Too Many Idiots Are Blaming Arsonists For The Bushfires
There's so much misinformation out there.
Climate change deniers have spent the last few months tying themselves in knots trying to pinpoint a cause for our unprecedented bushfires — anything other than the obvious, which is climate change.
First it was the Greens. Now it’s arsonists.
The #ArsonEmergency hashtag started trending yesterday after NSW Police tweeted this:
Police have taken legal action against 183 people for more than 200 bushfire-related offences since November last year.https://t.co/WzoxRigKPL
— NSW Police Force (@nswpolice) January 6, 2020
People were quick to jump all over the tweet, but unless you happen to possess the critical thinking skills required to actually open the link they included, it’s slightly misleading. The data shows that of the 180 people charged, only 24 have been charged for deliberately lighting bushfires.
It’s still a disgustingly high number, but to say 24 idiots are solely to blame for the current crisis is ridiculous.
It is crazy how arsonists can create drought and give us record high temperatures. #ArsonEmergency
— Ryan Griffen (@RyanJGriffen) January 7, 2020
Imagine having your head so far up your own ass that you think the fires are unrelated to climate change and there’s an #ArsonEmergency lmao how insulting to everyone who’s lost a loved one or their home etc. during this tragedy
— May (@maylharr) January 7, 2020
I regret to report the level of climate denial bat sh*t crazy has ramped up at the same speed as the bushfire crisis. The latest explanation is that terrorists are starting bushfires 🤪 They’re using the hashtag #ArsonEmergency if you want a place to start blocking. pic.twitter.com/wT4y7ov5y2
— 💧Queen Victoria (@Vic_Rollison) January 2, 2020
Unfortunately arsonists are nothing new, but the scale of our current crisis is. Expert after expert has lined up to confirm that climate change is exacerbating the scale of the fires, and if you’re still in doubt about that fact, then honestly I can’t help you.
This didn’t stop The Australian from reporting that more than 180 alleged arsonists had been arrested for lighting bushfires — a claim that was picked up by Donald Trump Jr, of all people.
Truly Disgusting that people would do this! God Bless Australia.
More than 180 alleged arsonists have been arrested since the start of the bushfire season, with 29 blazes deliberately lit in the Shoalhaven region of southeast NSW in just three months. https://t.co/xP0PtMQbuD
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 7, 2020
For your own sanity, I would not recommend trawling through his replies.
Most of the people the NSW police charged were actually people who failed to comply with fire bans, or were caught flicking their cigarette butts.
Morning, Australia. I have some questions about this article in the @Australian that claims "fire bugs" are fuelling the scale of the country's bushfire disaster. Something smells very, very off about the numbers. https://t.co/2F2phpotnz pic.twitter.com/oW56gCmGen
— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) January 7, 2020
In Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrew told the ABC that none of the bushfires there were confirmed to be deliberately lit.
Intentionally or recklessly starting a bushfire can land you 21 years in jail in NSW and 15 years in Victoria, even more if that arson causes a death.
Who’s Spreading The Lies?
Interestingly though, university researcher Dr Timothy Graham analysed a sample of the #ArsonEmergency tweets and found about a third appeared to be bots or trolls that were spreading misinformation about the fires.
So by now everyone is finding out #ArsonEmergency is being pushed by a cyber propaganda unit. Same group are dropping into threads to disrupt conversations and push the same conspiracy crap. Bigger than just working a couple of hashtags.
— Why all the bots #ScottyFromSelfMarketing? (@Jansant) January 7, 2020
Another reminder to your terrible uncle not to believe everything you read on social media.
Arsonists exist for sure, but they’re not the primary cause of these bushfires
— May (@maylharr) January 7, 2020