Here we go again

Thanks to a poster on clanBOB I am treated to this magnificent story from CNN, which in terms of screaming hysterics and silly, incorrect, or otherwise misguided information rivals the CBS evening news piece that was so thoroughly ripped apart by the blogs.

The issue in this story regards a 14 year old in PA who was allegedly planning a “Columbine type” event at his local school.

Police in Plymouth Township near Philadelphia took the boy into custody after a search of his home turned up a number of weapons, including a 9 mm rifle with a laser scope and dozens of air guns, said Deputy Chief Joe Lawrence.

In addition to the weapons, authorities found a hand-painted Nazi flag and a video about the Columbine shootings, District Attorney Bruce Castor said.

Now, I obviously think that anyone shooting up a school is a bad thing; and I am glad that this was prevented.  My issue isn’t so much with the actual content of the story, but rather with how it’s presented by CNN.  For example, what exactly is a “laser scope”?  I have heard of laser sights, which project a visible dot onto the target, and I know what a scope is, but I’m pretty sure that there isn’t such a thing as a “laser scope”.

Additionally, look at the picture attached to the article.

If those are the actual “guns” confiscated – and there’s nothing that indicates that, then what you’re looking at is a table full of Airsoft guns, which fire a plastic pellet at sub-300 fps.  I’m not really surprised that CNN should show you a table full of scary looking guns, because it fits their M.O. perfectly.

If you watch the video, the hysterics only get better (worse?).   They describe the kid’s room as having butterfly knives, violent video games, and a couple of other scary sounding buzzwords.

As I said, I don’t have a problem with the police arresting this kid.  If he was legitimately planning on hurting people, and they cops have enough actual evidence to prove that, then I’m fine.  My problem is with the way it’s reported – I get very tired of the media using misleading tactics and in some cases, outright lies to induce hysteria in the masses.  Showing a table full of scary looking guns which aren’t actually guns is pretty misleading, as it makes it look like this kid had an arsenal full of automatic weapons, when in fact all he had was one 9mm carbine, and a bunch of air guns.


  1. I am going to assume that they meant “Red Dot scope” and didn’t realize that a red LED isn’t the same as a device that provides light amplification through stimulated emissions of radiation.

    I left this in a comment over at Kevin Baker’s place, but what we’re seeing is what I’m dubbing the “George Bergeron Headphone Effect” (from Kurt Vonnegut’s short story, Harrison Bergeron). In order to prevent you from thinking too much about what you’re seeing & hearing, the news and media uses “loud noises and shiny objects” to distract you.

    I think it’s about time to do a full post on this…

  2. I’ve looked at about a dozen reports and I can’t even figgure out which gun is the “9mm assault rifle” I strongly suspect that the guns getting all the camera time are the airsoft guns.

    I also can’t seem to see the explosives, possibly the 9mm and the home-made bombs are off in a more secure location and the toys are displayed to the press.

  3. Aren’t realistic-looking Airsoft toys supposed to have brightly-colored muzzles? The resolution of the picture is pretty poor, but they don’t seem evident to me…

  4. There are two basic choices* for the rifle: Hi-Point and Kel-Tec. Both can come with laser pointers/sights (whatever the heck they are called).

    However, I think only the Hi-Point can be mounted with a red dot sight and is sold with one as a package. There is a scope kit for the Kel-Tec Sub-2000, but I don’t know if it can mount a standard red not sight.

    I think the orange tip is only a requirement for the first sale. It is legal for the owner to remove it, depending on State and local laws.

    *There are other manufacturers, but I’d guess they’d go the cheapest ones available.

  5. Yeah, but those aren’t cheap. They can cost from $600 to $800. I just don’t think your average psychotic troglodyte will shell out that kind of money for a 9 mm carbine.

    I also think anyone who enjoys Airsoft guns that much will buy the cheapest real gun available.

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