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In our own backyard: Just the Facts, Ma’am

Kay Bolden | 10/4/2017, 4:38 p.m.
Between the cries of “fake news” and unending onslaught of social media “reporting”, it’s hard to find the facts sometimes. ...
Between the cries of “fake news” and unending onslaught of social media “reporting”, it’s hard to find the facts sometimes. Everyone with a phone and a wifi connection is spreading opinions, partial facts and outright misleading stories. Here are a couple of items being lost in the chaos.

Between the cries of “fake news” and unending onslaught of social media “reporting”, it’s hard to find the facts sometimes. Everyone with a phone and a wifi connection is spreading opinions, partial facts and outright misleading stories. Here are a couple of items being lost in the chaos.

For the record, the Las Vegas mass murderer and domestic terrorist has been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. Police found at least 23 additional weapons in his hotel room, another 19 at his home, and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

If you got your news from Facebook or Twitter immediately after the massacre, you may have seen planted stories originating with4Chan, a vocal alt-right message board responsible for some wild conspiracy theories floating around the web. Numerous threads on the board showed schemes about how to pin the shooting on liberals. One of their discussion threads, in which they wrongly identified the gunman, was picked up by Google’s 'top stories' module, and spent hours at the top of the site’s search results for that man’s name.

For the record, Colin Kaepernick started sitting out the national anthem 13 months ago, in protest of police treatment of black citizens, and in particular, the rise in police shootings of unarmed black men. He later began taking the knee, rather than sitting, believing it to be more respectful and symbolic. While some players joined him, it was a relatively small group. Enter the Trump speech in Alabama, calling for the “son of a b*h” to be fired. This activated a wave of players to support free speech and take the knee—or stay in the locker room—during the anthem. Despite attempts to spin the protest as “anti-veteran” or “anti-flag”, neither Kap nor the others were protesting for those reasons.

For the record, Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, and Puerto Ricans are American citizens. Puerto Ricans have no senators; and their representative in the House of Representatives is only a delegate with limited voting privileges. Delegates have a marginalized role in Congress and their constituents are not represented in Congress in the same manner as most citizens. Puerto Ricans do not pay personal income tax, but they do pay most other federal taxes. In 2009, Puerto Rico paid $3.742 billion into the US Treasury.

For the record, people who survive mass shootings say the same thing: they started running because they heard gunfire. If the House GOP has its way, silencers will be much easier for gunmen to acquire. They have been moving a bill forward to ease restrictions on silencers—despite opposition from gun safety advocates and law enforcement. In the wake of Las Vegas, they’ve put the bill on hold. For the record, Politico reports the NRA contributed $5.9 million to GOP candidates in the 2016 election cycle—a record amount.

For the record, “fake news” is not news that you disagree with, or opinions you don’t want to hear, or facts that you think shouldn’t have been leaked. Fake news is false or misleading information, disguised as actual reporting. In other words, lies.