Veronica Wolski was my introduction to QAnon, a devoted follower & a personal friend. I tried sharing her story many times but was met with the same vitriol: why humanize a conspiracy theorist? Yes, I disagree with her views, but before Q got to her brain, she was a mother first.
I was sick of the narrative being pushed by news outlets that dismissed QAnon as a game, a joke, a cult, a militia movement, a Ponzi scheme. Chief among its ranks, and certainly in its leadership, were confused and scared folks who really thought they could change the world.
Veronica was not a grifter nor a scammer: she was a mother who was worried about her daughter's survival. She and I talked about her daughter coming to visit me at UChicago, she wanted to make sure that she had the chance to get into a good school.
I have many thoughts on her passing, on the failure of our news media, health care system, and political systems to properly engage with people like her. Read @JonathanMetzl's "Dying of Whiteness," add her to the tally.
I'll eschew anonymity (it was hard to protect her ID anyways) and link to my essay on her here, which I'll edit to reflect this ethical decision. Please read it. Just to have a little more of an understanding of who she was.…
Goodbye Veronica, I wish the best to your husband and daughter. I wish I had reached out, and I wish I had known. It became too easy to stop researching and start writing, but you were more than an informant. I still wear the bracelet you gave me, to remember was empathy is for.

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