You probably clicked on this article wondering about the relevance of the Reichstag fire to current events.
If you didn’t, then this would be a good question to ask.
The Reichstag fire occurred in February of 1933, just after Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany. The Reichstag fire was an arson attack on the Reichstag building, the assembly location of Germany’s Parliament, supposedly by a Dutch arsonist named Marinus van der Lubbe, who was caught at the scene of the fire.
The Nazis arrested him, accused him of being a communist subversive, and used this ‘terrorist’ attack as propaganda for their political interests. Hitler urged von Hindenburg to implement a civil decree to arrest political rivals, which enhanced Hitler’s political influence over Germany.
This historical event is commonly known as a ‘false flag’ operation. US conspiracy theorists are infamously known for making grandiose claims about every tragic event in the United States as being a potential false flag operation. These outrageous claims include the notion that 9/11 was an inside job, the US Government wants to take your guns, implement martial law, initiate New World Order, and place Americans in FEMA camps with the President, whomever he may be, as the Antichrist. Usually Godwin’s Law comes into play when people begin comparing the President of the United States to Hitler.
For those who are reading this in the future, people actually believed in these absurd conspiracy theories after events involving gun violence, which brought more harm than good for those who were personally affected by tragedies involving mass death and casualties, especially the victims’ families.
On June 12, 2016 there was a shooting in Orlando that resulted in 49 people dead and over 50 other people wounded. On June 1, 2016 there was a shooting at UCLA involving a disgruntled PhD student shooting his professor. On June 8th, there was a shooting in a mall in Tel Aviv. The list could go on and on about recent mass shootings in the United States and other regions in the world, but four other shootings that most Americans can still recall are those at the Aurora movie theater, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Virginia Tech, and Columbine.
Thanks to social media, we can observe how people across the United States have responded to these tragic events. Unfortunately, it has not been an uphill progression. After the Columbine shootings, people began to speculate the root causes for such a tragic event, discuss potential ways of remedying this issue, and sought to prevent further mass shootings in the United States. There were theories that bullying, social climate, and mental health were factors responsible for the Columbine shooting. However, there was also an absurd speculation that video games and music made by Marilyn Manson also had a role for the shooting.
After the Virginia Tech shootings, it became more and more apparent that the issue responsible for this event resided in the underlying mental issues associated with Seung Hui Cho and his access to firearms. This was when the debate about gun politics became more apparent in American political discussion. One side of the debate calls for more regulation in the distribution of firearms, believing that certain individuals should not have access to firearms. On the other side, the NRA blames the lack of firearms for casualties in mass shootings.
As a result of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado, a handful of vocal conspiracy theorists, influenced by the fear mongering Alex Jones, claimed these events were staged by the US Government to enforce martial law. There were still the same discussions about the sale and distribution of firearms with regard to whether or not the presence of more or fewer firearms could have prevented the shootings in Newtown and Aurora. However, there was additional speculation, including further conspiracy theories and Bill Maher’s suggestion that sexual frustration may have been the motivating factor behind the psyche of mass shooters.
The common theme in the aftermath of mass shootings in the United States is inactivity. Here you have people speculating the root causes for mass shootings, journalists writing sensationalist articles that appeals to fear mongering and conspiracy theories, politicians politicizing these tragedies to acquire votes (Trump and Clinton), and Conservatives and Liberals blaming and marginalizing a specific group of people for gun violence (be it white male, radical Islamist, goth gamer, etc.). Finger pointing, speculation, and public discussion on the topic of gun rights, mass shooting, and terrorism have been going on for over a decade and it has not brought about an uphill progression.
With the exception of the change in police tactics, nothing significant has been done to address America’s problem with mass shootings.
Talk is cheap. The open discussion on social media and the sensational opinion editorials in the New York Times have done nothing to prevent the deaths of innocent people in the hands of mass shooters. People and politicians are unable to concede and compromise in the discussion for greater gun control, mental health, immigration, religious extremism, privacy and security.
Until serious measures are implemented on the federal or state level to redress the underlying issues behind mass shootings, more innocent people will die.
That’s the cold heart truth.
Such is life.