Subject Matter Expertise

As can be expected these days, the cable news networks are filling the pipelines of media with hour after hour of coverage of the latest “gun-related” tragedy, the terror attack in San Bernardino. And as can be expected, a sizable percentage of the folks invited to run their gobs on said cable news networks are getting a sizable percentage of the facts dead wrong.

CNN’s infographics department ran this image, describing the armament found in the now-dead suspects’ home:

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In the event you aren’t remotely familiar with firearms terminology, the very idea that there are “.9mm rounds”, “.223mm rounds” or “.22mm” rounds is laughable. Get out a metric tape measure, and try to see just how tiny these sizes would be. Basic fact checking isn’t for everyone, I guess.

Meanwhile, Gregg Jarrett, a Fox News commentator, described the California-mandated “bullet button” as being a “modification” which allows the gun user to insert the tip of a round of ammunition into it, thus converting the gun from a semi-automatic, legal rifle into a death-spraying full-auto “assault weapon”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The “bullet button” required on Scary Black Rifles in California actually serves one function; it makes standard reloading of a magazine more difficult, by necessitating the use of a tool in order to eject the magazine, above and beyond simply pressing the magazine release button.

You know, I understand that cable news wants to sell ads, so they need to fill the dead air in between those ads with jabbering pertinent to $recent_tragedy, but it wouldn’t be that hard to do a little vetting of the sources they invite to fill that dead air, so as to make sure that people passing themselves off as “subject matter experts” were, at the very least, not completely subject-illiterate. Instead, they’re filling the air with the laughable and absurd rantings of “Subject Matter Know-Nothings”. That doesn’t bode well for the “national conversation” we’re all being beseeched to engage in. There’s a very simple rule that applies; if you don’t know the answer to a question, please take the opportunity to just shut your mouth. And if you’re not sure whether or not you know the answer, I assure you, you don’t.

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