It's every conspiracy theorist's wet dream to trace some heinous terrorist plot back to a first-world government, thereby proving that The Man exists for the sole purpose of keeping us down, man. That was assumably not the goal of brothers John and Gerry Conway, who, when walking to their Belfast fruit stand one morning in April of 1972, were quite astonished to have two carloads of assassins pull up and start shooting them with machine guns. No, we're pretty sure John and Gerry Conway were just trying to get to their freaking fruit stand, for crying out loud.
Where they hoped to partake in a car chase later that day.
Now, if you're the observant type, you probably subconsciously made note of the mentions of "Belfast" and "1972" above, and your mind automatically jumped to certain conclusions. And you're absolutely right -- early '70s Northern Ireland was not a place filled with fuzzy kittens and rainbow pops. But, the Conway brothers had not fallen victim to an IRA terrorist plot. No, their assailants were actually a carefully chosen team of undercover British soldiers known as the Military Reaction Force, a group described by its own former members as a "legalized death squad" that was "not there to act like an army unit, [but] to act like a terror group."
Incredibly, both Conway brothers survived their Swiss-cheesing, but they were only the first of a laundry list of unarmed citizens injured or killed during the MRF's drive-bys. The soldiers' modus operandi was to drive around in plain clothes, approach the various barricades that had been set up as checkpoints throughout the city, and shoot the absolute shit out of anyone unlucky enough to be near said barricades at the time. Over 40 years after the MRF was disbanded (just 14 months after it was established), one former member justified their activities by saying, "Generally a barricade in a really bad area, there was almost somebody always armed on that barricade. You may not see the weapon, but it's almost certain that somebody's gonna be armed" -- truly a rock-solid legal basis for cruising around shooting anyone whose jib you don't care for the cut of.
We can't imagine why people at barricades would want to arm themselves.
It's almost like they're paranoid of being shot.
Among their list of victims were Patrick McVeigh, a 44-year-old father of six who was shot in the back, and teenager Daniel Rooney, gunned down with a silenced SMG while he was standing around shooting the shit (not literally) with two friends on a street corner. The rest of their (known) victims miraculously survived their injuries, leading us to conclude that, for all the "top secret elite military task force" mumbo jumbo that its former members tend to spout off, the MRF sure wasn't all that great at shooting people.
Zachary Frey is going to be a freshman at Cornell University this August and has written a bunch of other articles for Cracked, which you should totally go read.
For more everyday folks who stumble into crazy, read 6 Normal People Who Turned Into Action Heroes Out Of Nowhere, and check out 19 Real Sinister Conspiracies That Actually Happened to learn how the world is f'd up.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch a fantasy football conspiracy unlike any other in The Conspiracy Behind The Most Controversial NFL Play Ever, as well as watch other videos you won't see on the site!
Also follow us on Facebook. Or don't. It's your life. But, hey, it would be nice if you did.