Ben Collins is a reporter for NBC News. He says he works the “dystopian beat”. By that, he means he follows the crazies, I assume mostly the radical right. This afternoon, he shared some of what he’s found:
Over the last few years, I kept in touch with some QAnon supporters through DMs [Twitter direct messages], checking in on them to see if they’d ever come out of it when their next doomsday came and went.
They’d typically first message me calling me a Satanic pedophile. I’d ignore it and ask questions.
Usually they would draw hard lines. A big one was D5, which everyone thought would be mass arrests on December 5th two years ago. Didn’t happen, didn’t matter.
It’s about belief, anticipation, an advent calendar. One day soon, their problems would be fixed.
I would check in the week after the failed doomsdays. They’d point to a Q post like scripture, and say some ridiculous event proved it was still happening. An earthquake somewhere, a service interruption on Gmail.
I learned something: these people don’t want to be humiliated.
So many Q people have staked their entire identities on this. There are no real-life happy endings with QAnon, especially true believers. Just constant embarrassment and almost surgical extrication from friends or family.
So they retreat back to Q forums and pray for executions [executions of Q followers to confirm their fears?].
There are a lot of QAnon influencers saying the 20th is their last stand, that if Biden is inaugurated they’ll admit they’ve been conned. But they won’t. They’ll equivocate and buck-pass. They’ll find secret patterns in his speech and say he was secretly arrested [what???]. It’ll continue.
QAnon is a deeply pathetic and embarrassing thing to believe. For believers, there is safety from that embarrassment in increasingly volatile and toxic online communities. Getting people out of it safely is going to be very hard, but important.
I’d reach back out to some of those Q people, but they’re banned from this site now.
They grew to like me. I wasn’t a Satanic, blood-drinking pedophile . . . they wanted to save me.
Because, remember, they think they’re the good guys.