The anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks leads many to reexamine one of the most significant events in modern American history, and many Americans believe that, 21 years later, our government is still not telling the full truth about what happened that day. Conspiratorial thinking has exploded, and become a mainstream phenomenon.
But to be called a “conspiracy theorist” is no compliment. If you are accused of being one, you are a tinfoil hat-wearing, schizophrenic paranoiac who believes in lizard people and a flat Earth.
This might be a little unfair. History shows us that governments and shadowy networks have conspired to illicit and nefarious ends. From the Iran-Contra scandal to oil companies hiding data about climate change and CIA-funded mind control programs, real conspiracies abound. And what is a conspiracy anyway? The legal definition is “an agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal act, along with an intent to achieve the agreement’s goal.” That’s pretty broad. What doesn’t fall under that rubric?
By that very loose definition, Sarasota is filled with conspiracies that go back more than a century and, these days, in the time of loony politics and social media, we’ve landed on the national radar. A New York magazine article dubbed our beach town the “Conspiracy Coast,” while Vice wrote a story calling Sarasota “the Conspiracy Capital of the United States.” The Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Chris Anderson goes even further, claiming Sarasota County “has somehow become the Conspiracy Capital of the World.”
Are we really a hub for conspiracies? Is there something in the water? Or is it the white quartz crystal sand?
Here are eight common conspiracy theories that involve Sarasota—ranging from the very absurd to the very real.
Conspiracies are born out of coincidences, so we’ll start with the big one—9/11. Sarasota has a bizarre number of connections to this defining moment in world history, and we still don’t know the whole truth about what really went on here leading up to that fateful day.
Sarasota was destined to be in the 9/11 spotlight because President George W. Bush was reading to a classroom of…