2 years, 10 months ago
From a NYT Editorial:
Bushmasters are by no means the only assault weapons of choice among mass killers (the Aurora shooter used a Smith & Wesson), but the brand’s repeated presence in murderous incidents reflects Bushmaster’s enormous popularity in the gun world, the result of a successful marketing campaign aimed at putting military firepower and machismo in the hands of civilians. Gun owners once talked about the need for personal protection and sport hunting, but out-of-control ad campaigns like Bushmaster’s have replaced revolvers and shotguns with highly lethal paramilitary fantasies.
The guns, some of which come in camouflage and desert khaki, bristle with features useful only to an infantry soldier or a special-forces operative. A flash suppressor on the end of a barrel makes it possible to shoot at night without a blinding flare. Quick-change magazines let troops reload easily. Barrel shrouds allow precise control without fear of burns from a muzzle that grows hot after multiple rounds are fired. But now anyone can own these guns, and millions are in civilian hands.
“There is an allure to this weapon that makes it unusually attractive,” Scott Knight, former chairman of the International Chiefs of Police Firearms Committee, told USA Today, speaking of the Bushmaster rifles. “The way it looks, the way it handles — it screams assault weapon.”
The company’s catalog and ads show soldiers moving on patrol through jungles, Bushmasters at the ready. “When you need to perform under pressure, Bushmaster delivers,” says the advertising copy, superimposed over the silhouette of a soldier holding his helmet against the backdrop of an American flag. “Forces of opposition, bow down. You are single-handedly outnumbered,” said a 2010 catalog, peddling an assault rifle billed as “the ultimate military combat weapons system.” (Available to anyone for $2,500.)
In case that message was too subtle, the company appealed directly to the male egos of its most likely customers. “Consider your man card reissued,” said one Bushmaster campaign (pulled off the Web after the Newtown shooting), next to a photo of a carbine. “If it’s good enough for the professional, it’s good enough for you.”
The effect of these marketing campaigns on fragile minds is all too obvious, allowing deadly power in the wrong hands. But given their financial success, gun makers have apparently decided that the risk of an occasional massacre is part of the cost of doing business.
What a silly, puerile commentary. Notice the use of effeminate, emotional prose: male egos, machismo, out-of-control, bristle, and the fear-inducing “screams assault weapon.” Oh, and we mustn’t forget the shoulder-shrugging issue of the “occasional massacre,” either.
The NYT says that shooters were once interested in self defense (as if we’re not now concerned about that very thing), but apparently those writers who live in their protected bubbles and ride in limousines to work aren’t aware that the trend in home invasions is for the criminals to utilize multi-man teams to terrorize, steal, rape, torture and kill their victims. Perhaps the editors should read the news. High capacity magazines, indeed. Anyone who is responding to such an event wants everything they can get for self protection.
But the best sentence of the commentary is this one: “But now anyone can own these guns, and millions are in civilian hands.” The editorial staff should do their history homework, or maybe read a little bit. The M1 Carbine used a high capacity magazine with a low to moderate recoil cartridge. And it has been around and used by the military since 1942, and used by the civilian population since right after World War II. I recently purchased one myself, a new rifle from Auto Ordnance.
We (American citizens) have always had access to military firearms. The ready availability of firearms isn’t new. Neither, for that matter, is acts of terror against school children (see Bath School Disaster). What is new is American fascists blaming firearms owners for such events.
UPDATE: Mike Vanderboegh has some thoughts. Yes, Mike, I just need some more money. Some for a Garand, some for an M-14, and some for … [to be continued].