Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wayne LaPierre Got One Thing Right.

This is an open letter to “The Media.” You know who you are.

This is a semi-automatic squirt gun.
If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know that I favor greater restrictions on firearm ownership. As one of my gun-toting friends recently observed, I am a (expletive) liberal anti-Second Amendment commie dickwad—or words to that effect. I’ll own that. But when I listened to NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre speak at the press conference yesterday, I had to agree with him on one point: The liberal media, as a class, is astonishingly, embarrassingly, unforgivably ignorant when it comes to guns.

Again and again, I read anti-gun articles written by people who know NOTHING about guns. They don’t know the difference between auto and semi-auto weapons. They don’t know what the word “caliber” means. They use and misuse buzzwords like, “assault weapon,” and “high power,” and “military grade.” They don’t know the difference between a shotgun and a rifle. They don’t understand the meaning of the words “cartridge” and “bullet” and “round” and “magazine.”

Just this morning on Gawker I read an article about a guy stealing a .50 caliber AR-15 from a gun shop. Seriously? That’s like saying a restaurant served you a five pound shrimp.

This is a full-auto Grokozoidian Skrink Blaster
Do these reporters know how to use Google? Have they ever heard of Wikipedia? Have they ever talked to someone who owns a firearm? Is anyone editing these articles?

Okay, I can hear some of you saying, “Guns kill. I don’t need to know every eldritch detail of their manufacture and deployment to speak out against them.” That’s fine. You don’t. Unless you are writing an opinion piece for the public. Or are reporting on an event for a news outlet. Or hoping influence a pro-gun reader to consider your views. Here’s why:

This stuff is important to gun people. When you argue for gun control (or anything else), and you call a shotgun a rifle, every reader who knows anything about guns immediately dismisses you as an ignorant moron, and anything you say after that is just noise.

If you want to argue that high-capacity, military-style weapons should be tightly regulated and have no place in the hands of civilians, I’m with you. But please, if you are writing for publication, if you are reading a news item for television or radio, if you want your words to have power, please do your homework. Don’t give the Wayne LaPierres of this world another reason to discredit you.


Daughter Number Three said...

Your post echoes a couple of tweets by Twin Cities writer and progressive @CharlieQuimby -- "Painful to watch my fellow libs talk about semi-automatic weapons and assault weapons interchangeably, then wonder why there's resistance." and "Calling for ban on semi-automatic weapons is like calling for reinstatement of typewriters & Liquid Paper."

I admit I don't know much about guns, despite growing up in a rural area. I agree that journalists should do some research to make sure they publishing fact-based material.

But perhaps you (or Charlie) could give us a more-informed idea of what to advocate. What do you think of ideas to tax or otherwise limit bullets or large magazines?

Pete Hautman said...

Hmmm...I like the Canadian system. I am no expert on gun law, but restricting magazine capacity, instituting waiting periods and background checks (even for gun show sales), and maybe adapting dram shop laws to firearm sales might be doable. I have mixed feelings about all of this, but I do think that guns have become a bit too...prevalent.

Anonymous said...

Pete you who knows better must realize a sawed off shotgun with buck shot in these type situations is even deadlier than any Bushwacker 223. If the shooter is uncontested a single shot revolver could of a amassed the killings, Take away the guns they will use bombs, just like the countries that have gun laws. If the guy wanted to kill those kids without the gun he could of very easily mowed them over in his car at recess. The guns are the scape goat to the problem of sick individuals that wish to do horrific crimes which they will do any way possible. Remember the 911 terrorists used small knives and airplanes not guns.