AR-15s, The Media, and Gun Statistics

The following references posts or articles from one guy, a BJ Campbell, at Medium who is quite interesting. Medium has one of those N free articles per month things going and I’m not going to become a member given what I saw on the membership page (based on this morning’s “front page”, I’d say that I don’t want to read anyone there *but* BJ Campbell), so I don’t know how well this is going to go. Anyway…

The initial article, the one that I followed from Instapundit, was The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of the Tin Foil Hat Gun Prepper. Interesting, amusing, but a bit superficial. I mean, it raised valid concerns but not in a way I found convincing. It did, however, have an intriguing conclusion

So if you ask someone else on the opposite side of a culture war argument, “Why would you want to own one of those things anyway [an AR-15]?” please don’t be surprised if they simply respond, “Why wouldn’t you want one?”

At the end of that first article were links to two others of much greater interest.

The first, The Media Engine of Chaos is very long, very deep, and very good and discusses how the business for the media, the commercial media (even Medium), needs clicks to make money and how they have become, regardless of political affiliation, Culture War Arms Dealers. Very astute.

When your entire job is to get clicks, and you’ll starve if you don’t get them, you get those damn clicks any way you can. Which means you find the culture war, wherever it’s happening, and you feed it. You feed it argument fodder. You feed it virtue signals. You feed it whatever it needs to keep warring. The modern media have abandoned measured, reasoned thought, and have shifted to a new job.

They are Culture War Arms Dealers.

This article is one of those “Evergreen” articles that bloggers talk about. It’s written in a way that the content won’t expire, and it will forever be relevant, so I’ll still be raking in the fractions of pennies years from now. Pull up the front page of Medium in a second tab, or CNN.com, or Fox News. Count the articles which are either culture war weapons for people to crosspost into Facebook arguments, or are signaling for people to throw on their own feed to out-virtue their friends list. Start watching for these things routinely. Use a wide lens.

There’s also mention of the Illuminatus Trilogy and the “fnords” as an tongue-in-cheek explanation for the “Handwaving Freakoutery” that passes for much of today’s political discussion. There’s much more. I guess I’ll be using my three articles a month to read and re-read this guy; he ends the article with this bit of truth-telling:

The media has us on a rail towards chaos and catastrophe. As Voltaire said, “those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

And then backs it up with the third article, Everybody’s Lying About the Link Between Gun Ownership and Homicide. He then goes through a major effort collect, collate, and present the following conclusion:

So let’s briefly recap. Gun Murder Rate is not correlated with firearm ownership rate in the United States, on a state by state basis. Firearm Homicide Rate is not correlated with guns per capita globally. It’s not correlated with guns per capita among peaceful countries, nor among violent countries, nor among European countries. So what in the heck is going on in the media, where we are constantly berated with signaling indicating that “more guns = more murder?”

Which leads us back to the media.

There’s lots more there, Mr Campbell has been productive, but that’s my three articles for this month.

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