It's been said that everyone loves a good conspiracy theory. Experts tell us that people use their belief in conspiracies as a way to provide understanding and certainty in an uncertain situation. On my recent trip to Texas for the game, I visited the site of, perhaps, the most famous of all conspiracies: the JFK assassination. Like any good conspiracy, it all started with a selective interpretation of a few facts. Add in a little truth along the way, and soon a narrative can be created that sounds plausible.
For example, many have questioned why an autopsy was never performed in Dallas right after the shooting. His body was rushed onto an airplane and the autopsy wasn't performed until seven hours later at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Md. Conspiracy buffs have long claimed there was a second shooter. The Warren Commission, who was supposed to investigate this incident, never actually looked at the autopsy report findings and just took the word of the doctors. They claimed there was a single assassin, based on the trajectory of the bullet, that came from behind and from some height, like the sixth floor book depository. Add the "grassy knoll" and the "magic bullet" scenarios and you can see the origin of a conspiracy theory that many still believe to this day.
Moving onto 2019, there are some people who tell us that Trump conspired with Russia to steal the 2016 election. Unlike Kennedy, however, this belief in a Trump-Russia conspiracy has no basis in anything resembling the truth. However, that doesn't stop these people from believing this hoax. The alternative would be too abhorrent to contemplate. They would have to accept that their liberal ideas were rejected at the ballot box. No, it is much easier to fantasize that the 2016 election was all just one big mistake. You might say, then, that a person who believes in a Trump-Russia conspiracy has a lot in common with the people who still believe that aliens landed in Roswell, N.M., back in 1947 and we covered it up. They are both kind of "out there."
This column was submitted for consideration in The Forum's search for "the next great columnist."