On Saturday evening, Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in West Texas. Within five minutes of the news breaking, there were both cries not to politicize the death of this political appointee and the immediate politicization of his death.
And just as soon came more pressing questions, such as "Was Justice Scalia murdered?" That's right: The Scalia death conspiracy theories are out in force.
The circumstances surrounding his death are certainly curious: Scalia died on the remote Cibolo Creek Ranch, and he was declared dead by a judge over the phone, rather than in person, which "The Texas Code of Criminal Procedures allows…when deemed reasonable." (It's worth noting that the outer reaches of West Texas span thousands of square miles, and it's not uncommon for people to be declared dead by officials miles away.)
But then a judge and the Scalia family declined to have an autopsy performed (which a common decision to make when the deceased is 79-years old), and the ranch's owner described finding Scalia's body with a pillow over his head. Even though Scalia "suffered from several chronic conditions," these bits of information have been enough to launch a slew of conspiracy theories.
For example: 78% of the people who voted in a web poll posted by pollsters/clothing sales website Conservative Outfitters "suspect foul play" in Scalia's death:
Here are five of the more out there theories attempting to explain Scalia's death:
1) Bush did 9/11 and Scalia knew
The far-right blog "Abreu Report" writes that the Bush family is "suspected" of having Scalia killed in order to prevent him from revealing the "involvement by the Bush family in the attacks of September the 11th." Abreu's source is described simply as "a source," and they add that they don't know "why Scalia was ready to face the Bush family, but it's now evidently clear that the Supreme Court Justice chose the wrong state to visit."
2) Scalia was killed in order to kill the Constitution
As soon as Infowars proprietor and noted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones heard about Scalia's death he took to Facebook, posting an "emergency transmission" announcing the death of "Anthony [sic] Scalia." Jones did not merely announce the death, though, and wonders if, as part of a broader plan to "kill the bill of rights and the constitution," Scalia was murdered. Does he say for certain that Scalia was murdered? No, not for certain, but he's just asking questions. He "wish[es] it was natural causes, but [his] gut tells him no."
3) Live Long and kill Antonin Scalia
Over at HardDawn.com, bold skeptic Stephenson Billings is posing the question on all our minds: "Did Leonard Nimoy Have Antonin Scalia Killed to Give Obama Enough Supreme Court Votes to Cancel the 2016 Election?" You might be curious how Leonard Nimoy, who died in February 2015, could be responsible. Well, sheeple, Nimoy is alive. He faked his death in order to take control of the Illuminati, and has been has been consolidating power over liberal groups." How Obama (and Nimoy, his puppet master) will arrange for a third term isn't really explained, but I'm sure it'll become clear in time.
4) The Clintons did it
We're in the middle of election season, and Hillary Clinton is one of the candidates, so what better time to theorize that the Clinton family had Scalia killed? Blogger saboteur365 thinks that may be the case. Saboteur's thoughts on why? Texas is "is where the power elites send their prominent enemies to be murdered" (see: JFK) and "Did Scalia make a stray comment about the Hillary email investigation? Is the Supreme Court going to have to make a ruling in that investigation?" Interesting.
5) God killed Antonin Scalia
The cream of the crop in this batch of theories borders on not being a conspiracy theory at all, so much as a theological treatise. Reverend Paul P. Waldmiller, also known as Black Robe Regiment Pastor, begins his inquest into Scalia's death with a request that we be "honest and real" about the fact that "Most Americans are more interested in selfie photos on social websites, or watching their sports games on TV, than they are in the political condition of their nation." This is probably true.
Antonin Scalia, Waldmiller understands, was not most people, and cared about the political condition of his nation. Therefore, we must understand that "God allowed a wonderful man such as Antonin Scalia to be removed so that His people will finally get up off their fat Gluteus Maximus' and remove the unrepentant evil that permeates and is destroying our nation." Update: Glenn Beck is into this one.
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org