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Did the U.S. Government Just Purchase 30,000 Guillotines?

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Guillotines
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Q: Why did the U.S. government recently purchase 30,000 guillotines?

A: It didn't. You've been hoaxed.

A June 19, 2013 article claiming the feds just bought 30,000 guillotines (yes, exactly 30,000) and that Congress passed a law authorizing their immediate use for "governmental purposes" (would there be any other sorts of purposes for government-owned guillotines?) has sparked a conspiracist feeding frenzy.

Never mind there's not a shred of evidence to support either allegation. The first clue that they're fictitious is the fact that the author to whom they're attributed, retired FBI agent Ted Gunderson, died two years before the article was published.

It's true that Mr. Gunderson was once quoted in the press making statements to the effect that the U.S. government had "recently" purchased 30,000 guillotines (yes, exactly 30,000) — but that was four years ago, in 2009.

In point of fact, this selfsame rumor, accompanied by now-familiar claims about the federal government supposedly building "FEMA concentration camps," ordering mass shipments of body bags, coffins, and ammunition, all the while operating under "tyrannical" executive orders, has been circulating among conspiracy theorists for well over a decade.

Here, for example, is the same rumor as posted on the Internet in April 2002:

The information I had received was that 15,000 or 30,000 guillotines had been shipped to Georgia as well as Montana for safe keeping until such a time as they are needed. (I don't recall the exact number. It's been a while. However, I do believe it was 15,000 for each storage facility.) Guillotines on American soil? What are they up to? [Source]

What are they up to, indeed! What happened to all those guillotines supposedly shipped to Georgia and Montana in 2002? Why do we need 30,000 more guillotines in 2013?

I've found posts dating all the way back to the late 1990s claiming that the federal government had imported as many as 100,000 guillotines — that's 2,000 guillotines per state! — under President George H. W. Bush. Where did those all go?

Let's get real. None of these allegations are new, nor, despite their longevity, have they ever been shown to be plausible, much less true. There's no evidence, nor any rational reason to believe, that the U.S. government has purchased guillotines (of the head-chopping variety) in any amount, ever. There's no record of the U.S. Congress passing laws authorizing the use of guillotines in this country, ever.

What we do have record of — ample record, to be sure — is the abiding cluelessness of conspiracy theorists.

Your paranoiac reading list:
Why Did the U.S. Government Recently Purchase 30,000 Guillotines? (2013)
Revelation Beheading Prophecy - Guillotines Already in U.S.A. (2005)
Guillotines in AMERICA? (2002)
Revelation Prophecy - Guillotine Execution (1997)

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