Currently Browsing: The Media
Aug 17, 2015
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 Vox.com 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).
Aug 17, 2015
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.
Aug 3, 2015
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.
Jul 29, 2015
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.
Jul 21, 2015
Last week, I ventured out to West Virginia for a funeral and managed to stop by a couple of libraries between family gatherings to do a little bit of genealogy research for Sebastian. Needless to say, these aren’t the kinds of circumstances where I planned to think about the gun culture and media outreach.
While scanning microfilm for an obituary I knew existed somewhere, I found this article in the community news section of the March 18, 1899 edition of the St. Mary’s Oracle.
Now, you might not really care about the winners of the clay bird shoot at the Mountain State Gun Club 116 years ago, but the local press did care because they were all locals. The same applies today.
Sometimes we focus on the national or statewide political fights while we ignore one of the best angles we can use in the media – the fact that people in our clubs are great representatives for our cause simply because neighbors, friends, and family know them and know that they won’t hurt people with their guns. Even better, the club members don’t have to talk to the press or do anything other than show up for activities they already enjoy.
The NBC national news won’t care about your club’s rifle shooters that managed to sweep the regional competition, but the local paper will care about it if you include names and towns. There’s one thing that will still move hard copies of newspapers, and that is mostly the fact that they will cover local stories with local people who have friends and family willing to read about them.
A volunteer with another group noted that regardless of what we might consider the news-worthiness of a story, if she includes the names and towns of the volunteers involved, it almost always gets picked up by more of the smaller community publications. Yes, they are even read by others, as I learned when congratulated for being elected to an office of the unrelated group by a Friends of the NRA volunteer. There’s no reason that we can’t do the same thing.
So I would say that if you’re part of a gun club, or even if you run a commercial gun range that hosts competitions, why not have a community/public relations type role that will put out a simple press release talking about who wins? If you include a picture of the winners, then the paper will be far more likely to run the news. It’s a great community outreach tool that we have been far too willing to ignore.
Jul 9, 2015
Redditors who have had to kill in self defense, Did you ever recover psychologically? What is it to live knowing you killed someone regardless you didn’t want to do it?
Found this on Facebook, and while I can’t say I read all the comments, I did scroll through to the end, so I saw an awful lot of the root-level stories. Unsurprisingly, they were basically all self-defense incidents. Not all were defensive firearms uses, and more than a few ended with an attack hoist on their own petard, with the “victim” getting ahold of an attacker’s weapon and using it on the attackers.
The main thing I noticed? That in a lot of the cases, the attackers were not armed with firearms, but the victims were. So that even the anti-gunners got their way and were able to wave the magic wand and disappear all the guns, it would result in good people unable to defend themselves against bad people. These are the people anti-gunners want dead, maimed, or raped. And a number of them did what their attackers wanted and were still hurt after compliance.
Jul 8, 2015
The story of the Katie Steinle killing has taken a new direction, with the “breaking news” that the gun used by her killer was stolen from the car of a federal agent; though whether it was a service weapon or personally owned is an open question at this writing. And the right-hand-side of my internet is all about the carelessness of the agent (with gratuitous Project Gunwalker references as well.) I was already somewhat uncomfortable with how this story is being used by the right to saddle up and go after immigration policy, because the drifter who picked up a gun and let his DTs pull the trigger (his own explanation, basically) happened to be an illegal alien – as though only an illegal alien could have committed this tragedy. But if the owner of the firearm hadn’t been a federal agent, the very same people pointing and laughing would instead be pre-emptively defending the firearm owner and waiting for the other side to wave their bloody shirt for the cause of lost-and-stolen, and firearms registration, and strict liability.
Someone was tragically and negligently killed last week, by another person who is, by the accounts I’ve seen, remorseful and at least partially willing to accept responsibility (he appears to have pleaded not guilty in his first court appearance, despite the admission of guilt in the interview). Using it as an example of Something Must Be Done is just as much waving the bloody shirt as what the other side does under other circumstances. I get it, tragedy grabs eyeballs, and it’s tempting to try and use that to advance a cause. But if I don’t like it when the other side does it, I ought to also not like it when “my” side does it. And I don’t.
Jul 6, 2015
I had expressed skepticism a while back about getting a fair story out of NBC on guns, but despite Newsbusters pooh-poohing piece, I find no fault with how any of the participants handled Farrow’s jabs:
The end result, I think, is a pretty fair piece. I think it’s clear from the lines of questioning, they would have exploited any opportunities here, but the interviewees didn’t give them much to work with.
I’m very torn on the value of speaking to media. With rare exceptions, I’ve ignored media inquires unless the person contacting me is someone known to be fair. But the other side of the coin is getting our message out there.
Jul 6, 2015
I was going to place this in the Weekly Gun News, but reviewing it, I couldn’t waste a perfectly good yellow journalism post. Thom Anderson of the South Carolina Morning News doesn’t understand all this icky gun stuff. That’s OK, not everyone does. But a wiser person would leave it at that. Not Mr. Anderson, however:
Really? Can you imagine that guy wading into a crowd and killing nine people with a knife? He quickly would have found the knife shoved exactly where it belonged. A gun is the only thing that would have enabled him to commit this act or enable a weak, cowardly person to do such killing.
I don’t have to imagine it, because it happened with a death toll as high as Virginia Tech, the worst mass shooting in the this country. In fact, knife attacks are not uncommon in China, and the death tolls are higher than you would think, often with far more horrific woundings.
Terrible acts with guns seldom happen in other countries. In the United States, they are frequent because an overly influential right-wing minority sincerely fears that gun confiscation is just around the corner, and many politicians profit from that fear.
Were you asleep or unconscious on 22 July 2011? Worst mass shooting in history, and happened outside the United States. This claim, echoed by our President, was too much even for the biased folks at Politifact to abide by. Seems other Democrats have been on a roll with this one too. Dave Hardy has even more on this topic. The idea that this seldom happens in other countries is indefensible. He goes on to conclude, “[I]t would be even nicer to see our near-worship of guns decline and the 2nd Amendment brought back to the use The Founders intended.” Oh, what pray tell might that be, Mr. Constitutional scholar? At least with this claim, he managed to follow this sage advice.
Jun 29, 2015
Saw this on Facebook, and was mildly surprised that NPR posted this
Since 1993, the United States has seen a drop in the rate of homicides and other violence involving guns, according to two new studies released Tuesday. Using government data, analysts saw a steep drop for violence in the 1990s, they saw more modest drops in crime rates since 2000.
The author of the NPR piece can’t even get up much enthusiasm for pushing the “OMG gun suicides” angle; and the summation paragraph (the second most important one for the TL;DR crowd, according to my writing teachers) takes a hard shot at the “criminals get their guns from gun shows” fallacy:
“In 2004 (the most recent year of data available), among state prison inmates who possessed a gun at the time of the offense, fewer than two percent bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show,” according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. “About 10 percent of state prison inmates said they purchased it from a retail store or pawnshop, 37 percent obtained it from family or friends, and another 40 percent obtained it from an illegal source.”
They note WHY 1993 is chosen as the benchmark date; it’s the peak year for “gun violence.” They also note that in the same period gun ownership has risen significantly. This is an amazingly pro-gun piece, and it’s on the NPR website. Following up to the summary at Pew’s own website, I’d even say the NPR summary is a tad more pro-gun than Pew’s; since Pew spends more electrons noting that the trend was more pronounced in the 1990s and has fallen off since 2000. One article doesn’t make a trend, by any means, but it’s an interesting article. And one worth keeping in my back pocket to deal with people who attack the source rather than the data.