If you saw the staged and scripted exchange between President Obama, Mark Kelly and Anderson Cooper on CNN’s “Guns in America” propaganda broadcast, you were supposed to be led to believe that conspiracies (i.e. Obama’s secret plot to take our guns away) are absurd and the people who perpetuate them are fools. The message was clear: If you don’t agree with President Obama, you are a conspiracy theorist. No rational discussions or debates are necessary, as people who espouse such claims are quickly ridiculed and called names.

It appears President Obama is sick and tired of hearing about conspiracies. We know how Anderson Cooper feels about people who espouse conspiracy theories about Sandy Hook and other mass casualty events. He refers to them as “horrifically outrageous” and refrains from dignifying them with a response on his program.

The term conspiracy theory has been weaponized, turned into a derisive label that is intended to discredit and silence the speaker and shut down the listener’s critical thinking. If an idea is dismissed out of hand as a conspiracy theory, most people roll their eyes and tune it out. This Pavlovian response has been drilled in the minds of the American people by the corporate media since the JFK assassination, and in particular, since 9/11.

Although we are supposed to believe conspiracies are fantasies created by deluded, sick or corrupt minds, they not only actually exist, they constitute criminal behavior:

Conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to engage jointly in an unlawful or criminal act. It can also be an act that is innocent in nature, but becomes unlawful when accomplished by the combination of actors. In other words, conspiracy occurs if two or more individuals act together to commit a crime or to commit a lawful act by unlawful means even if they are not aware of each other’s participation or role in the conspiracy.

Case in point: Two teen girls in Colorado have been arrested and charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. They were allegedly plotting a mass shooting at their high school, but they had no guns. In fact, all they did was talk about it, search online for ways to purchase guns as a minor and look up information on female mass shooters.

Authorities were tipped off when a friend reported one of the girls gave her “instructions to follow any warning not to come to school.” Investigators claim to have found detailed drawings of the school indicating where security officers are positioned as well as a journal containing references to the 1999 Columbine shooting and the movie “Natural Born Killers.” The girls’ lawyer says this journal was part of a therapy to treat depression.

Isn’t it better to write something horrible than to actually do it? Ironically, the depression factor will probably hurt the girls’ defense, as it will likely be used to underscore the “unhealthy” mental state of the suspects rather than explain it.

The Denver Post reports “authorities say the girls’ scheme was foiled in December days before it was supposed to be carried out.” Yet the girls had no guns, bombs nor weapons of any kind. So how exactly were they going to carry out this plot? With strongly worded journal entries?

Although no actual crime was committed and no one was hurt or killed, the girls will be charged as adults. They are currently being held on $1 million bail, as the police say they are a danger to the community.

They didn’t have any weapons, nor did they actually commit any crime. Thus, they weren’t a danger to the community before they were arrested, so now that their plot has been exposed and they have been arrested, how exactly are two teenage girls still a danger to the community?

If the girls had purchased weapons, or were stopped just before they opened fire in the school, I would agree with their arrest. But what they are being charged with what is essentially a thought crime, labeled “conspiracy.”

If you are paying attention, you should have already detected a glaring contradiction: Conspiracies attributed to the government are absurd, horrifically outrageous and shouldn’t be dignified with a response. Conspiracies attributed to citizens are crimes punishable by time in prison.

Remember the conspiracy theory alleging that the IRS was specifically targeting conservatives? We now know “IRS employees were ordered by their superiors–including Lois Lerner who pleaded the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination rather than testify in Congress–to send certain Tea Party tax-exemption applications to the office of the IRS’s Chief Counsel, which was headed by William Wilkins, who at that time was the only Obama political appointee at the IRS.” This is just one example of numerous instances where conspiracy theories turned out to be conspiracy facts.

If conspiracies are the domain of tinfoil hat wearing wingnuts, why are they a criminal offense? And if they are a criminal offense, why did the Obama/IRS conspiracy go unpunished? Why was Lois Lerner not arrested on criminal charges? Why was she allowed to plead the fifth and destroy email archives (implausibly claiming a crashed hard drive) with no repercussions? Is the FBI really so incompetent that they are unable to recover data from a crashed hard drive? Does the DoJ really believe this crash was simply a coincidence?

If I didn’t know better, it would appear the IRS, FBI and DoJ were conspiring to cover up a conspiracy. But that can’t be, because government conspiracy theories aren’t real. President Obama and Anderson Cooper said so.

Nevertheless, conspiracies do exist, both in the abstract and in actual practice. The former is a thought, the latter, an action. Actions speak louder than words. Talking about doing something is quite different from actually doing it. So how can we account for the fact that there are two teenage girls in jail, yet Lois Lerner got off scot-free?

It must be a conspiracy.