I Am a “Verbiage Nazi”

This is similar to a grammar Nazi, except in this case applied to the context of firearms-related discussions about their design, functions, and their use.  This form of linguistic prescription focuses more on the technical verbiage and its accurate employment.  I wish I did not have to resort to this tedious, and I have been told by colleagues sometimes annoying, nitpicking, but in this modern environment of ignorance, rhetoric, propaganda, and outright misinformation surrounding the broader topic, it is unfortunately a necessity to redress ill-informed opinions and conclusions.

Thus, I correct people when they say “clip” but really mean “box magazine.”  I point out that contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe, there really is no such thing as a “silencer,” and as such “sound suppressor” is a more accurate term.  And I instruct that military “assault” rifles function substantively differently than their civilian counterparts.

Again, I do not do this because I want to be annoying, but rather because words have meanings and unfortunately because most people are far more opinionated than they are informed.  This modern version of newspeak shrouding issues of gun politics is highly destructive to meaningful discussion and substantive conclusions.  Indeed, this destruction of language prevails in virtually all political contexts, and fundamentally underpins how we have reached a point in the legal system where we have somehow rationalized a different meaning for shall not be infringed than the plain language reads.  At a minimum, we must speak accurately about any given topic if we have any genuine hope of reaching a relevant determination, regardless of where one’s ideology lay

To convey a recent example of just how bad this ignorant newspeak has grown, simply view the below embedded video in which a supposed “forensic expert” offers up her ill-informed analysis on the issue of firearms (specific to the recent Dallas police shootings) for all the world to see.  The only thing that mitigates this inaccuracy for her is that sadly most viewers themselves are not informed enough to catch them.  And therein lies the problem; when people outsource their thinking to so-called “experts,” they increase the likelihood of being fed a bad bill of goods.

(Source: russor22)

When I first saw this video (from a different source) I honestly could not believe what I was hearing.  The YouTube source embedded here helpfully and humorously added gameshow-style buzzers to indicate the inaccuracies presented for the casual viewer, but I will summarize the low points below as well.

  1. What exactly is a “double-shot weapon?” This is an obvious confusion of concepts on her part.  A double-barreled shotgun can I guess be considered a “double-shot weapon,” but this is clearly not something she was implying in this analysis.
  1. No, in fact you cannot generally buy such weapons at a grocery store. While it would technically be legal to sell firearms at a grocery store if the proprietor possessed an appropriate Federal Firearms License (FFL) to do so, and large “one-stop” supermarkets such as Wal-Mart can carry both firearms and grocery items (Wal-Mart as a chain carried firearms first, long before expanding into the “Super” Wal-Mart marketing concept nationwide), I nonetheless challenge anyone to find a traditional grocery store anywhere in America that does this.  At any rate, it is certainly not as easy to do as the “expert” suggested.
  1. And what about the co-host’s supposed research that apparently reveals one could buy an “adapter” at your local gun shop to make your “hunting” rifle a “semi-assault” rifle that also makes it “shoot faster?” I have no idea what a “semi-assault” rifle is by definition, so I will assume she meant a fully-automatic firearm conversion kit.  So-called “drop-in” components do exist which can enable compatible firearms to function as fully-automatic (continuous rounds being expended with a single squeeze of the trigger, unless/until the trigger is disengaged or the weapon expends available ammunition).  However, given these components are heavily regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, banned for civilian transfer via the so-called Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 (for components manufactured after that date), and requires a Class 3 “Special Occupational Taxpayer tax,” these are not easily acquirable in today’s market despite the “journalist’s” implication otherwise.  Qualified dealers and these components are generally quite scarce and consequently cost tens of thousands of dollars on average (hardly a common criminal’s weapon of choice).
  1. The “expert” also asserted “as long as you have a rifle that has a clip, and it’s not a situation where your bullet has to be ejected in between [shots fired], you can shoot rather quickly” (emphasis added).” Uhmm… no.  Just no.  First: as mentioned above she referenced “clip” when she clearly meant “box (or other) magazine.”  Second: what?  Virtually all modern firearms, with the notable exception of revolvers, require some mechanism of ejecting the spent shell casing (vice the bullet, which generally tends to exit the barrel end when fired) from the breach prior to reloading another round for subsequent follow-up engagements.

This person should not be on television discussing this topic, plain and simple.  She is not even remotely close to knowledgeable enough on the topic-at-hand to offer any meaningful analysis.  Indeed, she should be embarrassed that she publicly displayed such foolishness, but again the average viewer probably and unfortunately has no idea just how wrong she was.  If you are informed and care about meaningful discussion and real digestion of the issues, I recommend you become a “verbiage Nazi” too.

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