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Despite statistics showing that more than 1,000 train derailments take place every year in the U.S., conspiracy theorists are now citing any and every train-related issue (that they falsely assume to be an uncommon occurrence) as evidence of a sinister government plot.
After suggesting that a medical ID program aimed at senior citizens in East Palestine was somehow proof that the train derailment was planned, conspiracy theorists are now pointing the finger at trains that haven’t even crashed with suspicion.
In a video posted to Twitter this week, an Alaska-based woman named Doll Arntzen, who describes herself as a radio host for the “Alaskan Patriot Network,” suggested that a series of stationary train cars in Stanislaus County, California, were cause for concern.
In the video, which has been viewed more than 2.3 million times, Arntzen says that ranchers have expressed apprehension over what she claims are “hundreds” of unmanned train cars. Although Arntzen admits that labels on the cars clearly state that they are carrying liquefied petroleum gas, the conservative activist asserted to the Daily Dot that their presence was nevertheless “unprecedented.”
“What is significant according to the ranchers was that the rail cars are on tracks historically used for feed and cattle transport,” she said. “These cars are in the middle of cattle pasture at the moment.”
Arntzen went on to further state that the area is in “the heartland of the nut industry” and that ranchers have also been worried over “chemtrails” destroying their crops. Yet the train cars more than anything appear to be the talk of the town.
In a statement to the Daily Dot, Lt. Tom Letras of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that they had received several calls regarding the matter but confirmed that nothing was amiss.
“We were made aware of the viral video several days ago and have received several calls for service. After looking into this matter, there is no criminal conduct nor is there a risk to the public,” Lt. Letras said. “This is a common practice to park rail cars for storage in some rural areas and this has been a practice for several years.”
While concerns over environmental issues caused by train derailments are undoubtedly cause for concern, conspiracy theorists responded to the video by suggesting that a “false flag” was about to take place.
One Twitter user referenced a conspiracy theory surrounding the belief that the United Nations is purposely poisoning land across the U.S. in order to seize it.
Another argued that the train cars could be the “next chemical bomb,” once again suggesting that the derailment and ensuing chemical disaster in East Palestine was a nefarious act.
Although an actual train derailment took place in Stanislaus County on Monday, operated by Union Pacific, no hazard materials were involved. The derailed train appears to be totally unrelated to the rail cars being discussed on Twitter.
Why it matters
The uproar appears to be based on nothing more than fear and a burgeoning conspiratorial worldview regarding America’s crumbling rail infrastructure.
Despite over 1,000 train derailments taking place every year, the ongoing disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, has made some segments of the internet paranoid about anything train related.
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