At the end of John Ford’s classic Western, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, the editor of the local paper decides not to print the truth about who really killed the murderous Valance. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”
Legends now become facts in America at almost lightning speed. Often when lies are asserted as truth, they become frozen in time. Even the most damning later exposure of their falsity never quite erases their currency. As Jonathan Swift sighed, “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it.”
After the recent shooting tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard, cable news shows, newspaper reports, and talking heads immediately blasted lax gun laws. The killer, Aaron Alexis, had mowed down 20 innocent people — twelve of them fatally — with yet again the satanic AR-15 semi-automatic “assault” rifle.