In the age of Trump, far-right conspiracy theories have gripped a large section of his base, birthing one of the most convoluted and bizarre rumors to date, namely the QAnon conspiracy theory — which details a complicated and sometimes nonsensical plot by the “Deep State” against Trump and his supporters.
While most people regurgitate this particular brand of paranoia from behind their keyboards, some have been driven to commit acts of violence after being radicalized online, one example being a 29-year-old North Carolina man whose belief in “Pizza Gate” prompted him to walk into a D.C. pizzeria in 2016 and open fire with an assault weapon, believing he was rescuing children held hostage by a Hillary Clinton-run child sex trafficking ring.
Another example is 25-year-old Anthony Comello, who killed mob underboss Francesco (Franky Boy) Cali of the Gambino crime family. While the murder may have looked like just another mob world hit, it turns out that Comello thought Cali was part of the Deep State and targeted him with the intent of turning him over to the military. During one court appearance after his arrest, Comello flashed a large “Q” that was drawn on the palm of his hand, signifying his belief in QAnon.
Now, as The New York Times reports, Comello’s lawyers are using his belief in QAnon to argue that he’s legally insane.
“He ardently believed that Francesco Cali, a boss in the Gambino crime family, was a prominent member of the deep state, and, accordingly, an appropriate target for a citizen’s arrest,” Comello’s lawyer, Robert C. Gottlieb, wrote back in July.
“Mr. Comello became certain that he was enjoying the protection of President Trump himself, and that he had the president’s full support,” Gottlieb added.
Read The New York Times’ full report on Comello’s insanity case here.
Can pets get COVID-19? It’s complicated
News surfaced yesterday that a tiger at New York's Bronx Zoo tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The discovery raises new questions about whether pets can contract the virus, and if it is contagious from pets (or zoo animals) to humans.
This article first appeared in Salon.
Nadia, a four-year-old Malayan tiger who lives at the Bronx Zoo, was suffering from a dry cough and loss of appetite, which prompted the test for novel coronavirus. Nadia's symptoms were first noticed on March 27, and zoo officials decided to test her "out of an abundance of caution," according to a statement from the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Japan to declare state of emergency over coronavirus
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a month-long state of emergency Tuesday for Tokyo and six other prefectures to ramp up defenses against the spread of the coronavirus.
Abe said Tuesday that there would be no European-style lockdowns. The state of emergency will only permit Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike and heads of six other designated prefectures to do more to reinforce calls for social distancing. Virtually all of those measures will be requests that cannot be enforced with penalties for violations.
Cardinal Pell freed after winning appeal over child sex abuse
Cardinal George Pell was released from prison Tuesday, hours after Australia's High Court quashed his conviction for child sex abuse, bringing to an abrupt end the most high-profile paedophilia case faced by the Catholic Church.
The 78-year-old left Barwon Prison near Melbourne after the court overturned five counts of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in the 1990s.
Pell, who had steadfastly maintained his innocence throughout a lengthy court process, left the jail where he has been held for the last year and issued a statement saying that a "serious injustice" had been remedied by the decision.