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Random act, or conspiracy?
March 15, 2007 5:58 AM   Subscribe

Michael Zebuhr was a 25-year-old Ph.D. candidate at Clemson University. A year ago he was visiting his sister in Minneapolis, and was killed during an attempted hold-up. The assailant pleaded guilty, but others think there is more to the story.
posted by Kibbutz (59 comments total)

 
I cannot begin to express how heartily sick I am of this 9-11 conspiracy crap (Beaten to death previously on the blue).

It's terrible that this guy got shot, but linking him to 9-11 AND claiming his killing was part of a cover-up is just ridiculous.

Enough, already.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 6:07 AM on March 15, 2007


I read all of the last link and skimmed the two previous to it. I see zero evidence being presented, only leading questions ("It seemed like a mugging, but could it have been....AN EXECUTION?") asked.

Conspiracy nuts see conspiracies everywhere, film at 11.
posted by DU at 6:08 AM on March 15, 2007


I think this is all part of a conspiracy to conceal the fact that he was killed randomly in a violent hold up.
posted by autodidact at 6:11 AM on March 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


This sums it all up pretty nicely:

With all due respect to Zebuhr, Andregg said, "Killing people is a real business, a real serious business, but professionals don't usually go after fish that tiny."
posted by saraswati at 6:19 AM on March 15, 2007


From the blogspot link:

How common is it for criminals to burn the get-away car?

Is he fucking joking? Do you know how many torched vehicle carcasses I see on a day to day basis in North Philly?
posted by The Straightener at 6:20 AM on March 15, 2007


I find it surprising that level-headed conspiracy nuts would think Michael Zebuhr's death was a government hit. I mean, isn't it obvious that he was abducted by aliens and his body replaced by a simulacrum, which was then targeted by a Swiss illuminati group protecting the world from alien simulacra?
posted by breezeway at 6:25 AM on March 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think this is all part of a conspiracy to conceal the fact that he was killed randomly in a violent hold up.

Repeated for emphasis. Conspiracy theorists invent these theories out of a need for closure because they're not equipped to handle meaningless acts of violence and loss. They fill the void of senseless death and destruction with sense and meaning. So long as they're not hurting anyone... let's not get too LOL911 on them.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:27 AM on March 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


The second to last link won't work for me. Why?

I'm not naive enough to swallow the 'transient network conditions' explanation ubiquitously offered. I'll admit I don't have all the answers, but we'd be fools to not at least ask ourselves the question:

Who benefits from this?
posted by bluejayk at 6:30 AM on March 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


The same CIA agent that killed Kennedy has come out of his nursing home to start plucking off the Scholars for 9/11 Truth. He likes to work from a grassy knoll.
posted by caddis at 6:41 AM on March 15, 2007


I cannot begin to express how heartily sick I am of this 9-11 conspiracy crap

From the other side of the coin, it's sad when senselessly violent crimes are misused to disprove 9/11 coincidence theories.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:43 AM on March 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Huh. When it happened, there was a different type of hysteria in the local media (roughly, "OMG, people getting shot in non-poor parts of Minneapolis, this is the beginning of a crime wave that will KILL US ALL!"). It's nice to see that the hysteria's at least mutated into something different and equally crazy.
posted by COBRA! at 6:45 AM on March 15, 2007


Come on. Everyone knows that people get shot dead randomly in all parts of the United States every day!

But then that's a bit of a WTF in itself, isn't it?
posted by clevershark at 7:02 AM on March 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


You had me until I realized that this was 9-11 conspiracy lunacy. Then I decided that these people are idiots.
posted by OmieWise at 7:04 AM on March 15, 2007


Utterly ridiculous.
posted by tadellin at 7:13 AM on March 15, 2007


Dammit, I demand JUSTICE against the perpetrator who wasted 2 minutes of my time reading that horrible blogspot link to figure out what kinda kooks we were talking about here. JUSTICE, I say!
posted by antifuse at 7:31 AM on March 15, 2007


tadelin: Utterly Udder-ly ridiculous.

Fixed that -- this is Clemson University ("Moo U") we're talking about...

My alma mater, class of '92 and again in '96 -- I kid about the ag. ed., but they have a damn good engineering program.
posted by LordSludge at 7:35 AM on March 15, 2007


Before dismissing this possibility as just another "conspiracy theory," consider a few reasons to treat it seriously:

1) 9/11 is the most important political event of the 20th century,


Is it. Is it now. 11 September 2001, the most important date in the 20th century. Here I was thinking the US Civil War was the most important event of the 20th century.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:36 AM on March 15, 2007 [5 favorites]


Please, brothers, sisters, join me in flagging this garbage and moving on.
posted by nanojath at 7:43 AM on March 15, 2007


When Vince Foster was found dead, it was harped on for years how "there's no way it could be a suicide". Prominent politicians (well, republicans), journalists, analysts, and all your family and co-workers who listened to Rush Limbaugh, kept publicly accusing, for years, that he was killed by the Clinton administration and it was all a cover up.

But yet, none of those people were called conspiracy theorists or whackjobs or nuts or lunatics.

For some reason that not able to deduce, some conspiracy theories are "accepted" yet still not believed, while others are rejected out of hand.

There seem to be 2 major divisions that account for 90% of people, and both are wrong. One division sees conspiracies everywhere, which is obviously false. The other refuses to believe conspiracies ever occur, or in fact have ever occurred. This is also demonstrably false.

I'm okay with someone asking the question "Did this person's death have anything to do with the fact that he participated in some sort of 9/11 conspiracy group?" Many people seem to think it's not even ok to ask that question. Now, it could be that the question is asked, and then it is quickly refuted.

But it always rubs me the wrong way when any conspiracy theory, no matter how grand or how minor, is immediately ridiculed just for the simple fact that it challenges the official report.

Ask whatever questions you like. If the evidence is clear, then it will stand up to scrutiny. If the evidence is not clear, then questions need to be asked.

Bearing on the obvious example, I think it's perfectly ok to ask questions like "Where is the plane wreckage at the Pentagon" or "Why did the steel beams melt at the WTC". Those could, and with 99% certainty do, have perfectly reasonable answers. But why the knee-jerk fear of someone even asking?

There are real conspiracies every day. Wives conspire with thugs to kill their husbands. Men conspire with other men to take out business partners. Cars are tampered with, food is poisoned, break-ins are staged. These events are real, they happen, practically, all the time.

Do I think a government hit-man killed Zebuhr? No. But I am also not going to freak out because someone notices his circumstances. I may disagree, but so what, I disagree with lots of people all the time. I've disagreed with at least 51% of this country for about 25 years now.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:44 AM on March 15, 2007 [6 favorites]


Is it. Is it now. 11 September 2001, the most important date in the 20th century. Here I was thinking the US Civil War was the most important event of the 20th century.

Dude, don't mock. 9/11 was so important it travelled backwards in time. Or maybe the Zioninsts used some sort of Tachyon bomb in their fiendish plot.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:46 AM on March 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


1) 9/11 is the most important political event of the 20th century

Haha, nice catch, ROU_Xenophobe. That's somehow appropriate.

(Reminds me of a book report in grade school: "There are millions and millions of stars in our solar system...")
posted by LordSludge at 7:47 AM on March 15, 2007


Bearing on the obvious example, I think it's perfectly ok to ask questions like "Where is the plane wreckage at the Pentagon" or "Why did the steel beams melt at the WTC". Those could, and with 99% certainty do, have perfectly reasonable answers. But why the knee-jerk fear of someone even asking?

LOLZCONSPIRACYNUT AMIRITE?!

Yeah, it's annoying.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:48 AM on March 15, 2007


Ynoxas writes:
But it always rubs me the wrong way when any conspiracy theory, no matter how grand or how minor, is immediately ridiculed just for the simple fact that it challenges the official report.

No, they are ridiculed because they're stupid.

Period.
posted by dsquid at 7:52 AM on March 15, 2007


My grandfather was also killed to keep him from revealing the truth about the Twin Towers attack. Admittedly, his death happened back in 1984, and on an operating table, but had he been alive for 9/11, man, he would have known the truth. And that fact made him too dangerous to live.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:53 AM on March 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Caddis, can I adapt your comment into a feature film?
posted by drezdn at 7:54 AM on March 15, 2007


Killing Zebuhr "would have a chilling effect on scholars" and others skeptical of the government's story, Reynolds wrote.


Scholars for 9/11 Truth, meanwhile, has a chilling effect on intelligence and rationality.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:18 AM on March 15, 2007


But it always rubs me the wrong way when any conspiracy theory, no matter how grand or how minor, is immediately ridiculed just for the simple fact that it challenges the official report.

Are you seriously trying to say that we're ridiculing this particular conspiracy theory just because it's a conspiracy theory? I know I'm not - I just think it's an absolutely ridiculous theory. Good for a chuckle though. I like the "Suspicious aspects of Minnesota" section of the "think" link in the post. I think that would make a really good band name.
posted by antifuse at 8:22 AM on March 15, 2007


Here's columnist Gwynne Dyer with a very rational look at 9/11 conspiracy theories.
posted by bowline at 8:24 AM on March 15, 2007


Can we get a batshitinsane tag up in here?
posted by onalark at 8:27 AM on March 15, 2007


bwahahahah. They think he was assassinated for his 9/11 conspiracy views.

That's fucking hilarious.
posted by delmoi at 8:35 AM on March 15, 2007


antifuse: yes, to my observation, many people ridicule *ANY* conspiracy theory for the sole fact that it varies from the official report. I'm not saying you as an individual are, just that it happens, and I would say it in fact commonly happens. I tend to NEVER question the official report unless given some sort of eyebrow raising "eh?" kind of information. And even then, I still usually default to the official story.

Is it *POSSIBLE* this man was killed for his stance on 9/11? Sure it is. It's not very *LIKELY* but it is of course *POSSIBLE*.

There certainly is a difference, at least to me, between saying something like this, and saying something like, oh, that the lost city of Atlantis is really inside a force field inside Mount St. Helens and all the past leaders of the world all live there in perpetual life, making decisions for all of mankind.

Basically, to me, a conspiracy has to be plausible. It is plausible this man was executed for his beliefs... it is just profoundly unlikely. Does anyone else see the difference there? Something can be plausible and yet unlikely at the same time.

I'm with you on the band name though.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:36 AM on March 15, 2007


There are many many people with sites, articles, films ec advocating conspiracy notions. Wouldn't it make more sense to let them proliferate (if there were a conspiracy) rather than to try to eliminate each and every one? If they tried to nock off the conspiracy guys who knew stuff, then after a time the conspiracy idea would have much more credence.
posted by Postroad at 8:41 AM on March 15, 2007


Caddis, can I adapt your comment into a feature film?
posted by drezdn at 10:54 AM EST on March 15 [+][!]


as long as I am invited to the premier
posted by caddis at 8:44 AM on March 15, 2007


But it always rubs me the wrong way when any conspiracy theory, no matter how grand or how minor, is immediately ridiculed just for the simple fact that it challenges the official report.

The 9/11 conspiracy are not ridiculed for "challenging the official report" but for "challenging what people saw with their own eyes" on TV that day. I mean we saw two jumbo jets crash into the WTC, and yet the Conspiracy theorists posit that one of the four planes hijacked that day was somehow disposed of completely so that they pentagon could be hit with a missile or bomb. They also claim that the other buildings at the WTC were somehow destroyed with bombs.

I mean come on.

Bearing on the obvious example, I think it's perfectly ok to ask questions like "Where is the plane wreckage at the Pentagon" or "Why did the steel beams melt at the WTC". Those could, and with 99% certainty do, have perfectly reasonable answers. But why the knee-jerk fear of someone even asking?

The questions are asked, and answers and the answers are rejected, and then the questions are asked again. It's quite annoying, really. Also the beams didn't melt, they were weakened.
posted by delmoi at 8:47 AM on March 15, 2007


From the other side of the coin, it's sad when senselessly violent crimes are misused to disprove 9/11 coincidence theories.

It's nice to know you've come up with a more palatable term for your delusions.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:54 AM on March 15, 2007


It's only a matter of time before Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confesses to this too.
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:08 AM on March 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's nice to know you've come up with a more palatable term for your delusions.

It's no coincidence you're only on Metafilter to be an abusive, obsessive creep, that's for sure.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:11 AM on March 15, 2007


Is it *POSSIBLE* this man was killed for his stance on 9/11? Sure it is. It's not very *LIKELY* but it is of course *POSSIBLE*.

Sure, but *anything* is possible. The "evidence" that these conspiracy nuts use to prove that he was killed because of his 9/11 beliefs is, to put it mildly, quite silly. Going off about people dismissing all conspiracy theories out of hand is a bit misplaced in this particular instance, IMO. :)
posted by antifuse at 9:29 AM on March 15, 2007


Following up on the point that anotherpanacea made earlier; this strikes me as a normal human reaction to the death of a promising young person. To them, it's unthinkable that the universe could be so random and unjust that a likable intelligent charismatic young man would be snuffed out in such a pointless way. It becomes easier to say that it wasn't random at all. It was focused and intentional. He was targeted for this or that and that is why he's dead.

I suspect they think this because the idea of an assassin in the employment of the government, working to eliminate people who might expose their conspiracy, is actually less scary than the idea that the universe just doesn't give a shit and people die young for no good reason all the time.
posted by quin at 9:38 AM on March 15, 2007


Conspiracies are funny! LOL!
posted by miss lynnster at 9:45 AM on March 15, 2007


Even now, when I think the 9/11 attacks, I feel sick in my stomach. It was a horrific act. Now we have a young talented man, shot in front of his mother and sister. Imagine how it must be for them. What a waste.

If there were extremely obvious signs that any of this was a conspiracy then I'd go along. But there isn't. Because I have respect and sympathy for those involved in 9/11, and also this young guy, I can't play along and apply a conspiracy theory to any of it. I find it baffling that people can.

Seriously, some people just need a good hard slap about the face to bring them back to reality.
posted by humblepigeon at 9:49 AM on March 15, 2007


Bearing on the obvious example, I think it's perfectly ok to ask questions like "Where is the plane wreckage at the Pentagon" or "Why did the steel beams melt at the WTC". Those could, and with 99% certainty do, have perfectly reasonable answers. But why the knee-jerk fear of someone even asking?

I don't think it's that people ask questions. Asking questions is important. It's that some people often ask a bunch of questions (some ridiculous, some not) that are very obviously organized around a central "theory". In other words, it's annoying when people more or less come to a conclusion first on an event or topic and then start asking questions meant to "reveal" that conclusion.
posted by the other side at 10:21 AM on March 15, 2007


Dude, don't mock. 9/11 was so important it travelled backwards in time.

Even so, that terrible day when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor was more important.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:24 AM on March 15, 2007


Germans?
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:34 AM on March 15, 2007


*shares copy of "Illustrated Guide to ROU_Xenophobe Sarcasm" with anotherpanacea*
posted by Ynoxas at 11:38 AM on March 15, 2007


Shh, He's on a roll.
posted by quin at 11:40 AM on March 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Belief in a 9/11 Conspiracy is sort of like the belief that Elvis somehow faked his own death so that he could hang out at the local truck stop. There's no good evidence for it, lots and lots (and lots) of evidence against it, and belief in either shows that the believer has something seriously wrong with his mind.

Repeating the same wrong theories doesn't make them any less wrong. It just makes you look like an asshole.
posted by bshort at 11:49 AM on March 15, 2007


It's no coincidence you're only on Metafilter to be an abusive, obsessive creep, that's for sure.

Right, I forgot Metafilter was designed as a rapt, unquestioning audience for what you have to say.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:34 PM on March 15, 2007


Right, I forgot Metafilter was designed as a rapt, unquestioning audience for what you have to say.

More obsessive creepiness. Poor Krrrlson, his grudge will never end.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:07 PM on March 15, 2007


BREAKING NEWS!!!

The would-be co-conspirator receives a 30-year sentence for his crime.

(I report, you deride).
posted by Kibbutz at 2:13 PM on March 15, 2007


the Conspiracy theorists posit that one of the four planes hijacked that day was somehow disposed of completely so that they pentagon could be hit with a missile or bomb.

Only a small number of nuts really believe that. There are a lot of people who have serious questions about 9/11 who don't believe any such thing.

The most common conspiracy theory seems to be that the Bush Administration more or less knew about 9/11 in advance and allowed it to happen so they could clamp down on internal dissent and invade Iraq. There's various evidence of greater or lesser quality that I won't go into, but the fact is that this theory might be somewhat far-fetched but certainly isn't inconsistent with what we know of the facts or of the Bush Administration.

FWIW, my personal opinion is that I simply don't know what happened. The 9/11 Commission is as lame as all the other "work" performed by this Administration -- I'd call their results utterly unconvincing. If I had to bet, I'd bet that the true story is pretty similar to the official one, but I'm sure there are some shocking lies, even if they're peripheral to the main story -- and I wouldn't be completely surprised to discover complicity on the part of the government.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:51 PM on March 15, 2007


the Conspiracy theorists posit that one of the four planes hijacked that day was somehow disposed of completely so that they pentagon could be hit with a missile or bomb.

Only a small number of nuts really believe that. There are a lot of people who have serious questions about 9/11 who don't believe any such thing.

The most common conspiracy theory seems to be that the Bush Administration more or less knew about 9/11 in advance and allowed it to happen so they could clamp down on internal dissent and invade Iraq. There's various evidence of greater or lesser quality that I won't go into, but the fact is that this theory might be somewhat far-fetched but certainly isn't inconsistent with what we know of the facts or of the Bush Administration.

FWIW, my personal opinion is that I simply don't know what happened. The 9/11 Commission is as lame as all the other "work" performed by this Administration -- I'd call their results utterly unconvincing. If I had to bet, I'd bet that the true story is pretty similar to the official one, but I'm sure there are some shocking lies, even if they're peripheral to the main story -- and I wouldn't be completely surprised to discover complicity on the part of the government.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:51 PM on March 15, 2007


Clearly, the smoking gun here is that Sen. Paul Wellstone was lured to Minnesota, where he was killed. We need to find out why he went there, and then we will have the answer.
posted by dhartung at 2:57 PM on March 15, 2007


Most conspiracy theories exist to square the injustice done with the level of competency that WAS PREVIOUSLY BELIEVED to be needed to pull of it. We don't like to believe that we were unprepared for a small band of terrorists or lone assassins, and so we must create an EXPERT band of terrorists or interconnected assassins that don't embarrass us.

It's an interesting form of cognitive dissonance. But instead of a prophecy failing, which spawns a new belief that requires the believers to convince all others the real reason why it failed (and thus convincing themselves), it is, rather, the belief in our safety being shattered, thereby spawning a new belief that requires some to convince others (and themselves), that it was just our own guys who did the job. This serves the purpose of removing the anxiety, by allowing some to believe that we are really safer than we thought from outside random terrorism.
posted by Brian B. at 3:22 PM on March 15, 2007


The only thing I am sure of about 9/11 is that we do not know the whole story.

Now, what has been left out or misrepresented to us? Who knows. Maybe it is nothing of consequence.

But I *KNOW* I have been lied to, because this administration has lied about EVERYTHING.

Lie after lie after lie after scapegoat after scapegoat after lie after lie after intelligence failure after lie after lie.
posted by Ynoxas at 3:46 PM on March 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Most conspiracy theories exist to square the injustice done with the level of competency that WAS PREVIOUSLY BELIEVED to be needed to pull of it.

That theory dates back to the Kennedy Assassination! ("That wimpy little guy could never have pulled it off on his own.")

But again -- you are talking about the nut cult theories "there were no planes" "remote control" "guided missile" etc. which involve some hidden mechanism to destroy the World Trade Center or the Pentagon.

I repeat what I said above: the most common conspiracy theory is that the hijackings and crashes and collapses occurred physically pretty well as represented to us, but that the administration was in some way complicit if only by doing nothing.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:00 PM on March 15, 2007


i think the saddest/funniest part of all this conspiracy theorizing (putting aside for a moment the fact that a very real young man was *shot in the head, twice*) is that the wingnut "anti-zionist" guy thinks that Jim Fetzer is a likely conspirator in this "hit."

Fetzer is a smart, weird, paranoid guy. i like him, even though i don't subscribe to some of his wingnuttiest theories, because he's a decent fellow. he goes for this conspiracy stuff because he wants to believe that there's a reason for all this nasty shit that's been going down in our government. but to have a fellow conspiracy nut (albeit an obviously anti-jewish freak) decide that he's an agent of the government is just ... well... it would be hilarious if there wasn't somebody trying to find meaning in some poor kid's death.

how incredibly fitting that people completely debilitated by their paranoiac fantasies start turning on their most successful mouthpieces.

(i don't rule out the idea that our govt was complicit in allowing 9/11 to happen for the purposes of creating a very profitable never-ending war, but when a good friend of mine continues to spout the myth about all the Jews in the WTC buildings taking the day off, i just get mad.)
posted by RedEmma at 4:30 PM on March 15, 2007


It was all a dream....
posted by storybored at 7:55 PM on March 15, 2007


And to think this young man had to die, all because quonsar dropped a deuce in the urinal of the metafilter men's room.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:26 PM on March 15, 2007


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