By David Codrea
USA – -(Ammoland.com)-
The problem with Internet quotations is that many are not genuine.—Abraham Lincoln
I began my review of “Proclaiming Liberty,” an indispensable reference for helping ascertain validity of “What Patriots and Heroes Really Said about the Right to Keep and Bear Arms,” with that self-parodying aphorism from some unknown wit. I wrote that review over four years ago, and that in turn cited another column warning against rumors and hoaxes from several years before.
Sometimes it’s discouraging. Each of us on the internet has access to awesome resource tools previous generations couldn’t even dream about. Yet in spite of that, and sure as clockwork, the spurious Washington “liberty teeth” maxim and the fake Hitler “This year will go down in history” boast continue to make the rounds. No matter how many times they’re discredited.
Every so often I feel compelled to throw a flag again, this latest time by seeing the above graphic, purporting to present quotes about guns from Hillary Clinton and George Washington. It’s being circulated not just by those who know it’s a hoax, but also by well-meaning gun owners who are nonetheless helping to spread two falsehoods in one post. And the thing is, it takes less than a minute to debunk both quotes, simply by putting them into a search engine.
The Clinton quote has been exposed as a “pants on fire” fraud by Politifact. As believable as it is that she’d like to, she was never quoted in The Des Moines Register as saying she would shut down NRA and ban handguns.
Likewise, the Washington quote is false. Or at least the “editor in chief of the Papers of George Washington project at the University of Virginia” says he’s “as certain as he can be” that it is.
But wait a minute – didn’t I just get done taking Politifact to task and challenging it to reset its Truth-O-Meter needle for its analysis of gun ownership and suicide? What am I saying, believe them when they agree with me and diss them when they don’t?
No, not at all. My rebuttal offers alternative proofs that you can test for yourself against what Politifact claims. If someone wants to challenge their assessment of the Clinton and Washington “quotes,” all you have to do is come up with a copy of The Register proving them wrong. If it can be done it should be relatively easy, as the paper has archives plus it’s got a fair amount of both hard copy and online readers. As for the Washington quote, all a defender needs do is come up with a verifiable source citation. Which library or collection did you find it in?
We may never know who put together the above illustration and turned it loose in the wild. It could be a sincere gun rights advocate who believed the “quotes” were real and thought he was doing something good by sounding the alarm. The ones doing wrong were the ones who invented the “quotes” in the first place. Perhaps their motives were simple malice and/or just getting off on seeing how many they can dupe and how wide they can spread a hoax. They are liars seeking to erode the credibility of others, which for anti-gunners should be no surprise.
In most cases, it’s easy not to fall for that. If someone promotes a quote, or a claim or an outrageous “news story,” make sure there’s a link to a credible source. If not, either find one or don’t pass the ‘information” on.
Leave the lying and the self-delusion to the gun-grabbers. We have to be about the truth. The way things are going, critical matters may soon hinge on our ability to discern the reliability of information we send and receive.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.