Your bias is showing

I always crack up when people tell me that there’s no media bias against guns, especially when it’s as plain as the nose on your face in articles like the linked piece from Reueters.  In an article which is allegedly talking about how collecting firearms is a legitimate hobby, the article is littered with phrases which display the anti-gun bias of the author.

An odd contraption in retired firefighter Alex Black’s cluttered garage looks a bit like the hand winch at the top of a well. In fact, it is a machinegun.

Turning the shiny brass handle spat out a withering hail of bullets that transformed modern warfare.

Except that it’s not.  That gun, which you have to turn the handle to fire, is a Gatling Gun, and while it does fire rapidly, it most certainly is not a machine gun.  A machine gun requires you to pull the trigger one time to fire a constant stream of bullets until you release the trigger or the gun runs out of ammo.  Contrast that with a Gatling Gun, where you have to manually cycle the handle to fire the rounds.  Essentially, the handle is a big round trigger.

The rest of the article contains a choice selection of weasel statements, sentences carefully constructed to appear unbiased on their surface, but which are in fact quite heavily slanted.  Review the following statements and tell me if you think they’re biased (my comments in italics):

The owners are not just urban criminals and drug dealers. (implying that it’s surprising that people other than criminals own guns)

The arsenal of revolvers, semi-automatic pistols, rifles and carbines spans conflicts from the American Civil War right up to World War Two, and all the guns are legally held. (as opposed the scourge of illegally owned Mausers causing random gang shootings)

He has a private arsenal of around 100 handguns, shotguns and rifles of all sorts (media outlets love the world “arsenal”, it’s all scary and military sounding)

and rifles to pop off prairie dogs over an afternoon in the countryside with a case of beer. (because we’re alcoholics as well)

It’s pretty much par for the course; sadly.  Even relatively positive articles about firearms ownership have to be carefully qualified.  For example, I had to say “relatively” there, because while it had some positive points, the almost subconscious insertion of biased language goes a long way towards undoing any positive effects the article might have had.


  1. There’s apparently some debate whether the Gatling Gun is considered a “manual machine gun”. I’m on the side that says it’s just a repeater. (Work the action, fire, repeat.)

  2. It’s sad that the term “Machine Gun” has a bad connotation to it in the first place. Really, who cares if it’s a machine gun? People who own them are quite unlikely to use them for anything nefarious.

  3. It would have been nice for the story to mention how much he shelled out for that original .45-70 Gatling (HINT: nice car) and its size & weight.

    That’s why you hear about so many old Gatlings being used in drive-bys and food court massacrees.

    (Coincidentally, that’s what has always puzzled me about the public freakout when they find out that you can own cannon. I personally can’t think of a firearm less suited to criminal misuse than a towed 105.)

  4. Right, Tam just brought up the mental image of a bunch of thugs swinging by in a connestoga wagon, flipping up the tarp and swinging the gattling into action. Then with a crack of the whip and a “GEEEUp, thar!” off they go clattering around the corner.

  5. Interesting word, ‘bias’. The gist of the article cited seems relatively friendly toward the subject, one Alex Black. It identifies him as a retired firefighter (therefore reasonably upstanding, I suppose) and not an urban criminal or drug dealer.

    The author implies not only he thinks firearms are the mark of criminal activity, he expects everyone thinks the same way. This is not an isolated instance.

    In every instance of fascist power grab, the fascists have submitted an ‘enemy’; usually an identifiable boogeyman. In 1920s and ’30s Germany, it was the Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and other ‘undesireables’; but let’s not dwell on the past.

    I see the modern U. S. would be fascists are – have been – building up an ‘enemy’ against whom to unite (and surrender power to the fascists to fix things). The current boogeyman in the current United States seem to have three faces – not interchangable but with enough overlap to ‘unite’ against.

    Smokers, gun owners and global warming deniers. And church goers, especially Christian.

    Smokers jack up the price of healthcare and kill others with second hand smoke. Gotta be stopped.

    Gun owners are just dangerous people with way too many ‘unregistered’ guns (the evilest sort) and are just itching to shoot someone. Anyone. Anytime. For any reason. Or no reason.

    Global warming deniers. Those people are responsible for the high cost of gasoline, smog, drowning polar bears, droughts and hurricanes. They drive SUVs which don’t even have to stay on the paved road. (And they blaspheme Al Gore.)

    Church goers. Well. They’re the ones who block sexual activities taught to grade school kids and want to instill some concept of morality and decency in youth. They’re so narrow minded about AIDS and unwed pregnancies and unwanted children and such.

    And all these four groups have the audacity and politically incorrect inclination to dare think for themselves instead of the socialist glop promoted by the elite.

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