For years, the term ‘Conspiracy theory’ has been used to describe theories associated with Elliott Smith’s death. This recent article published by Yahoo is unoriginally using the term once again: ‘It didn’t take long for conspiracy theories to circulate — implicating Chiba in the same vicious way that some Nirvana fanatics still steadfastly believe that Courtney Love killed Kurt Cobain’, whereas this other one, despite insisting on the fact that his death remains a mystery as an undetermined case, is stipulating: ‘Naturally, there have also been a lot of conspiracy theories circulating around what may or may not have happened to Elliott Smith the day he died.’
And this is when you can put the finger on people’s complete lack of logic.
A conspiracy theory is defined as ‘a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators’… but if authorities have never decided one way or the other, if the coroner and the police have never been able to determine the manner of death, declaring that Elliott Smith’s death is suspicious is not a conspiracy theory. Saying this is not going against the authorities but actually agreeing with them. And no powerful conspirators have decided to cover up his death, I talked several times to the detectives and once to the coroner and they both confirmed that the case could not be decided one way or another. Whether they had a personal conviction or not (they were not allowing to share it with me at the time) does not matter because the evidence didn’t allow them to conclude. Furthermore, the fact that the case was investigated by LAPD homicide detectives, tell us that the possibility of homicide was absolutely examined by the authorities. ‘We are not investigating this case as a suicide’ once told me detective PJ Morris on the phone. In this sense, Elliott’s case is not another Kurt Cobain case, whose death was decided to be a suicide by the police.
The other part of a conspiracy theory is that it implies several people to precisely conspire together to do something, as for example killing someone. Some Kurt Cobain fans, who have rejected the conclusion that Kurt killed himself, have proposed a real conspiracy theory, in the sense that they believe that several people have conspired to kill Cobain. This is where I disagree with the comparison between both cases. If Elliott was murdered, nobody conspired to kill him, if he was killed, the tragedy was the result of a moment of rage during a stupid domestic dispute. And this has nothing to do with a conspiracy.
Then there is the argument that fans are often in denial and come up with these theories because they can’t accept the reality. They are then accused of having an agenda to serve their theory, at the image of the gun lobbyists claiming the school shootings are hoaxes because they can’t imagine giving up their gun rights. No hard facts support their claim, but they don’t care, they are believers. On the contrary, in Elliott’s case, we have plenty of hard facts provided by the findings of the autopsy, the forensic details that people often ignore. I once made a compilation of the facts related to stabbing found in forensic literature, just to show what a crazy statistical oddity Elliott Smith’s case is: If you consider that barely 2.3% of people commit suicide by stabbing and that about 28.3% of them do it in the chest, you already have a scarcity, but you also have to consider that only 27.1 % of them are doing it with no hesitation marks, that only 30.9% of them are doing it through the clothes and only 14.6% of them are presenting bone injuries (all items found in Elliott’s case, if you want all the details and the references for these numbers, go here). The result which takes into consideration all these probabilities (0,008%) is astronomically low and brings the probability that he committed suicide to a ridiculously low level.
Conspiracy theories have a reputation for being crazy theories, they are often built on feelings and emotions and based on made-up items, and certainly not based on truth, they are the Alex Jones of all the possible theories. Qualifying a theory of being a conspiracy theory, is a way to denigrate, ridicule and simply dismiss it with a pejorative label. The possibility that Elliott’s death was a homicide is actually based on solid forensic facts, when compared to other existing cases, this represents far more than a small probability, as there are actually more forensic items leaning toward homicide than suicide. The facts that Elliott had a history with depression and drug addiction, as well as the presence of an alleged suicide note, are the only items leaning toward suicide, and we are not even certain that the note was a legitimate suicide note. Hard facts do not feed conspiracy theories, but they help us to get closer to the truth.
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