My very first job on police rounds, back in 1982, was at the site of a light plane crash where two young people died. I'm still freaked out, 40 years later. Aside from my father, who died when I was young, I'd never seen a dead body but as a reporter, I've since covered violence, death and destruction.
But that light plane accident was just that, an accident.
What happened on Monday in Wieambilla was no accident. It was, as we reported on Tuesday, a "ruthless and cold-blooded execution". I'm no coroner, thank God and very grateful to those smart meticulous people, but from the outside, the fatal shooting of Constables Matthew Arnold, 26, and Rachel McCrow, 29, along with 58-year-old resident Alan Dare, at the hands of the Trains, Nathaniel, a former school teacher, his brother Gareth and sister-in-law, Stacey, looks as if it was a plan, a terrible plan.
And we all had a hand in it. We've voted for it. We've accepted it. We treat Pauline Hanson's One Nation as if it's a joke. We imitate "please explain" as if it is a cutesy phrase instead of poison.
Over the past three years, there has been an upswing in hate speech, fuelled by the pandemic.
As Deakin University's Greg Barton wrote so powerfully in The Conversation last year: "Swirling around the edges of this vast ecosystem is a discourse of racism and bigotry, poisoning political rhetoric and public culture from organised sport to media comment. And, like a killer rip at the beach, powerful undercurrents of conspiracy theory movements like QAnon drag otherwise ordinary citizens at the edges into dark places with frightening force and swiftness."
We know now that Gareth Train was a frequent poster on a number of fringe and conspiracy blogs and that he held a range of extreme anti-government and conspiratorial views, writes Elise Thomas, of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.
She says Train subscribed to a multitude of conspiracy theories and to have interpreted almost everything in the context of these theories: anti-vaccine, anti-lockdown, climate engineering and "Sovereign Citizen conspiracies, conspiracies about microchips, the New World Order and Great Reset, the Illuminati, antisemitic conspiracy theories and more."
It's a list with which we've become very - terrifyingly - familiar.
And it's this kind of thinking - and this spread of misinformation, malinformation, disinformation, that Jordan McSwiney calls information pollution. McSwiney, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Canberra's Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, has studied the far right in Australia for years.
And one thing he knows is that Australians don't know enough - or understand enough - about the way the far right works or how they use online to spread their hateful messages.
All of our focus on the digital space has been digital safety. Fair enough, we need to identify predators and abusers. But we need to step up. Online safety training won't protect us from the lunatics who spread the sovereign citizen madness, the lunatic anti-vaxxers, the plandemic maniacs.
It is mad and it sends people mad. McSwiney suggests something like "slip, slop, slap", the skin cancer campaign which tells us to slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat.
I'm no campaign genius. Maybe we need the folks at Gruen to think about the ways we might get people to check out what they read on the internet and pull back from going full bonkers on beliefs with no back up.
Nathaniel Train wrote to One Nation's Mark Latham with a series of claims about his own school. The NSW Department of Education could find absolutely no evidence to back up any of those claims. And Latham, now known as an outlier himself, took some claims into NSW State Parliament.
You'd have to ask yourself why Latham, a failed Labor leader, decided to champion a man who had clearly lost touch with his staff in a NSW school.
Latham is constantly banging on about education without one whit of expertise in the matter.
But it is no surprise that when an avid consumer of derangement wants to approach a political party, that chosen party is One Nation.
It is good news that One Nation's vote didn't translate into any serious political clout at the last election and Hanson herself barely hung on.
But folks, there are better ways to politically participate than to support One Nation in any way at all. These are the folks who brought you the lie that the Port Arthur massacre was a government plot and who pleaded for funding from US multinationals to "change the voting system" in Australia, who claim "many" domestic violence incidents are made up.
Sadly we will have to put up with Malcolm Roberts Strangeness Syndrome for another three years. He thinks we should leave the UN and has the conspiracy theories to match.
One Nation is racist, homophobic and appeals to our worst selves. It's not the only party to whistle to the dogs but we should stop encouraging it. These folks are not larrikins.
The Trains didn't understand they were being fed a diet of deceit and the claims of one of them was taken into parliament, which should be a place for the serious and the thoughtful. That's my fantasy anyway.
So how do we get to a position where Australians can make judgements based on good evidence? I love McSwiney's idea of the equivalent of "slip, slop, slap" for digital hate.
We've spent a lot of time doing the important work of getting our kids to understand what's safe and what's not on the internet.
Now we need to do the same for adults.
- Jenna Price is a visiting fellow at the Australian National University and a regular columnist.