Guns.com has made contact with the hoaxster behind the catfished Connecticut State Police protest letter story reported on earlier today. The reasons for his humbug may interest you.
The man, who wishes to be identified only as Jim V and advises works in the Tech industry in California, provided a statement to Guns.com via email. In it he asks that readers confirm what they read, stating:
I wrote the article with a total disregard for the facts. That did not stop bloggers around the internet from posting and reposting, citing blatant falsehoods without doing basic fact checking. The story became reality for many people, probably thousands, who were victims of the belief that they could believe anything they read on the internet. While this story did not make it to major news outlets, it would not have been a stretch had effort been put into creating a more legitimate article. I hope that this story will open our eyes to the fact that we cannot trust whatever we read or hear, and that intelligent people must do their own fact checking. How much of what we accept as truth is no more legitimate than this story?
Guns.com verified the hoaxster’s identity by having him provide the login information to the e-zines website that he published the spurious article on March 10. The article was soon picked up and reported through a number of blogs over the weekend without independent verification. Jim advised that the hoax also made an important second point.
“The story illustrates a second point, the fact that there would be broad public support for law enforcement officers refusing to enforce an unconstitutional law,” he wrote. “I hope that this story will serve as an encouragement to any officers who are opposed to the law, and help them to have the courage to take a stand against it.”
We asked Jim a series of questions about the hoax.
Chris Eger: What is your personal take on the Connecticut gun registration issue?
Jim V: I am opposed to the registration. I believe the public support of the article illustrates that Connecticut cops who are against the legislation would have great public support if they openly opposed it.
Chris Eger: Would you consider yourself pro-Second Amendment?
Jim V: Certainly. That said, I am opposed to the idea some have promoted that militia groups from around the country should enter Connecticut for armed resistance. Peaceful protest will go much further than killing cops or anything of the like. Militant talk and action will only be used as ammo (pun intended) against pro-gun folks.
Chris Eger: Have you ever done one of these hoaxes before?
Jim V: No. This one was pretty poorly executed, and I learned a lot from it. I know for a fact that it happens all the time and usually isn’t detected so quickly. Fake stories spread in a similar manner are often fully integrated into people’s beliefs of the world without being questioned.
Chris Eger: Do you feel you made your point?
Jim V: That is to be seen. I’d like to see people, particularly people of influence like bloggers and social media influencers, exercise more judgment and critical thinking before spewing absolute garbage to their audiences. I’d also like to see liberty-minded officers in Connecticut openly refuse to enforce this legislation. I hope that the audience that has been captured by this story will get both of those messages.
Chris Eger: Are you a fan of Tim Northern? The comedian.
Jim V: I have no opinion, I know nothing about him.
Chris Eger: Why Tyson F Jackson?
Jim V: It was a believable pseudonym. It struck me as funny that the bloggers couldn’t even get the fake information right, though. The name was quickly changed to Tyler. It was also widely circulated that “Tyler Jackson” was the head of the CPOA, a claim that was at odds with the information I provided. Even if the story had been true, it was quickly and badly botched through unprofessional reporting.
And there you have it, always take what you read on the interwebs with a grain of salt.