also, liberals should learn something about guns

The press has been reporting that the Newtown shooter was carrying a .223-caliber rifle. “Marlow Stern,” of Twitter, tweeted the following image along with the accompanying text: “Suspect used .223 caliber rifle. This is a picture of a .223 rifle. This is legal.”


Okay, but… so what? .223 is just the size of the bullet. Here’s another .223 rifle:


And another.


What’s the difference between the bottom two and the top one? Mostly it’s the wooden stocks — you have to admit that liberals love wood accenting. But I doubt very seriously that the person who tweeted the first picture could identify one functional characteristic that makes the AR-type rifle more dangerous than the pretty wood ones. It just… looks scary. So we post pictures of it and everybody gets to feel good for a minute talking about how crazy it is that a civilian could have such a scary-looking weapon, without asking ourselves whether it would really make a difference in anyone’s life if we banned AR’s. This is not serious gun control debate. It’s just a tribal ritual. It’s good for bonding, but not much else.

UPDATE: And I should learn something about how to make webpages. Sorry about the wonky image problem — should be fixed now.

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6 Responses to also, liberals should learn something about guns

  1. Elana says:

    I find this very embarrassing. The wooden ones seem so wholesome to me, because they make me think of LL Bean. I never thought of this before. But you’re totally right.

  2. I think its a psychological response. Most people who know nothing about snakes can still look at a rattlesnake and a grass snake and tell you which one is scarier. They may not be able to articulate that vipers are venomous and the shape of the head means it is a viper, but they can see it looks menacing. In the same way, a person who can’t articulate whether a weapon is semi-automatic or bolt action or what the magazine capacity is can still generally pick up on the level of menace.

    • thehandsomecamel says:

      Ben — I think there’s something to that. And I think there’s an argument that rifles like the one in the first picture appeal to people who want to project menace. That’s not an unreasonable distinction. I just want people to be clear that (1) they’re not that functionally distinct, and (2) because the “assault weaponness” of any given rifle is going to be largely cosmetic, trying to ban “assault weapons” is going to be a game of whack-a-mole. Gun manufacturers will always find ways of creating new models that still look threatening, precisely because they’re appealing to that segment of the gun-buying public.

      • Duncan Brennan says:

        The rifle in the first picture, despite its menacing appearance, looks to me to be a set up to be a long-range plinker or varmint hunting rifle. Being familiar with the AR (Arma-lite Rifle) platform, it’s got a 22″ barrel which is great for long range, but VERY awkward for anything closer than 50m engagements. It has what probably is a high-powered scope, again which is good for hunting or long-range marksmanship. The stock is fixed, or mostly fixed to facilitate long-range hunting or marksmanship, same with the bipod. The vertical foregrip, I’m still trying to figure out why that’s on a rifle set up for long range. Also, the tube on the stock of the rifle looks like it can rotate to the down position to essentially create a tripod when combined with the use of the bipod in front. This is very much for long-range marksmanship. The biggest thing that makes me think this is a target shooter or marksman rifle is the use of a 20 round polymer magazine versus a 30 round.
        My familiarity with the AR platform of rifles stems from 8 years of Army service to include 2 years as a unit armorer and helping friends configure countless AR-15 rifles purchased by coworkers and friends.

  3. Pingback: some facts about guns, episode 2 | The Handsome Camel

  4. Pingback: some facts about guns, episode 10 | The Handsome Camel

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