A frail old man afflicted with numerous physical ailments goes to sleep and doesn’t wake up — so of course, there’s no other possible explanation except he fell victim to a nefarious conspiracy to assassinate him.
Well…perhaps there are, indeed, other “possible” explanations. Other scenarios based on the available evidence suggest Justice Antonin Scalia succumbed to a heart attack, or some other natural death such as a stroke, or embolism, or blood clot that broke free and entered his heart.
But, c’mon — how exciting are those causes of death? B-o-r-i-n-g. The fact is, some of us live lives of such quiet desperation that we need the thrilling drama of conspiracy to remind us that we’re alive. Plus, as pointed out in Richard Hofstadter’s seminal work on conspiracies in politics, part of the thrill of believing in conspiracy is that it gives the individual the feeling that he has specialized knowledge that no one else is privy to. This reinforces the delusion, causing the conspiracist to fall ever deeper into the pit.
So, OK, let me play the conspiracy game — logically, reasonably, but with some imagination.
The major proving points for a Scalia assassination appear to be: 1) no autopsy was performed; and 2) a pillow was reportedly found over Scalia’s face when his body was discovered in the morning.
It’s incomprehensible that an autopsy wasn’t performed. But there’s grist for the conspiracy mill with the decisions made by Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara:
Guevara said she declared Scalia dead based on information from law enforcement officials on the scene, who assured her that “there were no signs of foul play.” She also spoke to Scalia’s doctor, who told her that the justice had been to see him Wednesday and Thursday last week for a shoulder injury and that he had ordered an MRI for Scalia, according to WFAA-TV in Dallas. The 79-year-old justice also suffered from several chronic conditions, Guevara said. She said she was awaiting a statement from the physician to complete Scalia’s death certificate.
The manager of the El Paso funeral home that handled Scalia’s body said Scalia’s family insisted on not having an autopsy done. But the decision has spawned a host of conspiracy theories online, as well as skeptical questions from law enforcement experts such as Ritchie.
“You have a Supreme Court Justice who died, not in attendance of a physician,” he wrote. “You have a non-homicide trained US Marshal tell the justice of peace that no foul play was observed. You have a justice of the peace pronounce death while not being on the scene and without any medical training opining that the justice died of a heart attack. What medical proof exists of a myocardial Infarction? Why not a cerebral hemorrhage?”
So in order for this conspiracy to get off the ground, the perps would have to know that the local authorities would thoroughly, completely, and negligently botch whatever investigation could have gotten underway. Law enforcement officers who may not have ever glimpsed the body of a murder victim confidently told a clueless jurist that there was no foul play while said jurist confidently tells the press:
In an interview with The Washington Post, Guevara has said she rebutted a report by a Dallas TV station that Scalia had died of “myocardial infarction.” She said she meant only that his heart had stopped.
But the murder(s) would have had to anticipate all of this. They would have to have known that the local leos and county officials would have acted the way they did. Otherwise, they certainly would have risked exposure.
Because of the botched investigation — or, more accurately, the lack of investigation — we’ll never know the disposition of the body as it lay in bed when it was discovered, blunting the significance of the pillow over the face. Who knows how it ended up there? Was Scalia on his back? On his side?
As for “who done it,” the list of suspects starts with President Obama, goes through Bill and Hillary Clinton, makes a right turn by accusing the Bush family (because Scalia was about to expose their role in 9/11), goes off the rails by fingering Dick Cheney, and ends up pointing the finger at “someone at the ranch.”
I’ll buy any one of those suspects if there was a scintilla of evidence to back it up. But all the conspiracy nuts have is an outcome — Scalia’s death — and the idea that he was murdered by whoever had the most to gain. That’s not dot connecting. There is no “A, B, C,…” There isn’t even an alphabet. It’s paranoid fantasy.
Besides, why leave out the anti-government, right-wing zealots as suspects? They hate conservatives as much as liberals — especially if they work for the government. To be completely logical and reasonable, a few right-wing nutcases have to be included in the suspect pool.
The left is going after Trump for ostensibly jumping on the Scalia death truther bandwagon. But all Trump says is that he finds it strange that a pillow was found over Scalia’s face. I find that strange also. But Trump isn’t saying he thinks Scalia was murdered, which many leftists have dishonestly charged.
There are few prominent voices on the right who are alleging murder — a few fringe radio hosts like Michael Savage. World Net Daily is carrying the breathless story that the owner of the resort where Scalia died — a Democratic donor — is seen shaking hands with the president in photographs.
Obama was far more likely to hit him up for money than ask him to kill Scalia.