Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

November 16, 2013

Fact Check: Vet in your classroom attempts a mass shooting

Website claims Obama administration hands out pamphlet to help counter veterans shooting up classrooms.

Our ruling: Pants on fire

On Nov. 12, a blog called Mr. Conservative posted an alarming headline — especially so given that it was just one day after the Veterans’ Day holiday.

The story, which was forwarded to us by a reader, was headlined: “Obama Admin. Hands Out Pamphlet: ‘What To Do When The Veteran In Your Classroom Attempts A Mass Shooting.’”

The story went on to say that “veterans all across the country are upset” with the Education Department-issued pamphlet. Veterans, the site said, “are taking the stance that this makes it look like ‘all veterans are PTSD-crazed cauldrons of rage.’”

The Education Department’s defense, according to the post, was that there were already other pamphlets “like ‘What To Do When The Hispanic In Your Classroom Attempts A Mass Shooting,’ ‘What To Do When The Gay Student In Your Classroom Attempts A Mass Shooting,’ and ‘What To Do When The Special-Needs Child In Your Classroom Attempts A Mass Shooting.’”

The article quoted an unnamed representative of the Veterans of Foreign Wars calling the pamphlets “incredibly frustrating” and saying they offered “several asinine recommendations.”

Was the story true? A lot of people seemed to think so. A number of blogs and other social media sites referenced or reposted it, and commenters on Mr. Conservative appeared to take it seriously.

“I am ashamed that we are demeaning my fellow veterans in this manner. It seems to be part of Obama’s grand scheme to diminish the military,” said one. Said another, “What is it going to take to get this guy impeached??? If he doesn’t get impeached, nobody will.” Other commenters called Obama a “disgusting pig” or worse.

But a few Mr. Conservative commenters wondered whether it was a spoof, and it turns out that they were on to something. It was actually a piece of satire — one that Mr. Conservative posted without labeling it as such.

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