One of the last people you'd expect to believe the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., was a hoax is the parent of a child who experienced the trauma firsthand. But one 18-year-old survivor says the father who once refused to wear the same color shirt as the shooter because it made his son uncomfortable now insists that same son is a paid pawn in a conspiracy, per Vice. "It started a couple months into the pandemic with the whole anti-lockdown protests," says the anonymous teen, identified as Bill. His father ignored the advice of doctors and scientists, believing "anything that contradicted his feelings was wrong," says Bill. Then "he turned to the internet to find like-minded people which led him to QAnon." The turning point was in January, when he saw a 2019 clip of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has voiced support for QAnon and suggested the shooting was a false flag operation, harassing Parkland survivor David Hogg.
"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," says Bill, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduate who first described his situation in Reddit's "QAnonCasualties" thread, created for friends and family members of QAnon believers. "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," he wrote. "There are always new theories and goalposts being moved," Bill tells Vice. "I don't know how to help someone that far gone. My guess is restricted access to the internet and lots of therapy." There have been numerous stories of families ripped apart by the QAnon conspiracy, per WUSA and the Washington Post. Reddit's "QAnonCasualties" counts more than 174,000 members. (Read more QAnon stories.)