OK, we're calling it: Time of death, 8:35 a.m., Monday, Feb. 18, for that small noun known as the "fact."
That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. We are getting close to losing the basis for rational decision-making and debate, the unassailable truth.
Even the truth can be assailed, often successfully.
Monday morning a reader called to point out an error in a story on the second page of the Sun Journal in an Associated Press story.
The story was about how gun raffles are stirring anger in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy which left 20 children, six adults and the gunman dead inside an elementary school building.
"The New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police is raffling off a gun every day in May, including a Ruger AR-15-style rifle with a 30-round magazine similar to the one used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School ..."
That's wrong, said the caller. Only handguns were used in the shooting, the AR-15-style rifle was found inside the trunk of the car the assailant was driving.
Indeed, if you Google the words "guns used at Sandy Hook," the caller appears to be correct. Glancing over the headlines on the search items would lead anyone to believe the AP report was in error.
Most of the entries say no assault rifle was used in Sandy Hook shooting, reporting instead that the young killer used only handguns.
Some might naturally ask, who cares? The people are all dead whether they were killed by handgun or rifle.
Yes, but the answer may be important for anyone trying to determine if a proposed ban on "assault-style" semi-automatic weapons might save lives.
In other words, if the killer used a handgun, clearly a ban on AR-15 sales would have made no difference.
This should be a fairly clear point of fact two months after the incident.
However, in this era of hyper-partisanship and sensitivity about gun control, even simple facts become fuzzy.
Some have even questioned whether the slayings occurred at all, or were staged by a government intent on taking away guns so Barack Obama can impose a dictatorship.
It is worth noting that if you only look at established news media results in Google, you wouldn't know there was any debate about the type of gun used to kill the children.
If this is a story, then the "lame-street" media missed it... Or is part of the conspiracy.
We all look at events and judge information through our own lens of preconceptions. The gift and curse of the Web is that it allows us to select a set of facts that best fits our opinion on an issue.
It then becomes easy to discount information to the contrary or simply screen out opposing points of view.
But the truth is simple and it's different than opinion: Either Lanza used an assault-style weapon or he did not.
In this case, if a diligent person digs long enough and hard enough he can find a document issued by the Connecticut State Police listing the guns found inside the school (above).
Which means an AR-15 was found inside the school.
That's a fact, unless, of course, you think the cops are part of the conspiracy.
The opinions expressed in this editorial reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.