Stacks of burial vaults aren't evidence COVID-19 was planned
Social media users earlier this month were sharing video from a 2010 episode of "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura," as proof that COVID-19 was planned by the government.
The clip shows Ventura, former Minnesota governor, professional wrestler and host of the truTV series, with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in Madison, Georgia, behind a group of trees, looking out at a stack of burial vaults the pair refers to as "plastic coffins."
The men discuss how the government keeps the coffins as a stockpile for a biological pandemic that would begin as an excuse to "get rid of people or dissidents." At the same time, the Federal Emergency Management Agency was working on concentration camps to detain others, the men said.
The containers were being stored in Georgia, according to PolitiFact, but it has nothing to do with preparation for a pandemic. The burial vaults, used to protect caskets and keep the ground at cemeteries from caving in, are produced by the organization Vantage Product Corp.
"The majority of cemeteries across the United States require the use of a burial vault when a body is interred," Vantage Product's vice president Lisa Barlow told PolitiFact.
The vaults are stored for people who have prearranged for their funeral and already have picked out a coffin and vault, Barlow said.
The information about FEMA funding detention camps also is false.
"FEMA does not and has not operated concentration camp centers in response to COVID-19 or any other disasters," a FEMA spokesperson told PolitiFact. "FEMA's mission is to help people before, during and after disasters."
Vaccine won't protect against hurricane
A video circulating on social media shows President Joe Biden advising people to get vaccinated to protect themselves from hurricanes. But the post is false, according to The Associated Press. The clip was edited and parts were removed to make it appear like that was what Biden said.
In the manipulated version, the president says, "Let me be clear: If you're in a state where hurricanes often strike -- like Florida or the Gulf Coast or into Texas -- a vital part of preparing for hurricane season is to get vaccinated now."
The post includes a laughing emoji with the words, "Get vaccinated to protect yourselves from hurricanes y'all."
But when Biden made the comments during a White House briefing last month, he actually was urging people to get vaccinated to reduce their risk before a natural disaster during which residents might have to evacuate their homes. He didn't say the inoculation would protect against hurricanes.
"Everything is more complicated if you're not vaccinated and a hurricane or a natural disaster hits," Biden said. "If you wind up having to evacuate, if you wind up having to stay in a shelter, you don't want to add COVID-19 to the list of dangers that you're going to be confronting."
Cursing is protected by the Constitution
A screenshot of an article being shared on social media claims it is illegal to swear at President Joe Biden.
The headline on the story reads, "It's Not Just Dangerous; Screaming (expletive) Biden May Also Be Illegal," and, based on the comments, plenty of people are upset about this.
"So now it's dangerous and illegal?!?! Why wasn't it dangerous and illegal when it was happening to Trump????" one user asked.
But it's not illegal and it never was, according to Reuters.
There is no evidence this article was published before it was posted as a meme. An early posting of this meme came from an Instagram account that appears to post satirical content.
Cursing at the president is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution.
"The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that what it calls the 'emotive' function of speech merits constitutional protection," University of Florida law professor Clay Calvert told Reuters. "As long as the speech does not amount to what courts call a 'true threat' of violence, then it would be protected."
Footprint on the moon is real
An Instagram post earlier this month claims the tread seen in a photo of a footprint on the moon doesn't match shoes the astronauts were wearing during the 1969 moon landing, proving the event is fake.
That conclusion is a giant leap, according to USA Today.
Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin simply wore different shoes while walking on the surface of the moon.
When they stepped out of the capsule, they were wearing lunar overshoes, or moon boots, over their pressure boots. The overshoes were designed with treads to distribute the astronauts' weight as they walked on the moon. The tread of those boots matches the tread in the footprint photo.
Before they returned to Earth, they left those boots and other items on the moon because of their weight.
"These items remain on the surface of the moon at the Sea of Tranquility, as they were considered to be excess cargo for the Eagle's crew to return to the Columbia Command Module and then to earth," Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum history curator Cathleen Lewis told USA Today.
• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.