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Conspiracy Theorists Fact-Checked After Claiming Maui Fires Were Started By A 'Space Laser'

Images circulating on social media claimed to show a 'direct energy weapon' being used to start the deadly wildfires in Maui—except they weren't of the Maui fire at all.

Maui fire aftermath
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

We live in a time when there is truly nothing conspiracy theorists won't convince themselves is some grand ploy to deceive them—even the devastating Maui wildfires, apparently.

Some of the more conspiracy-minded right-wingers now seem to be convinced the Maui wildfires, which have leveled many parts of the island including the historically significant Lahaina Town, were caused by some nefarious cabal bent on Maui's destruction, for whatever reason.

But far more ridiculous is how they posit these evil-doers started the fires—with a "space laser," or a DEW—"directed energy weapon"—launched by either China or Jews or both or something.

If this sounds eerily familiar, it should.

Right-wing conspiracists have repeatedly blamed California wildfires on "space lasers," specifically ones run by Jewish people, in keeping with the fact nine times out of ten if you drill down deep enough, most right-wing conspiracy theories are rooted in White nationalism and antisemitism.

Even the de facto leader of our nation's right-wing brain trust Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has trafficked in the " Jewish space lasers" conspiracy theory.

The Maui conspiracy is particularly absurd, however, since video exists of blown-down power lines sparking the fires.

But of course, nowadays it often seems these conspiracy theorists could have witnessed this in person and would still believe whatever Twitter told them, so here we are.

Right-wing conspiracists have been circulating all kinds of out-of-context photos, none of them actually taken in Maui, purporting to show a laser touching down on the island.

The post below for instance uses a photo from a launch of one of Elon Musk's SpaceX rockets in 2019 from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California.

Tellingly, the verified account that posted it has a JFK Jr. photo as its avatar.

JFK Jr. is an important figure in right-wing conspiracy movements like QAnon, where he has figured heavily in numerous Q-related prophecies, none of which have come true.

Others have posted images like the one below, taken in Michigan in 2018, and claimed they too are evidence of foul play in Maui.

More reasonable minds on social media found the conspiracy theories about the Maui fires to be absurd but unsurprising.

There are 99 people confirmed dead in the Maui fires so far, with those on the ground reporting more bodies in their communities and in the rubble left behind.

Recovery from this tragedy will take time and resources.

If you can help, you can donate to the Hawaii Community Foundation's Maui Strong Fund by clicking here. HCF has pledged not to take any fees out of donations to this fund, so 100% of funds donated will go directly to helping those affected by the fires.

American Red Cross of Hawaii is on the ground in Maui helping those affected, and you can donate to them by clicking here—be sure to select "Hawaii Wildfires" from the drop-down menu.

Aloha United Way has also created a relief fund to support Maui's community.

To help the animals affected, you can donate to the Maui Humane Society here.

Officials have said it could take years for the island and it's community to truly recover and the true extent of the damages and lives lost are still being evaluated.

Perhaps people should focus on rescue and recovery efforts first before they start crowing about non-existent lasers burning entire communities to the ground.