Leave it to The New Yorker magazine, the most liberal of all liberal voices in the media marketplace, to figure out how to come up with a different view on the demonstrations and marches taking place on March 24th. Not that The New Yorker has published a single word about March 24th; but they can depend on the fact that their readership will overwhelmingly support that march to give some added credibility and exposure to a report from Dana Goodyear about how guns are viewed by kids who like being around guns.
The biggest flight from reality in this shabby piece of reportage is the opening statement which concocts a ‘parallel realm’ of young gunnies for whom guns signify “safety, discipline and trust.” And to drive this point home, Goodyear talks about how her photographer – Sharif Hamza – noticed that when he visited some 4-H clubs he noticed the difference in culture from what he observed in Brooklyn where kids play soccer or go off to ski, but never fool around with real guns.
What an amazing discovery! My God, to think that you won’t find kids shooting guns in Brooklyn (at least not legally-owned guns) but you will find youngsters toting and shooting live guns at a rifle range in some hick town. Of course, neither Hamza nor Goodyear has ever gone to a gun show in a Boston suburb like Wilmington, or in Kingston, which is less than 50 miles from New York, or in Lebanon, PA which is about 30 miles from Philadelphia’s Constitution Hall. Know who you’ll see wandering around at all these shows? Plenty of New York, Boston and Philly residents, who just don’t happen to live in a place where they can walk out the back door of their homes and shoot off a gun.
Should I be surprised that upper-class, Ivy Leaguers like Dana Goodyear don’t know the first friggin’ thing about guns? Of course not. But what I am somewhat surprised about is the degree to which a so-called ‘responsible’ journalist writing for a so-called ‘responsible’ journal like The New Yorker would attempt to sensationalize, and in the process, distort something as mundane and inconsequential as the role of guns in small towns. Going into a town like Lockwood, MO (population: maybe 1,000) and discovering a teenager like Cheyenne Dalton wandering around with her AR-15, is about as unusual as learning that 80% of the voters in Lockwood voted for Donald Trump. Does The New Yorker magazine have a single subscriber who lives in a community where four out of five voters went for Trump?
Lockwood is located roughly 240 miles away from Skidmore, where in 1981 the local bully, Ken McElroy, was shot to death by several town residents while the rest of the townsfolk stood there and watched. Shootings like this take place in inner-city neighborhoods all the time, maybe more than 20 times every single day. But when a shooting occurs in East New York, a Brooklyn neighborhood not far from where Hamza lives, it’s never referred to as a ‘vigilante’ event, even though such assaults are usually witnessed by multiple neighborhood residents who then shut up and go about their normal ways.
The point I’m making is that the reason this piece by Lockwood was published is because The New Yorker editors know they will get some readership mileage by talking about the March 24th demonstrations by not talking about them at all. If they had run an interview with David Hogg or Emma Gonzalez, it would have been no different from how everyone else in the liberal, gun-control media world has covered the events of March 24th.
There’s nothing like the shock value created by taking advantage of the fact that your audience has no earthly connection to what you are talking about. Which means you can say whatever you want, even if you are no less ignorant than the folks who will be surprised by what you want them to believe.