Information is power. And money.
Back in the Dark Ages, books were locked away in castles and monasteries. The illiterate unwashed were told what they contained by authorized spokespersons. Thus were born both modern politics and religion.
In this day of Trumpian strumpetry, truth doesn’t matter. Say any damned thing, create lots of buzz and drive up your poll numbers.
That page from the Sarah Palin playbook was performed to perfection by Assemblymember Michele Fiore, R-Gomorrah South. My Italiana fantasy fiancée immediately jumped on the Umpqua Community College massacre to chirp told-ya-so’s about her failed bill to mandate guns on college campuses.
Turns out that Umpqua allows guns, and armed civilians were actually onsite. A trained shooter wisely withdrew when SWAT showed up, worried he would be targeted.
Firearms industry money forced Congress to pass a law banning federal gathering of gun statistics.
Some of the numbers published after Umpqua are sensational and sobering. Since 2000, slightly more than 3,000 Americans have died due to terrorism, mostly on 9/11. Over that time, gun death estimates approach 900,000.
GOOD NEWS. Last Friday at the Sparks Nugget, Reno News & Review editor D. Brian Burghart was duly rewarded for (pardon the expression) trumping all U.S. media. He was honored for enterprising the Nevada Press Association story of the year, his nationally recognized, ongoing compilation of police-involved homicides.
BAD NEWS. Eleven Washoe County schools have suffered outbreaks of gastrointestinal disease affecting more than 400. Last Friday, KOLO TV-8 published the locations (Beasley, Desert Heights, Gomes, Mathews, McQueen, O’Brien, Picollo, Smith, Stead, Warner, Westergard), while KTVN TV-2 referred viewers to its website. The Reno Gazette-Journal published the first 10 on Friday morning but failed to print a Saturday update adding Westergard.
IRONY ALERT: The school district is starting “overcrowding workshops.” (More schools, fewer epidemics?) Ah, the wages of sin courtesy of the taxpayer-subsidized Tesla and Reno Aces, among many other corporate welfare queens.
Classes at the ballpark, perhaps?
DIRTY BOOKS. Driving people to websites means ad money.
Which brings me to the conscientious Sparks senior citizen who wanted to report a broken water main Friday night. She can’t read the micro-type in her phone book and is among the one in four Americans with no Internet access.
So she called information operator Barbano. Authorities promptly responded.
AT&T has made the phone book almost useless. Personal listings have been eliminated. Customers can call information and pay for a computerized guess or take their chances online.
Political campaigns are increasingly loathe to give phone numbers, pushing people to surrender contact info at their websites – and ignoring one in four households.
BLAST FROM THE PAST. In 1982, the late, great Tribune columnist Travus T. Hipp quipped “If voting mattered, they wouldn’t let us do it.”
Alabama just closed DMV offices in most of its “black belt” counties. Without a driver’s license or voter I.D. card from DMV, people can’t vote.
So voting apparently matters even if you can’t find a candidate’s phone number.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 47-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail <email@example.com>. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.