When you have friends like Rachel Larimore and you are trying to do something about gun violence, you don’t need enemies. Because Ms. Larimore has posted a column about guns in, of all places, Slate, which is so woefully misinformed and so heavily biased in favor of Gun-nut Nation’s arguments that if Glenn Kessler wanted to award ten Pinocchio’s for misinformation instead of the usual three that he just gave Chris Murphy, he could start right here.
Larimore’s argument seems to be that if the gun-control community wants to have what she calls a ‘healthy conversation,’ about gun violence, then they need to get the facts straight. And since “the mainstream media lobbies hard for gun control, it’s impossible to start a dialogue when you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.” Notice, by the way, Ms. Larimore’s assumption that a ‘dialogue’ with Gun-nut Nation rests on the ability of the gun-control folks to play it straight with the facts – I’ll return to that point further on.
So what are some of the facts about guns that these well-meaning but basically ignorant Gun Violence Prevention boobs don’t understand? Well, first and foremost is confusing assault ‘weapons’ with assault ‘rifles,’ the latter being only used by the military, whereas the former is a civilian gun which happens to look something like the military one. And which mainstream journalist does Larimore quote to prove her point? None other than Rachel Maddow, who talked on her show about how the Sig MCX was too lethal to be put into civilian hands.
Now maybe I know a bit more about guns than either Ms. Maddow or Ms. Larimore, but I can say without fear of contradiction that what Rachel said regarding the lethality of the MCX was exactly right on. Here’s how Rachel described the MCX: “Less muzzle flip. Faster follow-on shots. Less recoil impulse into the shoulder.” Which is exactly why this type of gun is much more lethal than what Gun-nut Nation calls a ‘modern sporting rifle,’ and is exactly why Larimore’s attempt to disparage the information presented by Maddow is simply dead wrong. She then goes on to make sure her readers understand that the difference between ‘assault weapons’ and other semi-automatic are ‘cosmetic’ and don’t ‘increase the gun’s lethality.’ And where did Larimore get this nugget of information? Where else – from Gun-nut Nation who, if you read through this entire polemic posing as an op-ed piece, aren’t questioned about anything they say at all.
Now you would think that if Larimore were truly interested in writing an honest piece of journalism about the lack of a dialogue about guns, that maybe, just maybe she’d dig up at least one little example of false information from the other side. How about the idea that walking around with a gun protects you from crime? Gun-nut Nation has been promoting that one for more than twenty years, and even if a majority of Americans believe it to be true, it happens to be a big, fat lie.
Let’s get back to her assumption that there could be a meaningful dialogue about guns if only the mainstream media and others pushing gun control based their arguments on facts. You mean the only reason that a couple of weak-kneed, little gun regulations didn’t get through the Senate yesterday was because the folks who are interested in reducing gun violence don’t come to the table anxious to tell the truth?
Let me break it to you gently, Ms. Larimore. There are certainly many gun-violence issues that we still don’t understand, and more research needs to be done. But to say that the only thing preventing a discourse about guns is the inability of the Gun Violence Community to come to the table armed with facts is to assume that Gun-nut Nation has any interest in facts about guns. They don’t; and if you think they do then Slate has no business referring to you as a journalist at all.