Rachael Larimore, a Senior Editor at Slate, has written a unusual piece for the publication. It is titled Bullet Points. You can be forgiven for expecting this will be another uninformed diatribe against those evil conservatives, who if they would only stop licking the boots of their NRA masters, would allow common sense legislation to pass that would prevent crime by outlawing evil guns. The expected would, in this case, be wrong.
Ms Larimore, who has been at Slate since 2002, was, as of 2008, the only Republican at the publication. That makes her remarkable. She actually knows how to do research on the Internet. The article does a good job of excoriating the leftist media for being consistently wrong about guns. Not about policy; Rachel only hints at that. But it follows that you are unlikely to get policy right when you do not know the most basic facts about guns or gun law. From Rachel Larimore at slate.com:
There are many reasons that this cycle repeats as it does. We live in a divided society where people cocoon with like-minded allies, and we’ve stopped listening to the other side. The NRA is powerful. We get distracted and move on to the next shiny thing. But one important point: The mainstream media lobbies hard for gun control, but it is very, very bad at gun journalism. It might be impossible ever to bridge the divide between the gun-control and gun-rights movements. But it’s impossible to start a dialogue when you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.Rachel gets everything right in the article. There is only so much that you can put in a short article, and I do not expect her to be a subject matter expert. At the end of the article she suggests that Slate dedicate a staffer who is experienced with and knowledgeable about guns to write about them, just as they have dedicated people who write about sports or legislation, or judicial decisions. Perhaps Rachel has someone in mind. Perhaps she would like the assignment herself. She has demonstrated more knowledge about the subject than the rest of Slate put together.
Media stories in the wake of mass shootings typically feature a laundry list of mistakes that reflect their writers’ inexperience with guns and gun culture. Some of them are small but telling: conflating automatic and semi-automatic weapons, assault rifle and assault weapon, caliber and gauge—all demonstrating a general lack of familiarity with firearms. Some of them are bigger. Like calling for “common-sense gun control” and “universal background checks” after instances in which a shooter purchased a gun legally and passed background checks. Or focusing on mass shootings involving assault weapons—and thereby ignoring statistics that show that far more people die from handguns.
The time might be right. The Washington Post owns Slate. Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. After Bezos took over the Post added The Volokh Conspiracy blog to the Post's stable. I regularly read the Volokh Conspiracy. Eugen Volokh is arguably the most knowledgeable and brilliant legal mind on the planet, when it comes to the Second Amendment.
Perhaps something similar will happen at Slate. Rachel would be a welcome exception to the ignorance and bias that is routinely seen. A discussion on the issue of reform of the gun laws, based on fact, would be a refreshing and likely, profitable, change for the publication.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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