It seems like every week or two, some new internet myth makes the rounds, and I get swamped with forwarded e-mails from readers who want me to be aware of the latest threat to life as we know it. Not to mention the same old crap that gets recycled over and over again, because somebody new gets a forward and passes it on to everybody on their e-mail list, who in turn passes it on to everybody on their e-mail lists.

In the last two weeks I have received a dozen e-mails with a warning by an unidentified self-proclaimed Vietnam vet and retired police officer who said he went to a routine appointment at the Veterans Administration (VA) clinic, and was asked if he was stressed, did he feel threatened, or did he ever feel like he wanted to harm somebody. Supposedly, the VA nurse informed this person that if he had answered yes to any of those questions, his answers would have been forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security, which would then have pulled his concealed weapons permit.

The e-mail ends with the warning that “they are going after the vets first. Other gun people, like retired law enforcement will be next.” It’s all part of Obama’s great scheme to disarm the American public.

Who thinks this crap up? I mean really, who has the time to just sit around concocting such nonsense, and why do they do it?

Just for the record, there is no truth to this. I just had my annual checkup at the VA hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, and was not asked any questions like this. In fact, because I had already received this e-mail several times, I asked the nurse who did my intake interview about it, and she had never heard of these “required” questions she was supposed to ask. I also have talked to three other veterans who have recently been to three different VA hospitals and clinics, and none were asked any of these questions.

So relax, gun owners. Big Brother isn’t going to snatch your shooting irons away this week, and probably not next week either.

Actually, this isn’t an entirely new myth, it’s a refurbished and recycled one. A couple of years ago, just about the time President Obama was inaugurated, the story was that police officers were supposed to ask anybody they stopped for traffic tickets the same questions, because the President-elect had issued an order to do so. Never mind that a President-elect cannot issue orders to anybody, and  that no President can order state or local law enforcement to do anything, people were calling it the start of the “Obama gun grab.”

Another nonsense myth along the same lines that is being circulated, is that you will be required to list every firearm you own on your 2010 income tax return. Again, this is all part of the “Obama gun grab.” 

Again I ask, who thinks this crap up? And why do people just blindly forward every nonsensical thing that appears in their e-mail? In takes less than a minute to go to www.snopes.com and check out the validity of one of these wild tales. And just because somebody types “I checked this out on Snopes” at the top of an e-mail doesn’t mean that they really did.

Computers and the internet have revolutionized the world. Unfortunately, I believe they are also responsible for a large part of the dumbing down of society. Folks, every once in a while, turn the damn computer off, go outside and look upward. Trust me, the sky is not falling!

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23 Comments on Who Thinks This Crap Up?

  1. Greg White says:

    Yeah, but they will slip you a mickey in a bar, steal your kidney, and leave you packed in ice in motel bathtub.

    I know it’s true. I read it on the Internet, or somewhere.

    Sorry about the launch.

    Greg

  2. Cindy -- Wyoming says:

    That’s your kidney I got Greg???

  3. Greg White says:

    For your sake, I hope not!

  4. Pam says:

    I never get more than one of these emails from the same person because I write back and tell them if they ever send me another I will block their email address. I have an extremely low tolerance for liars and for people who spread lies.

    I think half of the people who send this crap probably know it’s a lie but they send it hoping that gullible folks will believe it. I don’t know which is worse: being so stupid that you believe this crap or so complete devoid of morals that you would forward it anyway knowing you were spreading lies. (I don’t mean you, Nick, when I said you-just the generic “you.”)

    I wish more people would stand up to this practice of spreading fear and lies. It’s hateful and ignorant.

  5. Howdy Nick,
    Pam sounds like my wife.. Nick I got a lot of this kinda stuff and checked on some of it w/Snopes and it was maybe true, half true and coulda been true.. I got so many letters from one guy I finally figured out he was just raising $$$ for himself and put him in the SPAM file.. I talked to a guy today from NW AZ, who said he’d never heard of you.. I could hardly believe it!!!
    So, you have the WORLD’S BEST DRIVING INSTRUCTOR WORKING(??) AT THE WORLD FAMOUS GYPSY RALLY.. I’ll hafta try to get there.. I told a lady today Dennis could turn an RV around in a tomato soup can.. she don’t believe it, so, when he gets to Yuma make him do it..and make a video of it.. I’m from Texas, so, you know good and well I won’t tell a lie..stretch the truth a bit, but don’t break it…

  6. Howdy Nick,
    I got to cogitating about that lies crap stuff and forgot what I was agonna say.. Don’t fret about not seeing the shuttleshot
    I’ve got cuzzins down there and they say it ain’t so grand..Go to
    Richard Branson’s place in New Mexico and watch one go to the
    Ralph Cramden.. THE REAL REASON YOU WENT TO FLORIDA WAS TO SEE
    TIM !!! REMEMBER THAT !!!!
    Have a good vacation and I’ll ‘try’ to see you in Yuma…

  7. Dale says:

    Let’s not forget about the email telling us not to use the new dollar coins because they do not have “in God we trust.”

    Well, they do have that phrase on one of the faces of the coin; until now the phrase was on the outside rim of the coin.

    I sincerely believe these emails are meant to engender the same type of fear that was spewed during the elections.

  8. D.Dot says:

    ….i hate those e-mails and chain letters! There should be laws….but you can’t regulate the net nor e-mail. Just junk-em…and by the way, you won’t die if you don’t forward a chain e-mail to 10 of your closest friends. I have survived many non-conformance…

  9. Dennis M says:

    Any e-mail that says something to the effect that “you must forward this to 10 friend’s immediately or…” is immediately deleted – no matter what it says or who it is from.

  10. Connie Braidh says:

    SNOPES

    We also get this stuff all the time from well meaning friends. I usually go to SNOPES and check it out. They are pretty good at having the scoop on what the origins of the “scare” are. Many of them have a kernel of truth but have been so modified in the passing around of the stuff that’s it’s hogwash by the time you get it. Or it’s a down right fabrication.

    Please everyone, check it out before you send these kind of things on. If it’s untrue or wrong, make sure the sender knows it, and then delete the e-mail. You will be doing everyone a real favor!!!!!!

  11. Janna says:

    Right on as usual Nick! My mother taught me that if it was too good to be true then it probably wasn’t. I have admended that to many of our friends and acquaintances–“if it is too stupid to believe–it isn’t true!”

  12. Glen says:

    And those people are breeding and voting !!! Don’t forget, one of their votes equals one of your votes. Do we wonder why the campaigns are geared like they are ?

  13. Here’s a new rumor for ya Nick: The reason the space shuttle is falling apart on the ground. Is: It was a Friday build by the UAW workers in the USA. It should have been out sourced to Japan for better reliablity like a Lexus….. LOL LOL

  14. Absolutely hate those damn forwards. I put up with some, as they come from good friends, and many actually are humorous. But the scare ones? Or the “inspirational preaching?” Out they go! And even if you ask certain folks not to send any more, they do anyway, knowing that they have to protect us from lemon slices in restaurants, for example. Did you know they were so bad for you? Pfooey!

  15. Christine says:

    Another scary thought is the power of marketing and branding – in business and in politics…if an idea is repeated enough times for many it becomes true regardless of an actual validity behind it. The power of “the story” is great.

  16. Paul Stough says:

    A couple of months ago while at a “town hall” meeting with the congressman from my district, Steve King(R), who seems to attract some of the “tea party” types, a former law enforcement officer brought up issue of President Obama giving Interpol free reign in the USA,which sounds terrible.

    The issue sounded suspect to me, but I didnt say anything, and it was interesting to listen to the others in the room jump on the bandwagon bashing Obama for not only doing this, but also going to take all our guns, and so on and so forth. To the Congressman’s credit, he was a bit skeptical, but said he would look into the issue.

    Here is a link to what snopes had to say on the issue:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/crime/interpol.asp

    It is for reasons like this that candidates for public office run the type of campaigns they do. They know that there are lots of gullible people just waiting to be told some BS that has a hint of truth in it, just the like latest Tea Party BS that the current trip the President’s is on is costing the USA $200 million a day.

    This BS goes on across the political spectrum.

    Stay skeptical,

    Paul

  17. Susan says:

    Yep – couldn’t agree more, Nick. For the last several months, I have hit the “reply” button and send the link to the snopes site referencing the particular story in question. I’m trying to be nice about it to preserve friendships, but am starting to wonder if I really want/need some of the folks as friends! Wait – my husband is also guilty – but we’re working on it!

  18. Dave B. says:

    Do you think that a lot of this stuff about President Obama is because these people are sore losers. They didn’t vote for him and are so upset that he won that they are going to smear him as much as possible. It’s a small person that does that, but there are a lot of small minded people out there. I guess there parents never taught them too much and now as adults they are acting like kids.

  19. Gina Ellis says:

    Let’s brand these emails with what they are: terrorist attempts to terrorize you, the receiver. I believe that’s why there is a “delete” key on my keyboard…and I’m not afraid to use it. Plus, anyone who sends this kind of nonsense more than once or twice gets blocked from my email. I don’t participate in chain emails and I don’t allow idiots to stay in contact with me. I’m guilty as you once charged me, Greg…I don’t suffer fools gladly.

  20. Susan Wilson says:

    I used to get these emails from a friend. finally I sent her a link to snopes.com, pointing out that the email she had sent me was not true. I suggested she might want to check it on snopes before she sent out any more.

    Her reply? “Oh, I don’t have time to do that!”

    Too busy forwarding emails, I suppose…

  21. Steve says:

    Large and colorful fonts are a dead giveaway that the contents are not worth serious consideration. I read them for morbid entertainment before deleting. Some are amazingly hateful and/or stupid.
    Ever notice that the sender never uses proper etiquette to protect email addresses? The real problem with these emails is the fact that YOUR valid email address is wide open for other spammers to harvest. That is just not just rude and obnoxious, it generates more crap.

  22. Allan says:

    I also delete any forwards and emails from addresses that I don’t know or that even looks suspicious and check with Snopes on almost everything that is forwarded to me from people I do know.
    I do wish that people would not make up or pass on erroroneous materials through the internet about the present administration or the last 4 years of congress. There is enough legitimate reasons to be opposed to what they have done as demonstrated by Americans response in this last election. Smear attacks on the internet and the media are nothing new, they have been going on for years as they did with President Bush and Sara Palin.

  23. Tony says:

    Oh Yeah. Just wait…the death panels will take care of you nonbelievers.

    Remember, you can’t fix stupid.

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