Bowling Green was our 9/11, our JFK. Ask anyone in my generation where we were when we heard about it. We’ll remember.
It just so happened I was in line at a Starbucks—not a real one, just one of those franchises inside a Barnes & Noble—when I got the text. It was a Facebook notification: “Judy Wilson marked safe during Mass Shooting in Bowling Green.”
I froze. I hadn’t even thought about Judy in… well, since college. I figured she must still be in Trinity’s Field—I mean, it stood to reason, right? What was she even doing in Bowling Green?
And if she was safe, who wasn’t? Whom else might I have forgotten about who might have ended up in Bowling Green?
The answer was, no one, but at the time it gave me a neat little existential quarter-life crisis.
In the days that followed, the usual suspects were found and blamed. Terrorists. ISIS had infiltrated our country, just as they’d done in Paris and Brussels and all those other places we don’t care about because they’re not spaces that are known to be white. Until they did something horrible.
It became part of the narrative, one more reason—an immediate reason—why we needed to deal with the Radical Islamic Terrorists and the threat they posed right here on American soil.
I was always of the opinion that hate breeds hate, that the more Darth Toupé and his Empire tighten their grip, the more star systems would slip through their fingers and into the fire, to add fuel to it.
I was never going to support more war—but that didn’t mean I hadn’t already bought into the narrative.
But then Judy’s posts started hitting my wall.
“Listen to me,” was her mantra any time it came up, “I was there, I was in that square, and I am telling you, there was no Massacre at Bowling Green.”
It was preposterous, of course—we’d all seen the footage.
“But I was there!” she insisted. “And I’m telling you, the whole thing was faked! I’ve been checking up on the deep background and at least one of the so-called victims was pronounced dead earlier that morning. Two others look like they never even existed at all.”
Typical Judy being a drama queen, we all figured.
But then Judy went missing.
What if it was all true? What if it wasn’t true at all? Bowling Green wasn’t that big of a place. It couldn’t be that hard to fake something there and just have the whole town on lockdown, monitoring and correcting all communications.
After a week, there were more conspiracy theories than there were victims in the (supposed?) shooting. “Leaked” ballistics reports out of nowhere, eyewitness testimonials, locals testifying that the eyewitnesses weren’t even “from ‘round here.”
After two weeks, there was just too much noise to make any kind of sense at all. There were too many versions.
So you might as well listen to the official one, right?
After all, that’s what the administration’s going off of.