Educating the Internet, a Thankless Job

I love a good story, I really do. But I hate being lied to, more. (Part of that might be related to teaching 7th grade for a year and half. They obviously haven't learned the art of believability).

Tree grows around bike in Vashon Island Washington Lest we forget wwI boy leaves bike chained to tree never returns false meme fake untrue lies
This one went viral a few years ago, without
having any kind of reality attached to it.  Here's
the real story.  
And the internet is full of liars. Big liars, little liars, charlatans, photo manipulators, opinion mongers, flame-warrers, conspiracists, outlandishers, and sadly, the manipulated few who re-spout these ideologues as truth.

They don't mean to be sheep. They haven't been trained to sniff out untruths. I don't have a lot of positives to say about my college experience, I learned some stuff, probably not worth the amount I invested, but one thing I did take away, is the ability to question everything. Some of my professors said such outlandish stuff, that I felt it was my duty to fact check them. And sometimes they were wrong. They never admitted to the class, or retracted their statements, because they had an agenda to push.

Everyone has an agenda. I have an agenda. If you haven't figured it out, you aren't reading hard enough. Most of my blogs are opinions and/or features. But the few times I've posted journalistic style articles, I've tried my damnest to present it in down the middle factual presentation. I was taught this in Journalism school. Tell the truth. Let the truth tell the story. But we've let agenda infiltrate our truth filters.

Every piece of information our friends "harmlessly" post on facebook, twitter, tumblr, reddit, blogs like mine, and even mainstream media like CNN, Fox, etc. have aspects that need to be questioned. Not like a conspiracist, but as a rational person.

Take for example this letter from an Oregon sheriff located less than 50 miles away from where I live. At first instance, it appears to be a defiant letter directed to President Obama, saying he will NOT enforce any kind of laws that encroach on our 2nd amendment rights.  Sheriff Tim Mueller Linn County Oregon letter to President Obama refusing to infringe on 2nd Amendment rights guns, ar-15 assault rifles, automatic weapons

Fine. Great. Dandy. Everyone likes a rebel rouser. And we like our guns. He will be popular in gun tote'n Linn County. As of my writing this article, his letter had been shared 18,000 times on facebook. It went viral.  And plenty of people are happy he's standing up to our big bully government. Nothing in this letter is a lie.  However, Mr. Mueller can't do any of the things he's hoping to not do.

Sheriff Mueller was not elected for his constitutional law interpretation skills. He was elected to serve and protect.  Cops don't get the right to make up what is "moral" or "right" or "constitutionally sound" on the job. They enforce the laws. The courts decide who or what is legal, right, and constitutional. You can call Mr. Mueller a hero if you'd like, but he really has no right to NOT do what our government asks.

Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus 1957, refuses to desegregate Little Rock schools holding up signAsk Orval Faubus, governor of Arkansas in 1957, how that turned out for him.  You see, he too rejected a new federal law; the one that mandated desegregation of public schools.  Faubus challenged the US by putting his National Guardsman in front of Little Rock schools, stopping anyone of color from entering.  President Eisenhower called his bluff and radioed in the US Army.  USA 1, ARK 0.

I'm not saying that what Mr. Mueller did was or is as historically ugly as Orval, I'm just saying that federal or state employees don't get to pick and choose which constitutional laws apply to them (as interpreted by the Supreme Court). And guys with little power, like a sheriff in tiny Linn Co. as opposed to the head of a state like Arkansas, really shouldn't be giving ultimatums to the government, unless they are ready to accept forced retirement.

As a teacher, I don't have the right to prosthelytize or pray in my classroom with students if I wanted. I can talk about God and/or state my opinion on religious matters, (which many teachers won't because they don't understand what their rights really are) but I can't defiantly try to convert kids in my classroom to my faith.  It violates some church/state agreements I've linked here.

Wendy's Where's the beef ad campaign 1980s old ladies angry about small hamburgers
I think sometimes old people just
want to yell "why am I mad!"  
But I don't let my panties get in a wad over this.  I can choose to break this mandate, which means I can choose unemployement. Just like we all can either follow laws, or accept incarceration. It's the pact we agree to as a civilized society. There are laws in place to keep the order. Sometimes NFL players tweet angry things about the league, and the league can fine them, suspend them, or kick them out of the can do that. Employers can limit what you say about them and that doesn't violate your 1st amendment rights of free speech. And it also causes thousands of internet football trolls to jump up and yell, "get rid of this thug, and let me take his place, I won't complain!"

Troy Polamalu Pittsburgh Steelers safety defensive back Head and Shoulders ad with huge head of hair
Don't let the hair, the smile or the flakes fool you.
Troy is not your friend on the football field.  
Those people would also get hit once by Troy Polamalu on a crossing pattern, and die.

This letter by Mr. Mueller, is obviously politically charged. I wouldn't doubt that Mr. Mueller is gearing up to run for some office higher than sheriff (although he is close to retirement, and might be doing the "what the hell, I'm angry..." vent). This letter has charged up his base of responsible gun owners. Just don't expect your local sheriff or governor to do the same, because, well, it is a dumb move.

There are hundreds of laws I don't agree with 100%.  Tweaks and outright rewrites are needed on many.  The constitution is vague (fortunately).  We can argue and bicker about what our founding father's intended.  The courts can spend thousands of hours and dollars deciding what is right and        wrong.  But you and I, or a cop, a teacher, a professor--we can have opinions. We can't interpret and then enforce what we believe is our God given rights.  Not unless we are willing to lose our jobs, go to jail, or spend a fortune crying to a therapist on how we were mistreated.

Sheeple meme Shepherds have led them astray republicans and democrats obama bush cnn fox newsFact check. We used to do it. Don't trust the source until you know it to be true. Otherwise, you're just being one of the sheeple you love to call others when they don't agree with your opinion.


  1. So whats the difference in not enforcing these gun laws and not enforcing the federal marijauna laws?

  2. Good question. It will be interesting to see how the Feds go after the big fish in Colo. and Washington, if there little pot parties get too big for their britches. Key difference now is that those are state laws, whereas Oregon has no state law as of now guaranteeing right to own assault rifles ( or whatever it is they are trying to limit, outlaw, etc.).

    State rights vs. fed is a complex conversation I think is better suited for someone who studied political science. It never made a whole lot of sense to me.

  3. Any politically charged human would find this article very politically charged. :) I'd hate to see Albany secede from the Union over this...

    1. Now that Albany lost its I-5 stink, they are back on my top 15 Oregon cities list. I'd hate to lose them over, say, Woodburn.

      Realistically, we could lose Texas over this, though. They've been itching to leave for some time.

  4. If only there was social media in slavery or suffrage days. These open letters to our government would have looked very similar to various constitutional changes that we can all agree America is better for.

    I'm sure many sheriffs from the south would have posted letters like this: "The United States Supreme Court has ruled that when a Sheriff chooses to enforce an unconstitutional directive, he is violating his Constitutional Oath to own slaves or segregate negroes in schools. I will NOT violate my Constitutional Oath."


    "Dear Mr. President, the constitution does NOT say that all women are created equal nor does it say women should be allowed to vote. Any change in the constitution defies what our found fathers intended. It is my position as Sheriff that I will refuse to participate in, nor tolerate enforcement actions against citizens that are deemed unconstitutional."

    1. Being a history major, and looking at primary sources, I can tell you, those letters exist...and are much worse than what you wrote. Thankfully, they aren't reprinted online, but forgotten in old newspapers and library archives, where their bigotry and hate speech is as forgotten as their gravestones.

      Times change, people eventually do as well. But does the constitution? Dun Dun Dun...

  5. I'm always such a skeptic nowadays, and it sucks that there are so many lies out there on these social networks. One of my more "intelligent" friends on facebook just posted this coincidental comparison chart of Lincoln and Kennedy, and while the facts given were super cool, and I know my friend to be a smart person, I couldn't believe any of it. I want to believe, and I'm a super nerd, so this weekend I'll be doing some research on those two fellows to see if any of it was actually true.

    1. I remember that comparison from the pre-internet days. It went "Xerox-viral." If I remember right, most of them were true (just very coincidental). I too should look it up and investigate it.