“You must completely dedicate yourselves to it. To do less will be to let down your country, your state, your parents, your teachers, and ultimately, yourselves. Remember this: The only good citizen is the well-educated citizen.”

– Homer Hickam, Rocket Boys

American author, Vietnam veteran, and former NASA engineer, Homer Hickam, was born on this day in Coalwood, West Virginia. Hickam’s best selling memoir October Sky was the basis for the 1999 film of the same name.

That’s a loaded quote, ain’t it?

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I mean, how many of us are really informed…I mean really informed and educated about what it means to be a good citizen?

For all the snarking about what a “well-regulated militia” means, I’d be pretty happy if we could have a well-educated public.

Just because I endeavor not to wade back into the political fray doesn’t mean that I’m not informed, that I don’t know the issues.

In fact I’d dare say that, in that regard, I’m “Smarter than the Average Bear.”

And yet, I’m far from perfect.

Yes, it’s true that I’m on social media a lot. And it’s true that I read a lot of what is supposed to be “news.” It’s even true that sometimes I’m snookered along with the rest of you.

But I endeavor to check my sources.

I endeavor to read other sources, and other views, and to verify the facts.

For example, Bob Denver, bless his heart, is still dead, and has been for some time.

Not to bring up all of last week’s painful news and hysteria again…but one example does stand out.

Within hours, if not minutes, of the news of the shooting in Florida, Facebook and other social media outlets were being flooded with the news that there have been eighteen school shootings in 2018.

Except there haven’t.

I rarely trust the Washington Post, but kudos to them for setting that story straight.

No, there haven’t been 18 school shootings in 2018. That number is flat wrong.

Read the article. Especially if you shared that “18 school shootings” meme.

We just can’t seem to learn.

As we keep hearing of how Russians and others tried to use social media to influence the elections we think we’re not subject to that influence.

Yet, on a daily basis, there’s false story after false story being “reported” and repeated.

And you’re sharing it on Facebook.

In all “fairness” to the “source” of the 18 shootings claim, there were 18 incidents.

But don’t complain about the President’s cries of “fake news” when this is cited as “journalism.”

I grow weary of trying to correct all of the nonsense that I see.

You know, asking Facebook to “like” your posts isn’t going to change what you see in your feed.

Honestly, I think we’re at the mercy of our Facebook overlords. We’ll see what they decide we should see. If there’s a way to manipulate that, I haven’t found it.

So, if you’re passionate about certain issues, make sure that you’re properly informed. Whatever those issues are. Don’t just automatically assume that something is true because it happens to fit your preconceived ideas.

Learn what the “questionable” news sources are.

Learn what the biased news sources are.

Look, I’ll do what I can, but some of y’all need to step up on this as well.

Truth is, if you’re reading here, you probably don’t need this reminder.

But it’s highly likely that you know someone who does.

Can I get an amen?

Or at least a share?

In other news, American singer-songwriter and producer, Smokey Robinson, was born on this day in 1940.

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Cover Photo by NASA on Unsplash

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