On Monday night, tragic news broke in Manchester. A bombing during an Ariana Grande concert reportedly killed 22 people, including children, and left more than 50 injured. While people across the world are still reeling from the news, that doesn't stop others from inventing their own explanations for such a senseless act of violence. And before they even really start, conspiracy theories about the Manchester concert attack need to be shut down — immediately. Now is not the time to make up or spread rumors.
It's been reported by the Associate Press that ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. Beyond that, not too many details have been released to the public. According to CBS News, police believe the attacker detonated an improvised explosive device and confirmed it was a suicide bomber, although it's unclear if others were involved in the incident.
With so few details out there, it may be easy for people's imaginations to leap. For instance, there already have been several "conspiracy theories" popping up on Twitter, whether in jest or seriousness, offering alternate explanations for the attack. Either way, this is not OK; they're not even worth delving into here. Let's focus on what we do know instead: This attack impacted so many young people in a venue where they likely went to simply listen to music and have a good time. That in itself is devastating.
So far, two victims have been named: Saffie Roussos, an 8-year-old girl, who reportedly attended the concert with her mother and older sister; and Georgina Callander, an 18-year-old college student, who tweeted just the day before about how excited she was to see Grande's show. Those details alone are enough to break anyone's heart.
Instead of perpetuating any alternate theories, shift that energy to helping victims of the Manchester attack, if you're able. You can show your support on social media, whether that means helping circulate the emergency number for Manchester (0161 856 9400, according to CBS News), or spreading info about any concert attendees who may still be missing. (However, be mindful that the info is being shared from a reputable source, as it's easy for fake posts to also fall into the mix.) There are also crowdfunding pages beginning to pop up, but again, definitely double-check the veracity before you donate.
Public figures, ranging from Grande herself to Queen Elizabeth, have expressed their sympathies about the attack. Sometimes, however, there are simply no words to truly convey what a loss this is.
And that's exactly why spreading conspiracy theories or hatred in the wake of this news is definitely not the way to go — it shifts the spotlight from what really matters. So instead, take a moment to honor the victims and spread love in whatever way you can.