So just for example, there's a discussion about pending legislation on an assault weapons ban; legislation meant to ban weapons and high capacity magazines used in mass shootings and the like. And then suddenly, a gun enthusiast asks what a barrel shroud is. I know I've seen this one before. For the gun enthusiast, it's a pleasant distraction from the bloodshed to talk about the minutiae of guns, not to mention trying to embarrass folks with their lack of expertise.
And so, of course, the same argument that I see here, we have an example of now from CPAC, straight from the NRA.
ThinkProgress has this video and a transcript of Colton Kerrigan, an NRA organizer, explaining his point about an audio clip from an interview with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), where she admits not knowing what a barrel shroud is, although it's in a piece of legislation she supports.
KERRIGAN: These lawmakers who write these laws have no idea what they’re talking about. They’ve never shot a firearm before, they couldn’t tell you what a barrel shroud is. They couldn’t tell you what a mount is for a bayonet. They probably couldn’t tell you what a flash suppressor is. Yet these are the people who are writing the laws saying we need to ban these certain types of firearms. [...] The underlying theme of all of this is, at the end of the day, the lawmakers have no idea what they’re writing, never shot a gun before, and yet they’re going to tell you what you should and should not own to make everybody else safer, yet they couldn’t tell you the difference between the butt or the barrel of a gun.Of course, Rep. McCarthy's knowledge of gun violence tends more toward the visceral. She is a widow thanks to gun violence, she has been victimized by it personally. But to the NRA, and wherever that clip's from (Fox would be my first guess), she's just an 'anti' in need of shaming.
Gun violence turned Carolyn McCarthy into a widow after her husband was killed during a 1993 shooting rampage on a commuter rail train. But according to the National Rifle Association, the New York Democratic rep has “no idea what [she's] talking about” when it comes to understanding firearms and gun violence.To the NRA, however, we're supposed to know all these little details. It's not acceptable for anyone to leave this legislative language to experts, to follow their guidance. It's not acceptable for anyone to have not even shot a gun -- not that they know, really, whether or not Rep. McCarthy has, unless she's said so.
This reminds me of the specialized jargon from WoW, and the language I learned when I was more into raiding and maximizing my toon's potential. But I don't know if anyone outside of a fairly small group of aficionados cares exactly why my DK's new dual-wield mode requires a change to his stat weights favoring Mastery over Haste instead of vice-versa. A lot of WoW players will settle for knowing what can you do. How much can you hurt things? Can you please not stand in fire?
So, how important is it to know what a barrel shroud is, and what it's for? Well, for gun enthusiasts like those in the NRA, it's very important, if the aim is to mock a victim of gun violence and neutralize the power of her experience with gun trivia. With that in mind, I offer the example above as a reminder: when you take this NRA talking point and use it, we know what you're doing. It's understood that a disingenuous distraction is being offered in lieu of reasonable discussion. And it should be treated as such.