A person claiming to be a survivor of the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida says their own father believes that the incident was a hoax and the shooter was “a radical commie actor.”
The claim was made in an anonymous post on the QAnon Casualties thread on Reddit, and the poster did not use their main account to avoid giving away any “identifying info.” When VICE News contacted the author, they said: “I’m a bit scared outing my identity when it might be picked up by a Q forum.”
“I think my dad has gone fucking insane. It's going way too far and I have trouble processing the last 5 months. He's always been very conservative, but now QAnon has consumed his life to the point where it's tearing our family apart along with my mental health,” the author of the post wrote.
The poster claims to have been a student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland during the 2018 mass shooting in which 17 people were killed.
UPDATE: The author’s identity has been confirmed by VICE News, but we are withholding it out of concerns about attacks from QAnon forums.
The author says their father has been into QAnon for a while, but until earlier this year, had not entertained the specific conspiracy theory about school shootings being staged by crisis actors.
That all changed when he saw a video from Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
“Back in January he saw the video of Marjorie Taylor Greene harassing David Hogg about the shooting being a false-flag operation, and while my dad was already into Q, he'd never gone down that particular rabbit hole and now he's convinced everything was a hoax and it breaks my fucking heart.”
Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, has become a prominent gun control activist since the shooting. He was in Washington, D.C. in March 2019 when he was accosted by Greene, who posted a video of their encounter to her social media accounts.
“He’s a coward” Green told her followers, while berating Hogg and making baseless and unfounded allegations about the shooting being a hoax, including the claim he was funded by George Soros.
“He can't say one word because he can't defend his stance,” Greene adds in the video, which was uncovered in January of this year.
Greene, who was this week suspended from Twitter for posting COVID-19 misinformation, defended her actions at the time. But for the Reddit user, the video triggered five months of hell.
“What's really fucked is that he knows I never want to hear about [the shooter] or see his face ever again,” the poster wrote. “I've been very clear on that and I always leave the room when he starts talking about him. I keep telling him to please, please fucking stop but there's no reaction or empathy whatsoever.”
“Even burgundy colored T-shirts [the color shirt worn by the shooter] makes me uncomfortable and he used to be so understanding he stopped wearing it around me. That person is completely gone and I miss him so fucking much.”
The poster says their father’s actions triggered the return of survivor’s guilt, something they had worked hard to overcome.
“I can't take more of him berating me and purposely trying to trigger me to see if my ptsd is real or not. He's seen me break down and cry my eyes out multiple times which I never ever did before. Sometimes I wonder if he's hit his head or had a fucking stroke because I almost can't believe it's the same person. What the fuck is QAnon doing to people??”
The poster said their breaking point came earlier this week when they borrowed their younger brother’s iPad and found he’d searched for “stoneman douglas fake proof” and “stoneman douglas real dead body.”
The poster says they have no idea how to deal with the situation but said they found the QAnon Casualties subreddit helpful.
Over the last two years, the QAnon Casualties page has become one of the main resources for family members of QAnon believers seeking help from people in similar situations. Numerous people have shared heartbreaking and horrifying stories about how their families have been torn apart by the conspiracy cult.
The baseless claim that school shootings are fake are just one of the multitude of conspiracies that have been folded into the wider QAnon movement, which believes that former President Donald Trump is waging a secret war to unmask a group of Democrats and Hollywood elites who are running an underground child sex trafficking ring.
The author finished their post saying that they had considered getting physical with they father, but instead attempts to appeal to his emotional side.
“I try to remind him to look back at the texts I sent when I was 100% sure the shooter was about to enter our classroom,” the person wrote. “I ask him to look me in the eyes and still argue I’m able to fake what I wrote in those messages, but no luck.”