Language matters: the media and the Left’s “conversation” problem

The knee-jerk reaction on the Left these days to use any tragedy as a clarion call to action – never mind that the action isn’t supported by pesky facts or, even, permitted under the US Constitution – and to angrily blame their political opponents rather than the actual enemy for whatever happened has been in full bloom this past week. Democrats in Congress lacked even the simple decency of granting a moment of silence – that’s a mere 60 seconds of joining with their fellow Americans (remember us?) – to remember those Americans killed by an Islamic terrorist in Orlando. The howls on the Left demand that we have a “conversation” about guns. There are a number of issues I have with this notion.

First, we have been having a national “conversation” about guns for decades. We hear about it all the time. So, to those people who are huffily demanding that we have a conversation I’d like to point out that just because the conversation isn’t going the way you want it to doesn’t mean we aren’t having one. You don’t get to dictate that the conversation isn’t happening unless you get your way.

Secondly, it’s pretty obvious that the Left and gun-banners like this aren’t really interested in “having a conversation.” What they’re interested in is dictating the terms and having us just STFU while they deprive us of rights they just don’t happen to like us having.

In case it’s not clear, I disapprove of both stances.

But more basically than this, the Left and the gun-banning crowd demonstrate that they aren’t interested in a conversation because they make no efforts at all to learn the language and to get educated about the topic they want us to concede their expertise regarding. Over and over again, the media makes the same tired, stupid mistakes when talking about guns and the part of American culture that deals with them. They blather on about people being able to buy “machine guns” and act as though the terms “automatic” and “semi-automatic” are interchangeable. They decry people having “weapons of war” when the guns they’re talking about do not remotely come close to fitting that description. They rely on Hollywood jargon and prattle on about “clips” or simply make up terms like “assault weapon.” They deliberately misclassify standard parts and features as “high-capacity” or “military-grade.”

They misrepresent what the intent of the 2nd Amendment was – here’s a hint: it has nothing to do with hunting or dealing with burglars – and they do the same regarding the process an American has to go through to buy a gun. They want to make people believe that it’s too easy when the system used, the NICS, has simply been engineered to respond to inquiries quickly and efficiently. I’ve designed and implemented multiple information systems in use by the Federal government and the mere fact that it provides the information requested quickly is a feature, not a bug.

It isn’t going to get better until the people who are screaming for the rest of us to give up our rights learn that refusing to use the right language does nothing but guarantee resistance. Being honest and upfront about the language used will require honesty with regard to the facts, too, which isn’t going to go well if they persist in demanding that we give up the right to keep and bear arms.

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