Five Boston Marathon Bombing Conspiracy Theories Debunked

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and the subsequent capture of one and killing of the other suspect, a number of conspiracy theories have arisen (as they always do) . Let’s sift through some of the more prominent ones and do a gut/fact check.

1. #FalseFlag

Perhaps the first “official” conspiracy floated (largely by big-time conspiracy theory profiteer Alex Jones), some people believed that the attack was a “false flag.” This term in conspiracy theorist jargon means any situation where an attack is presumed orchestrated by a government or organization pretending to be someone or something else. Why this is the first conclusion that you come to in the wake of this terrible act is beyond me. However, I could see how someone completely driven by suspicion of their own government could see this as plausible. And it is often nearly impossible to disprove these assertions because any proof that you find to the contrary can just be pinned on the government “covering up the truth”.

Therefore, the only way to make sense of it all is to use pure logic. Play along with the game and see if it ever starts to make sense. So, let’s just imagine that this actually was a “false flag”. What would the purpose for the incident be? If the government did this for some ulterior motive, what would that motive be? The Patriot Act 2.0? Gun control? Immigration reform? If there was an action the government was trying to get public support for, it would be most prudent to take that action as close to the act as possible. We all know that Americans have short memories, and the longer you wait to exploit a disaster, the less successful you’ll be. And I’m seeing little to no movement in Congress or in the Executive Branch.

2. “Crisis Actors”

To prop up the idea that the government was behind the attacks, many asserted that the government had hired actors to play victims. You know, to play up the carnage. The problem with this claim is that actors live for publicity. Name an actor that would play ANY role, and then not want to use it on their resume to get more work. I’m pretty sure that actor doesn’t exist. And we’ll just ignore the fact that an actor trying to have any sort of career would have a fair amount of people who would know their face. No chance these fakers would get recognized, right? Barring any special covert government department with its own roster of actors, this just sounds dumb.

3. Sandy Hook Principal Killed Twice/Sandy Hook 8-Year Old Survivor Killed

First up, the news mix-up where it was reported that the Principal of Sandy Hook Elementary school was slain in the bombing. But wait! She was already killed in the Sandy Hook shootings! Obviously this is just sloppy/lazy government work right? There is no way that anyone in the public would realize that a woman cannot die twice, right? This is just the government trying to juice this event for the maximum amount of public sympathy, right?

No. The photo was displayed during an interview with someone named Donna. But the interview wasn’t with the principal that was shot at Sandy Hook. She did not rise from the dead to run the Boston Marathon. And she also was not killed in the bombing. Sadly, the actions of the incompetent news media do not equate to actualized conspiracies. Just blame the Fox News School of News and Reporting.

The other Sandy Hook related hoax was that an 8-year old girl who survived the Sandy Hook shootings was a victim of the bombs. The problem with this one is that the only child killed from the bombs was a boy. Also, the picture of the supposed victim shows the girl participating in the race, but children are not allowed to participate in the Boston Marathon. Nevermind the fact that you can look at her chest and see that she was participating in the Joe Cassella 5K (the 3rd Annual to be exact) in Virginia. The event took place way back in May 2012. To be fair, these efforts seem more like work of scum bucket pranksers, but the fact that people buy into these things so easily shows how badly people want the truth to be a charade.

3. Edited Family Guy Footage

Blame it on the internets and an unhealthy infatuation with Peter and his Family Guy clan. An edited Family Guy clip made its rounds on the internet showing Peter winning the Boston marathon by calling terrorists and having them blow up a bridge. {START SARCASM} So of course this just means that Seth MacFarlane knew that the bombings were going to happen right? And he thought that it would be a good idea to foretell this bombing in his cartoon. He’s in on it, obviously. And he is laughing at us all right now. {END SARCASM} His show may be a bit racy (melding terrorism into comedy is bound to always be dicey), but anyone that would edit the footage in this manner is just despicable and tasteless.

4. “Man on the Roof”/Suspect Caught on CCTV

It’s only natural for people to get crazy paranoid whenever a tragedy like this occurs. People are a bit more wary of others, they are suspicious of anything that looks the least bit out-of-place, and anyone can become a suspect. And honestly, every bit of information that could be actionable should be investigated. But here are two examples of where people jumped to conclusions WAY too fast.

The big one was the image of a man on the roof. College student Dan Lampariello snapped the photo just as one of the bombs exploded. Just imagine the level of speculation around the image of someone with a bird’s-eye view just as the bombs exploded. But is there anything about the image that would even remotely make the figure seem to be a part of a domestic terror attack? He doesn’t look like someone who wanted to watch his handiwork (as he is leaving just as things are going down), and those chairs behind him look perfect for just enjoying the fresh air. Turns out, that’s exactly what it was. A correspondent with the International Data Group (IDG) news service confirmed that the man photographed was walking on a balcony that adjoins IDG offices, an area where workers commonly take breaks.

Another image that incited major speculation was that of a man caught on a CCTV camera. Looks pretty incriminating, doesn’t it? Only problem is that this image is from all the way back in August 2011, all the way from Oakham, the county town of Rutland, East Midlands, England. Wrong year. Wrong country.Wrong man.

And truthfully, what actionable information could you get from this image? It is a person in dark clothes and a ski mask. You can’t even be sure if it is a man or woman. There is nothing else distinguishing in the image, not even of where it is taken. And that’s why it is the perfect image to use for a hoax. I wouldn’t be surprised if this same image was used again to stoke fear in the future.

5. It Was a Drill/Exercise In “Locking Down” a City

I think this assertion is the most egregious and the most harmful. It is also based off of at least an iota of fact. The Boston Bomb Squad ran a drill that same morning. Odd? Yeah, I’ll give you that. It’s a big coincidence. Some also claim that there were bomb sniffing dogs and the start and end of the race. So the government knew that this was going to happen, didn’t they?

They knew because they did it! They decided to take the idea of a drill and kick it up a notch. Setup a bombing, hurt a few people, and then run through an exercise in locking down a major U.S. city. We can keep everyone confined to their homes, even search door-to-door for the assailant. And judging by the country’s reaction, we’ll know how to best overturn liberty and make the country a policed state.

Brilliant plan. Cobra Commander is on to something with this one (I apologize for the G.I. Joe reference, but I just recently saw the new movie, and that plan is WAY to similar to something that would take place in one of those films.)
This is why I have a problem with conspiracy theorists. I’m all for blowing the whistle when something is wrong or when the public is being lied to. I believe that the government does some pretty shady things sometimes, and I fully believe that there is a lot that the government does in secret (for our own protection or otherwise). But perpetually searching for the boogeyman just makes you look like a loon. And the time that you finally get it right, no one will believe you because your credibility will be shot.

So to all of you conspiracy theorists, please do everyone a favor and join us in the world of reason and rationality. If you’ve got proof that something is awry, by all means, rally the troops and fight for truth, justice, and the American way. Otherwise, keep your cuckoo conspiracies to yourself so that we can keep the focus where it should be: the citizens of Boston.

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Daren W. Jackson

Co-Founder/Editor
Daren is one half of the Water Cooler Convos team. He's a writer, music connoisseur, and comic book geek who spends his free time working on his novel and other short stories.

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