Skip to comments.With “Powerful Rifle” Article, Journalist Shoots Self in the Foot(.50 caliber Barrett rifle)
Posted on 12/05/2005 4:28:29 PM PST by epow
With Powerful Rifle article, journalist shoots self in the foot
Michael Marks Director of Legislative Affairs Fifty Caliber Institute
Nov. 29, 2005 Journalism is a venerable and timehonored profession, steeped in tradition and burdened with the singular responsibility to tell the truth. The very concept of freedom of the press is founded upon the belief that the public need for reliable information outweighs many of the barriers set up by individuals, companies and governments. It is therefore incredulous when members of this ostensibly noble brotherhood are so will to flush their profession, good name and credibility down the toilet.
Nowhere of late has this been more evident that the slipshod narratives passed on as reporting on the subject of .50caliber rifles. In her piece Tinkerer hits the mark with powerful rifle (Indianapolis Star, Nov. 28, 2005), AP writer Rose French spools out a line of unfounded alarmist fiction. From her very first line French demonstrates both a dereliction of journalistic integrity as well as an infantile grasp of simple science. While she is quick to quote lobbyists, it does not appear that she bothered to question an expert who might actually have some experience in the field.
Lets consider some of her missed opportunities: She begins with the bold assertion that soldiers can shoot rifle bullets through tank armor from a mile away. One might think that in making a statement about soldiers and tank vulnerability that a logical source might be, perhaps, the Army? Had Ms. French bothered to investigate she would have noted Army testing on precisely that point, which stated that a 20mm cannon, which dwarfs the lowly .50cal., was required to break the weakest item on a tanks exterior a thermal lens cover. (U.S. Army Worldwide Equipment Guide, 7 Nov. 2000) Tank Armor is designed to stand up to highexplosive antitank missiles with warheads the size of footballs, the very reason that modern soldiers are equipped with rocket launchers. A .50cal. cannot penetrate that armor from five feet away, much less the ridiculous assertion that it can do this from a mile away.
Suggesting that a tiny, thumbsized bullet could shoot through tank armor would have been childish enough, but French doesnt stop there. Without hesitation she rolls right into the claim that the rifle can bring down a commercial airliner. Now mind you, according to the National Transportation Safety Boards Aviation Safety Database, such an event has never happened in history. In fact there is no record of any plane being shot, much less shot down, by any sort of rifle. It has never even been done in a scientific test. Yet here it is in black and white, presented as fact wholly without substantiation. Perhaps Ms. French was sick the day they taught research at journalism school.
French goes on to include the obligatory assertion that a .50cal. rifle can shoot through a chemical railcar a toned down version of the nearhysterical claim of VPC mouthpiece and Virginia politician Jim Moran, who stated that the rifle could knock a railcar off its tracks. French chooses to attribute this to critics of the rifle (translation I have no idea who said it) when instead he might have spoken with someone like Tom Darymple, Senior Vice President of Engineering for the prestigious Trinity Rail Group, which designs and manufactures many of the chemical railcars running today. When asked about the alleged threat of .50cal. rifles to his railcars, Mr. Darymple said that they have long tested their cars against almost every form of firearms, to include .50 BMG and larger. When asked what happens when a .50 hits one of his tanks, he said with a shrug, It bounces off. He went on to point out that railcars are designed to survive the force of derailing, and collision with other railcars at travel speeds. By comparisonk, the impact of a bullet any bullet is like a mosquito bite.
Stepping down from tanks and railcars, French turns her eye to wild game by quoting Mr. King, a city university terrorism expert who states You cant really hunt with it because it would destroy most of the meat. While Mr. King may be an expert of some sort, it is clearly not in hunting numerous field sports and hunting magazines have featured articles and cover photos of animals as small as deer taken down with .50 BMG rifles. Despite expert assertions to the contrary, the animals appear to be quite intact. The image at right is the cover of Very High Power magazine, Vol. 2, 2003, which depicts an altogether unremarkablelooking deer taken down with a .50 BMG by a girl, no less! (The last point offered in jest at the level of Frenchs gross distortions; depicted on the cover is shooter Wendy Henry, a champion competitor and one of countless women who throughout the year safely enjoys the world of .50caliber sports.)
In response to the pervasive terrorist angle in the threat to transportation, French might have contacted somebody at the Transportation Security Administration. Robert Johnson, their Chief Spokesman, might have been a good choice, who gave TSAs official position as We are aware of what is being said about .50caliber rifles. We just dont feel it is high on the list of potential dangers. As to the erroneous suggestion that the .50cal. rifle is the preferred weapon of terrorists one need only consider the finding of the U.S. Department of State. The definitive annual publication Patterns of Global Terrorism notes clearly that explosives account for over 62 percent of all terrorist attacks, six times the lump sum of all firearmrelated attacks put together. There is, in fact, no mention of terrorist attack involving a .50caliber rifle. Bombs are the preferred weapon of terrorists, not 38pound rifles.
At some point in her research she could have spoken to Ronald J. Hindenberger, Director of Aviation Safety for Boeing, (perhaps the worlds leading manufacturer of commercial aircraft) who ranked the threat to aircraft from rifle fire as falling below the threat of colliding with a duck. Since ducks have downed many planes and rifles nary a one, perhaps Ms. French should turn her attention to the banning of unregistered waterfowl.
Finally, French could have talked with official spokespersons from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Department of Transportation or even the CIA and discovered not one of these organizations has issued a warning or policy about .50caliber rifles. Based on Frenchs revealing expose, it is clear that the nations top experts on the field of transportation, firearms and terrorism have all missed the boat but thankfully we have a small, lobbygroupforhire, funded largely by Barbara Streisand, to set the record straight. Im sure the boys in and around the Pentagon sleep better at night knowing that Babs is there to tell them how to do their job.
The list continues, but to carry on would belabor what is an obvious point. It is not surprising that people may feel that a big rifle is inappropriate, heck there are people who would ban fast cars, fast motorcycles, fast boats, all with the same argument of who really needs to go that fast? But somebodys idea of what I need isnt the issue America is about freedom. I can build a bigger house than I need, seek thrills from skydiving to snowboarding that I dont need, own a stereo so loud it hurts my ears if I choose to. The moment we allow someone to vilify anything on the basis of more than we need is the moment that we set into motion a precedent that could touch anything in our lives. The restriction of personal freedom of any sort is a sober and weighty decision that deserves to be made upon real facts, not hype.
And that is what is perhaps most grotesque about journalists like Ms. French by passing off a slipshod, nonresearched piece of dreck under the guise of news, she adds yet another stick to the fires that threaten liberties both to the left and right of the political spectrum. This is not the work of a journalist; it is the work of a typist. It sullies the name and profession of the countless good journalists who work hard to produce quality articles that are wellresearched and question both sides of an issue; people who are sick of being the brunt of integrity jokes, or of having doors slammed in their faces by interviewees fearful of a hatchet job like the one written by Ms. French. When that happens the real press suffers, and so do the people that depend upon them.
We deserve better Ms French; we deserve the truth. If you couldnt cobble together an original thought on the subject, then for Petes sake, remain silent. I can accept that a writer may not have a clue as to what a .50caliber is could do when first given the assignment. They are big and loud and while that may be scary to some folks, it is a barrel of harmless fun to others. And, at the end of the day, a rifle is just a rifle, not some comic book super gun that can blow up tanks and knock down railcars. Those are insipid Holly wood images passes on by a writer who couldnt be bothered to do the job right. And that, from someone who holds themselves out to be a journalist, is unforgivable.
You'll shoot your eye out!
The campaign against the Big Fifty continues. The anti-gun writer makes the ridiculous assertion that a single bullet from a .50 BMG can knock a railcar off the tracks. How much research do you suppose that ignorant twit did before writing her hit piece on Barrett rifles?
Anti-gun journalists write for their audience. This will be absorbed as gospel by those whack jobs who have been heretofore unphased by their infrequent confrontations with reality. Intelligence has its limits, but ignorance is infinite.
I guess. I recall the Alaska pipeline looking pretty beefy.
I seem to recall at least one instance of someone punching it with a 460 Weatherby mag or something.
My cousin had some .30-06 armor piercing ammo. Well, thats what he claimed. Had the black tips on them. Anyhoo, he claimed theyd eat up 3/8 plate. Never tried it though. I think Ill let someone else blast away at steel plate while Im doing something elsewhere.
Good article. I wonder why it was moved to chat?
Well you cannot let a "Journalist" let the facts get in the way of Good propanda or Advocacy Journalism. That this dumbell never bothered to check her facts is a surprise? This is more fear mongering by idiots who should be unemployed. That the AP puts this garbage out is not a shock at all. Why they are not called on it is why Blogs are killing the mainstream news. They no longer have a monopoly on the disemination of information in our culture. Everytime they put out another Jason Blair, Mary Mapes fabrication they credibility takes another hit.
Should we be surprised? This is not a low dollar weapon. It is not easily concealable. It is expensive to operate. How many verifiable deaths to civilians can be attributed to this hardware?
I like that line, I'll have to remember it.
"With Powerful Rifle Article, Journalist Shoots Self in the Foot(.50 caliber Barrett rifle)"
Dang! That was only one of them durn metaphors!
Did ya post this thread to chat ?
Or was it moved here......??
"Anyhoo, he claimed theyd eat up 3/8 plate. Never tried it though. I think Ill let someone else blast away at steel plate"
We have a steel silhouette range, at the range i belong to. Some of the shooters use 30-06 pistols as well as other large calibers.
Some one was using loads too hot or too hard (armor piercing).
We have a lot of 3/8ths plate steel sihouettes with neat holes a little less than half inch in diameter blown through them.
Mmmmmmmm let me think now, uuuuhhh,,,,,,,,, none.
Nope. At least not on purpose, but then I'm not too good at this newfangled computer stuff.
Or was it moved here......??
Dunno. Must be some somethin I done wrong.
Not on any tank built since about 1935. Ma Deuce (.50 cal heavy machine gun) was the second antitank gun in the Army's inventory, thus the name. Most the rest of her assertions are either similarly out of date, or only theoretically possible.
Your cuz speaketh truth. I have shot neat little holes through 3/8" mild steel plate with plain old U.S military surplus 7.62 147 grain FMJ slugs, not even AP stuff. The holes looked like they were blown through with a cutting torch.
I was firing from about 20 yards so those slugs were still moving at a pretty good clip when they hit the steel. I can't say what they would do at a longer range.