If anyone has turned on the news in this past week, many might have heard the word Pizzagate being thrown around often to describe the reasoning behind the recent shooting at Comet Ping Pong Pizza in Washington, DC, as the shooter claimed he was just trying to "save the kids". What many might not know, however, is that Pizzagate is a complex conspiracy theory that has been brewing for months, and which has now led to an actual crisis.
To break it down, Pizzagate is the conspiracy that this Comet Pizza place actually held an underground satanic child sex-ring. This rumor began circulating a few months ago after Wiki leaks posted emails from John Podesta, the chairman of Hilary Clinton's campaign, and the owner of Comet Pizza. The emails are definitely a little weird, so, of course, people began to investigate and concluded that the random things talked about in the emails were actually code words for child sex slaves and prostitutes, a few decoded words listed below:
“hotdog” = boy
“pizza” = girl
“cheese” = little girl
“pasta” = little boy
“ice cream” = male prostitute
“walnut” = person of color
“map” = semen
“sauce” = orgy
The emails leaked are also listed below for reference:
Furthermore, as this topic began blowing up on social media such as twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit, many began to investigate further into this conspiracy. They concluded that Comet Pizza was closely linked with powerful government officials such as Clinton, Podesta, and had even held Obama fundraisers and other political events in the past, and therefore they were all in on the pedophile sex ring as well. When searching for Pizzagate prior to the shooting, the first thing to come up were large news organizations essentially debunking the entire investigation, calling it "fake news" which of course spurred even more conspiracy theories that the government was trying to cover up their knowledge of Pizzagate's existence. No official investigation was ever actually conducted.
So with the increasing hype surrounding this theory, more and more people joined the "self-investigation" and it became so out of hand that reddit.com ended up taking off any and all information regarding Pizzagate from their website, which of course sparked even more uproar.
Therefore, as these events continued to build up social media and news organizations refused to take any part in it (or even acknowledge it's potential existence), it led to an actual crisis when a man last week decided he needed to go and save these children from Comet's Pizza, and drove from North Carolina to D.C with a gun to put an end to this.
Only when he realizes that there aren't actually children being held hostage there does he surrender, and thankfully before anyone was seriously injured.
So the point to all of this: as wild as conspiracy theories are, sometimes it is better to actually address them and if they are untrue, refute them with solid evidence instead of trying to ignore their existence. Because ultimately, a fake crisis can ( and in this case did) lead to a real one, where all of this could've been prevented from the start.