American Rifleman - July 2017 - 62

MEDIA MYSTERIES EXPLAINED

Reason Two: People in the same profession tend to
think alike. Among the news media, the collective wisdom
regarding guns runs as follows:
1. They believe guns are inherently evil.
2. They think gun owners are, at the least, disturbed and,
at the worst, dangerous.
3. They believe the National Rifle Association has, since
its founding in 1871, done nothing worthwhile, has
never been right about anything and is nothing more
than a shill for the firearm industry.
4. They believe the Second Amendment has no relevance in
today's United States, and if only we could institute reasonable gun controls there would be no more gun violence.
5. It is their opinion that guns in the home lead only to
tragedy, and self-protection is a myth.
Now, let's assume that you're a student in journalism school, and the subject of guns comes up, and you

venture the fact that you own guns, and use them, and
that your family has always had guns in the home, and
that there's never been an accident, and that you don't
even know of any accidents. How do you think that statement would be received?
Most likely, you would shortly receive a summons from
the dean of students and probably the college psychiatrist
to come in and chat, not that there's anything wrong, you
understand, but ... .
Or let's say that you work in a newsroom and the subject
of guns used in self-defense comes up and you point out
that, every month, you can cite half a dozen or more cases
in "The Armed Citizen" where someone who had a gun
prevented a crime or saved themselves or someone else and,
in many instances, did it without firing a shot. Imagine the
look you're going to get from the news director. It will not
be the kind of look that says your career will prosper here.

Reason Three: Good old-fashioned ignorance. I got my first
exposure to this in the mid-1960s when the armed forces
began issuing M16s. The 5.56 mm bullets, we were told by
reporters, created terrible wounds because "they tumbled
through the air and hit people like little buzz saws."
"Golly gee," I said, (or words to that effect), "that's just
not possible. Anything that tumbles through the air isn't
going to go where it's aimed. Just look at a football that
doesn't spiral."
But there it was, and there was more to come.
When the first Glocks were imported they were
denounced as "all plastic," and therefore undetectable at
airports. The media, knowing nothing of how guns work,
and not understanding such concepts as mass and resistance, printed the nonsense verbatim.
When the great "cop-killer-bullet" brouhaha
erupted, the media also neglected to check the facts. If
they had, they would have learned that Teflon-coated

ammunition was very expensive, made in limited
amounts, sold to police agencies only and had never
been used to kill a cop.
Journalists are ignorant about guns because being
knowledgeable about guns requires at least a smattering
of understanding regarding physics, how machinery works,
metallurgy and so on. It also involves a considerable technical vocabulary. The average reporter, reading American
Rifleman, would not understand most of it, any more than
he or she would understand Road & Track or the Isothermal
Transformation Quarterly Progress Report.
And let us not forget our old friend, that statistic which
claims that "80 [or 90, or any number you please] percent
of Americans favor universal background checks." Friends,
I've been around a long time, and my experience is that
when 80 or 90 percent of us want something, we get it. But
by diddling with where and how you ask the questions, you
can get a survey to say anything you want it to.

Reason Four: Journalists, some of them, are flat-out terrified of firearms. I first ran into this in 1967, when Smith
& Wesson came out with the Model 76 submachine gun, a
modification of the Swedish Carl Gustav. To display its wonderfulness, S&W found an underground range in Manhattan
that would let the company stage a demonstration, and it
invited the press, among which was myself.
At the end of his pep talk on how the Model 76 was
going to revolutionize small arms, the S&W spokesman laid
the gun on the counter and asked if anyone in the press
would like to fire a few bursts. If he had dropped a sawscaled viper on the counter and asked if anyone wanted
to give it a kiss on the head the reaction would have been
about the same-sheer horror.
I was the only one who took up the offer. Free ammunition, a full-automatic gun-how could any decent person
refuse? I seem to recall that as the news conference broke

up, my colleagues were looking at me quite oddly.
Needless to say, a person who is terrified of guns is not
going to do an impartial job of reporting on them.

62

JULY 2017

Conclusion: And so, you ask, is it going to get better?
No.
The graduates our colleges are churning out are, with
far too few exceptions, breathtakingly ignorant, and more
closed-minded than ever before. This does not bode well for
the media, or for anyone else, gun owner or not.
But what can we do?
Tell the truth. As George Orwell said, "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." So be it.
Long live the revolution.
David E. Petzal is a recognized outdoor writer who joined
NRA in 1964 and has been a Benefactor member since 1979.
AMERICAN RIFLEMAN



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - July 2017

Contents
American Rifleman - July 2017 - Cover1
American Rifleman - July 2017 - Cover2
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 1
American Rifleman - July 2017 - Contents
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 3
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 4
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 5
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 6
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 7
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American Rifleman - July 2017 - 38
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American Rifleman - July 2017 - 40
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American Rifleman - July 2017 - 43
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American Rifleman - July 2017 - 45
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 46
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 47
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 48
American Rifleman - July 2017 - QAL1
American Rifleman - July 2017 - QAL2
American Rifleman - July 2017 - QAL3
American Rifleman - July 2017 - QAL4
American Rifleman - July 2017 - QAL5
American Rifleman - July 2017 - QAL6
American Rifleman - July 2017 - QAL7
American Rifleman - July 2017 - QAL8
American Rifleman - July 2017 - QAL9
American Rifleman - July 2017 - QAL10
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 49
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 50
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 51
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 52
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 53
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 54
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American Rifleman - July 2017 - 61
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 62
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American Rifleman - July 2017 - 85
American Rifleman - July 2017 - C1
American Rifleman - July 2017 - C2
American Rifleman - July 2017 - E1
American Rifleman - July 2017 - E2
American Rifleman - July 2017 - MW1
American Rifleman - July 2017 - MW2
American Rifleman - July 2017 - S1
American Rifleman - July 2017 - S2
American Rifleman - July 2017 - SW1
American Rifleman - July 2017 - SW2
American Rifleman - July 2017 - W1
American Rifleman - July 2017 - W2
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 88
American Rifleman - July 2017 - 89
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American Rifleman - July 2017 - 96
American Rifleman - July 2017 - Cover4
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