Reading Comprehension and Me

I pride myself on my ability to comprehend what I read and filter out bull shit. Sadly my filter seemed to have lapsed a bit today and I made a pretty glaring mistake. I read the following article about Gun Owners of America (GOA). The mistake came from the following piece:

Stallard told me that the “Pink Pistols has good relations with national gun rights groups.” Larry Pratt did not think so. His views can be summarized thusly: they should not have any rights; but, they do not deserve to be stoned to death.

I mistook the section emphasized as a direct quote from Mr. Pratt. In fact it’s a very poorly paraphrasing of some comments Mr. Pratt made about homosexuality. Personally I don’t agree with what Mr. Pratt said and I find it curious that somebody would says they have more “libertarian” views but be OK with barring homosexuals from marriage (it would seem the best libertarian answer to the question of gay marriage would be to abolish government involvement in marriage all together).

Anyways I made this mistake and posted it on Facebook. That was a mistake and a good thing. It was a mistake in that I made my remark about GOA based on what I thought was a direct quote. It was a good thing because two of my friends, Jeff and Sam, pointed out that the article never said what I said it said (how’s that for a confusing sentence).

Needless to say I want to use this mistake an an opportunity to remind everybody to read every article very carefully. Words matter as does punctuation. A lack of quotation marks is always something to watch out for.