This is almost too horrible to believe:
Bill’s final semester at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was already difficult enough.
He was part of the final graduating class of survivors of the 2018 shooting, and they all had just marked the third anniversary of the day 17 people were killed, nine of whom were Bill’s classmates.
But Bill also had to deal with his father’s daily accusations that the shooting was a hoax and that the shooter, Bill, and all his classmates were paid pawns in a grand conspiracy orchestrated by some shadowy force.
Bill had worked hard to get over his survivor’s guilt after the shooting, but for the past five months, his own father has been triggering it all over again.
“He’ll say stuff like this straight to my face whenever he’s drinking: ‘You’re a real piece of work to be able to sit here and act like nothing ever happened if it wasn’t a hoax. Shame on you for being part of it and putting your family through it too,” Bill said in an anonymous post on Reddit last week.’
Bill first posted his story on QAnon Casualties, a Reddit thread dedicated to helping family members and friends of QAnon believers.
VICE News spoke to the poster and confirmed the author’s claims about being a survivor of the school shooting. Bill is not the student’s real name as they only spoke to VICE News on the condition of anonymity, citing concerns about attacks from members of QAnon forums if his identity was revealed.
As is true for many who fell down the QAnon rabbit hole in recent years, Bill’s dad’s descent coincided with the pandemic.
“It started a couple months into the pandemic with the whole anti-lockdown protests,” Bill said. “His feelings were so strong it turned into facts for him. So if he didn’t like having to wear masks it wouldn’t matter what doctors or scientists said. Anything that contradicted his feelings was wrong. So he turned to the internet to find like-minded people which led him to QAnon.”
Thanks Tucker Carlson, Alex Berenson, Mark Zuckerberg, and assorted Russian troll farms! The extent to which your democracy-destroying lies are now becoming the conventional wisdom of the American right wing must be deeply gratifying to all of you personally, as well of course as to your bank balances.
But until January, that was as far as it went. Then Bill’s father saw a video of Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene harassing Parkland survivor David Hogg in 2018, while he was visiting Washington to advocate for stricter gun control. Greene has repeatedly voiced support for QAnon and claimed the Parkland shooting was a hoax.
“He is a coward,” Greene told her followers.
Ever since then, Bill’s father has become convinced the shooting his son survived was a so-called “false flag” event and that the shooter was “a radical commie actor.”
“From there it snowballed into what he is today, believing that if the government is able to overthrow an election, then everything else is probably a lie too,” Bill added.
Bill is 18, and now that he’s graduated high school he’s looking to get out of the toxic situation he finds himself in.
“I do have options that can have me out before August, which as of now I’m planning to do,” Bill said. “I’ve been delaying it because I’ve felt stuck trying to ‘fix’ my dad.”
But Bill said that after he posted his story on Reddit, members of the QAnon Casualties community have been able to help him “push through that obligation I felt and leave before I completely lose my mind, because I’m already halfway there.”
The people behind America’s right wing propaganda networks are the worst people in the world.