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Where are We Going? And Why am I in This Handbasket?

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It was heartening to see so many in the media rush to point out that, in the immediate aftermath of the horrific explosions at the Boston Marathon last Monday, so many people — runners, cops, spectators — rushed toward the chaos to help the injured, despite knowing that anything could happen next.

We’re gripping tightly to the thought that so many people didn’t hesitate to help, given what so many right-wing lunatics were rushing to do instead. It took only minutes for the first conservative conspiracy theories to start pinballing around the Internet. Too many conservatives are twisted enough to take any tragedy — from Boston to Newtown to Aurora — and turn it into an opportunity to prance.

Was there a Facebook page set up to memorialize the victims two days before the explosions went off? Is Obama behind this? Family Guy? Unbelievably, the first question Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick received at the news conference after the attack was “Was this another false flag staged attack to take our civil liberties?” (Note the clever use of the word “another” in that question, presupposing that there have been others.) The governor was quick to respond with a terse “No.” We agree with Rex Huppke, writing in the Chicago Tribune, who gave the governor credit for restraint for not answering, “No, you idiot.” We can think of a few other impolite words Patrick could have said.

And it wasn’t just the conspiracies that were turning our stomachs. A FOX News guest, Erik Rush, helpfully tweeted — before the FBI even had any suspects — that Muslims were “evil” and we should “kill them all.” A Wall Street Journalist tore Obama apart for daring to make a statement instead of parroting John Boehner’s “moment of silence.” (Though we’ll admit it’s helpful whenever Boehner decides to shut up.)

Patrick Dollard, a contributor to Breitbart News, wasted no time tweeting his claim that “GEORGE BUSH KEPT US SAFE FOR 8 YEARS.” Who is he blaming that whole “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US” memo fiasco on? Jimmy Carter?

We suppose, given what happened after Newtown and what happened after Aurora (and countless other tragedies), that we really shouldn’t be surprised. And social media and the 24-hour news cycle are just making things worse.

Or was it always like this, and we just weren’t paying attention? Let’s take a quick trip into the recent and not-so-recent past and try to figure out: What conservative conspiracies have we missed over the years? What do YOU think?

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