First the New York Post incorrectly identified the long-gun President Obama is firing in the recently released photo as a “rifle” instead of a shotgun. Now the New Yorker is making the same mistake. And you wonder why gun owners are suspicious with regard to the media’s ignorance when it comes to small arms and gun control? Incorrectly identifying firearms only lends emotion to an already heated debate. Back in my tv days I repeatedly had to tell the graphics department to change an image, as they thought any semi-automatic handgun would work as a representation for a shooting story, regardless of the type of weapon used in the shooting. What the hell, a gun is a gun, right? Of course it is, if you know nothing about guns.
If the White House is going to pull an obvious PR stunt to try and get gun owners on its side, then why release a photo that can be so easily questioned by anyone who has any knowledge of skeet shooting or shotgunning in general? It only feeds the paranoia and extremism of those who argue for no gun control at all.
As I pointed out in a previous post, the gun Mr. Obama is shooting appears to be fitted with a “super-full choke” in the top barrel and is therefore not set up for skeet shooting. In addition, if he were shooting skeet, he would in all likelihood be aiming his weapon to the left or the right, as the two targets cross over, flying in opposite directions. There also appears to be a significant amount of smoke emanating from the end of the barrel and ports. This wouldn’t be significant, were it not for the fact that modern shotgun shells are smokeless. There is still going to be a small amount of smoke and gas when the gun is fired, but this appears to be excessive. Almost like the photo was doctored for added affect. This may or may not be the case, but to a skeet shooter the photograph is questionable, okay?
It’s possible that somebody told the President to fire the gun for no purpose other than getting a publicity photo. If that’s what the photo shows, then the White House shouldn’t be pawning it off as a representation of Mr. Obama shooting skeet.
I recently attempted to take what I thought was a centrist position on the Obama photo and the push for more gun control in a couple of discussion threads on Facebook. The problem, is that I’m a former trap and skeet shooter who is somewhat knowledgeable on the subject of small arms and ammunition. Others, who apparently know little or nothing about the sport, couldn’t wait to jump all over me. First, a former colleague (who I’m pretty sure has little or no experience with firearms), compared me to a birther. Another, used the adjective “idiotic.” Both comments came from journalists.
So much for a balanced point of view in the media. Emotion has entered the building. Reason has left the house. I deleted both threads on my Facebook page. Who needs it?
Extremism, is extremism, be it on the right or the left. Those who argue for the elimination of small arms in America are no less unreasonable than those who argue for no gun control at all. Both only fan the fires of emotional nonsense, making it all the more difficult to reach a compromise which will, in the end, provide an answer. It may not satisfy both sides, in fact it’s sure not to, but hopefully it will make us all a little bit safer, both on the streets and in our schools. Taking an extremist position only makes it more difficult and possibly even impossible for our policy makers to find the middle of the road. So many have already taken a hard right or a sharp left, leaving themselves stuck in the ditch.
And for the record, I am not a “birther. ” I did, in fact, vote for Mr. Obama. I also contributed to the campaign of Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, which I believe, makes me somewhat left of center. Or perhaps, because I don’t like extremism in either direction, it might make me a true moderate, something few will understand as the media pays less attention to a moderate point of view. Why would they? It’s so much more exciting to go to extremes and scream at one another about “birthers” and “skeeters!”
White House press secretary, Jay Carney, has now failed to confirm questions as to whether the President shoots skeet or trap, which appears to bolster speculation that if he doesn’t know the difference between the two then he may do neither, and that the photo was in fact nothing more than a publicity stunt (a lie?) designed to convince sport shooters that he’s one of their own. If that’s what happened, then somebody in the President’s inner-circle had a bad idea. Of course for those who think private gun ownership should be eliminated none of this will matter. But those aren’t the people the photo was released to convince. For sport shooters, White House backpedaling, making statements about the President never claiming to have experience as a hunter, only makes it worse.