"We're all pretty conservative, and this was not just conservative political talk."
The story of Matthew Taylor Coleman, the popular Santa Barbara surf school owner who, last week, drove his two young children to Mexico and murdered them with a speargun, is as tragic as it is incomprehensible and yet the human condition is to strive and create some sort of sense out of the dark pieces. To try and sort warning signs that could lead to pure horror from an otherwise idyllic-presenting life.
His arresting officers revealed, in the hours that followed, that Coleman believed his children possessed “serpent DNA” and that killing them would help save the world.
Now a friend has come forward with more insight, telling People magazine that, while their conversations used to be “normal,” in early 2021 things took a turn. “He’d tell me about stuff he read online. Conspiracies. But he’d present it like, ‘I read something really crazy. Isn’t that ridiculous?’ But then he’d start adding things like, ‘yeah, but when you think about it, it all makes a lot of sense.’ It was like he was starting to believe them. And he spent a lot of time looking at these conspiracies. He devoted a lot of brain power to them. It became clear to me that he believed some weird stuff.”
Still, even with the “weird stuff” there was no telltale sign that things would turn so dark, with the friend adding, “I need to be clear about something. He never said anything that led me to believe that he was a danger to himself or anyone else. We’re all pretty conservative, and this was not just conservative political talk. This was just out there. Stuff that made zero sense to me.”
Conspiracies are nothing new but it certainly does seem that the strains currently spreading are particularly virulent and not just the domain of “conservatives” even though that may be an easy conclusion to draw. I have two extremely liberal friends who have gone all in on Q-adjacent business. But why? Siloed Facebook groups, fear, misinformation, etc. all seem far too hollow to actually account for a father, heretofore deemed “normal,” spearing his own children in Mexico. Was Coleman profoundly, but secretly, mentally disturbed or did “devoting a lot of brain power” to “weird stuff” flip his switch?
In any case, an account has been set up in support of Coleman’s wife, Abby, with a family friend reaching out to BeachGrit writing, “I was wondering if y’all would consider sharing the gofundme that has been created for her. It was started by another one of her friends and will provide needed financial support for Abby as she is going through this very rough time. I suspect the surf community would be interested in rallying to help her in such a difficult time.”