Ideally, journalists draw a bright line between opinion and reporting. (Yeah… right.) They should report the facts as they discovered them, not their feelings about those facts. Nor should they offer opinions about what the world should be like. They should limit themselves to reporting what it is like. But these limits don’t apply on the opinion page. There is, however, a limit that does apply to opinion pieces: Tell the truth. It’s one thing to opine as to how you think the world should be. It’s quite another to fabricate “facts” to support your view.
Today’s “don’t be these guys” example comes from the New York Times editorial board. (H/T: BearingArms.com) I suppose they’re in a tizzy over the fact that their readers have thus far been ignoring their calls for civilian disarmament. That might explain a few errors, but at what point do a few errors become a pattern of falsification?
Some of these aren’t new; either to the NY Times or to other sources. None the less, that organ that claims to be America’s paper of record should do better. The NYT editorial board writes…
The world recoiled in horror in 2012 when 20 Connecticut schoolchildren and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School by a deranged teenager using a military-style assault rifle to fire 154 rounds in less than five minutes.
Except that it wasn’t an “assault rifle”. An assault rifle is capable of switching between semiautomatic fire (one round fired for each operation of the trigger) and fully automatic fire (multiple rounds fired for each operation of the trigger). The former describes a commonplace firearm that has been owned by the American people since the 19th century. The latter has been highly regulated since 1934.
The weapon was a Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle adapted from its original role as a battlefield weapon.
…and by adapted they must mean “made to be a less effective weapon for the battlefield”. That’s a little like saying a butter knife is “adapted” from a battle axe.
The AR-15, which is designed to inflict maximum casualties with rapid bursts, should never have been available for purchase by civilians.
Except that it isn’t capable of burst fire. That would make it s fully automatic firearm of the type that hasn’t been generally available since 1934.
This is the eminently reasonable point that the parents of the 6- and 7-year-old students cut down at the school are now pressing in Connecticut state court.
…probably more the questionable point of the lawyers and not the poor parents.
They are attempting to sue the gun manufacturer, Remington; the wholesaler;
…who had absolutely no contact with the buyer of the rifle…
and a local retailer
…who didn’t sell the rifle to the murderer…
I’m not sure how the word “reckless” works in this context. The retailer sold the rifle to the murderer’s mother. He then murdered his mother to obtain the gun. And no, I don’t think that he filled out all of the paperwork to make this a legal transfer! It’s not clear how this counts as recklessness by the seller. Perhaps the gun store owner had access to a madman in a blue box who warned him this would happen, but the NYT isn’t saying.
in providing the weapon to the consumer marketplace “with no conceivable use for it other than the mass killing of other human beings.”
The AR platform rifle is the single most popular style of firearm in the US. Americans use them daily for target shooting, hunting, competition, and for home defense. Apparently, those who lack a journalism degree can conceive of far more uses for them than the NYT editorial board or anti-gun attorneys can.
The question of whether the lawsuit will be allowed to proceed is at issue because Congress, prodded by the gun lobby,
OK… They’re correct on this point. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was passed because your NRA and other pro-gun groups pushed Congress to do so.
in 2005 foolishly granted the gun industry nearly complete immunity from legal claims and damages from the criminal use of guns.
…and they’re pretty close to accurate here too. Contrary to what Hillary Clinton would have you believe, gun makers do not have blanket immunity from all legal actions. They’re still liable for defective products that cause injury. They can be sued, or prosecuted, for knowingly selling firearms to criminals or other prohibited persons. What they cannot be held responsible for are the illegal actions of others. This is the same immunity that Ford or GM enjoy against suits arising from damages caused by drunk drivers or other bad drivers.
The Sandy Hook parents argue that their suit should continue because that law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, allows claims against companies — gun shop dealers, for example — if they knew or should have known that the weapons they sold were likely to risk injury to others.
Again, this is actually accurate. Shocking, I know. They’ve contradicted Hillary twice so far.
The parents contend that the maker of the Bushmaster is no less culpable because it knowingly marketed a risky war weapon to civilians.
By “risky”, they must mean “almost never used to commit murder” and by “war weapon”, they mean something (a semiautomatic firearm) that no military in the world uses as a battlefield weapon. Rifles of all types were used in 248 homicides in the US in 2014. AR-15s and other modern rifles are a subset of that and thus account for less than 248 homicides in 2014. The NYT style guide must define “risky” in a different way than the rest of us do.
The manufacturer is claiming total immunity under the federal law. Nearly every lawsuit filed against firearms makers has been dismissed in federal and state courts because of this shield law.
…and now they get wrong what they got right earlier. I suppose it couldn’t last forever! As explained before, gun makers are not totally immune from any and all lawsuits.
The Connecticut state judge’s decision on whether to allow the suit to proceed, expected by the end of next month, is widely awaited by the arms industry and gun control proponents because it could well provide a legal framework for holding the industry accountable for the mass shooting deaths made possible by its products.
I suppose that a state judge can do whatever he or she bloody well chooses. What won’t happen is the Federal courts allowing a decision that goes against settled law involving a Federal law. The Connecticut judge can rule in favor of the families (or rather, their attorneys), but that ruling will not survive a Federal court. In the end, their suit will not be allowed. What remains is how much tilting at windmills will cost them.
The lawsuit cites numerous instances in which the arms industry has used macho military terms in marketing assault rifles
Once again, they’re not assault rifles. They lack the “giggle switch“. And I’m not sure what an effete, Manhattanite would regard as “macho military terms”.
and 30-round ammunition magazines to civilians,
…at least they didn’t call them 30 magazine clip per second magazines…
including boasts of “military-proven performance” and “the ultimate combat weapons system.”
Like rugged and proven quality is a bad thing? Oh yeah… I forgot. These are the same people who purchase bicycles made from recycled cardboard because they think that they’re saving the planet. Quality is a secondary concern to them.
As the plaintiffs note, sportsmen’s hunting rifles, by contrast, are marketed with five-round clips.
Hunting arms are marketed with all manner of magazine capacities. Some hog hunters prefer the AR or AK platforms with 30-round magazines for quick, follow-up shots. The same is true of many coyote hunters. But, an elk hunter is shooting larger caliber, and thus heavier, ammunition. A 5-round internal magazine does just fine for him or her. Or perhaps even that’s too heavy for some people. They might prefer to hump a heavier barrel through the mountains instead of more ammo. They might pick a heavy barreled single shot rifle instead. The point is that hunting arms, including modern rifles, are not a one-size-fits-all affair. Comparing one to another is like comparing cars to paper clips. Both are made of metal, but the similarity ends there.
This shameful gun industry shield law
…again, not a shield. It’s just to stop frivolous lawsuits. Like this one!
became a factor in the presidential primaries when Hillary Clinton attacked Senator Bernie Sanders, her Democratic rival, for having voted for it. Mr. Sanders has since changed his position to favor repeal of the law; the Republican candidates, needless to say, continue to pander to gun rights zealots and duck the issue.
Something else they get right: Neither Democrat candidate respects your right to keep and bear arms. Some of the Republicans may be a little shifty, but neither of the antediluvian Commies leave any doubt as to their hostility toward the American gun owner.
Beyond seeking damages, the Sandy Hook parents aim to force the AR-15 off the market.
Let’s be clear: This is about ending your right to purchase whatever firearm you think is best suited to your needs. It’s not about safety; it’s about controlling you.
“The AR-15 is the weapon of choice for shooters looking to inflict maximum casualties, and American schools are on the forefront of such violence,” they say.
Except that it isn’t. As we’ve already stated, modern rifles are almost never used by criminals. But then again, the NYT has a notoriously difficult time with things like math. This is the same paper that claimed that there was a “mass shooting” everyday last year. There were four. And to be honest, since one of those was committed by an Islamofascist terrorist that the Obama Administration let into the country, I’m not sure it should count.
In seeking justice for their children and their community, these parents could help rein in a runaway industry
This “runaway industry” is the most heavily regulated industrial sector in the US.
and reduce a grievous national affliction.
…a “grievous” affliction that doesn’t actually affect anyone. True, there are “black swan” events like Sandy Hook. And it’s also true that we should do what’s reasonable to stop these events. But what isn’t reasonable is ending the rights of millions of law abiding Americans for some imagined goal of public safety. Perhaps it’s the unreasonable nature of this suit that prompted to the NYT editorial to spin this fanciful yarn about the eeeeeeviiiiiil AR-15. After all, one generally cannot support an unreasonable argument with the truth.
The saddest part of all this is that the NYT editorial board and those like them are propelling this case forward. It will end badly for the Sandy Hook families. They will not prevail. They will not get the revenge they seek. But that’s not the end of it. They will end up footing the bill for this suit. They will be paying for a small army of top-drawer attorneys and they will do so without so much as a penny coming from the NYT editorial board.