Armed, empowered—and enthralled with a deadly conspiracy. Chances are, you already don’t trust the police. Polls show that most Americans don’t. But what if the cop patrolling your neighborhood held bizarre and unsubstantiated views? What if there was a chance that officer in the patrol car idling down the block was watching videos about a conspiracy holding that a satanic cabal of high-profile liberal pedophiles is running the world’s most insidious sex ring? Or was swiping through memes popularizing a made-up plot about kidnapped children kept in underground tunnels so their blood can be harvested to help keep wealthy people alive? And what if they sincerely believed it all? In a small but growing number of places across the country, that’s just what is happening, as police officers have endorsed QAnon, the overarching conspiracy theory comprising these beliefs. Nico Roche, an officer in Bellevue, Washington, was put on administrative leave early this summer after it was found that he violated the department’s social media policies for, among other things, posting a picture of himself in riot gear labeled with the QAnon hashtag #WWG1WGA, an abbreviation of the popular Q slogan “Where We Go One, We Go All.” (…) Manicki was even more nonplussed by having his support of QAnon become a topic of controversy. “I, like millions of other people on this planet, enjoy the challenge of attempting to decode the information contained within the Q drops. It’s called ‘Q Research’ for a reason, it requires research to obtain the information encoded within the posts,” Manicki explained to the Times. “I’m merely someone who sits on my couch late at night with my dog on my lap, iPhone in hand, while seeking the truth. Last time I checked, there was nothing wrong with that!” (La Salle police did not return a Mother Jones request for comment.) Like LaSalle’s mayor, some people in power who have been asked to answer for QAnon supporters in their proximity have acted as if the conspiracy is ultimately harmless. But this is a dangerous misconception, especially when it comes to government agents empowered to use force. The logic of the conspiracy theory almost requires its adherents to carry out acts of violence: If you actually believe that elites are harboring scores of children in underground tunnels to rape and steal blood from, taking action to liberate them would be a moral imperative. QAnon supporters at least partially motivated by their belief in the conspiracy theory have plotted to carry out fatal violence acts, or actually done so. In a deep irony, QAnon supporters have actually kidnapped children. The FBI has warned about the potential dangers of QAnon adherents carrying out violence in a document that is designed to be distributed to local law enforcement agencies.
via mother jones: QAnon Is Attracting Cops