Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist who once claimed that the 2012 attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, was staged, is now making similarly preposterous claims about the murder of at least 58 people at a country music concert in Las Vegas Sunday night.
Jones used his radio program on Monday to counter assertions made by Nevada law enforcement authorities that the gunman was Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old white male who apparently acted alone and without any political or ideological motive.
Easily shedding the trappings of reality, Jones concocted a customarily lurid and complex tale involving the Islamic State group (ISIS), former Vice President Albert Gore and former CIA official Philip Mudd, among other imagined malefactors. Jones also alluded to “the literal grandchildren of the folks that financed the Bolshevik Revolution out of New York and London,” an elaborate allusion to Jews that none of his devoted fans could have missed.
Jones suggested the attack was staged to coincide with the past weekend’s release of former football player O.J. Simpson from the High Desert State Prison, not far from Las Vegas:
They released O.J. just 20 hours before the attack took place so all the media would come and be in place to cover this event. The whole thing has the hallmarks of being scripted by deep state Democrats and their Islamic allies using mental patient cut-outs.
There is no evidence for any of these claims. There rarely is—but that rarely stops Alex Jones.
To some, Jones is a paranoiac whose views do not deserve coverage in the mainstream media. If only it were so simple. Millions of Americans listen daily to Jones and visit his Infowars website, where they can read about the New World Order and buy male virility supplements. President Donald Trump counted Jones as an early supporter of his insurgent campaign. “I will not let you down,” Trump told Jones in late 2015.
Trump has been uncharacteristically true to his word, frequently engaging in the kind of conspiratorial ideation that has made Jones a celebrity. Jones, in turn, plays to Trump’s vanity by routinely claiming that the deep state—what the far-right calls longtime government officials—and its Democratic enablers are attempting to overthrow Trump in a putsch.
Jones repeated that claim Monday, alluding to “Bolshevik 2,” presumably a reference to a looming socialist revolt in the United States:
I told you over and over again that I believe their November 4th launch terror date was a smokescreen for them to begin launching terror attacks in October. They will get successively more intense until you basically come punch-drunk to them, then they’ll launch their main attack.
It is unclear how Jones knows about “Bolshevik 2” when nobody else does.
NBC’s Megyn Kelly confronted Jones about his Sandy Hook conspiracy theory in June. Jones conceded that “children probably did die” in Sandy Hook, without explicitly apologizing for his repeated suggestion that the mass shooting was a “false flag.”
And while Jones is an especially toxic example of extremist delusion, his views have far more traction than some may want to believe. For example, the far-right news outlet Gateway Pundit said the shooter, whom it misidentified, was “reportedly a Democrat who liked Rachel Maddow, MoveOn.org and associated with anti-Trump Army.” That post was subsequently deleted. Others have sought to portray Paddock as a recent convert to Islam.
A post on Infowars also suggests that there was a “second shooter” in Las Vegas, a perhaps inadvertent reference to conspiracy theories surrounding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Authorities have said there was no second shooter in Las Vegas. It is unclear if Jones knows—or cares.