What I see as another major and typical flaw of these sorts of theories, is that they paint the conspirators as devious and highly capable, and yet also implicitly assume they are poorly planned and relatively incompetent – and somehow fail to keep their secret schemes from being figured out in bar rooms and chat rooms.
For instance, if someone wanted Jeffrey Epstein dead, they waited until a frenzy of publicity had already built and prominent people were getting exposed – yet the FBI was already re-investigating Epstein last year, the sort of thing well-connected actors are supposed to know, and that should have caused a truly devious and ruthless conspiracy to act preemptively.
If Epstein had been murdered in a staged botch robbery in Paris, or his plane had been sabotaged and crashed in the depths of the ocean, none of the exposure and publicity would have occurred, and there wouldn’t be the clamor for further investigations.
The theories against against his suicide, also fail to take into account that he was an unusual personality who was highly controlling, lived by burnishing his reputation, and was very cunning and resourceful.
He was facing life behind bars where he would be targeted by inmates as a pedophile and quite possibly killed, along with the sort of humiliating trial that he had probably seen Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere go through, and then endless civil lawsuits even if he plead guilty to criminal charges; and he had already been pegged as a suicide risk.
Particularly given that he was brilliant and manipulative enough to be able to come up with a way to kill himself even in jail if he wanted to, he can actually be seen a a very high if not even likely suicide risk.
Always a [Slight] Possibility Epstein Was Murdered
By the way, I don’t deny there was some possibility that Epstein was murdered, it is just the least likely scenario.
And if he was, I suspect that it would more likely be the sort of banal thing that history shows is more likely at work, like a brutal guard doing what he thought was a favor to society, than some grand high-level conspiracy.
I suspect that eventually, once the conspiracy theorists have patted themselves on the back for their presumed brilliance and moved on to some new theory, the federal investigation into what happened will show garden-variety neglect and dereliction, particularly as a result of the political system failing to provide adequate resources of manpower and equipment (like working, properly maintained cameras – probably serviced by contractors who got stiffed during the government shutdown) to do the job that we would expect would be done of properly overseeing prisoners.
The Rise of Fatal Rumors
Also, I think it’s time to start considering that conspiracy theories are no longer just a seemingly harmless speculative pastime, when we now know that state actors and their proxies are exploiting social media phenomenon, including conspiracy theorizing, in calculated efforts to influence and undermine free and democratic societies; authoritarian regimes are also using similar strategies in places like Kashmir and Syria. In India, baseless rumors that are rooted in conspiracy theories, such as that Muslims are secretly slaughtering sacred cows, or, somewhat familiarly, that child abduction rings are at work, are spread on social media and are actually resulting in innocent people being harmed and killed:
Social media rumors in India: counting the dead
What’s happening in this country and abroad:
How Russian trolls exploited Parkland mass shooting on social media
“Russian-linked social media accounts exploited the tragedy at a Parkland, Fla., high school to sow discord and deepen divisions in America. Russian bots and trolls pushed conspiracy theories about survivors…”
Cranks, Trolls, and Useful Idiots
“Russia’s information warriors set their sights on Central Europe.”
How Trolls and Conspiracy Theorists Spun the Syrian War
“Digital defenders helped the Assad government cover up its crimes.”
I also ran across this interesting article:
Even Conspiracy Theories Have Gotten Dumber, a New Book Shows
“The New Conspiracism Is Conspiracy Theory Without Theory”
I think that is reflective of what we sort of see from the drive-by trolls who in 2 or 3 sentences make hasty general accusations against anyone dismissive of conspiracy theories, and yet don’t even engage on a single point of actual critique, or defense of the conspiracy theory itself.
And Frank, I think you should start to ban that sort of fact and logic free and thus off-topic activity from anonymous accounts, some of which may actually be being done as disinformation for pay, and thus is in some ways similar to commercial spam, and a bit of which could even be coming from artificial intelligence bots.
Failure in the US Prison System More Likely Than Epstein’s Murder
If you’ve been following developments in the Epstein story, the “fails” turn out to be the result of a prison system that has been understaffed and under-funded for years, and where sub-standard conditions and shortcomings in procedures are unfortunately the new normal, with overworked staff reaching cult-like levels of sleep deprivation (or catching up on their sleep during force-assigned extra shifts when they aren’t even given enough time to go home and get proper rest).
One or more cameras had been broken for a while – perhaps, for instance, because outside contractors who serviced them had been stiffed during the government shutdown – and apparently those sort of failures are now common and go unfixed.
Here’s an article from Fox News, for instance:
Jail where Jeffrey Epstein died has egregious history of security breaches
More background about the underlying causes – which the Fox News piece somehow manages not to address:
After Epstein’s death, long-standing complaints about prison staffing draw new attention
US Prisons are Like Third World Prisons – or Worse
A pre-Epstein article about what really ought to concern us – that our prisons are being turned into gulags like the ones in places such as Russia, Syria and Iran, where besides inhumane treatment of people who may not even have been tried yet and could be innocent, deaths start to become so common that it would:
Prisoners Endure A Nightmare ‘Gulag’ In Lower Manhattan, Hidden In Plain Sight
That said, there’s some possibility that someone exploited the systemic problems to kill Epstein. But he had lots of reasons to kill himself, and the system is no longer functioning the way we expect it would to make such occurrences unlikely; one of the known problems of the last several years is that suicides rates are rising as conditions and controls deteriorate.
A Lesson in Logic
Finally, Actaeon recently wrote a post, No Evidence Jeffrey Epstein Was Murdered or Is Alive.
In response to this post by Actaeon- which argues that Epstein most likely committed suicide, a commenter, using the moniker, Jarhead, had this to say about Actaeon:
“So let us take a guess of who Actaeon may be. Actaeon is white, in his 40’s, college educated. Maybe a law degree. He’s also fat, unattractive to females, and a bit of a social isolate. He’s unattractive to females not because of his girth, but more so because of his arrogance. Actaeon likely is frequently unemployed because he’s intellectually superior to his boss, which leads him to being fired. He is morally superior to everyone, especially Christians, which may suggest that he may have been molested by a priest as a child. He never served in the military, but if he did, he would have been in special operations. He spends a lot of time reading Frank Report and writing the usual opinions of his moral superiority, which suggests that he has no other pro-social outlet.
Jarhead, your logical fallacy is ad hominem.
Ad hominem is when, “You attack your opponent’s character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument.”
“Ad hominem (Latin for “to the person”), short for argumentum ad hominem, typically refers to a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic at hand is avoided by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself…. Fallacious ad hominem reasoning is categorized among informal fallacies, more precisely as a genetic fallacy, a subcategory of fallacies of irrelevance.”
Besides being a typical aspect of culty thinking, it’s characteristic of cults themselves and their cultist members. Note how anyone who criticized NXIVM or Keith Raniere, or even anyone close to Raniere who left him, were bitterly criticized or even attacked.
Trolls Are Present
I suspect that some of the commenters on this website are trolling to get a response – though some of it seems just sort of drive by catcall, or the equivalent of muttering a slur at someone passing by on the street, whatever perverse gratification that gives some people.
Plus then of course there’s the question of paid social media disinformation and disruption agents who, if not here, are actually out in other venues exploiting flaws in the structure of free societies including conspiracy theorizing.
I respond occasionally when it amuses me to do so, or I think it’s an opportunity to call out their tactics. While I know the generally accepted advice is not to feed trolls, my experience is that some of them seem to be discouraged by just having their fundamental boorishness pointed out.
Come to think of it, I think I’m going to start making the point that we need to consider looking at conspiracy theories differently, now that we know that some of them are being stoked as tools of real-world conspiring, attempts by state-level actors to undermine our free and democratic societies.
Or the sisters, Clare and Sara Bronfmans.
Or maybe various cult members lurk here, liking to look down on others as deluded fools, while believing that Ramtha or the reptilian aliens are the real deal.
“So how close did I get, Actaeon? Maybe if you get a life you may feel better about yourself. Join one of those horrible Christian groups on a missionary trip to the Bahamas and help with disaster relief. You may even lose some weight along the way.”