When It Comes To Mass Shootings, The Media Gets It Wrong Every Time.

When truckloads of media descended on Newtown, CT after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, the rush to get something onto a television or print report overwhelmed any concern for getting the facts straight. Within a couple of hours after the rampage came to an end, the shooter had been incorrectly identified, another ‘credible’ report said the rampage had involved multiple shooters and it was these reports, among others, which gave the conspiracy nuts the opening they needed to begin yelling that the whole thing was a hoax.

LV            In the Las Vegas shooting the media seems determined again to repeat the same mistakes it made at Newtown, with the first reports concerning whether or not the shooter used a full-auto gun or not.  It’s clear from various audios of the incident that the gun or guns he used could not have fired so rapidly had they been standard, semi-auto guns which require the trigger to be pulled for every shot. On the other hand, if the gun could be fired in full-auto mode, this doesn’t mean that it was an ‘illegal’ weapon, because there are more than 11,000 machine guns owned and registered in Nevada, although we do not yet know whether Paddock was what is called a Class III of NFA licensee himself.

On the other hand, what we are being told is that Paddock brought a bunch of military-style, semi-automatic rifles into his hotel room, of which perhaps a dozen were legally modified to produce a rate of fire not unlike what is produced by a full-auto gun.  This modification, known as a ‘bump stock,’ uses the gun’s recoil to simulate a rapid rate of fire although the internal part of a gun which controls the firing mode, known as a ‘sear,’ is not changed in any way.

So here was yesterday’s headline from the Washington Post: “The Las Vegas shooter modified a dozen rifles to shoot like automatic weapons.”  And how did the Post learn this? The story quotes unnamed ‘law enforcement officials” who turn out to be a single ATF agent named Jill Snyder, who was quoted in an online story on the UK Telegraph website which also contained pictures of two of the shooter’s guns lying on the floor of his hotel room.

Were these two rifles actually fired during the assault? We don’t know. Were these two rifles actually fitted with the accessory ‘bump stock’ device which is what the Washington Post wants us to believe were used in the assault?  We also don’t know. But here’s what we do know. The existence of those two photographs means that one of the most important crime scenes in the recent history of the United States was contaminated by the time the investigation of this incident first began.  And I don’t see anyone in the media or elsewhere professing the slightest concern about this egregious collapse of law enforcement protocol, even though a spokesman for the Vegas Metro Police said that an ‘internal investigation’ was underway to identify the source of the leaked pics. When the cops use the phrase ‘internal investigation’ what they are really saying is that there won’t be any investigation at all.

Give the Democrats and their friends in the gun violence prevention (GVP) community one more day to ramp up the noise about how we need stronger gun laws; give Trump one more day to praise the ‘first responders’ for their valiant work; give the NRA one more day to keep their mouths shut until the can figure out which way the political winds will ultimately blow; and I guarantee that we’ll start to see a swarm of social media comments about how what happened in Vegas is just another attempt to create an atmosphere so the government can take away all the guns.

Think I’m kidding?  There are already Facebook pages accessed by thousands of viewers which claim that Stephen Paddock had links to Antifa, even though the government’s trying to hush it up.

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11 thoughts on “When It Comes To Mass Shootings, The Media Gets It Wrong Every Time.

  1. When Mike says “When the cops use the phrase ‘internal investigation’ what they are really saying is that there won’t be any investigation at all” I wish he would have clarified that claim/statement. I have many friends who have been and are currently in law enforcement. Over the years we’ve had discussions on misconduct and alleged misconduct of officers and the “internal investigation” and without exception there were investigations and conclusions/findings. The findings may not have been shared with the public due to various reasons such as legal reasons but there were investigations. I think it is unfair to the Los Vegas Police Department for Mike to make a claim such as this without any evidence of past performance of the LVPD.
    Other than that I think this is one of Mikes better posts.

    • I have no issue giving the police authority to conduct internal investigations, even when it comes to the use of lethal force. But this isn’t just an investigation into whether a cop was given a free cup of coffee, it’s an investigation into what may be the most important crime scene in revcenrt history. And the fact that the LVPD allowed someone to come into the room, take a pic and sell it or give it to a news website means that they don’t have the capacity to deal with this shooting. And why should they have such a capacity? It’s not like this is an ordinary, run-of-the-mill shooting.

      • From my job, having control of evidence and demonstrating constant chain of custody is a really important issue. Who took that picture and who had access to the room?

      • Perhaps you should have been more specific about your meaning of internal investigations.
        On a personal note, while I was attending a wedding in los Vegas years ago my car was broken into and the LVPD investigated, found and prosecuted the person who broke into my car. LVPD is a professional police department. To just make a statement like you did against this department is unfair to them and you should be ashamed.

      • Replying to Alan below: You hit the nail on the head. The cops are very good at doing what they usually do – investigating this crime or that. But this wasn’t an ordinary crime; this represents one of the most important crime scenes of the last 20 years and information from that scene is now being misrepresentd as Congress goes into a debate about guns and gun laws. Know how long it takes to figure out which gun Paddock actually used? About 2 minutes so here it is 5 days after the event and we still don’t know whether he used a gun with an accessory which mimics auto-fire or not. That’s absurd and it’s a complete breakdown of all basic police procedure. What are you saying? Because they did a good job on grabbing the guy who broke into your car that thgis exonerates them for screwing up probably the most important investigation they have ever conducted? Saying I should be ‘ashamed’ is just a silly attempt to cloud the issue of whether or not we know what we need to know.

  2. Aside from the premature release of the information, which was not a great idea, I think Mike makes a good point, i.e., there are those ready to grasp at any data in order to suggest a “cure” or validate their own pet positions. The bottom line is that it is a bit of a pain in the neck to get a Class III and hence, the streets of America are not brimming with automatic rifles.

    This was a rare event, i.e., someone machine-gunning (sensu lato) a concert. My concern is that if “bump fire” technology is common (and most purchasers just mess with it because they can) then sooner or later, this sort of thing will happen, even if it didn’t happen this time. In the cost benefit ratio of having bump fire capability for shits and grins vs. possible misuse, I see a lot of potential costs and not many benefits.

    That said, as I told The Trace this morning, most gun carnage is from handguns. These events are spectacular because of their magnitude and because they occur on OUR side of the tracks.

    • So now we have a pic of Stephen Paddock lying dead on the floor, courtesy of none other than Alex Jones. So tell me Alan, should I be ‘ashamed’ because I’d like to know how a pic like that got out into the public domain? http://heavy.com/news/2017/10/stephen-paddock-death-photo-blood-dead-picture-real-fake-hoax-graphic/. But of course the Las Vegas cops foundf th guy who broke into your car so we shouldn’t talk about their inability to secure a crime scene at all, right?

      • WOW…who pissed in your cheerios. As to your question “should I be ashamed…” yes. I’m sorry that Sheriff Lombardo isn’t calling you every minute with an update to their investigation. It’s too bad you are going to have to wait with the rest of us minions on the findings of their investigation.

        Now…just take a deep breath, everything’s gonna to be alright.

  3. Nobody pissed in my cheerios. I don’t like being told that I should be ‘ashamed’ of myself because I question the competence of a police agency which lets someone take a photo of a dead person in a crime scene and give it to Alex Jones. I happen to earn my living by certifying law enforcement agencies in the use of lethal force; mostly federal agencies but some state agencies as well so I don’t need lectures on the value of LE activities from you or anyone else. The bottom line is that the investigation into one of the most serious crimes ever committed has been bungled from top to bottom and if you want to excuse that by telling us what a great job they did for you when your car was burgled, you go right ahead. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

  4. WOW…you told me.
    Maybe with the money that you are earning you ought to pay your bills. Or maybe business isn’t doing so well.

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