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Chemtrails Kill… Dude!

Ian Harris

Skeptical Briefs Volume 26.3, Fall 2016

I was driving on the freeway in Los Angeles, and the car in front of me had a bumper sticker on it that said “Chemtrails Kill.” Now, I love to laugh at the chemtrail people anyway, but this one had me almost pulling over to catch a breath, because the vehicle was not actually a car but a giant, Suburban-type SUV. The irony of this one is just way too thick to ignore. You are driving around in an eighteen-passenger, four-gallon-to-the-mile, urban assault vehicle on a road with a million other cars, worried about condensation happening at thirty-five thousand feet! Watch out: water vapor at one part per zillion is falling all around us! And let’s not pretend that “Chemtrails” are anything but that—water vapor accurately known as contrails. Contrails have existed since the invention of the jet engine. We know definitively what causes them. There is less secret involved here than why your windshield has that “mysterious” water on it every morning. We know more about the formation of contrails than we do about where that one sock goes when we do the laundry. The science behind contrails is more understood than the science behind what makes those One Direction kids so damn adorable.

By Prashanta (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Regardless of those facts, we have still all probably run into at least one person who is convinced there is a government conspiracy at hand, though depending on who you talk to, you will get a completely different response as to what is trying to be accomplished via said conspiracy. I have heard everything from “controlling the weather” to “controlling our minds.” Controlling the weather always strikes me as odd since these conspiracy people almost always fall into one of two categories: 1) The Alex Jones climate change deniers or 2) People who rail against “Big Oil” and big business groups for their contribution to greenhouse gas production and their climate change denial. So, let me see if I understand this. . . . We can change the climate for the better, by using chemtrails, but for some unknown reason we choose not to, or the climate is changing, we are responsible, it is bad, but it is due to a magic additive in the airplane fuel not the reason 98 percent of climate scientists claim and therefore we should not worry about greenhouse gasses? Since this argument pretty much takes care of itself, I will address the most common chemtrail conspiracy I hear: mind control!

Every other “dude-bro” throwing this claim at me while hacky-sacking in the parking lot says this: “They are dumping a mind control agent into the jet fuel, so that it falls down and poisons our ground water in an attempt at mass mind control.” So let’s pretend for a second that this is the plan and pretend that something dropped in vapor form from thirty-five thousand feet would make it to the ground in any significant quantity to be able to do anything. I am supposed to believe that the government is doing this? The U.S. Government? You mean the same government that can barely deliver my neighbor’s mail to me on time? The same government that allowed the city of Flint, Michigan’s, water to have more lead in it than 50 Cent? There is so much lead in the Flint water, Superman couldn’t see through a glass of it! They let that slip through the cracks, yet somehow they were able to get hundreds of thousands of people, some making barely above minimum wage, airline workers, scientists, truck drivers, low level government clerks and every major airline in the world, to dump hundreds of millions of gallons of this magical mystery substance, in the hopes that enough of it would actually make it to the ground to poison the water—that they themselves and all their friends and family drink—in an attempt at mass mind control? And apparently judging by all the chemtrail “experts” I’ve met, the only way to ward off this extremely potent, mind control chemical is to live in your mom’s basement and work part time at Whole Foods! My response is usually retorted with, “See, they gotcha already! You and the rest of the sheeple can believe what you want, but I’m telling you, they’re dumping that stuff in our ground water to keep us all pacified.” This is the moment he takes a monster bong hit, blows out the smoke, and says, “That’s why I don’t drink water anymore.”

Ian Harris

Ian Harris is a professional stand-up comedian who infuses skepticism and science into his comedy. His hour TV special Critical & Thinking is currently available on most video-on-demand platforms, and his second special ExtraOrdinary is due out in early 2017.