The problem with all things theoretical

Caitlyn Mckinzie, Feature Editor

What is really in Mr. Buchli’s supply closet? Does Liberty have its own cryptid in the retired Mr. Thruelsen and his scooter? If a poor TA is sent searching for “skyhooks,” will they ever find them?

Liberty has its own odd rumors, as well as a collection of lies upperclassmen tell the freshmen. They’re all relatively harmless, with the worst causing a slight time inconvenience.

“As a student teacher, my mentor teacher let me in on a little secret,” English teacher Henry Level said. “If a teacher had a TA who had nothing to do, they might ask the TA to get something odd from another teacher. And that teacher would send them to another, and so on, until they caught on or just came back. It was all in good fun.”

However, these examples are small things told to a select audience. What happens when the rumors aren’t so small? When they’re broadcasted to an entire country?

The result can be far less innocent. Take the 2016 Pizzagate conspiracy, which started out as nonsense on the internet message board 4Chan.

According to TIME magazine, on December 4, 2016, a twenty-eight-year-old man was arrested for walking into a Washington, D.C. pizza place with an assault rifle. He claimed he wanted to investigate the rumors that the restaurant was running a pedophile ring from its basement. Bill and Hillary Clinton were helping run this ring, or so the story went. He wanted to see it for himself and save the children.

Yes, this is a drastic example of a theory being taken too far. But even then, his heart was in the right place, right? Isn’t everyone’s heart in the right place in their own mind?

There is something to be said for what could’ve happened in other situations, though. Like when college student Matty Roberts began the Facebook event joke of “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” and nearly two million people signed onto it.

People have been theorizing about what really lies inside the military base for decades. Aliens, weapons, alien weapons, who knows? If it can be thought up, someone has said it’s in that base. This joke took hold on all those who believed these things and put some dangerous ideas into their heads.

As mentioned by the New York Times, even the creator of the event was concerned about what the outcome might be. So, Roberts decided to plan a large ‘Alienstock’ music festival nearby and encouraged people to go there as an alternative. He had good reason to be nervous—out of almost two million people, there are bound to be fanatics. One of those people could have tried something dangerous like the Pizzagate incident and gotten hurt.

Conspiracy theories and rumors like these are dangerous when taken too far. There is a certain point when they must be shut down or simply not allowed to take root in the first place. Once people start getting serious about them, and they become something more than a joke, they can start causing problems. Even small-scale ones, such as rumors here at Liberty, could stand to be reigned back a little, primarily the ones that dig into staff and fellow students’ personal lives.

So circle back to Liberty, to the smaller things, and think about whether something really needs to be known. Maybe it’s best not to know if Mr. MacIntosh has a secret job or what Ms. Daughters once found on her classroom floor. But there is one thing, according to an old backpage article of this very paper, that is certain.

Mr. Buchli’s supply closet holds a former Liberty teacher who collects DNA from students’ backpacks on test days to create the perfect student.