Currently Browsing: The Media

PA Police Promote PSH

I don’t see how this “case of mistaken identity” had a positive outcome, other than no-one was harmed by the police responding to a bogus “Man With Gun” call. And then the cops double down and encourage people to make bogus calls. Topped off by the Lancaster Safety Coalition “review[ing] footage” and “see[ing] how the tripod could be mistaken for a gun at first glance.” Mrs Grundy in the 21st Century?

WaPo Article Condemns Silly Right-Wingers for Politicizing Tragedy, then Proceeds To Do the Same

YellowJournalismA few figures on the right politicized the terrorist attack in Paris pretty much while it was happening. I might agree with the sentiments expressed, that people are generally made safer by having a well-armed population who are well-trained (dare I say well-regulated?) in the use of those arms. But I agree that jumping right in with fodder intended for domestic political audiences is distasteful. But my question for the folks arguing this: is it wrong when Obama jumps in with political rhetoric immediately following mass shootings? Is it wrong when gun control advocates immediately start pushing their policies in the media immediately in the wake of mass shootings? If you say it’s wrong for Newt Gingrich to do it, but fine for Barack Obama, then you have a double standard, and pardon me if I don’t then start thinking your an unthinking partisan. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having the policy discussion. That will inevitably come. But I do think it’s the decent thing to do to tame the rhetoric until people have had a chance to process what happened. At least give it a few days.

And notice, in the linked article, the Washington Post laments politicizing the attacks, and then turns around and belches out several anti-gun talking points, like they couldn’t help themselves, and like that itself is not controversial or political. So who’re really the assholes here? You’d almost think for as narcissistic as some in the media are, they might look in the mirror now and then.

Does The Media Still Want to Argue Infamy Doesn’t Play a Role?

No doubt as soon as the murderer’s name was known, his face was plastered all over the news. It was disappointing to even see people on our side doing it. Now it has come to light that the UCC murderer may have had the attention on his mind. Notice what the killer said about the Roanoke TV murderer:

On an interesting note, I have noticed that so many people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are. A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone. His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems the more people you kill, the more you’re in the limelight.

And thus the seed was planted in the mind of the next whack job. I feel a bad for quoting his writing here, but I want people to see, and see clearly, that when people on our side suggest the infamy the media offers these losers is a big part of what drives them to do these horrible things, we’re not blowing smoke. Here it is, plain as day for anyone to see.

Last night I was introduced to this effort by the family members of one of the Aurora victims. I’ve had a policy for a while now that I won’t mention the mass killer’s name. I won’t print their pictures or publish their manifestos. I won’t help them find what they seek. If only the media would do the same.

And the Award for “Dumbest Thing I’ve Read All Week” Goes to …

Lauren Holter of Bustle, who points out the evils of the National Rifle Association for, before the mass shooting, mind you, sending a tweet showing how to get a good sight picture. Because I guess people who are into shooting just shoot wildly around the range, consequences be damned. Completely ignoring NRA’s 144 year history of teaching marksmanship, which is its primary mission (the political stuff exists only because people won’t fucking leave us alone), she then goes on to accept Bloomberg’s claim about school shootings hook, line and sinker, even though these claims have been debunked even by left-leaning fact checkers.

While the NRA focused on how shooters can improve their aim, 10 people were killed in Oregon because a school shooter knew how to aim a gun. It’s quite simple really — mass shootings always involve at least one gun.

Congratulations, that is officially the dumbest thing I’ve read all week. But don’t despair, there’s sure to be a lot stupid thing flying around the media until the Storm of the Century of the Year pushes all this off the front page, so maybe you’ll get topped.

A high-schooler, a clock, a bomb?

L’affaire Ahmed has been reverberating across my facebook feed for a while now, and it looks like we’ve gotten about all the facts that are going to be shaken loose outside of discovery in a civil suit (if there is one). And while I can’t say I’m surprised at some of the knicker-twisting, I’m a little disappointed. First, a picture of the clock (or hoax bomb). CNN says this is police provided. No real scale is provided, but note the power plug – the case is approximately the size of the top half of a piece of paper, when closed, per this amazon listing. (Amazon listing complete with self-amusing internet jokers in comments)


clockbox closeup

According to this post and comments (which is where I pulled the above pics from), the guts are a 1970s-1980s vintage digital clock, contained in a pencil box available on Amazon. Since the CNN article notes that it was discovered in Ahmed’s backpack when an alarm went off, I’m going to assume that there was a 9V battery in place at the time (or some other on-board power source since removed).

Now, there are (at least) two competing narratives running around. Ahmed’s story is that he made this as an alarm clock, brought it in to show a teacher, and then another teacher discovered it and brought it to the attention of the authorities, who then flipped out, etc. The other narrative is that he deliberately made a fake bomb, and allowed it to be discovered, because Reasons. The second narrative really doesn’t pass Occam’s Razor for me, though. First, that’s a really bad fake IED. A real IED is supposed to be innocuous, of course, and not draw attention to itself until too late. A fake one, that you might want to use in a bomb scare, on the other hand, needs to be obvious. This is a pencil box when closed up, with nothing (except possibly the power cord) showing on the outside to make you think it’s anything else. And when it’s open, where’s the “payload?” Even Hollywood Bombs have obvious explosives in them. No play-doh, no red-painted cylinders with wires coming off of them, nothing that shouts “I’m a thirty-minute bomb, I’m a thirty-minute bomb!” Secondly, there’s the whole “he didn’t make that” meme, because it’s a commercial product, disassembled and half-way mounted into the case; rather than being a from-scratch project. The thing is, it’s a 30-ish year old clock, in a recent case. There’s an incongruity there that irks me. Finally, Ahmed’s behavior doesn’t fit. Why did he establish the device was his own practically as the first thing he did upon bringing it to school, and why did he maintain possession of it the entire time he was in school?

Here’s my theory. A 14-year old tinkerer was bored one day and opened up a broken alarm clock made before he was born, and got it working again (loose wire, broken solder, what have you). He decides to install the repaired clock into a pencil case, and he’s “made” himself a custom alarm clock from stuff lying around his desk. In a fit of 14-year-old enthusiasm and forethought typical of 14-year-old enthusiasm, he takes this alarm clock he made into school to show his friends and teachers this cool thing he did. In previous times, it might have been a shiny new pocketknife, or a wrist rocket (slingshot), etc. He shows it to a friendly teacher, who may have encouraged his ambitions, but tells him to keep it out of view because someone might overreact. Ahmed goes on with his day, forgetting he has an alarm set (or not knowing. I have a similar vintage alarm clock that is distressingly easy to accidentally arm the alarm on, and it’s defaulted to 0000 hrs. Very annoying). Alarm goes off in his backpack, disrupts class, teacher wants to see, teacher freaks. Then the school administration, being a bunch of zero-tolerance idiots, freaks and bring in Johnny Law. Ahmed insists he’s done nothing wrong – it’s a clock, see? Keeps time and everything. Possibly following the advice given out regularly around these parts of “don’t talk to the law without a lawyer.” The notable thing at this point is that the school administration never believed it was a real bomb, since they didn’t do evacuate the school or otherwise put into action bomb-scare plans. Instead, they jumped right to bringing down the hammer on what, at most, is a little understandable high-school-frosh eager stupidity, and thus splashing this all over the country.

Bringing the thing into school wasn’t the wisest idea in the world, and I’m not going to say the school should have not reacted at all, but calling the cops in and interrogating a student without benefit of counsel with the cops present? Yeesh.

How to Turn Six into Dozens

In last week’s news link we covered a tweet from CSGV of a protest outside the office of Virginia State Senator John Edwards:

It would seem the local CBS affiliate in southwest Virginia has turned that fantastic crowd of people into “dozens” of protestors. To be fair, it looks like there were one or two more people than are showing in CSGV’s picture, but that doesn’t raise the number to even a dozen, let alone “dozens.” That implies a crowd of at least 24, and more realistically 36. You don’t have 24 people at that protest. The gun control movement would have died years ago if they didn’t have the media willfully helping them drive their preferred narratives.

Vox Gets What No Gun Control Group Does

If I had a list of rules of effective political advocacy, on that list would be that you should be able to know and argue your opponents position as well as, or better than they can. The left-leaning runs an article speaking truth about who they are up against in the fight for more gun control, and I think they pretty much get it right.

But money alone cannot explain the gun lobby’s success. Members of the NRA and allied groups bring an intensity, volume, asymmetry, and geographic reach of passion that is rare in American politics. Until that is matched on the other side, the gun lobby will continue to win.

This is essentially why Bloomberg struggles for success, despite being able to outspend us. If the Democrats were supportive of the Second Amendment, even if it was just lukewarm, I could probably find better things to do on election days when I’m dissatisfied with the Republican choices on other issues (which I usually am).

CNN Wets Themselves Over Legal Flamethrowers

Apparently someone at CNN Money heard of a company selling surplus flamethrowers for $1600 bucks, and laid an egg when they found out that they are totally unregulated. It seems even more silly to ban flamethrowers as it does firearms. A super soaker would not be the world’s safest flamethrower, but if you were hell bent on harming people it would do in a pinch. It won’t set you back $1600 dollars either. I believe it is Joe Huffman who often argues that anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted with matches and gasoline either. It would seem there are plenty of people who agree! But probably not in a way that promotes freedom.

It Would Be Nice if Politifact Would Consult Experts

Politifact has taken on claim that the Social Security changes floated by the Obama Administration amount to a huge gun ban for millions of elderly Americans, and have concluded it’s bunk. They have done this because they do not understand the federal gun laws, and did not consult any experts on the topic. They did consult Gary Kleck, it seems, who is a hell of a criminologist, but he’s not an expert on gun laws. Let’s go over Politifacts claims:

The new policy would not ban all Social Security recipients from owning guns. Rather, it would only affect the small fraction who are deemed mentally incompetent, and who are thus are barred from purchasing guns under the law.

No one argued it would. Sure, that’s going around, because most people don’t bother to read, but that’s not an argument NRA has made or the LATimes article made. If you’re debunking the Times article, stick to what they actually argued, not what’s going around on the social media fever swamps.

The policy is not yet in force. When we reached out to the Social Security Administration, a spokesman responded, “We are still developing our policy.”

Well, no shit sherlock. Again, that was not what was argued. They are debunking a straw man, not what was actually argued. I would expect better than this from a site claiming to spread the truth.

The policy would not take away guns from people who already own them. There is no indication that this policy would take guns away from people who already own guns. Rather, the policy would affect the ability of some mentally incompetent people from buying new guns.

Yes it would, because it would essentially mean those people have been adjudicated mentally defective. There’s only one class of person who can’t buy guns but is still free to possess them under federal law, and that’s people who have been charged or indicted for a felony offense. The government needs a legal basis for reporting someone to NICS. If that legal basis is that they are “mentally defected” they are prohibited from possessing firearms, even if they don’t realize they are in the system. This is just flat out wrong, and if they had consulted experts, they would have been told that.

This is a vast exaggeration of the actual policy under consideration. It would not affect all Social Security recipients, but rather those who have already been declared mentally incompetent, and thus ineligible under current law from purchasing a gun.

That wasn’t the criteria reported in the LA Times article. The LA Times article noted the proposal was that anyone who had a fiduciary assigned would be reported to NICS. These people were in no, way shape or form “adjudicated” as the law requires. Many of them, including Bitter’s grandfather, are still capable of handling a firearm safely, they just can’t deal with their own finances. We don’t want our older citizens reluctant to turn over their finances to loved ones, and risk losing property, risk their credit, or risk losing things like heat and running water because in their old age they have become forgetful and absent minded. These people are not a danger to themselves or others, and should not meet the standard for adjudication under the Gun Control Act. Politifact should be ashamed for giving such an important topic, that will affect millions of Americans, the short shrift, and should immediately correct their error.

h/t to Bearing Arms, who came to the same conclusion.

Cut the Cord and Unsubscribe

I’ve been an advocate for some time for gun owners and center-right people of all persuasions to stop giving money to people who hate them. I’ll repeat that no gun owner should subscribe to a paper that insinuates “gun nuts” are either very dumb, or mass murderers. Nor should they pay any coin to people who wish them dead. It’s one thing to pen an op-ed against your position, but quite another to actively hate on millions of fellow Americans.

If you subscribe to a paper that hates you, call now and cancel your subscription, and tell them why. When they have free delivery days, call them and complain about them littering your property with trash. Bitter and I have been trying to convince family to cut the cord and ditch the papers, but for older people, it seems like asking them to cut off a limb. You can find alternatives online which don’t cost money, and if you use an ad blocker, or don’t click on ads, you’re not earning them any money either. Old people complain about the horrible articles in the paper, but they keep giving them subscription money. If someone tells me they hate me, it seems a logical thing to stop giving them my money. That seems masochistic to me.

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