Cooked gun statistics

February 17, 2018

There’s an old saying attributed to Mark Twain or Benjamin Disraeli, that there are three kinds of lies: “Lies, damned lies and statistics.” One damnably dishonest statistic that’s being quoted far and wide in the media in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Florida is a claim by the pro-gun control group “Everytown for Gun Safety” that there have been 291 school shootings in America since 2013.
America’s spy agencies have long been a source of inspiration to comedy writers, with their penchant for impenetrable doubletalk (“Get Smart,” “Dr. Strangelove,” Col. Flagg on “MASH”). But I pity the poor comedy writers struggling to come up with anything wackier than what’s actually being floated in federal court by the CIA.
The White House press secretary (full disclosure: I know her pretty well) explained the discrepancy between claims that the FBI informed the White House of allegations of domestic abuse against former aide Rob Porter earlier than reported and the White House’s claim that they accepted his resignation just 24 hours after learning about them.

Olympic gold medalist Shaun White acquitted himself pretty well after allowing the American flag to drag behind him on the snow as he walked from the medal ceremony.

Wow, we didn’t want to see that. At the same time, it’s certainly understandable that with the thrill of the win and the need to juggle heavy gloves and more –- he didn’t win the gold for juggling, after all –- he might have accidentally let the flag slip from his grasp and drag on the snow without realizing it. Still, it would have been nice for him to remember at his moment of glory that he had just won for the USA and to take pride in holding that flag as high as he could. Some took to Twitter to ream him out six ways from Sunday for disrespecting the flag, but others sympathized. And his apology did seem genuine.

“I remember being handed the flag,” he said, “but I was trying to put on my gloves and hold the flag and get the board. Honestly, if there was anything, I definitely didn’t mean any disrespect." He added, “The flag that’s flying on my house right now is way up there.”

I’ll bet somebody went over there right away to check.

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I’d like to think that this isn’t one more example of Americans taking for granted the freedoms symbolized by the Stars & Stripes. We’ve seen way too much disrespect, and it's getting worse in some corners of our land. But in this case, it doesn’t really seem to be that. I hope Shaun --- and every one of us --- realizes that if he’d been part of the North Korean team and had disrespected his nation’s flag on the world stage like that, he would have been summarily stood up against a wall and shot. His family, too. After brutal torture. Yay, USA!