on my couch, deleting the inane amount of junk emails when I heard it.
“I will not subject my children to wearing masks and the danger of sex trafficking.”
“Wait. What?” I asked, looking up from my phone. My husband picked up the remote and rewound the News.
On a street in Southern Utah, a woman was protesting Utah’s mandate of wearing masks in public places. With camera lights reflecting off her eyeglasses, she stood confident and angry in front of a group holding signs saying things like, ‘Save the Children’ and ‘Child Lives Matter.’
No one was wearing masks. I didn’t blame them if masks made them targets for sex traffickers!
I hadn’t heard of the anti-maskers-and-the-elite-sex-traffickers-who-don’t-love-them theory before. But, because I LOVE an excellent conspiracy theory, I decided to strap on my invisible Sherlock Holmes gear and go digitally-spelunking on the internet (a task akin to dumpster diving, that is often just as pleasant).
Conspiracies, or rather investigating them, is the kind of thing that speaks to me, to the research side of me. Not that I believe it all, it’s more that I want to know the who, what, when, where, and why of the whole mess and then decide if it’s a valid idea.
I like the hunt, connecting the dots, analyzing threads, and arranging them into linear data that I can then apply to something. It’s a thoroughly searched out and reviewed change of perspective.
To me, a conspiracy theory is good when it takes a well-known and well-documented event and adds layers, nitty-gritty subplots that have been hidden and kept in the dark. These are the best ones, real conspiracy theories, not just stray ideas presented as one.
A couple of weeks ago, I was walking my dog, Zoey, when I passed a sign taped to the outside of a building. Someone had taken a sheet of computer paper, and with a pack of (I assumed) Crayola markers, drew pictures of gray birds with square heads.
“Birds Are A Lie” the sign said. Beneath that was a brown pigeon circled in red with a thick line through it. “Fear them.”
The very bottom of the page stated that birds died in 1966 due to Reagan replacing them with spies. Instead of real heads and eyes, birds are now drones with cameras, dressed up like pigeons. Ta! Da! Drone-pigeons! Or would that be Dron-igeons?
I whipped out my phone and snapped a picture.
The most confusing statement for me was about Reagan. Ronald Reagan (the ‘Reagan” for whom I supposed the Crayola-wielding Deep Throat was referring) was running in the California Gubernatorial Election for the first time in 1966. He had very little power back then, and (according to what I could dig up) his only proximity to anything spy related was on set during his movie career.
However, this theory is a real thing! The movement came out in 2017, put forward by some twenty-year-old named Peter McIndoe, and according to him, it wasn’t Reagan who created the Dron-igeons, it was the CIA. At least spies making more spies makes sense!
Another thing to note, McIndoe has used this movement as a merchandising ploy, selling “Birds Aren’t Real” t-shirts and hats, apparently making really good money at it, too.
But why that theory in the first place? What would be the point of decimating the Rock Pigeon population and replacing them with high-tech drones and surveillance cameras? Can you imagine the technical nightmare this would create, let alone the astronomical cost of upkeep?
I don’t see the advantage of specialized birds, especially nowadays, when we are phone addicted and document every single thing without being asked or paid.
Even without our cellphones, everything we type into a search engine creates a pattern that is then picked up and used, sometimes for us and sometimes against us. For example, at the moment, I’m researching (in-depth) police procedures for a novel I’m writing.
Incidentally, since yesterday, LinkedIn has notified me of six FBI job opportunities that might interest me. I’m not looking for an FBI job, and I’ve never expressed that I was. Ever. See? No need for bird drones!
So, then, what about masks equals sex traffickers?
This is how it works—a child’s face obscured by a mask makes it easier for a sex trafficker to snag and grab them before the child is recognized. And because the trafficker will be donning a mask under the guise of preventing COVID-19, one cannot report what he looks like at the time of the abduction.
Doesn’t it seem like I’ve left out some information? Doesn’t the cause and the effect seem disjointed and missing a large piece? This statement seems more like an attempt at giving a black eye to the credibility of the Coronavirus.
Is it possible? Do masks equal abduction and the introduction to the sex trade? Where did this information come from? Law enforcement? Social Services? Preventative Child Abuse Advocates? Nope, I checked.
This idea comes from bits and pieces of articles printed in online magazines and newspapers reworked, fictionalized, and Frankenstein-ized. It comes from conspiracists like the anonymous and elusive online-omnipresent Q and his/her minions, QAnon. Then, the idea spreads through Mom Influencers on Instagram. Ta! Da! Dron-igeons!
Hey, it’s kind of like a virus!
The article (I think) from where most of this misguided information was pulled is from a piece in Forbes.
Forbes talks about a link to COVID-19, lockdowns, and the (possible) reduction of sex trafficking for the moment. The article cites warnings from the UN that there may be issues locating the victims of sex trafficking due to the lockdown (not masks).
The UN further states that they have concerns that the sex trafficked victims will be more exposed to the virus and have less ability and resources to protect themselves. The article highlights a connection between domestic violence and human trafficking and the possibility that a lockdown will make it worse for the victims. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewelinaochab/2020/05/11/the-hidden-victims-of-covid19-human-trafficking-and-modern-day-slavery/#1f085bf21d2b ).
What is going on? Is it conceivable that people are buying into these theories? I don’t know. Maybe we should ask the anti-maskers in Southern Utah? Or the Flat-earthers? Let’s drudge up the Lizard people and ask how all the gold mining’s going!
But that is not the worst of it. It seems that lately, we are inundated with so much fearmongering, drowning in misinformation, and seeing only thumbnail sketches of bigger pictures without knowing what that bigger picture is. It’s as if we’re wondering the information-forest without the sun, the moon, or even a compass as a guide.
For me, it has gotten so bad that I don’t watch the News very much anymore, let alone read a newspaper. Even if the News is on, I’m usually doing something else and not paying attention. Which got me thinking, is this the true conspiracy?
Information dumps, felonious falsehoods, semi-explanatory bait and switches, and over the top innuendoes of madness—are these distraction ploys that induce malaise until nobody pays attention to what’s really going on? Can that be? I don’t know that either.
You know what’s really ironic? For all the time spent tracking down whether or not Bill Gates is injecting people with microchips and not vaccines, I could make a positive and real difference in the world. I could actually help make this big blue marble I live in a better place!