Newtown truthers: Where conspiracy theories come from
Many different psychologies are at play here, from hardcore anti-government paranoids who are likely to see a false-flag operation in everything from Waco to Sandy Hook, to others who are trying to make sense of a nonsensical tragedy. Conspiracy theories often seem entirely irrational or even insane; they may actually be far more logical than they appear. At their core, conspiracy theories are like folk tales, a search for an explanation for the unexplainable, a way of making sense of a world. There’s no logic or meaning to what happened at Sandy Hook — a mentally unbalanced lone gunman targeted defenseless children for no particular reason — and that is deeply disturbing. So some people would rather invent an explanation to apply some kind of (even if twisted) logic to the event and to add meaning to the death of innocent children or deny their death entirely and thus absolve the emotional trauma a bit.
“This narrative is just one way people make sense of disturbing events, though they are making sense of it in a way that’s central to their own worldview,” explained Ilan Shrira, social psychologist at Loyola University in Chicago who has written about 9/11 conspiracy theories for Psychology Today. So if your worldview is anti-government, then you make sense of it by blaming the government.
Conspiracies are big bucks
Lurking behind any conspiracy theory is what Goldberg calls “conspiracy entrepreneurs.”
“These people live and die on the sale of tapes, on books, on speaking engagements, that’s how people make their bread and butter,” Goldberg said. And there’s a constant need to invent new theories, because eventually the public will tire of existing ones. So any time something like Sandy Hook comes along, these people jump on it for their next round of theories.