Jesse Walker on Riots and Conspiracy Theories


When the protests in Baltimore first turned violent, the local government rushed to blame "outside agitators" for the trouble. When that narrative fell apart, official circles shifted without pause into another dubious story, one where the city's gangs were supposedly plotting to "take out" cops.

This shouldn't be surprising, Jesse Walker writes: Riots almost always spark conspiracy theories, and not just out on the fringes of society. Elites have frequently feared that a covert force—perhaps agitating from outside their community's walls, perhaps lurking in some subterranean place at home—is instigating unrest.