Saturday, July 11, 2009

Lies, damned lies, and the media

With apologies to Mark Twain for the title. From Investor's Business Daily, on the 90% lie:
Big lies die slowly.

After a claim by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that 90% of Mexican drug dealers' military weapons (machine guns, hand grenades and missiles) come from American gun stores was exposed as a lie several months ago, it's back — this time with the imprimatur of the Government Accountability Office.

A June 21 CBS "60 Minutes" report by Anderson Cooper was clearly coordinated to coincide with release of the GAO report and a similar one by "activist" Josh Sugarmann.

You are likely to soon hear and read that the GAO report commissioned by Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., confirms what Mexico's attorney general, Eduardo Medina-Mora, told Cooper: "Two thousand two hundred grenades, missile and rocket launchers!"

Cue Cooper as a video of machine guns, hand grenades and other weaponry fill the screen: "It turns out 90% of them are purchased in the U.S."

That's not all. You will hear from Sugarmann that Mexican drug dealers are buying FN Herstal Five-seven pistols from licensed U.S. gun merchants because those pistols fire bullets that penetrate protective body armor.

What you are unlikely to hear and read is that all such military weapons are illegal in the U.S., that Mexican criminals are supplied through an international black market and that this black market prominently features weapons the U.S. sold to the Mexican military and that are resold to drug cartels by corrupt Mexican officials.

Neither are you likely to hear or read that the vest-penetrating ammunition made for the FN Herstal Five-seven is available only to military and special police units.

The facts don't matter. Reinstatement of the federal "assault weapon" ban that lapsed in 2004 matters, and is nothing short of a fetish among powerful supporters who will tell almost any untruth to achieve it. ...

Article here. The problem for politicians and new gun bans is that when you play with fire, you might get burned (see, e.g., the 1994 mid-term elections).

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