Tone Deaf? Which Tone?
As I was flipping through news this morning, I noticed an article at the Daily Mail where they’re commenting on people happily posing with new Christmas presents. The presents are mostly of the AR variety, which sparked a sense of outrage, at least on the part of the specific reporter.
Santa Claus came to town – and he was packing heat – as numerous Americans were seen on social networks posing in front of their Christmas trees with the same assault rifle used by the gunmen in three recent bloody killings.
Grinning from ear-to-ear, those who received AR-15 assault rifles took to sites like Twitter and Instagram, posting photos of themselves with their brand new toys.
Some of the pictures included with the article would actually be classified as “assult weapons” under the expired ban. Several wouldn’t since they only have a pistol grip, and not any of the other features that classified it. Only about half had a high-capacity magazine (though several did not have a magazine in the gun). I’d note that most of the people in the photos appear to have some pretty good handling habits…
At the Atlantic Wire, there are some additional comments:
That increase in gun sales following the Newtown shooting might have had a little bit to do with Christmas season, as a lot of people are flaunting their new firearms on social media today, a trend first-noticed by The Verge’s T.C. Sottek. As the AR-15 is a popular rifle of choice these days both for consumers and murderers, we decided to take a look at all the brand-new owners of that make of semi-automatic…
For people who don’t handle guns much, I’m sure the outrage is not faked. For people who do handle guns, I’d suppose the emotions range from envy to some form of mixed feelings about how happy people are to get such a powerful gun. I probably couldn’t tell you how many of those people will be using the new semi-automatic, low-powered rifles for 3-gun competitions, or for other target shooting. I’d guess some of them. I also hope that they are taking precautions to store them safely, since at least one of the recent shootings was from a stolen gun that was likely not secured properly.
But I do admit that I find it hard to see outrage in people being happy about getting a gun of any type if that’s their thing. One of the links in the above quote, The Verge, has a fairly balanced take, noting that we’re in the midst of a deeply divisive culture war. I have reasonably rational friends on Facebook accusing me of wanting to kill babies, and less rational friends of friends saying even nastier things. Really, I don’t care what people say in the heat of emotion. In fact, if they’re that emotional on issues like this, I’m pretty glad they don’t own guns.
Ed Morrissey today notes that gun violence in the US has been in steady decline over the past 20 years, and that’s backed up in a variety of ways. None of this is going to bridge a gap between people who like guns and people who don’t. And that concerns me for the upcoming political dialog that will mostly be yelling from two very distant sides.
To our gun-enthusiast readers, please handle and store your weapons safely. And if you got something cool for Christmas… well, okay, I do envy you a bit.