As investigators search for a possible motive behind the Christmas Day suicide bombing that rocked downtown Nashville, injuring three people and destroying several buildings, new details have emerged about the peculiar beliefs of the suspected bomber.
NBC News reported Wednesday that investigators have obtained evidence that Anthony Quinn Warner, who died in the explosion, may have subscribed to a conspiracy theory that many of the world’s most powerful figures, from Barack Obama to the late Bob Hope, are actually evil, lizard-like extraterrestrials in disguise. Officials told NBC News that investigators, who have been questioning friends and acquaintances and searching for clues of a possible motive for the bombing, have become aware of statements Warner made about the lizard people conspiracy theory — though it wasn’t immediately clear what those statements were. Authorities also reported that Warner made statements to others about hunting possible aliens during previous camping trips he took in his RV.
The so-called lizard people conspiracy theory has taken a back seat to some of the newer and more widely publicized baseless beliefs that have come to dominate the conspiracy landscape in recent years. But in 2013, a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling found that 12 million Americans believed that the country was run by lizard people in suits.
In some ways, lizard people believers were a precursor to QAnon, the insidious pro-Trump conspiracy movement that has snowballed from the dark corners of the internet into mainstream social media feeds and even the halls of Congress over the last three years. Like QAnon, which was founded on the myth that President Trump is secretly working to dismantle a “deep state” cabal of satanic pedophiles, the lizard people theory holds that a secret network of blood-guzzling “global elites” have engineered tragedies from the Holocaust to 9/11. But it gets worse: The nefarious world leaders and Hollywood celebrities responsible for so much misery are not actually humans but shape-shifting reptilian creatures of alien descent.
While both conspiracies feature many of the same villains, such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, QAnon is arguably more politicized, with Trump and his allies on one side and pretty much everyone else on the other. Lizard people, on the other hand, are believed to be lurking across the political spectrum. Blogs dedicated to identifying our reptilian overlords have accused prominent Republicans like former President George W. Bush and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham of being lizard people, in addition to the queen of England, Madonna and Britney Spears.
Though the theory alleges that lizard people have been controlling human society since ancient times, David Icke, a BBC sports reporter-turned-conspiracy theorist and self-styled New Age philosopher, has been considered the leading exponent of the far-flung philosophy since 1998, when he published a book called “The Biggest Secret,” which claimed that members of the royal family were reptiles in disguise.
Federal investigators have reportedly been trying to determine whether Warner also believed in some of the more contemporary yet equally absurd conspiracy theories that have been circulating on the internet about 5G wireless communication networks. The Christmas morning explosion took place outside an AT&T building in Nashville, knocking out 911 service and disrupting AT&T service across the state. AT&T is one of the American telecommunication companies involved in rolling out 5G, the latest standard for broadband cellular networks, which is expected to dramatically increase data transfer speeds. (Verizon, which owns Yahoo News, is also a provider of 5G technology.)
This spring, as the coronavirus pandemic began to spread across the globe, baseless rumors began circulating online claiming that the new cellular technology was somehow linked to COVID-19, prompting several fires targeting cell towers across Britain and other parts of Europe.
Though scientists have repeatedly debunked claims that COVID-19 is somehow caused by 5G technology, the conspiracy theory has persisted, gaining traction within the U.S. as well. As Yahoo News reported this week, law enforcement and intelligence agencies warned in May of escalating threats on social media calling for people to “target critical infrastructure including cell towers, locations associated with the electric power grid, and other sites associated with perceived impending government action against citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
So far, authorities have not been able to pinpoint a specific motive for the Christmas explosion, though Warner’s girlfriend had reportedly warned police more than a year ago that the 63-year-old was building bombs in a recreational vehicle outside his house. If his goal was to free the world from domination by alien-descended reptiles in human form — well, he chose a fairly roundabout way of doing it.
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