Opinion - Cameron: Bullet holes and bogus reviews

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It’s Chat Day, or in this case, the pleasant calm before the storm.

I’m referring to the column that ran on Wednesday — describing my first up-close encounter with the AR-15.

That’s the gun the NRA calls “America’s Rifle.”

There will be blowback, I’m sure, from all sides.

For the record, I did not say the gun should be banned or the number of bullets in the magazine limited.

Heck, I willingly fired most of a 60-round mag and kicked up acres of dirt in the process.

But the fact that I also mentioned nationwide outrage because the AR-15 has been an instrument of several massacres — and that we’re likely to see more — no doubt will produce plenty of emails.

That’s fine.

I wanted to understand this particular weapon, and now I do.

However, our own little non-combat world goes on, and I’ve got a couple of things to share today.

ITEM: You’re on notice.

This is the final day for voting in our poll to determine North Idaho’s favorite cartoon character. You have until midnight to send me your hero or heroine.

I’m really glad we did this particular poll. So many readers mentioned favorites, but then described how a particular cartoon icon impacted their lives — or how cartoons and comics in general shaped something special for them.

There are plenty of examples, but I’ll let Michele McDaniel of St. Maries sum it up …

“When I told my husband (Lance) of your cartoon poll, we both started singing simultaneously: ‘Meet George Jetson …’

“Then we started reminiscing on all the ones we watched as kids, but hands down it was the Jetsons.

“It brought a smile to our faces and a song in our hearts. Cartoons were our safe and happy place!”

ITEM: As it happens, I live in a third-floor condo, so I need to trot downstairs to pick up the paper.

I pass three or four of my neighbors’ front doors, and on Monday, there were packages from Amazon sitting by two of them, waiting to be collected.

We’re all buying from Amazon these days, and it reminded me of something I felt was really worth sharing.

It turns out that many companies that distribute products through Amazon actually pay people to submit glowing 5-star reviews.

These are folks who have never seen or used the product in question.

What’s worse, fake “reviewers” also can make a few bucks by sending in terrible reviews — and yes, they’re paid by the competition for dissing someone else’s stuff.

Credit BuzzFeed for uncovering this widespread fraud.

Here’s a clip from the original story …

“Drawn in by easy money and free stuff, they’ve seeded Amazon with fake five-star reviews of LED lights, dog bowls, clothing, and even health items like prenatal vitamins — all meant to convince you that this product is the best and bolster the sales of profiteers hoping to grab a piece of the Amazon Gold Rush.

“Meanwhile, sellers trying to play by the rules are struggling to stay afloat amid a sea of fraudulent reviews, and buyers are unwittingly purchasing inferior or downright faulty products.

“And Amazon is all but powerless to stop it.”

The moral of this sad tale is that you should make your own judgment of products online.

Ignore reviews.

Aw …

I’m sorry, I wanted this to be a happy column.

Oh, heck, just think of how much you liked cartoons — and be sure to vote before midnight.

I’m still going with Snoopy, but doggone it, I only get one vote.

•••

Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press. A Brand New Day appears Wednesday through Saturday each week.

Email: scameron@cdapress.com.

Twitter: @BrandNewDayCDA

What’s up, readers?

Last call for your favorite cartoon character of all time. Email your choice to: bbunny@cdapress.com. No, that’s a joke. Really send your choice to: scameron@cdapress.com

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