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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Anti-gun 'news' article dissected

So I read a "news article" this AM.. Confused

Let's take a rational look at it
Here is a link to the full article if you'd like to read it:
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2008/10/in_the_spring_of_1992.html

I have quoted some of the paragraphs here in blue as I refer to them...

First off a kid died, that is too bad and we are all sad this happened

Now lets take a look at this lazy reporters poorly researched review of the events

#1 - The title
"Years obscure an assault rifle's trail of slayings in Newark"

First the SKS is not under any definition of the words an 'assault rifle' it is not real difficult to research that, but then it wouldn't have a menacing title

"trail of slayings" the article mentions ONE accidental discharge that killed this boy, no other crimes were found by the Police (ATF / FBI)
In fact here is a quote by the author which proves his own title wrong (great journalism eh?)
"The gun was taken to the Newark Police Department's ballistics lab, where officers ran tests to determine if it had been reported stolen or had been used in a crime. If it had, the crimes would provide more clues for them to figure out how the gun got here. But the tests came back negative."

#2 the caption of the photo:
"The Norinco SKS rifle used to kill 15 year old Bukhari Washington."

Just a note that by leaving out the word 'accidental' this caption leads readers to an incorrect conclusion of the facts if they didn't bother to scrutinize the whole article, which explains this is not an intentional shooting , but a bad accident with a dangerous item

#3 "In the spring of 1992, two AT&T craftsmen in Georgia were chatting at work when the subject of guns came up."
OK this is not gun related but it had me scratching my head.. WTH is an "AT&T Craftsman"??

#4 "One of them, George Hill Jr., was a hobbyist from Greenville who competed in amateur target-shooting competitions. He mentioned that one of weapons he liked to use was an SKS rifle, an Eastern bloc predecessor of the AK-47 that had been redesigned for civilian use and was popular in the United States for backyard "plinking.""

Rolling Eyes another contradiction, this time in the same paragraph
He competed in "amateur target-shooting competitions" but the SKS had been "redesigned for civilian use and was popular in the United States for backyard "plinking.""
Well the SKS was not modified at all, but thats another issue.. but is the SKS for plinking, or for "target-shooting competitions"?

Small point, but it leads to the lack of concern for the topic at hand

#5 - Now this one really scares me..
"The shooting jolted the public, not only because of Bukhari's story, but because it raised a painful, unanswered question: How does a young man with a steady job and no criminal record get his hands on a military-style rifle outfitted with a 30-round clip? "

First.. was the public 'jolted'? where's the reference to back this up, not that I am downplaying the death of this poor kid, but as a journalist, isn't there an obligation to NOT exaggerate an issue that scares just you Jonathan Schuppe?? Was there a public outcry, a parade, a church event in his honor? Was the 'public' jolted, or was Jonathan Schuppe the one jolted here?

now the most distressing line in the article, and the one that prompted me to pick apart this horribly written article..
" How does a young man with a steady job and no criminal record get his hands on a military-style rifle outfitted with a 30-round clip? "

WTH Jonathan Schuppe ?? Are you that ignorant of the laws of the United States? ALL young men with steady jobs, no criminal records can "get their hands" on a military-style rifle outfitted with a 30-round MAGAZINE
From the second amendment of our country's Constitution, to state Constitutions, and down to local laws in almost the whole country, this rifle is 100% legal to own by the type of person you mention

Jonathan Schuppe didn't bother to think about the rest of the country which he is including in his article by eluding to some 'trail of slayings'
In my opinion, Jonathan Schuppe is either lazy, stupid or just intent on causing confusion of the truth with this article

Sure in New Jersey, this rifle may be restricted by state, or local law, I don't live there and I am no lawyer there. But, if this is the case, words to that effect should be used to clarify this outrageous statement
Shame on you Jonathan Schuppe for such poor reporting and pushing your anti-gun (possibly raciest) ideas with what masquerades as a news story

Still part of #5.. that last word, 'clip' Jonathan Schuppe you dolt..
a clip is used to load an SKS magazine, it is NOT a part of the rifle and by perpetrating this error in lingo once again in print, you are again showing your laziness
BTW Jonathan Schuppe, an SKS 'clip' holds just 10 rounds, there is no such thing as a 30 round clip for an SKS

#6 "Every year, Newark police recover hundreds of guns used in crimes. Most are handguns, and many have been hustled into the city in bulk by smugglers who take advantage of lax firearms laws in other states. But the SKS was different. Rifles like that don't turn up very often. And because it was sold so long ago, authorities will probably never be able to trace its path to Newark."

So how often does the media mention where a car came from when a story about a hit and run is reported? How often does the history and trail of a can of gas get mentioned in an arson report?
Why do guns get singled out as a tool that's history must be traced and mentioned as if the rifle had intent, and was destined to do harm?

I wonder if Jonathan Schuppe bothered to think about the millions (yes millions) of other SKS rifles that were imported along with this one, and how they sit even now in safes, gun racks and other places NOT killing anyone.
Poor reporting like Jonathan Schuppe's story are written to push an anti-gun agenda, not to report the news, and this paragraph is further proof of that.

#7 "The alleged shooter, Terrence Perry, told detectives he'd found the gun in an abandoned apartment in the Bradley Court public housing complex, where he sometimes hung out. He said he was trying to unload it when it went off."

So he found the gun, there are millions of them remember, so is this so unreasonable? Later in the story Jonathan Schuppe will claim the SKS flooded the US, so is it unheard of that one could be found abandoned?

Anyway.. the last line is why I quoted this paragraph.. this guy says the gun went off while unloading.. Perhaps if Jonathan Schuppe would report accurately and with a mind towards public education, he would get off his anti-gun platform and discuss something practical, like how to unload a rifle safely, then this might not have happened in the first place.

Of course if the guy who was handling the rifle would have bought his rifle legally (or been able to buy it legally) he would have been offered instruction on it's proper, safe use. He would have received a users manual too.
So does Jonathan Schuppe write anti-chain saw articles when someone 'finds' a chainsaw, turns it on and hurts himself or someone else?
Same situation in my opinion. A person who didn't know how to operate a dangerous item tried to 'learn on his own' and damage was done

#8 "Federal authorities can only trace guns used in crimes back to their original sale by a licensed dealer. What that first customer does with the gun generally remains private. From there, it is virtually impossible to track where the gun goes, law enforcement officials say."

OK sounds menacing I suppose.. but let's think rationally about this facet of gun regulation for a moment
If we spend a lot of money, time and resources on gun licensing, etc and moments after the original purchase the 'trail' is no longer available doesn't it make sense that this is colossal waste of time?
I'm sure Jonathan Schuppe would like to see much more regulation on firearms judging from his biased article, but does he realize the massive increase in cost, and loss of freedoms that kind of project would entail?

I read this paragraph and I see a strong argument to dis ban the ATF and all the restrictions on firearms, so those resources can be used for education, and prosecution when criminals commit crimes

There are many more stabbings than shootings each year, there is more damage done by arson. Has anyone suggested we ban, or register each knife or match? NO, why? Because the costs and infringements on freedom would be more than anyone would approve of.

It's easy for gun haters like Jonathan Schuppe to say that gun owners loose freedom and money, but I suspect he would be the first to complain if his right to write sloppy, ignorant stories like this one was in jeopardy.

Would Jonathan Schuppe complain if I suggested all news stories would be required by law to be written by licensed writers who can pass a background check, and that all writing would need to contain accurate footnotes to back up the writers ideas at the discretion and threat of penalty by a federal agency?

#9 "Hill, who had a license to sell firearms, ordered the Norinco SKS from an importer in Tucson, Ariz. The Chinese made rifle arrived a few weeks later with a wooden stock and grip and etched with the serial number 29003777. Hill then sold the gun to his friend for the same amount it cost him to buy."

Two points in this paragraph.. I live in Tucson, so it was interesting to see B-West mentioned yet again in a news story.. too bad it was in such a poorly written one..
And what reason could there possibly be in including the serial number of the rifle? I have never seen a cars VIN mentioned in a news article. I don't understand the reasoning, perhaps Jonathan Schuppe and his editors are ignorant to the possibility that criminals could use that information illicitly.. I won't get into details on that since I'm not trying to facilitate illegal activity. But what gross stupidity to include such a bit of information that is not even relevant to this story

#10 "The Norinco SKS typically costs about $200 or more depending on accessories."

I can only assume Jonathan Schuppe included this irrelevant information to further the fallacy that 'assault rifles' are cheap, which they are not as most gun owners know. Remember this is NOT an assault rifle, Jonathan Schuppe incorrectly calls this SKS one in order to scare his readers, but this rifle would retail well over $400 in this SKS-M configuration which is highly sought after by collectors

#11 "After the shooting, Perry's family and neighbors said he had been robbed and stabbed in recent months. They speculated that he had started carrying the gun for protection."

Here in Arizona, this would be legal. Unwise, reckless, but legal. In New Jersey I suspect carrying an SKS would not be legal, so this statement by the family was unwise and possible incriminating, which is why Jonathan Schuppe included it I suppose.

However, if the first sentence is true, it is a sad state of affairs that a person in fear of their safety would be restricted the ability to defend themselves legally. This type of restriction obviously does not deter criminals but it forces the victims to resort to using found rifles to defend themselves.

Again if there is any truth to this statement, then it is in my opinion, an argument to the repeal of the restrictive gun laws that give the criminals a free reign on the unarmed victims in areas like this

#12 "Police didn't buy that explanation. Why, they wondered, would someone keep a gun that big to guard against street crime?"

Instead of the police opinion of this situation, why not ask another stabbing or shooting victim what they would carry to defend themselves against further assault? Another selective perspective from Jonathan Schuppe who is not interested in simply reporting facts, but insists on pushing his opinions and fears

#13 ""If someone wanted a weapon for protection they could secret on their body, this is not that kind of weapon," Newark police director Garry McCarthy said at the time."

OK I'll agree with this statement, except, if a victim was stabbed and shot, they might want to let others know they are not going to be a victim again, what better way to announce this from across the street than with a 40" rifle slug over the shoulder ??
Sure I carry my CCW gun out of sight because I am not in constant fear for my safety, however if I feared I might get hurt walking to the car, I might wear a gun in plain sight.
Do we hide our home and car alarms inside to trick criminals into setting them off? Or do we put signs in the yard, on the fences and stickers on the windows to announce to the world and any potential criminals that this is not the easiest place to rob?

#14 "Firearms experts tend to agree. They note that the SKS was first designed as a World War II-era military weapon for Eastern Bloc nations, but today isn't good for much more than target shooting."

What 'Firearms experts' did Jonathan Schuppe ask about this? The SKS is a low end rifle, but is definitely has more uses than he claims

#15 "Valued for its cheap price, easy maintenance and reliable operation, the SKS was commissioned by the Soviet Union as a gun that soldiers could use until the mass production of AK-47s. Even after the AK-47s came along, SKSs were made and used for decades by Soviet allies, said Peter Hefferan, a Wantage firearms consultant. Manufacturers in those countries, including China, eventually began producing semiautomatic versions -- firing one round for each pull of the trigger -- for civilian use."

OK so he names his 'expert'.. a 'Wantage firearms consultant' sure, this is a typo, but the fact that neither Jonathan Schuppe nor his editors knew this was a typo, is a testament to the fact they are not familiar with the subject. Does that stop them from publishing their opinion of the subject though? Of course not..

Now here is another example of Jonathan Schuppe's ignorance of the subject he is writing about. The SKS was NEVER made in a full auto configuration. So no one could produce a semi-automatic 'version' since they ALL have always been semi-automatic

#16 "In the 1980s, changes in trade agreements and gun laws made it easier for China to ship weapons to the United States. That led to a flood of semiautomatic SKSs, which American gun enthusiasts snapped up as cheap "plinking" weapons that could be used to shoot soda cans and other targets. Most of the Chinese SKSs were made by China North Industries Group, also known as Norinco"

'Changes in gun laws'?? what changes in what US firearm laws happened in the 1980s to let more Chinese guns into the country?
And guess what Jonathan Schuppe, many people bought these rifles for more than shooting cans. They are an inexpensive dependable rifle that can be used to defend home, and community. Please don't assume all gun owners are hunters or 'plinkers' some gun owners take their responsibility to family and community seriously and although you might never lift a finger to defend your home or country, many gun owners would.

I suspect that Jonathan Schuppe would be offended if I claimed all pens are made for drawing pictures (assuming he knows how to write with a pen)

#17 "Today, an SKS, whether made in China or elsewhere, is legal in New Jersey, as long as it doesn't have a "detachable" magazine like the one found with the gun that killed Bukhari Washington."
OK so it was legal for the guy to own this gun in NJ? Earlier it seemed as though this was not a legal rifle when Jonathan Schuppe asked the question "How does a young man with a steady job and no criminal record get his hands on a military-style rifle outfitted with a 30-round clip?"

Not great news reporting in my opinion, if a reader didn't get down to this 25th paragraph, then they might be left with the incorrect conclusion that the SKS was not legal in New Jersey since Jonathan Schuppe never determined this was not a typical SKS, but an illegal SKS-M
Again, a fine point, but another example of poor writing and an obvious attempt to warp the report to condemn the item here and not the actions of the person that led to the death of the boy

#18 "Immediately after he fired that fatal shot, Perry fled his family's apartment and ended up at his girlfriend's, where detectives caught up to him later that day. He led them to her car, where he'd stashed the rifle, then to the spot where he'd ditched the magazine."

If he is guilty, this was very poor judgment indeed. Of course this is only the second time in 26 paragraphs that the actions of the person accused of the crime is mentioned. The firearm did not do this crime, it facilitated it. The human caused the situation, and this 'news report' hardly mentions it until nearly the end of the report and then only with a few sentences

#19 "The gun was taken to the Newark Police Department's ballistics lab, where officers ran tests to determine if it had been reported stolen or had been used in a crime. If it had, the crimes would provide more clues for them to figure out how the gun got here. But the tests came back negative."

So this rifle was not used in any other crimes.. yet the title of the story eludes to a "trail of slayings" can there be a more blatant abuse of news to deceptively influence opinion?

#20 ""I don't know how that gun ended up in New Jersey," he said."

So the third brief owner of the rifle in 1992 does not know how the rifle ended up in New Jersey in 2008 (16 years later).. so what?

Obviously Jonathan Schuppe thought this would leave the reader with some ominous fear of unregulated assault rifles looming all over the country waiting to kill

However this is about as important as who now owns the first car Jonathan Schuppe owned then sold. Does Jonathan Schuppe know how many people his first car killed in it's "trail of slayings" over the years?

What about the kitchen knives Jonathan Schuppe gave to charity years back? Does Jonathan Schuppe track how many people have been stabbed by those knives in their "trail of slayings' over the years?

-----

I don't usually spend hours critiquing poorly written news articles by lazy ignorant writers like Jonathan Schuppe, but I was tied to the PC this morning on a project so I had some extra time on my hands. So I spent a lot of time picking this 'news story' (anti-gun propaganda) apart
I'm sure I could dissect it even more, but I am sick of typing.
If even one person reads a portion of my response and thinks more realistically about guns I feel the time I spent on this was worth it

In my opinion, Jonathan Schuppe should be ashamed of his poor writing skills, his editors should have made him account for his claims before publishing, and the people in NJ should look elsewhere for news over this 'opinion in news clothing'

Perhaps the people responsible for this article might read my breakdown, and if they do I encourage you to get over your fears of objects that make noise and learn about the things you obviously know so little about before you attempt to report on them in the future

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