The 18-year-old said his father has been sucked into the world of QAnon, causing him to question the veracity of the shooting that endangered his own son.
A survivor of the 2018 Parkland school shooting said his father believes the shooting that killed 17 people at his school is an elaborate hoax, reported Vice News. The 18-year-old said his father has been sucked into the world of QAnon, causing him to question the veracity of the shooting that endangered his own son. He first made an anonymous post on Reddit, before speaking to Vice on the condition that his identity is kept anonymous to protect his family from conspiracy theorists. The 18-year-old, who went by the alias Bill, said his father now believes he and his classmates, along with the shooter, were part of "a paid pawns in a grand conspiracy orchestrated by some shadowy force.”
17 students including nine of Bill's classmates were killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Bill said his father went down the QAnon rabbit hole a couple of months into the coronavirus pandemic. He was buying into the theories being floated by 'Q,' including ones that questioned how dangerous the virus really is. “His feelings were so strong it turned into facts for him. So if he didn’t like having to wear masks it wouldn’t matter what doctors or scientists said,” said Bill. “Anything that contradicted his feelings was wrong. So he turned to the internet to find like-minded people which led him to QAnon. I can't take more of him berating me and purposely trying to trigger me to see if my PTSD is real or not. He's seen me break down and cry my eyes out multiple times."
"I think my dad has gone f**king insane," wrote Bill in the Reddit post. "He's always been very conservative, but now QAnon has consumed his life to the point where it's tearing our family apart along with my mental health. Back in January he saw the video of Marjorie Taylor Greene harassing David Hogg (another student) about the shooting being a false-flag operation, and while my dad was already into Q, he'd never gone down that particular rabbit hole and now he's convinced everything was a hoax and it breaks my f*cking heart." Marjorie Taylor Greene has reportedly encouraged QAnon conspiracy theories including ones that schools shooting were hoaxes.
Bill added that his father often accuses him of being part of the hoax. "You're a real piece of work to be able to sit here and act like nothing ever happened if it wasn't a hoax. Shame on you for being part of it and putting your family through it too," Bill's father reportedly tells him whenever he's drinking. "I wonder if he'd still say it if he knew what it does to me. It's bringing back so much of my survivor's guilt. I worked on it for so long and now I once again feel like the biggest piece of sh*t for being able to have good days when there are parents still grieving," wrote Bill, before adding that he can't believe the effect QAnon has on people. "I almost can't believe it's the same person. What the f*ck is QAnon doing to people??" he asked.
The QAnon conspiracy isn't limited to just the school shootings though. “From there it snowballed into what he is today, believing that if the government is able to overthrow an election, then everything else is probably a lie too,” said Bill. He's turned 18 and plans to move out of his parent's home but doesn't know if he'll be able to ever repair the relationship with his Dad. “He'll never stop on his own, because there are always new theories and goalposts being moved,” said Bill. He also doesn't share much about what's happening at home with his friends who survived the shooting. “It wasn't—and still isn't—easy to bottle up, but telling them my dad thinks the absolute hell we went through, where nine of the victims were in our class, is a hoax is not a pain I want to put on them. It's difficult enough knowing that belief even exists at all,” said Bill.