Letters to the Editor: The death that launched a thousand conspiracy theories

U.S. Atty. Gen. William Barr, shown Monday in New Orleans, said there were “serious irregularities” at the federal jail where Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide as he awaited trial on charges he sexually abused underage girls.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Jonah Goldberg’s op-ed “Conspiracy theories in the age of Trump” does a good job of explaining why conspiracy theories thrive. But when he tries to make the point that both sides do it, he chose a terrible example. Here’s what he offered: “His [i.e., Trump’s] detractors resort to other conspiracy theories (mass voter suppression, Russia, etc.) to explain his 2016 electoral college victory....”

Goldberg apparently believes that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election is a conspiracy theory. The second paragraph of the Mueller report begins, “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.” Neither the FBI nor any of the intelligence agencies have ever offered an opinion on whether the Russian interference impacted the election results. It’s likely impossible to determine, but it’s certainly fair game to debate — unlike the nutty Birther, Truther and Pizzagate conspiracy theories.

John Harduvel, Huntington Beach


To the editor: Goldberg asserts that conspiracy theories “thrive in undemocratic cultures where rulers are unaccountable and probably are scheming behind the scenes.” However, that is becoming an increasingly apt description of the United States. Gerrymandering and systemic voter suppression are not theories, but well-documented facts.

George Crowder, Los Angeles

To the editor: Kudos to Atty. Gen. William Barr for vowing to get to the institutional issues in Epstein’s death as well as ensuring the many victims receive justice. Equally important, the community, businesses, government and elected officials need to know the co-conspirators and all those involved in and who supported Epstein’s nefarious activities to better understand how money, power, authority and leadership self-interest may influence and skew their decision making.

Henry Borenstein, Los Angeles

To the editor: If not for his current record as attorney general I might have believed Barr. Instead I immediately thought of Claude Rains’ Capt. Renault character in “Casablanca”: “I’m shocked! Shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.” Who says life doesn’t imitate art?

Steve Downs, Perris


To the editor: Barr is “appalled” by Epstein’s jail death. When one reads of the inhumane treatment of prisoners in jails across the United States, the immigration policies devastating to children and the inequality creeping across the United States and affecting so many families, the silence of the attorney general is appalling!

Mary Leah Plante, Los Angeles

To the editor: In his search to solve the mystery of Epstein’s death, I suggest that Barr enlist O.J. Simpson, who has vast experience in finding answers to this kind of problem.

Jonathan Greenspan, Westlake Village