Usually when trolls pounce on mass-shooting survivors, they hide behind their keyboards. But after the massacre in Florida last week, Infowars sent a professional conspiracy theorist to the grieving community.
After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week, Laura Loomer accused students who spoke out against gun violence of being puppets. “It’s obvious these kids are reading a screen or notes someone else wrote for them,” Loomer tweeted of students who spoke out against gun violence. “Notice how media is only talking to the same group of students. They aren’t talking to the pro gun ROTC students who actually saved lives, unlike these students.” Hours later, she was outside a community meeting in Parkland, confronting a congressman who led a meeting on gun safety and sending the footage to InfoWars.
Loomer is part of a growing cadre of internet personalities who rush to describe mass-shootings as hoaxes or cover-ups perpetrated to strip Americans of their guns. After a gunman opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas in October, killing 58 and wounding hundreds more, Loomer falsely implied the shooter was ISIS-affiliated, and that the FBI was covering up his terrorist ties.
Now Loomer is in Parkland on InfoWars’ behalf.
Hours after accusing Stoneman Douglas students of conspiring with other people to denounce gun violence, she confronted the district’s congressman outside a community meeting on gun violence.
Loomer accused Rep. Ted Deutch of lying to constituents by calling AR-15s “assault” weapons and describing them as banned until 2004. Deutch is a Democrat, Loomer is a registered Republican.
“You’re calling them assault weapons,” Loomer told Deutch in the InfoWars video. “You telling them, you’re lying to them that they [guns] were banned in 2004, the guns were not banned, what was banned were the suppressors and the accessories, so why are you lying to your constituents about gun control?”But despite Loomer’s on-camera claims that only certain magazines (not specific guns) were banned until 2004, the actual 1994 law prohibited the manufacture, possession or trade of semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15, with exceptions for people who already owned the gun.
Loomer also accused Deutch of not wanting to “hold the FBI accountable” for the shooting. After Deutch walked away calling Loomer’s remarks insensitive, Loomer launched into a monologue about Democrats using the FBI as “a propaganda machine,” allegedly to work against President Donald Trump.
On Wednesday afternoon, even Loomer claimed CNN was rehearsing a town-hall debate with shooting survivors and the NRA.
Loomer is no stranger to conspiracy theories. When a real ISIS-affiliated man killed eight people with a car in New York last Halloween, Loomer went on an anti-Muslim Twitter tirade, tweeting a picture of two women in hijabs and claiming “Muslims are out in full force at the scene of the NYC #ISIS attack today rubbing it in everyone's face. Aimlessly walking around in hijabs.” She complained of Muslims driving Ubers. Last spring, she recently interrupted a production of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, claiming the production was anti-Trump.
InfoWars, where Loomer sometimes reports, has accused authorities of staging multiple mass-shootings. The site’s founder Alex Jones spearheaded a conspiracy accusing the 2014 mass-shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School of being a “false flag.” Jones claimed the dead children and their grieving families were in fact fake, or portrayed by actors. After the Las Vegas shooting, an InfoWars anchor used the show to suggest the massacre was a false flag planted by Democrats who wanted to take Americans’ guns.
“I’m an investigative journalist, I don’t want to give away everything I’m going to be asking about or looking for or doing while I’m there...as enthusiastically and as seriously as I did with the Las Vegas shooting,” Loomer said on Periscope. “My investigative journalism is great, I know I get results,” she added before asking for donations.
She later characterized Deutch, who walked away from her during the interview, as violent and called for him be investigated.
“Honestly, I thought he was going to physically attack me … this congressman Ted Deutch is out of control. He got in my face several times, he was screaming at me. He wouldn’t even let me ask him a question. He slammed the car door in my face. I mean, if this guy is an elected official, I think, personally, he should be investigated,” Loomer said during a Periscope with Jason Goodman, who formerly was banned from YouTube and has also worked with Loomer on the Las Vegas shooting story.
After Loomer uploaded her interview with Deutch, her Twitter account was suspended for a week over one of her tweets that “referred to Islamic immigrants raping women,” Loomer wrote in her blog.“However, I believe that this 7 day ban was meant to punish me for posting a video I filmed yesterday in which I confronted Democratic Congressman Deutch, who is lying to his constituents, telling them AR-15s are assault weapons and were banned before 2004 (all of which is a lie).
The video, uploaded to Alex Jones’ YouTube channel, ends with an advertisement for InfoWars-brand toothpaste.
Editor’s Note, 2/22/18: Loomer told The Daily Beast via email, “I am not Alt Right, but I am Jewish, and have publicly denounced the Alt-Right.” We have removed the descriptor.