So, do you own an AR-15? Do you know anyone who does?
Congratulations, I guess: Either you or that person you know is a “mass murderer.”
So sayeth Nina Burleigh, national politics reporter for Newsweek. She’s also the author of “Golden Handcuffs: The Secret History of Trump’s Women,” which I’m sure from the title is a balanced look at the matter. (I can’t tell you for certain, having literally anything better to read.)
Burleigh made the remarks while she was weighing in on l’affaire Swalwell. As you may have heard, California Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell, who’d previously called for all “assault weapons” to be confiscated, made a little funny about using nuclear weapons against citizens who wouldn’t give those weapons up.
I’m not quite sure how that would even work (then again, Swalwell doesn’t quite get how those darned “assault weapons” work, so maybe he’s similarly uninformed about nukes and how they’re not necessarily, um, precise) and a lot of people didn’t think witticisms about using nuclear weapons against American people by American politicians were quite as droll as Swalwell did.
Anyway, I get that what Swalwell said was a joke, if not a terribly appropriate one. I’m not going to feign outrage or anything in that vein; this was just a gaffe by someone who probably should have known better, which — look, if politicians stopped doing that, political writers would be stuck doing PR work.
Burleigh, however, decided that someone needed to say something outrageous in both senses of the word, and dagnabbit, it was going to be her:
Almost every single person I’ve ever heard of with an AR-15 has been a mass murderer. Based on Twitter sample the rest of them are scarily paranoid. Get on the right side of history @DLoesch @Rambobiggs #gunsense https://t.co/rFtHFBpvLM
— Nina Burleigh (@ninaburleigh) November 17, 2018
“Almost every single person I’ve ever heard of with an AR-15 has been a mass murderer,” Burleigh tweeted. “Based on Twitter sample the rest of them are scarily paranoid. Get on the right side of history.” She decided to tag NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch and former Infowars correspondent Joe Biggs — whose parley with Swalwell had started this whole thing — along with (uproariously) “#gunsense.”
If you’re a member of the liberalism-media complex and want a shortcut to tell the other half of America you don’t commute outside of your bubble very much, here’s a handy shortcut: do what Burleigh did. It’s literally the shortest path from A to B I can conceive of.
Twitchy catalogued some of the responses to this bosh, which were priceless:
And I’m Paranoid? You just said almost all AR gun owners are mass murders. Wow https://t.co/8T9eMJxx7p
— Joe Biggs (@Rambobiggs) November 17, 2018
There are an estimated 15 million AR-15s in this country alone. Where are all of these millions and millions of mass murders taking place? https://t.co/LiEcJzJau2
— 🍁The🐰Foo🦃 (@PolitiBunny) November 17, 2018
If even 1/4 of the Americans with an AR-15 were mass murderers, the population of America would be zero. https://t.co/CoTuV5wtr2
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) November 17, 2018
This is a real person https://t.co/7ZuzCjJm2L
— John Ambrosia (@JohnAmb21) November 17, 2018
You must not get out much https://t.co/z3MXc1AjMG
— Christmas Red 🎄 (@jswifty250) November 18, 2018
The problem, unfortunately, is that she does — to Dupont Circle, and Foggy Bottom, and Adams Morgan, and…
The problem with Burleigh’s tweet is self-evident: Burleigh obviously knows no one with an AR-15. Beyond her obvious sympathies, if she’s saying anyone who owns one is a mass murderer, well — I don’t know any mass murderers, and if I did know one, I’d stop knowing them in a hurry. That’s kind of how mass murder works, at least in a social milieu.
If you manage to beat the rap or ever get out of prison, you don’t get invited to many shindigs. Just ask O.J.
Yet apparently, I know plenty of “mass murderers” — because I know plenty of people (law-abiding citizens all) with AR-15s.
And while I understand that online communication denudes some statements of context, unlike Rep. Swalwell’s nuclear ambitions, this doesn’t sound very J/K-ish. This is someone who unthinkingly believes that owning a certain type of hunting rifle probably makes you a killer.
If you’ve ever wondered why coverage of firearms in the media is the way it is, Nina Burleigh managed to explain it to you in 280 characters or less.
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