Generally, when a 79 year old man who was known to be in poor health is found dead in his bed with no signs of a struggle, reasonable people do not immediately include “assassination” even if the deceased happened to be one of the most venerated figures in conservative politics. But the Internet is the Internet, and certain less-than-scrupulous websites have long realized that feeding the paranoia of the paranoid is always good for clicks, and so here we are.
I’m not going to link to any of these charlatans here, but suffice it to say that the fact that Scalia was found with his head under a pillow is now being used to strongly suggest that Scalia was murdered rather than died of natural causes. And the fact that Scalia’s wishes apparently included the cremation of his remains means that in some corners the freakout is reaching an absolute fever pitch.
I guess the story is supposed to go that the pillow is evidence that Scalia might have been suffocated, as opposed to the fact that he just sleeps with his head under a pillow, as tons of people do. How, pray tell, is that supposed to have worked? Scalia’s body was not found until Scalia the person had been missing for quite some time, so his would-be assassin was clearly not in a hurry.
One would think that a would-be assassin of an aged and ailing Supreme Court Justice who wanted to make his death look like an accident by smothering him with a pillow might have, you know, bothered to remove the pillow from Scalia’s head so as not to arouse suspicion after he was done with the act, but apparently reasonable thinking is not the currency anyone is trading in today. The fact that Scalia was found inside a closed room with no signs of forced entry and that he was in an apparent state of repose with unwrinkled clothes also does not matter.
Personally, I hope an autopsy is performed for the benefit of the public interest but in the absence of more evidence than what we have right now, I can’t say I’m compelled to disagree that it’s up to Scalia’s family as to whether one will be performed. And if one isn’t, I have no idea what indulging in these conspiracy theories will do for the country, but I have no doubt that people who have a financial incentive to stoke those flames will be telling us about the infamous pillow for years to come.