I’m an open-minded observer of our great political process, and have voted both Republican and Democrat in the past. I feel strongly about a variety of issues, but I am also willing to listen to reasoned debate on them. As long as I feel my opponent has understood the issues at hand, and has taken the time to research them, I have no problem with my opinions being questioned.

What I can’t stand are arguments based on myths that are easily dis-proven: that is, people arguing from an entrenched ideological position without having taken the time to logically assess the issue. We are all, of course, guilty of this from time to time, because no-one can be an expert on everything.

However, there is one debate which is particularly prone to being warped by politically-motivated myths: that on gun control. In addition, any fair observer would have to conclude that these myths are particularly prevalent on one side of the debate. Gun control activists don’t seem to know a lot about the way that guns actually work, and are worryingly susceptible to their own propaganda.

You could argue that this is not their fault: many people who are vehemently anti-gun have never had the opportunity or need to fire one, and so it’s natural they don’t know much about them. Their only contact with the gun control debate comes in those moments immediately after a school massacre. They forget that, every day, hundreds of thousands of gun owners use their weapons responsibly, and lock them up safely at the end of the day.

When seen from this narrow perspective, and without daily contact with actual weapons, the liberal left is still misled by a number of myths about guns. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the current debate on the The Hearing Protection Act 2017.

An Example: Why A Suppressor Is Not A “Silencer”

The Hearing Protection Act 2017 is currently awaiting a hearing in Congress. It seeks to reduce the restrictions on buying suppressors, which date back to 1934. Like any debate on gun control measures, the Act has polarized opinion, and has led to impassioned speeches, warped statistics, and divisive rhetoric from both sides.

What is strikingly apparent in these debates, though, has been the level of ignorance on the side of those who wish to limit access to suppressors. It seems that many liberal politicians, having never used a suppressor, are under the impression that they allow criminals to kill people silently.

If you’ve never used a gun fitted with a suppressor, let me reassure you that they are still incredibly loud. As loud, in fact, as a pneumatic hammer hitting concrete, a level of noise that even liberals seem to have no trouble hearing. Still, the myth remains, and many opposing the bill naively – or cynically – refer to suppressors as “silencers”.

The funny thing about this is that suppressors, when they were invented back in 1909, were originally called “silencers”. This, however, was blatant hyperbole – calling these devices “silencers” is equivalent to marketing a flannel shirt as an arctic coat. The irony here is that those who oppose the bill have taken the over-blown claims of weapon manufacturers as literal truth.

My point is that, if you are ideologically opposed to guns, have never actually used one, and have been raised on a diet of Dick Tracy and James Bond movies, the myth that a suppressor is a “silencer” is a useful fiction.

The Reality

This mistaken belief leads to a number of hilarious arguments against the bill. Take this one, put forward by Kristen Rand of VPC back in June: “Silencers are military-bred accessories that make it easier for criminals to take innocent lives and threaten law enforcement. Existing federal law has kept crimes committed with silencer-equipped firearms rare”.

Where to begin? She is correct in one respect, of course: crimes committed with “silencers” are very rare. Knox Williams, president and executive director for the American Suppressor Association, told Guns.com in August that of the 1.3 million suppressors in circulation, his group can only fund 16 instances of criminal use since 2011. As he pointed out, “that translates to the misuse of a glaringly low percentage of suppressors in circulation – roughly 0.000012308 percent.”

Now. If you think that a suppressor makes your gun silent, I can imagine how you would think that limiting their use would be a good thing. However, as anyone who uses a gun knows, the reason why suppressors are not used to commit crimes is not because of the Federal limitations on their use, but simply because they are totally useless if you want to commit a crime. I repeat: law enforcement are still going to hear the shots, and adding a suppressor to your weapon makes it much harder to handle.

In reality, suppressors are used primarily by hunters, who risk significant damage to their hearing if they use un-suppressed weapons. At present, hunters are faced with a very difficult choice. They can either go through the lengthy (and, I would say, unconstitutional) process of obtaining a suppressor, or they can wear any OSHA-certified hearing protection, which function as protective ear muffs for your ears.

Doing the latter is, at the moment, the preferred choice, but has the unfortunate consequence of deadening all sound, which makes hunting more dangerous than it should be. It is this absurd situation that the Hearing Protection Act seeks to change.

Dangerous Myths

I’ve picked one example to make my point, but I could have picked many others. The unfortunate reality is that, in the gun debate and several others, the people making laws are the least qualified to do so, because they lack first-hand experience of the issues they are talking about. And this lack of first-hand experience means that they are susceptible to myths that any experienced gun owner could dispel within a few seconds.

This situation reminds me, if you’ll permit me the aside, of the debate regarding the ban on fox hunting going on right now in England. The situation is somewhat analogous, because a vanishingly small percentage of the population have actual experience of fox-hunting, let alone using using 22 lr ammo or other popular rounds.

The majority of the urban population oppose fox-hunting, but have never actually seen a fox. This lack of first-hand experience (or ignorance, if I were to put it more strongly) allows a well-developed series of myths to circulate on the left – that fox-hunting is inherently cruel, for instance – that are laughable to anyone with actual experience of the issue.

I’m not sure, in truth, what the solution to this state of affairs is. It cuts against my belief in small government to recommend some kind of “expert panel” to help liberals get a grip on the reality of guns. Perhaps there should be a mandatory “away day” where members of Congress can fire a weapon with a suppressor, and listen carefully to see if they can hear the shot.

I’m not sure, however, that this would actually help, because I’m also pretty sure that those who continue to promote these myths know they are baloney. And if they didn’t before, they do now.

About the author

Sam Bocetta is a retired defense contractor for the U.S. Navy, specializing in electronic warfare and advanced computer systems. He now teaches at Algonquin Community College in Ottawa, Canada as a part time engineering professor and is the ASEAN affairs correspondent for Gun News Daily.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Let’s talk Common Core one more time.  I don’t know why this is still an issue, why this is still a thing, why it still exists, but it does.

Many states have renamed it, but no matter what name you give it, it’s still Common Core, and it’s rotten.

Besides the constant barrage of standardized tests (in many cases at least once a month), students are also forced to endure a scripted curriculum, mind-numbing pre-prepared slides, and endless waves of graphic organizers, Cornell notes, and pages of non-fiction to endlessly annotate, day after day after day.

Do parents really know this is still going on?  Do parents approve of this?  Do parents consent to having their kids put under the pressure of fifteen standardized tests per semester (not counting the endless Cold Read Tasks, Extension Tasks, and other actual classroom tests)?

This massive over reach into America’s classrooms has robbed teachers of any innovation and creativity in the classroom.  After years of Kagan strategies and Harry Wong strategies, now teachers are told that all kids learn the same, by the script, by the worksheet.

College professor, and former middle school teacher, John Spenser is an advocate for innovation in the classroom.  He writes:

Now, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with boxed curriculum. After all, a great novel is essentially “boxed.” The issue is when institutions force teachers to use boxed curriculum in a lock-step way where they lack the permission to make it their own.

This district adopted the prescribed curriculum as a way to embrace “best practices in education.” And yet . . . the district also describes the needs to meet the demands of a “21st Century Learning” and “spark innovation.”

But here’s the thing: innovation requires you to step into the unknown. If we focus all of our attention on best practices and codify these ideas into tightly packaged curriculum, we will inevitably fail to experiment.

When teachers are required to use these scripted programs with fidelity, by the letter, all creativity is gone.

Kids are reading very little fiction these days and there’s a much heavier focus on non-fiction.  In fact, in some districts the curriculum might include a novel, but only certain chapters.  Novels are now called “Anchor Texts” and students read articles, or “informational texts” about the novel, and perhaps will read the Prologue and a couple of chapters of the novel.

This is absurd. When teachers are required to use these scripted programs with fidelity, by the letter, all creativity is gone.

Teachers quit loving their job, they lose their passion, because really a robot could read a script and pass out a worksheet.

This is what’s going on in many classrooms across America.

Some districts, thank goodness, have rebelled and refused to participate in this indoctrination nonsense.  Some districts still believe that the teacher is the one who knows what the student needs because the teacher knows the student.

See, kids aren’t data.  Kids aren’t test scores.  They aren’t numbers.  They’re kids.  And it’s time school districts start remembering that.

Years of school letter grades and skewed teacher accountability programs have distracted us from the real goal – teaching kids not just how to take a test but how to be productive, compassionate, educated citizens.

Parents need to be involved and ask questions.  Meet the teachers who spend most of the day with your kids.  How often are your kids being tested?  What’s the curriculum look like?

This needs to change and teachers need to reclaim their autonomy.  We’re raising a generation of kids now who can annotate the heck out of an article on microbes but can’t tell you who Atticus Finch is or why he is important.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

One of the things about the MSM is they have professional editors with years of experience in the News Business.  Because of this we are often told that this gives them the edge in promoting newsworthy stories that the public needs to know.

Now I’ll concede that I’m just a poor blogger with a few brilliant writes posting at our site and that our annual tip jar hits don’t’ compare with the expense account of a MSM reporter that sets the news agenda, but it seems to me this story just might be a tad more newsworthy than the attention it is being given:

ISIS Fighters, Having Pledged to Fight or Die, Surrender en Masse

That’s the headline at the NY Times (this and Weinstein this week?  Amazing!) and the body of the story is even more encouraging:

More than a thousand Islamic State fighters passed through that room this past week after they fled their crumbling Iraqi stronghold of Hawija. Instead of the martyrdom they had boasted was their only acceptable fate, they had voluntarily ended up here in the interrogation center of the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq.

For an extremist group that has made its reputation on its ferociousness, with fighters who would always choose suicide over surrender, the fall of Hawija has been a notable turning point. The group has suffered a string of humiliating defeats in Iraq and Syria, but the number of its shock troops who turned themselves in to Kurdish officials at the center in Dibis was unusually large, more than 1,000 since last Sunday.

Given the threat of ISIS and the spectacular attacks they had achieved in the past you would think this story would be leading everywhere, particularly since the source is the New York Times from which all other media tends to take a lead.

Let’s take a peek and see.

Here are the top stories at CNN.com as of 12:02 PM sunday when I am writing this

Trump trashes outgoing Republican Sen. Bob Corker
Sen. Murphy: ‘Willing to move forward’ with GOP on bump stock ban
Tapper to GOP senator: Will you vote against NRA?
Zelizer: Tillerson should quit now
Russian police arrest hundreds in protests on Putin’s birthday
Charlottesville mayor slams white supremacists after another torch rally is held
Senator: Renegotiatiing Iran nuclear deal is a ‘fantasy’
Analysis: Supreme Court rookie takes on the chief
Spain’s PM considers dramatic measure for Catalonia
Marijuana is going mainstream

In fact there is no mention of ISIS at all on cnn’s home page

Hmm you would have thought CNN would have covered this.  How about NBC Here is the latest news there:

GOP Sen. Calls White House ‘an Adult Day Care Center’ After Trump Attack
Dove on Clean-Up Duty After Racially Insensitive Ad
Why Geography Stops Gun Control
White Nationalist Richard Spencer Leads Torch-Carrying Crowd in Charlottesville
Sanctuary Cities: Three States, Three Very Different Approaches
Jason Aldean Pays Tribute to Las Vegas Victims, Sings Tom Petty Song on ‘SNL’ TV
Deadly Ambush in Niger Highlights America’s Growing Mission in Africa

No sign of ISIS in the top story list but there is one two day old ISIS story one the page: Three Men Charged With Plotting ISIS-Inspired Attack in New York but if you search for ISIS on the page every other result is the word “crISIS” (as in Puerto Rico Crisis).  M

How about ABC? What makes their newsworthy list? at 12:15 PM on Sunday(which gives you an idea of how long this post takes)

Resignations, fallout grow for embattled producer Weinstein
4th US soldier killed in Niger ambush identified
London crash that injured 11 was accident: Police
Hundreds of thousands rally against Catalonia secession
Kim’s murder trial to resume with lab visit
Rapper Nelly arrested for alleged rape
3 arrested during protest at Virginia University
Attack on Saudi palace in Jiddah kills 2 guards
Trump administration rolls back birth control mandate
Thousands demand Spanish-Catalan negotiations

Is there a mention of the story anywhere, let’s look at the search:

One story and that’s about migrant in Libya.  Nothing about ISIS fighters surrendering there.

Well how about CBS surely they will find the NYT Isis story worth covering

NRA leader weighs in on bump stocks, tells ATF to “do its job”
More than 100,000 are without power as storm surge pushes over beachfront highway and floods streets
Details revealed about Las Vegas shooter’s note
“First Ex” Ivana Trump on parenting and the president’s tweets
How Facebook ads helped elect Trump
Trump says Bob Corker “begged” for endorsement — and senator fires back

Or not.  And once again a search for “isis” brings 4 “crisis” results and a link to this video from their newscast: justice dept unseals details of 2016 isis plot in New York City.

Finally let’s try NPR.  They’re publicly funded so naturally they’re going to be right on top of news that matters there aren’t they?there:

Biloxi Faces Flooding As Nate Makes Second Landfall On Gulf Coast
Pence In Las Vegas: ‘We Are United In Our Resolve To End Such Evil’
Lawyer Lisa Bloom Resigns as Harvey Weinstein Adviser
Russia Investigations In Congressional Cliffhanger, Trump Jr. May Revisit The Hill

Come on!  Isn’t there even a mention of the ISIS on the page?

Apparently not.

So the question remains, Why isn’t the “Isis fighters surrender en masse” story the lead everywhere, or at least listed in the top stories anywhere in the MSM? The best answer comes from a fellow named Dodd

The MSM narrative is Trump is bad, Trump is childish and Trump is an incompetent failure and ISIS cutting and running 9 months after he vowed to destroy them just doesn’t serve advancing that message. I’l leave you with one last image Memeorandum at 12:45 PM Sunday Oct 8th the moment I finished this post.


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