Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Once Again, Trump And QAnon Are Playing With Fire

Phil Garber
8 min readSep 30, 2022


Perfect_Yoghurt_5090 posted on the Reddit comment forum, “I VERY recently lost my mom to Q, we will probably no longer speak, and I am overwhelmed and confused by it all. (Her) beliefs are aligned with Q, she considers herself a ‘state national’ or Sovereign citizen. She has also recently quit her job and obtained a conceal carry firearm. Totally mind blowing bonkers, but so sad that my mom is being sucked down this path. It’s just an awful feeling deep in the pit of my stomach and makes me feel sick.”
Perfect_Yoghurt_5090 is one of 226,000 people and counting who have joined a Reddit forum, “QAnon Casualties,” to help people who have been wounded and feel hopelessly lost in the QAnon conspiracies.
The power of QAnon was in full force for a Michigan man who had fallen down the hell hole of QAnon, shot and killed his wife and wounded his daughter before he was fatally shot by police. Another testament to the dark side of QAnon was a California surfing school owner, a follower of QAnon, who killed his two children in Mexico because he was convinced they “were going to grow into monsters.”
And last week, the crowd at a trump rally in Wilmington, N.C., included about 100 believers in a QAnon offshoot who follow an avowed anti-Semite and raised their hands in a Hitlerian salute while a popular QAnon song played in the background.
Not all people drawn into the QAnon netherworld will join a violent demonstration at the Capitol, but many of those arrested on Jan. 6, 2021, cited convictions spread by QAnon and many protesters wore shirts with the “Q” logo and slogans, like “The Storm is Coming and ““WWG1WGA” short for “Where We Go One, We Go All.” That includes Doug Jensen, a QAnon follower from Iowa who was convicted last week of breaching the capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, along with throngs of other trump supporters.
And not every person sucked into the maelstrom of deceit in QAnon will kill a family member, but some have and it is likely that more will violently defend the twisted conspiracy world.
Trump isn’t to blame for QAnon, he’s not that smart. But he is to blame for fanning the flames of the conspiracy movement all to shore up his base. Imagine at any other time in American history, when a president would not reject in the strongest terms, a conspiracy that claims that Democrats are pedophiles who eat babies. Imagine another time in history when a character like trump could rile up a mob and encourage violence. Imagine any time in history when a trump could rule.
It is in a word, despicable, for trump to exploit the uninformed, the confused, and the vulnerable whose lives are entwined in the world of QAnon. Trump has ramped up his fake love of QAnon, with images of himself wearing a Q pin on his jacket above the “storm caption” on his Truth Social media website and at rallies while he has repeated numerous QAnon references. He is no better than the charlatan QAnon follower by the name of Patriot Streetfighter who sells tomahawks for $279 and all kinds of clothing with the Patriot Streetfighter logo.
QAnon, a political conspiracy theory and political movement, originated in the far-right political sphere in 2017. QAnon centers on false claims made by an anonymous individual or individuals known as “Q.” The core QAnon theory is that a cabal of Satanic, cannibalistic sexual abusers of children operating a global child sex trafficking ring conspired against trump during his term in office.
QAnon has been linked to several violent acts since 2018, with QAnon supporters arrested for threatening politicians, breaking into the residence of the Canadian prime minister, an armed standoff near the Hoover dam, a kidnapping plot and two kidnappings and at least one murder. The FBI identified QAnon in 2019 as a potential domestic terror threat and the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point described it as a “novel challenge to public security.”
And trump stands back and sends out messages supportive of QAnon on his Truth Social site.
QAnon and other conspiracy theories have torn apart families across America and occasionally led to violence. The Guardian reported 12 violent incidents related to QAnon.
One of the deadliest incidents was this past September, when Igor Lanis, 53, of Detroit, Mich., killed his wife and wounded his daughter because he was so distressed that “deep state” forces stole the 2020 election from trump, staged mass shootings and the “fake” Jan. 6 riot, and hatched plots to harm Americans with vaccines and 5G technology.
Lanis, an auto industry employee, was arguing with his wife, Tina Lanis, 56, and daughter Rachel Lanis, 25, in the early morning hours, when the two women were about to drive away from their home. But before they could leave, Lanis opened fire with a shotgun, killing Mrs. Lanis and seriously wounding his daughter.
Police arrived and shot and killed Lanis after came out the front door with a Remington 870 pump action shotgun and shot at officers. A surviving daughter, Rebecca Lanis, said that her father “started going insane” after trump lost in 2020.
“He started going down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and QAnon. First it started with the ‘stolen election,’ and then he started talking about worse things, 5G, the vaccine, just everything,” she said.
She said her father slowly came to believe that the “deep state stole the election and that there’s a worldwide cabal out to get conservatives.”
Last year, Matthew Taylor Coleman, a California surfing school owner, was charged with killing his two children in Mexico. Coleman was a follower of the QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories who thought the children “were going to grow into monsters so he had to kill them.”
In April 2020, Jessica Prim, 37, was arrested after driving to New York and allegedly making threatening statements against Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. Prim had posted about multiple QAnon conspiracy theories online. A post on her Facebook page read: “Hillary Clinton and her assistant, Joe Biden and Tony Podesta need to be taken out in the name of Babylon! I can’t be set free without them gone.”
After stopping her car, police said they found multiple knives in her vehicle.

“I was watching the press conferences with Donald Trump on TV. I felt like he was talking to me,” Prim said. “I felt like I was supposed to come to Comfort and get some help because I felt like I was the coronavirus.”
“QAnon Casualties” on Reddit has become a popular place for QAnnon followers to get advice and support on how to leave the conspiracies behind.
Arva talked about her sister who has been sucked into the whirlwind.
“My sister has always claimed that she doesn’t even like Trump, but she believes all the conspiracy theories, including that the election was stolen from him in 2020,” Arva wrote. “Now she even believes that the members of the Deep State are involved in child sex trafficking and torture and drinking children’s blood for the adrenochrome.”
Summer-skyz wrote that she had found herself consumed by QAnon.
“But in the most unhealthy way possible. I’m unwell, paranoid, depressed, and I’ve estranged myself from my family, friends, and my partner. I already struggle with anxiety, but this is something unknown to me. I’ve lost interest in my hobbies, university, and my relationship with people closest to me. I want to pull myself out of the rabbit hole, but since I know no one close to me who has struggled with this, I feel quite lost. Has anyone else felt similar? And has anyone got any advice on what helped them or people they know?” Summer-skyz posted.
The trump rallies have become something of a freak show. Take Negative 48. An outgrowth of QAnon, followers have become a fixture at trump rallies. At the latest rally, 100 members of the group raised their hands, with one finger extended, in salute to trump, something like the Heil Hitler salute. It is no coincidence that the group’s leader, Michael Brian Protzman, a Holocaust denier, has made numerous vile anti-Semitic comments. The group made headlines last year when members gathered in Dallas expecting to see the resurrection of John F. Kennedy Jr. In January, they decided to start attending every Trump rally in 2022. Vice reported that a woman taking part in the Dallas event had been forced to drink a hydrogen peroxide solution and take “bio pellets” to ward off COVID-19.
Protzman has built a cult within the QAnon movement, where his followers refer to him as a godlike figure. In March 2021, Protzman’s Negative48 Telegram channel had around 1,700 members; today, it has more than 105,000 members. As well as denying the Holocaust, Protzman has boosted the deeply antisemitic film “Europa — the Last Battle,” and the film, “Adolf Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told.”
Negative48 was created by Protzman as a bastardization of gematria, an ancient Hebrew tradition of assigning numeric values to letters. He applies his twisted version of gematria to passages of the Bible as well as QAnon phrases, freely mixing the two worlds to create a link between Christianity, QAnon and the Kennedys.
And there are the trumpers who call themselves “Front Row Joes” and “Trumpettes,” who follow trump rallies around the country. Saundra Kiczenski was at her 69th trump rally in Wilmington, N.C. Richard Snowden said he had been to 80 rallies in 28 states across seven years. The superfans include Tennessee resident Richard A. Snowden, 64, who has been reported to following Trump to nearly 30 rallies in more than a dozen states. Snowden had owned strip clubs in Buffalo, N.Y., Tampa, Fla., Savannah, Ga., Washington,D.C. and Las Vegas. He became enraptured with trump after selling his club, according to published reports.
There was conspiracy talk at recent trump rally of such QAnon staples as Agenda 2030, considered to be a conspiracy by the United Nations to take over the world when in fact Agenda 2030 refers to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or global goals developed by the United Nations. The goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.”
A common discussion point among QAnon followers is the Georgia Guidestones and taking the “Red Pill,” referring to making a total commitment to QAnon.
The Georgia Guidestones was a 19-feet tall, granite monument that stood in Elbert County, Ga., from 1980 to 2022. The monument’s creators believed that there was going to be an upcoming social, nuclear or economic calamity and they wanted the monument to serve as a guide for humanity in the world which would exist after it. Ultimately the monument became the subject of conspiracy theories which alleged that it was connected to Satanism. On the morning of July 6, 2022, the guidestones were heavily damaged in a bombing and were dismantled later that day.



Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer