A few nights ago, a local TV news reporterette ran a story teaser which went something like this: "What you should do over the holidays if you have concerns about a friend or a relative," which translates to, "Now that we've saturated you with mostly fact-free stories about Sandy Hook, here's how you can successfully punish your friends and relatives with the irrational paranoia we've given you permission to feel". I should have waited and watched the full story but I didn't think I could tolerate it.
Every week the media provides us with a new boogeyman to make us cower in fear. Whether it's something in your own body (cancer, diabetes, depression) or something in the outside world (the "fiscal cliff", Global Warming, Right To Work laws), you are assured by the media that it's either going to kill you and your children or, at least, impoverish you and destroy your lives. Currently, we're dealing with an external boogeyman: the archetypal psychotic loner with an "assault weapon". No, wait. Let me revise that. It's America's "gun culture". No, even that's not right. The real problem — the thing which should keep you awake at night — is the gun by itself. It could turn up anywhere and you know you're going to be on the wrong side of it when it goes off!
How many decades has the Left lectured to us that ignorance is the cause of fear and fear is the root of all evil? That to get past our irrational fears and understand The Other we must be educated by teachable moments. They talk (and talk and talk) about that a lot, yet when it comes to guns, they display monumental ignorance and their language becomes loaded with fear-inducing signifiers. "Assault weapon." "High-capacity magazine." "Machine gun." "Armor-piercing bullets." "Bazooka."
If they are truly dedicated to reducing ignorance, they need to have a look at Tim Carney's very good piece explaining, in language anyone can understand, what the terms "semi-automatic" and "assault weapon" do and do not mean. The only thing I would add would be a little bit of perspective (jefferson101 can check me on my accuracy). The standard AR-15 fires a .223 caliber round — IOW the bullet is a mere three one-thousandths of an inch wider than the bullet used in a .22 caliber squirrel gun. Yes, the .223 has higher muzzle velocity and is far more lethal, but if you want to debate without ignorance, it helps to put what you're talking about in perspective. (Interesting: Mossberg uses the term "autoloading" instead of "semiautomatic", but even that could be misleading. "Autochambering" might be more accurate.)
Beyond that, it would be helpful to have more people understand that armor-piercing bullets, bazookas, and true machine guns are not available to civilians without an elbow-deep examination by federal law enforcement. If you are like those cable TV gun show guys who shoot machine guns and blow shit up, the feds already know who you are and gave you permission to shoot machine guns and blow shit up. If it turns out that you're unstable and go and shoot some place up with a machine gun, the only reason you were able to do so is because federal law enforcement failed to do their job.
Then again, AFAIK, no one has ever committed mass murder in the United States with a machine gun.
Of course, the biggest boogeyman, the one Diane Feinstein is pushing hard in front of TV cameras while wearing her Serious Senator Face, is the "high-capacity magazine". This is yet another case of trying to scare people with Big Numbers. Maybe Sen. Feinstein could address the case of Campos Elia Delgado who killed thirty people with a knife and a revolver. Of his thirty victims, he shot 21 of them (with a revolver) inside a restaurant within ten minutes. If the senator from California needs help with the math, that means that he managed to empty and then reload his revolver at least three times before he was put down by a police officer with a shot to the head.
Oh yeah, did I mention that Campos Elia Delgado managed to kill more people than Adam Lanza with a knife and a revolver?
Another Big Scary Number is one we heard ad nauseum after the Aurora, CO, shooting: "thousands of rounds". James Holmes supposedly had purchased "thousands of rounds" of ammunition (on the Intarweb!), but so what? He could have purchased millions of rounds and it wouldn't have mattered. All he needed to carry out his evil plan was a hundred or so. Those "thousands of rounds" could just as well have been a random pile of lead, brass, and smokeless powder.
The inevitable question we hear after a shooting like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary is: why would anyone need a high-capacity magazine or "assault-style" weapon (as I heard Wolf Blitzer euphemistically call it)? This is the trump card the Left always plays in the Second Amendment debate. Well, why would anyone need to smoke pot? Obviously, no one needs either, but that's not what the Bill of Rights is about, is it? It's not about what rights the federal government deigns to grant us lowly plebes, it's about what the government is not allowed to deny us. This is called "negative rights". I recommend that all American Leftists refamiliarize themselves with this fundamental American concept.
If the Left truly believes that guns are as inherently dangerous as they claim they are then they must stop being cowards and stop with these piddling, incremental gun control measures. If guns really are as much of a menace to civilized society as the Left says they are, they are morally obligated to demand nothing less than an all-out ban on all guns. They won't, of course, because they know that that would be impossible.* Why? Because they know that in order to implement such a ban they would have to amend the Constitution. And why would they have to resort to that? Because they know that the Second Amendment of Constitution of the United States of America does exactly what it says it does: reserves the right for citizens to bear arms so that they don't have to cower in fear when their liberty or lives are threatened.
RELATED: King Shamus's take on this.
On a personal note: the people I know who are the most afraid of guns and are most in favor of restricting ownership are the ones who know the least. Also, they have never even held, much less fired, a gun.
Looking at DrewM's attempt to have a gun control discussion with professional asshole Greg Sargent, it occurs to me that, taking a tip from POTUS, instead of trying to ban gay marriage social-cons change tactics and try to ban "gay-style" marriage.
*This argument, BTW, also applies to cigarettes. If they are such a threat to society, why not just make them illegal?