Last month, I wrote a post about the fact that we are now living in a post-truth world and I talked about how you could actually use this to your advantage to build something akin to a cult using persuasion strategies. It’s been a pretty popular page on my blog and the email itself was one I received a lot of positive comments about.
Looking back at it today, I would recommend that you go read it because it teaches you a pretty solid audience building and engagement strategy.
But why was I looking back at it?
Last week, the awful tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida has kicked off considerable debate on social media and it is frankly impossible not to see it or get involved in it.
I’m not interested in your politics and I’m pretty sure you don’t care about mine, but when things like this happen, my experience is that about a week after the event, the really stupid nutjobs start surfacing.
In this instance, the idiocy of this tragic event has made its appearance in the last couple of days as predominantly right-wing pro-gun advocates have started suggesting that some of the students who’ve spoken out in the aftermath of this tragedy are “crisis actors” and don’t really attend the school. Their suggestion is that these “actors” are plants by the anti-gun lobby to whip up a frenzy to take away everyone’s guns.
I’m going to start by talking about the absurdity of this position, then I’ll get into why I think these fools hold this position and then I’ll summarize.
Like many conspiracy theories, this one is ridiculous.
There are 3000 students at that high school and over 100 faculty. They are under the American media’s spotlight and they are, in many ways having to go through this period or trauma and grief in a very public way. Some of the kids and parents have chosen to publicly state their point of the need for greater gun-control in America.
The idea that somehow “the insidious left” who are trying to “strip away God-given rights” have planted actors posing as students from this school is insane. Do you really think that 3000 students, all their parents and family plus over 100 members of faculty are in on this too? Do you think they had a meeting and sent around memos about it?
There is no way that in this day and age that these many people at a moment of such tragedy could participate in a conspiracy like this OR nobody would stand up on Twitter, Facebook or on TV and say, “Hey, that person isn’t actually a student at this school.”
You simply just can’t manufacture a situation like that and I saw one idiot appear in my FB feed questioning whether this was all a “Deep State” hoax and that there was no actual shooting, that this was all just a ruse to take guns away.
I immediately reported that person’s post to Facebook and blocked them – I hope they banish his account forever, that’s disgusting.
So now, why do I think these people hold these lunatic positions?
It’s easy and it’s something I’ve talked about before – cognitive dissonance.
The people who are perpetuating and sharing these theories have had their own version of reality shattered by this tragedy. For the most part, they are decent people who believe that they have a fundamental right to own a gun. They can’t comprehend how they can be a decent person who likes guns but other legal gun owners end up going on killing sprees and worse, going into schools and murdering children.
They can’t quite make those things jive in their minds – they are a gun owner, they are a good person, how can other people like them do such heinous things?
That’s why “mental illness” is such a popular rationale and on the surface, common sense would suggest that sane people don’t behave like this. That’s not necessarily true, but let’s move on…
Another popular one is “psychotropic drugs” are to blame. The logic goes that many of these people are mentally ill and have been on meds for years which led to this homicidal rampage. Millions of people around the world take these drugs and they don’t turn into school shooters, that only happens in America.
Again, these people are looking for something, anything, to stitch their fractured view of the world back together again and make sense of reality and rationalize what they are seeing with what they believe.
The vast, overwhelming majority of people who do this aren’t bad people, they are just mentally processing this tragedy in a way to help them make sense of it.
They’re suffering cognitive dissonance.
But some people, they are bad and stupid. Like the guy I reported and blocked on Facebook. These people need to be cut out like cancer so you never have to deal with them anymore.
There is no upside to allowing these people to steal your attention for one second. When someone is that broken, they aren’t a good person, they aren’t good customers, they aren’t good audience members and they aren’t good business partners.
They are bad people whose minds are vile. Their first thought is to think the worst of humanity and they make everything awful.
Get rid of them. These people are toxic, they will poison your mind and upset your inner peace. No good can come from them.
They are like a fire that threatens everything around it, you need to starve them of oxygen by not allowing yourself to pay attention to them.
Cut toxic, stupid people out of your life wherever possible, you’ll thank me for it.