Over the weekend, Newsweek writer Nina Burleigh discovered that law-abiding, gun-owning Americans take offense when you claim they're all "mass murderers."
Responding to Rep. Eric Swalwell's (D-CA) suggestion that gun owners who resist government authorities who might confiscate their weapons could be literally nuked from orbit, Burleigh decided to wax poetic on why, exactly, she felt the nation's 15,000,000 or so legally owned AR-15 rifles should be immediately taken from their owners.
No AR-15 owner she's met, Burleigh said, has been anything short of a mass murderer.
Almost every single person I’ve ever heard of with an AR-15 has been a mass murderer. Based on Twitter sample the rest of them are scarily paranoid. Get on the right side of history @DLoesch @Rambobiggs #gunsense https://t.co/rFtHFBpvLM— Nina Burleigh (@ninaburleigh) November 17, 2018
If all fifteen million legal AR-15 owners are, indeed, mass murderers, it's absolutely shocking that there aren't multiple mass murders per day.
The math didn't occur to Burleigh, however, or the fact that a vast majority of AR-15 owners are hunters, target shooters, and former members of the military who wanted to take home a small piece of military technology. The vast majority of AR-15 owners are also, of course, not homicidal maniacs.
Twitter quickly schooled Burleigh on her privilege.
I know multiple people who own AR-15’s, and none of them has ever shot anyone, much less committed mass murder. I have met one mass murderer, however, but he was a doctor in my town who did about 50 abortions a day. Guess not all murder is committed with a gun.— Kelly J (@Calla_Lily_85) November 19, 2018
Since when did Twitter become an accurate sample? Maybe we should pay for you to take a class in how to actually get accurate statistics. Honestly, I had a crash course in media bias over the past couple years - and you certainly are part of it. What happened to accuracy?— Siobhan Patricia Lynch (@siobhanphoenix) November 19, 2018
Hmm guess I'm a mass murderer. Thx for telling me.— Marcia Brady (@somethingabtjen) November 19, 2018
That's because you haven't ever been around guns and dont understand them. You're just a follower of the rhetoric and scare tactics MSNBC uses. Educate yourself about what it is you want taken away from others— Sergeant Miles (@sgt_doe) November 19, 2018
The AR-15 is the single most popular rifle in America. Millions of law abiding citizens own them for everything from target practice to hunting to home defense.— Carlos Frazier (@CarlosFrazier_) November 19, 2018
When Burleigh didn't get the result she wanted from her social media deep thought, she didn't bother to reconsider her opinion. No, in fact, Burleigh appears to have ignored the four thousand-odd replies to her tweet, blaming them not on gun owners trying to politely walk her through the realities of gun ownership, but on Russian bots.
1/ In less than 24 hours this tweet got more than 4k replies. I don't read them and I assume the majority are pro @NRA Russian bots. Thanks for stepping up comrades! Ready to be checked by @SecureDemocracy @robhatlabs https://t.co/9HaAcgj2Bt— Nina Burleigh (@ninaburleigh) November 18, 2018
She pointed to an article about Russian hackers using the gun control issue to inflame American tensions in the wake of February's mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, as proof that her detractors couldn't possibly be real, live gun owners who had studiously avoided committing mass murder, but rather, bots from a Russian troll farm.
Twitter had a similarly appropriate answer to her second bright idea.
Well, that's one way to never have to look outside your own bubble and question your assumptions.— Harold Stickeehands (@StickeeNotes) November 19, 2018