A widely circulated story claims California Sen. Kamala Harris introduced a bill requiring police to ask permission before drawing a weapon.
It’s amazing how gullible people can be when it comes to fake news. Take the recent example of a “news story” about a new piece of legislation nicknamed the “Second Chance” bill, that was supposedly introduced by California Sen. Kamala Harris.
Harris is a Democrat who has announced her candidacy for president in 2020.
The story claims that Harris introduced a bill that would require “officers finding themselves in a life threatening situation would first need to call their supervisor and ask before introducing their service weapon into the scenario.”
That would apply not only to their department-issued handgun but any other weapon, including stun guns, pepper spray or even batons.
But wait: it gets more ridiculous. The law would then require that “the supervisor would then in turn have to call a local civilian committee to discuss the matter so that a community backed decision can be made.”
Think about it for a second.
A police officer is in a life-or-death struggled with an armed suspect who’s already firing shots. Does anyone think that any rational person would propose a law that requires cops to dodge bullets long enough to ask permission to defend themselves?
And not only to ask permission from their supervisor but to wait while the supervisor convenes a committee meeting to discuss the matter?
Would any rational person honestly believe such a ludicrous idea would actually be considered?
You would think supporters of Donald Trump who proclaim themselves “experts” at sniffing out fake news, since it’s what they label everything they don’t want to hear, would know better, would know better.
But I’ve seen people in my Facebook page spreading the message to crucify Harris before the presidential campaign is anywhere close to heating up.
And their friends have predictably reacted with perfect amounts of outrage over this “terrible” person who wants to be president.
It’s easier to spread fake news than fact-check.
Therein lies the problem. If your bias is against a particular candidate or a particular political party, anything you find — no matter how outlandish it is — that makes your side look good is what you’ll automatically want to spread.
Those with a speck of common sense might take a few breaths and try to confirm even an iota of the details.
But the fact that plenty of people won’t bother to take the effort says a lot about the general intelligence of the electorate.
One of the sources of this particular story is a website that brands itself as “BNN,” the “Blue News Network.” If you scroll down to the very bottom of the story as it appears on their website, you’ll see this in the footer:
BNN is your source for law enforcement satire.
Of course, to get to that footer, you have to scroll down through more than 240 comments, many of which don’t seem to understand that it’s satire.
Sure, the site could move the satire message to the top of the page, but there’d be no fun in that, right? After all, that might make it easier for people to realize it actually is satire.
One of those in my Facebook who shared the story received this comment:
“Many many people have false biases formed because of satirical stories like these.”
I suspect that might be true.
But I suspect this is even more true: Many people use satirical stories to reinforce biases they already have formed.