OPINION — Being as how I’m an Old Fogey, I don’t try to keep up with social media like the young folks do. I have no idea what the newest craze is these days, whether it’s InstaChat or SnapGram or what. I did try Twitter once, and my impression is that it’s a huge electronic conversation where everyone is talking at once, and no one is listening to anything anyone else is saying. So, basically a Hemphill family Thanksgiving dinner on a national scale.
But I follow enough digital news to find out what’s going on, most of the time. When some celebrity or politician or wingnut says something really outlandish, I hear about it one way or another. For example, when California State Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) stuck both feet in his mouth at once a few years ago, it was all over the news, so I could hardly miss it. De Leon held up a rifle at a press conference and said, “This is a ghost gun. This right here has the ability with a .30 caliber clip to disperse with 30 bullets within half a second. Thirty magazine clip in half a second.”
Above: California State Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles)
Now, I don’t expect people who aren’t really interested in guns to understand, without an explanation, just how incredibly ridiculous that whole statement was, but even someone who knows nothing about guns should realize de Leon knows even less. Given his level of expertise, I’m kind of surprised he didn’t hold up the microphone instead of the rifle. Maybe he had help, I don’t know.
For one thing, the rifle has no ‘ability’ to shoot itself. There is no such thing as a ‘.30 caliber clip,’ and most of the statement was incoherent. But beyond the obvious ignorance of de Leon’s claim, the rate of fire he attributed to the rifle, an AR (Armalite Rifle) was 3600 rounds per minute. An AR has a cyclic rate of 800 rounds per minute. So de Leon was saying the rifle could be fired four and a half times as fast as it really could.
Now, to be clear, whether an AR is automatic or semiautomatic doesn’t change the rate of fire. That stays the same either way. The semiautomatic’s trigger must be pulled once for each shot, and the automatic’s trigger can be held back and the rifle will keep firing until empty. Which fact negates most of the laws now being proposed that would prohibit bump stocks, claiming they change the rate of fire of the gun. They don’t, and can’t.
But de Leon’s amazingly confusing statement may have been eclipsed recently by my favorite gun grabber, California Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Saturn). Just when I thought the antis had started to learn a little something about guns, Dianne came through for me again. Bless her heart.
Dianne likes to twit on Twitter, and she fired off a doozie a few days ago. She said, “A handgun (wound) is simply a stabbing with a bullet. It goes in like a nail. With the high-velocity rounds of the AR-15, it’s as if you shot somebody with a Coke can.”
Wow. Just wow. I honestly didn’t think it was possible for anyone to make such an awesomely ignorant statement, and still be able to tie their own shoes. I’m actually impressed.
Now, a lot of people who enjoy shooting guns don’t fully understand the correlation between bullet speed and bullet mass that creates bullet energy, but a simple illustration will suffice. Have a friend shoot you in the back of your front with a BB gun (the BB will be going about 450 feet per second), and have another friend hit you in the chest with a rock the size of a softball as hard as he can (the rock will be traveling about 50 feet per second), and see which one will hurt more (the rock)(by a lot).
The BB represents a standard AR-15 round, which is 5.56x45mm. The rock represents a standard 1911 pistol round, which is a .45 ACP. The former is less than a quarter inch in diameter, and is going pretty fast (maybe 3200 fps), and the latter is almost half an inch, going really slow (about 850 fps). Neither is anything like a stab wound, and they’ll both kill you graveyard dead, but the .45 will do a lot more damage in the process, even though it’s going a lot slower.
Dianne was trying to convince people that schoolteachers should not carry pistols, because they can’t hope to stop a rifle-toting nut if all they have is a handgun. Which is one of the most insane arguments I’ve ever heard. De Leon has been de-throned as the king of gun ignorance.
Of course teachers should be allowed to carry guns on campuses - if they want to, and if they’re properly trained. To argue otherwise is not just wrong, it’s criminal. Maybe the deputies in Broward County, Florida should hand their guns over to the teachers there, who will actually be inside the next school that’s attacked.
The bottom line is that it’s difficult to take seriously the opinions of people who have no idea what they’re talking about, and ignore facts available to everyone. But then, if politicians were restricted to the truth, few of them would have anything to say . . .