The case of Matthew Taylor Coleman is one of the most shocking, eye-opening examples ever of the power of internet brainwashing.
The surf instructor was, by all accounts, a nice guy, a good provider, and a loving father… and yet he’s in prison because authorities believe he abducted his own young children, drove them down to Mexico, and brutally murdered them with a speargun.
Unlike many instances of someone snapping and committing violence against strangers or loved ones, which can be impossible to ever untangle, this case is remarkably simple. According to the FBI, Coleman revealed exactly what drove him to commit these unthinkable acts; QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories he was reading on the internet. According to their report, he told them he believed 2-year-old Kaleo and 10-month-old Roxy had “serpent DNA” from their mother and were going to turn into monsters. He believed killing them was “the only course of action that would save the world.”
Where did he get such disturbing ideas? The internet of course.
One of the big questions we’ve had since this horrific story first broke is how no one around the previously level-headed business owner noticed he was falling down this dangerous rabbit hole. The answer is, they did.
A friend who has known Coleman since childhood told People he was well aware of how deep into this world he was getting:
“It was obvious that he was spending a lot of brainpower on it. He was constantly checking those sites on his phone. He spent hours each day just glued to his phone looking at that stuff.”
Not only that, this confidant says the 40-year-old was far from shy about talking about his new obsession:
“He’d read me things off his phone and say, ‘Listen to this one.’ And then he’d show me other posts of other people who believed the strangest things.”
Those strange things, for those who don’t know, largely feature around enormous cults of satan-worshipping child molesters, with Donald Trump being a secretly heroic figure who was fighting behind the scenes to arrest them all. (As though the former president has ever done anything remotely popular without bragging about it.) As for why there’s no evidence of any of this widespread evil? Oh, that’s because the conspiracy is so widespread that it controls the entire media landscape, the government, everything. Basically everyone you heard from that said this was debunked (or just plain ludicrous) was part of the cult. Naturally, the only place to go to learn what’s really going on? The Q message boards. You know, the same place that claimed Trump was going to be reinstated as president this past summer. Sigh. (Yep, that’s how this particular chain of theories works. Conveniently shielded from any possible criticism!)
This was the type of thing Coleman was reading for hours every day. And he is far from alone. Unfortunately all too many people are buying into this crap.
When Trump consistently bashed the press as the “enemy of the people” we highly doubt he intended these kind of twisted conspiracy theories to flower from those seeds of mistrust; he was just looking to cast doubt on the inevitable reports about his wrongdoing. But he didn’t deny it either. He didn’t call it out for the dangerous nonsense it was. Because it fed into his narrative that he was the only one you could trust. Everyone else was against him, everyone else was an enemy.
For Coleman, according to the indictment on murder charges filed last month, that view of the world as an impossibly large conspiracy eventually extended as close as it could get: to his wife and children.
Now we know it was something those close to him were hearing about. So why didn’t they act? Coleman’s wife still has not spoken out about the ordeal or what she saw. But the friend told People:
“It was an obsession for him. But no one knew how serious it was. Now I wish I had pushed back a little more and maybe stopped a tragedy.”
We can’t help but wonder how many other folks are in the same position as this friend right now. How many are ignoring their loved ones’ growing obsessions with QAnon and other conspiracy theories, with their talk of increasingly scary and dangerous responses to these fictions.
Because it’s easier than confronting it. Because it’s easier to have faith it’s just a passing phase. Because it’s all too silly for them to really believe all that stuff they’re being told. Sadly, that’s the truth we’ve all been guilty of at some point or another, but now we see why it’s so important to reach out when a loved one is falling prey to dangerous disinformation.
To be clear, the blame here is NOT on his wife or friends. HE, and those creating said dangerous disinformation (just like a drug dealer), would be the ones responsible if guilty (of course, legally speaking, he alone would be held responsible, but morally speaking, those pushing Q are complicit). We just hope this story serves as a wake-up call for anyone who keeps dismissing the threat of these Q theories. Otherwise, how many more Matthew Taylor Colemans are we going to see in the next few years if the rest of us don’t start speaking up more? Just recently, a man allegedly killed his brother because he was a pharmacist, and so the alleged murderer thought his pharmacist brother was killing people by giving them the vaccine. WTF.
If you need help on where to start when it comes to dealing with loved ones and disinfo, CLICK HERE for one resource. And remember, violence is never the answer.
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