The dangers of right-wing paranoia and rhetoric are completely in display in Corona, California, where a right-wing conspiracy theorist is alleged to have started an enormous fire that has burned down more than 18,000 acres over the last four days. The Holy Fire arson suspect, 51-year-old Forrest Gordon Clark, is alleged to have set the fire in the Cleveland National Forest area of Orange County, south of Los Angeles.
Clark has been charged with one felony count each of aggravated arson damaging at least five inhabited structures, arson of inhabited property, arson of forest and criminal threats and two misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest.
Clark apparently has a history of erratic behavior. Last month, he was placed on a psychiatric hold. Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Milligan, who also has a cabin in the area, says every resident in the canyon is afraid of him.
JJ MacNab is an anti-government extremism expert who has written books on the subject. She took to Twitter to give a rundown on what kinds of preoccupations Mr. Clark seems to have had, based on his social media feeds.
MacNab chronicles a man who does not seem to be particularly mentally fit, with a penchant to follow any and every flavor of the month conspiracy theory. As a result, he’s walked into the most recent easily-debunked theory called QAnon. You can read Mark Summer’s breakdown of that bag of bananas here.
According to MacNab, one of the many bits of sludge promoted and stuck inside the deteriorating mind of Clark included virtually every Alex Jones-sponsored theory—and fires.
Clark sounds like he is mentally, and possibly physically, unwell. But there are all kinds of people with all different degrees of issues in our world. Some are more easily preyed upon by conmen pushing fear and loathing than others.