Sometime in the last few weeks, a Minnesota man named David Crowley, his wife and 5-year-old child all died in what police are referring to as an apparent murder-suicide. The bodies were recently found by neighbors who were curious as to why unopened Christmas gifts had piled up at their door. This is not only a horrible, tragic case of domestic violence, but it also looks like what happens when people with pre-existing mental issues such as PTSD or schizophrenia buy wholesale into the conspiracy nonsense peddled by the likes of Alex Jones, Natural News, David Icke and others. More on that in a moment.
When dealing with folks who go well beyond a healthy mistrust of authority and into the world of utter paranoid delusions like believing tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting were staged by the government, it’s sort of a chicken/egg question. Did these people already suffer from some undiagnosed or untreated mental illness, or did being sucked into the world of conspiracy hypotheses cause them to snap – or perhaps it was a little of both?
I can understand some of the conspiracy stories people believe in, like the JFK assassination story or the one that says President Bush allowed 9-11 to happen. When tragic events like these happen, some people turn to these grand conspiracy stories in order to cope with the emotional trauma.
However, believing that other people were involved in the Kennedy assassination or that the government has hidden evidence of extra-terrestrial activity is harmless. Unless you’re utterly obsessed with it as Russell Crowe’s character in “A Beautiful Mind” was, some of these beliefs might cause you to be perceived as slightly eccentric at most. Even the people that believe jet engine contrails are some part of government program to dumb down the population are generally harmless. They’re also fun to lampoon with pages like “Captain Carl the Chemtrail Pilot” and “International Chemtrail Association” that tend to troll up angry, vinegar-spraying people who often type in all caps about chemicals and likely take their dietary advice from someone with a blog on the Internet instead of a trained professional.
Then there are the others, the folks who go beyond thinking a seed company is trying to control the food supply and kill everyone at the same time, to planning for an armed uprising against local, state or federal authorities. This isn’t a new phenomenon either, and it isn’t just in response to United States electing the first president of African descent. This irrational, usually unorganized, and sometimes violent movement goes back to the Oklahoma City bombing, back to the Jonestown Massacre, and one could argue to the Red Scare or even the anti-immigrant Know Nothing Party in American history. However, the Internet has allowed these people to connect and share stories like never before. Someone who might have sat at a local gun show 25 years ago handing out pamphlets about fluoridation of water or Neo-Confederate ideas can now put their ideas in front of potentially millions of people via a Youtube channel or blog. In the case of folks like Alex Jones or Glenn Beck, you can also make millions of dollars doing this.
While the actions and political beliefs of the people who buy into these tales of conspiracy vary, when you boil it down, the core of what they believe is that their government (or the entire world) is controlled by a small group of people often referred to as “the banksters” – which is usually another way of saying “the Jews” or “Zionists” without the risk of immediately coming across as a bigot.
Many of these people are mentally ill but do not translate their irrational paranoia into actual acts of violence. In the case of David Crowley, he had recently appeared on Alex Jones’ “Prison Planet” program to promote his film “Gray State.” The film portrays the United States in the throes of civil unrest, pitting private militias against government forces.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet identified the bodies, but the neighbors identify the family as David Crowley, his wife, Komel Crowley, and their five-year-old daughter.
Prochnow said David Crowley was a filmmaker, who wrote and directed a recent film about the militarization of the U.S. called “Gray State.” Crowley appeared in an online program two years ago to promote the film, which has not been released. The film’s website states a crowd funding campaign raised more than $60,000 to make the film.
Komel Crowley was a self-employed dietitian who operated a business called Mind Body Dietitian. She studied at the University of Minnesota and her LinkedIn page shows she previously worked at Park Nicollet’s Melrose Center, specializing in treating eating disorders. (Source)
According to the Daily Mail (the British version of Fox News so take it with a grain of salt), David Crowley was not only a full-blown conspiracy nut, he also had a large collection of firearms and military paraphernalia. Photos allegedly collected from his Instagram account show him posing with a number of guns and it doesn’t seem as though it was a secret to neighbors that Crowley was into anti-government conspiracy rhetoric.
Of course to many in the conspiracy community, this wasn’t a case of a person in need of mental help who possibly killed himself and his family. Instead, it was the government who was trying to silence him – because to them, everything bad that happens is because of the government. One website called tvoinews.com proclaimed that Crowley was murdered to stop his movie.
This doesn’t add up. How can they call it a murder-suicide and also say, “they are treating the deaths as ‘suspicious’.” Murder suicide my a**.
David Crowley and his family were murdered by those who want to shut down the Gray State project. Help expose what really happened. (Source)
However, Crowley was showing signs of depression according to one member of the film project, and had cut off contact with people a couple of months before the apparent murder-suicide.
“September time… he stopped talking to people,” Hubbel says. “He asked me to stay in touch with him so we could support each other, and he just stopped taking my calls… He was in a place where he needed help, and it was too big for him to help himself.” (Source)
A Facebook page called “Justice For David Crowley” was set up and at the time of this publication, it has about 630 likes. The page claims that David Crowley was murdered by people who were trying to shut down his film. Yet, the movie “Gray State” had been in production off and on for a number of years and had only just released a trailer. Why would anyone, especially the government, kill David Crowley over a movie that was going nowhere? If the government was really trying to silence people like David, wouldn’t Alex Jones, Jesse Ventura and others like them have been eliminated by now? More than anything else, these claims of conspiracy seem to be used to reinvigorate interest and funding for a film by blaming a tragic murder-suicide on federal agencies instead of the likely real culprit, mental illness and depression. A website called The Pontiac Tribune gushes over David Crowley and his project, and pleads with people to help finish what he started. Coincidentally, this link showed up on the Join the Coffee Party Movement Facebook page, a page that used to represent a progressive political party but has since been hijacked by conspiracy nuts and clickbait peddlers.
There are many other people like David Crowley out there who desperately need help, but have been convinced by conspiracy profiteers like Alex Jones or Jesse Ventura that they’re the ones who are sane and everyone else is too blind to see what’s really going on.
Glenn Beck and Alex Jones didn’t put the gun in Crowley’s hand or pull the trigger, but they know that a continual ratcheting up of the rhetoric is necessary to keep their audiences tuned in and bringing in the revenue. Websites like Prison Planet, Infowars, Natural News and others in their niche market capitalize on the mentally ill, and once again, they have blood on their hands.
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