A FEW DAYS before the election, The Boston Globe sent a reporter to West Virginia to interview Trump supporters, presumably because they couldn’t find enough diehards in the commonwealth.

The writer found fear and loathing for Hillary Clinton — some of it based on fake news.

One fellow, Dean Pack, told the reporter that “the government has ordered 30,000 guillotines that Clinton, if elected, plans to use ‘to kill us — Christians and people who believe in the Second Amendment.'” The evidence? “All you got to do is pull it up on the Internet,” Pack said.

I was tempted, as I read this story, to think he was trying to pull one over on the Yankee journalist. But I knew he wasn’t.

As hard as it is for rational people to believe, Pack was serious.

Fake news is in the news right now. All of a sudden, sensible people are realizing that the Internet is rife with conspiracy-theory sites. I like a good conspiracy theory. Perhaps I am just suspicious by nature. I don’t feel we have been told the whole story about the events of Sept. 11, 2001, for example.

However, that’s as far as I go. I may sometimes wonder what officials hide from us. I most assuredly do not believe the massacre of young children and their teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, four years ago was staged.

In fact, I feel insane just writing that sentence. But I’ve seen this horrible bit of fake news propagated. Using the research skills Pack applied to his favorite story, all you have to do is Google Sandy Hook to find this one. Hoaxers are decried, says a top story. That might make you wonder. Then scroll down to see “related searches.” There it is: conspiracy theories.

As a writer and a librarian, I am a fierce defender of the First Amendment. But I also am an ardent advocate of the truth. Americans need to be skeptical — we have been lied to by our leaders. The crazy right-wing “truthers” who believe far-out theories like this one should remember that a series of cataclysmic events in the Middle East and a decade of war (and counting) were set off by President George W. Bush’s assertion that Saddam Hussein possessed “weapons of mass destruction.”

That was a lie. So, yes, we need to question.

But who’s going to doubt what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School? What would the motive be?

A Huffington Post article that deconstructed the conspiracy arguments stated: “Some go so far as to say the massacre was a joint government-media operation to shore up support for a federal assault weapons ban.”

The irony here is that the true believers can’t seem to accept that gun safety advocates don’t need to stage school shootings. The tragic fact is that they happen on their own.

As a school librarian, I have participated in many lockdown drills and even an “active shooter scenario” organized by the Augusta Police Department. I was so nervous during the latter I began laughing uncontrollably. In a real situation, that would not have served me well.

One day when I was at an elementary school, a lockdown was announced. A class of first grade students was in the library. We had to lead them into a classroom, as the library cannot be secured. I didn’t know if it was a drill. I assumed it was, but what if it wasn’t? Though I kept a calm demeanor for the children’s sake, I was shaking inside.

Needless to say, it was a practice. Then I was just resentful. We shouldn’t have to put 6-year-olds through these things. But we do, because the danger is real.

A fake news believer, seriously delusional, fired into a Washington, D.C., pizzeria recently because he thought it was the center of a child sex-trafficking ring. And, yes, he was carrying an assault rifle.

In order to make that statement, I consulted a New York Times article about the incident. I knew what had happened, but I had to make sure I had the details right. That’s how I was trained to be a journalist — always check your facts.

There’s a difference between a legitimate news organization and a guy named Bob who sits around in pajama pants in his basement making stuff up and posting it online. Somebody — an editor — is reading this column before it is published. So too that Times story on the pizzeria assault. No one is editing Bob.

Have legitimate journalists invented stories? It has happened. But they were fired and publicly shamed.

Can somebody, please, do that to Bob?

Liz Soares welcomes e-mail at [email protected]