Conspiracist or reformist: Which one are you when disaster strikes?

The divide goes back millennia in the quest to find meaning from catastrophic events.

A makeshift memorial site at the Astroworld Festival venue earlier this month in Houston, Texas, where a crowd surge left at least 10 dead.PHOTO: AFP

(NYTIMES) - Every so often, something so awful and senseless happens that it’s hard to fully absorb it. An apartment building collapses as residents sleep within. A movie star’s prop gun fires a real bullet on a film set, killing a young mother. A concert crowd morphs into a melee that leaves people dead and injured. After each such catastrophe, there looms a question: What’s the real story of what happened here? 

Amid a stream of facts and rumours via breaking news alerts, the loudest answers often come from two camps: Let’s call them the conspiracists and the reformists. 

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