As mentioned here in passing yesterday, the Violence Policy Center, as far back as 1988, openly advocated exploiting the public’s ignorance about the difference between fully-automatic and semi-automatic firearms, in order to make so-called “assault weapons” sound “scary”–a strategy with which they have enjoyed decades of help from the mass media:
The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons–anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun–can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.
That gambit also received a boost Tuesday from no less than Hillary Clinton herself, who in a “town hall” appearance on CNN repeatedly referred to “automatic weapons” in a response to a question about her support for banning “assault weapons” and “high capacity” (gun banner-speak for “standard capacity”) magazines (the question, of course, received an enthusiastic “Yes” answer). Clinton has been heavily involved in the gun rights/”gun control” debate for years, and is after all an accomplished hunter (that’s sarcasm, if anyone missed it). It therefore strains credulity to imagine that she is unaware of the difference between fully-automatic firearms and semi-automatics.
In other words, her use of the term “automatic,” rather than “semi-automatic” was intentional, and intentionally misleading.
But that was not really the most disturbing aspect of Clinton’s position on guns in that discussion. CNN‘s Twitter feed quoted her this way:
Hillary Clinton on guns: “We can’t let a minority of people who hold a viewpoint terrorize the majority.”
Watching video of the discussion though, starting right about here, shows that CNN engaged in some creative, convenient, and unacknowledged editing. This is what she actually said:
I believe that we need a more thoughtful conversation. We cannot let a minority of people, and that’s what it is–it is a minority of people–hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.
Get that? We are to prohibit people from “hold[ing] a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.” Clinton evidently plans to enforce her will with the help of Thought Police. National Gun Rights Examiner Dan is likely to be in serious trouble.
And now we know what she means by “more thoughtful conversation” about guns. For the conversation to be “more thoughtful,” the public needs to be kept unaware that semi-automatic “assault weapons” are not machine guns. In fact, “more thoughtful” means that viewpoints that “the majority” find terrifying are not permitted–only “approved” thoughts are authorized.
Orwell might have been an optimist.
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