An 18-year-old claiming to be a survivor of the Parkland massacre says his own father now believes it was all a hoax after he started following QAnon on Twitter last year.
The recent graduate from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., calling himself Bill on a Reddit forum called QanonCasualties, claimed his father constantly accuses him and his friends of being ‘paid pawns’ in a grand conspiracy to drum up support for gun control laws.
‘He’ll say stuff like this straight to my face whenever he’s drinking: ‘You’re a real piece of work to be able to sit here and act like nothing ever happened if it wasn’t a hoax. Shame on you for being part of it and putting your family through it too,’ Bill said.
He added that his father keeps doing this to test whether or not his son’s trauma is real.
Bill, who has been through the third university of the horrific shooting, said he wants to move past the incident now that he’s graduating, but his father’s taunts won’t allow him.
He said the breaking point was when he caught his little brother researching the shootings on his iPad.
The shooting left 17 people dead and wounded 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day 2018
Bill said his father became radicalized last year when he fell down the QAnon rabbit-hole
Bill posted his story on the r/QAnonCasualties page, which is meant to offer support to those hurt by QAnon conspiracies
Bill said his father began to follow QAnon during the pandemic, VICE News reported.
‘From there it snowballed into what he is today, believing that if the government is able to overthrow an election, then everything else is probably a lie too,’ Bill said.
‘Anything that contradicted his feelings was wrong,’ he added. ‘So he turned to the internet to find like-minded people, which led him to QAnon.’
QAnon is an anonymous conspiracy theory group that perpetuates ideas such as that President Donald Trump was waging war against unseen crimes by heads of business and politics.
QAnon, along with 70,000 accounts like to conspiracy theorist, was banned on Twitter in January.
James and Kimberly Snead (left), former foster parents of Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz (right), have issued a letter of apology for ignoring warning signs about him
Surveillance video captured gunman Nikolas Cruz stalking the hallways of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida with an assault rifle where he killed 17 people
Bill explained that he was working hard to get past the trauma and survivor’s guilt he experienced when 17 students at the school were shoot dead on Feb. 14, 2018.
Accused gunman Nikolas Cruz is expected to go on trial in September. Bill’s dad has dubbed Cruz ‘a radical commie actor.’
Bill feels like his progress has gone back to zero as his father berates what he went through. Things only got worse when videos resurfaced of Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green repeatedly voicing support for QAnon and harassing shooting survivor David Hogg.
‘He’s a coward,’ Green told her followers of the outspoken Hogg.
On Wednesday, a video went viral that showed now Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (back left and right) following Parkland survivor and gun control activist David Hogg (left) around Capitol Hill’s campus, chiding him for his support of gun control measures
The congresswoman has previously said that she no longer believes the shooting was staged.
Despite Greene’s change in opinion, Bill said the damage has been done to his father.
Bill said he plans to leave his father’s house and escape the toxic situation.
‘I do have options that can have me out before August, which as of now I’m planning to do,’ Bill said. ‘I’ve been delaying it because I’ve felt stuck trying to ‘fix’ my dad.’
He added that his relationship with his mother has also been damaged.
‘The relationship with my mom is dependent on whether my dad is there or not, cause then it’s pretty much all about conspiracy theories,’ Bill told VICE News. ‘[The relationship] used to be fine but deteriorating quickly, [especially] after telling her that if she doesn’t start putting her foot down, I’m leaving with no interest in seeing my dad again.’
On the Reddit post, Bill received messages of support, and another person claiming to be a survivor echoed a similar situation.
‘He’ll never stop on his own, because there are always new theories and goalposts being moved,’ Bill said. ‘I don’t know how to help someone that far gone. My guess is restricted access to the internet and lots of therapy. But even if there was hope he’d eventually snap out of it, it wouldn’t change my mind on never wanting to see him again. So it doesn’t really matter anymore.’