While the message is inspiring and to some extent true (although a phrase or two made my eyebrows rise), Snopes.com had two years ago already exposed this purported editorial by an (unnamed, of course) Australian dentist, which is again enjoying email circulation. I received it in my email this week and judging from the length of the address book of the person who sent it to me, I suppose scores of other people did as well.
The email mentions an article in a Pakistani newspaper where someone offers a reward to anyone who would kill an American, in reaction to which an Australian dentist is alleged to have written these words:
You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American. So I just thought I would write to let them know what an American is, so they would know when they found one.
An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan. An American may also be a Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.
While I have no truck with Australians, and maybe some with Americans in general (politically, anyway), circulation of unverified news and articles through email is always a waste of bandwidth and time. But one good thing such incidents have instilled in me is the profound realization that Google is my bestest friend on the Internet, and that now I know (and so do you, in case you don’t already) that no Australian dentist wrote the editorial, but is in fact a primer by an American who was then an associate professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law named Peter Ferrara.
Repeat after me: Google is my friend. Again. Google is my friend.