Sunday, May 3, 2020

QAnon Believer Arrested For Trying To ‘Take Out’ Joe Biden

A follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory has been arrested by police in New York City for attempting to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. The Illinois woman traveled to New York with more than a dozen illegal knives in an attempt to 'take out' Biden to save children from an alleged Democrat pedophile ring. Biden was never in imminent danger.

Citing law enforcement and the woman's own social media posts, The Daily Beast reports that Jessica Prim, 37, a stripper from Peoria, was arrested on Wednesday after she began acting strangely on a New York pier near the USS Intrepid, a retired aircraft carrier that is now a museum, and attracted the attention of police.

In a Facebook live stream of the arrest, Prim is in her truck and tells police that she thinks she has Coronavirus. As she talks to the officers, she says that she was watching the Coronavirus Task Force press conferences and felt like President Trump “was talking to me.”

She goes on to say that someone sent her a YouTube video that detailed the conspiracy theory that prominent Democrats are involved in a pedophile ring.

“I felt like I had to come here, to this ship, because I need help,” Prim told officers. “I feel like I’m the Coronavirus.” She was apparently trying to get to the USNS Comfort hospital ship, which was departing the following day.

The Facebook video shows officers putting Prim into handcuffs as they explain that she is not under arrest but is being detained as they wait for an ambulance to arrive. At that point, Prim is moved away from the camera in her truck which makes the conversation difficult to understand, but she can be heard wailing in the distance.

Later, she can be heard telling officers, “You should really look at my Facebook. It will explain everything.”

Among the numerous pro-Trump and conspiracy-related posts on Prim’s Facebook page is a post that says, “Hillary Clinton and her assistant[s], Joe Biden and Tony Podesta, need to be taken out in the name of Babylon! I can’t be set free without them gone. Wake me up!”

A separate post calls Mike Pence “the Antichrist” and notes that “if they hurt Trump, Pence becomes president and Pelosi vice president.”

As officers search her vehicle, she yells in the background, “You are violating my rights. I’m not going anywhere.”

In the course of the conversation with police, Prim said she smokes pot every day “throughout the day.”

The New York Post reports that the Secret Service had put out an alert for Prim after she made threatening the Facebook post about Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. Secret Service agents were on the scene when the arrest was made per the report. Prim has since been released and has resumed posting to Facebook.  

After her arrest, Prim was taken to Mount Sinai West for evaluation and is being charged with multiple counts of criminal possession of weapons and marijuana. New York City has very strict knife laws that prohibit blades longer than four inches in public places.

There are numerous lessons to take from the tragic tale of Jessica Prim. The most obvious is that conspiracy theories are not harmless. Conspiracy theories and their close cousin, fake news, can be socially destructive and dangerous especially when paired with drug use and mental illness.

Not all Republicans or Trump supporters embrace conspiracy theories but in recent years many conspiracy theories, from Obama’s birth certificate to Jade Helm to Coronavirus skepticism, have found widespread acceptance among Republicans. QAnon is another one of those conspiracies.

For those who are not familiar with QAnon, it is a conspiracy derived from the Pizzagate conspiracy of 2016, which claimed that Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats were operating a child-sex ring out of a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor.  

Adherents of the QAnon conspiracy believe that an anonymous government official who goes by the pseudonym “Q” is posting messages to social media that detail the secret inner workings of the Trump Administration. This is a world in which President Trump and Robert Mueller were secretly working together to expose and arrest Democratic crimes, including the Pizzagate pedophilia, and treason. If you’ve seen pro-Trump posts saying a storm is coming, that is a reference to QAnon.

It isn’t know how widespread belief in QAnon is among Republicans, but several Republican congressional candidates this year were avowed supporters of the Q conspiracy. Only about 18 percent of Republicans say that they are familiar with the conspiracy.

Since the onset of the pandemic, which they believe was caused by either a Chinese bioweapon or Bill Gates, Q believers have been focused on the field hospitals in New York and the hospital ship Comfort, reports Buzzfeed. The conspiracies surrounding the Comfort may explain Prim’s motives in going to the ship.

Prim’s attempt to kill Biden and Podesta was not the first crime that the conspiracy has spawned. In 2016, a North Carolina man fired several shots into the restaurant named in the Pizzagate conspiracy. Fortunately, no one was injured and the man was arrested.

A few days later, a Louisiana man was arrested for making a threatening phone call to another pizza restaurant in the area. The man said he was “coming there to finish what the other guy didn’t,” per the Daily Beast.

“I’m coming there to save the kids and then I’m going to shoot you and everyone in the place,” the man said.

A second lesson is that the Secret Service pays attention to online threats. Such threats should never be made, even in jest, and are not protected the First Amendment.

Third, don’t do drugs. Marijuana is not the harmless substance that many make it out to be. There is now strong evidence from numerous studies that marijuana use contributes to the development of schizophrenia, paranoia, and other mental disorders. This is especially true among adolescents and young adults.

Not all of the details about Jessica Prim and her mission to kill Joe Biden are public, but we do know that it was related to the QAnon conspiracy theory and that she was a heavy marijuana user. Her experience is a cautionary tale that both should be avoided, especially in combination with one another. Responsible people should “just say no” to drugs and conspiracy beliefs.

Originally published on The Resurgent

No comments: