The Internet showed no mercy on USA Today this week after it used a story on the Sutherland Springs massacre to warn of “chainsaw bayonet” modifications to AR-15 rifles.
Twitter users were not happy on Wednesday with an educational video on AR-15 style rifles by USA Today, which insinuated that a “chainsaw bayonet” may eventually be used by a homicidal gunman in America.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) November 8, 2017
Creative critics shared satirical alternatives like “lightsaber bayonet,” “assault rifle bayonet,” “tactical rubber chicken launcher” and others to mock the newspaper.
“This is some of the dumbest crap I’ve ever seen. Fear monger much?” replied one reader.
“This isn’t Gears of War,” added another in reference to a popular video game series.
During the 6 p.m. hour the hashtag “Chainsaw Bayonet” was even one of the top “tending topics” on Twitter.
Some readers pointed out that it is technically possible — however improbable — to create such a modification. A chainsaw’s vibration, however, would make it very difficult to aim the gun.
A look at the gun used in the Texas church shooting. https://t.co/xdxIf5fR77 pic.twitter.com/sUY1mCCLZC — USA TODAY (@USATODAY) November 8, 2017
USA Today’s embedded article did note that AR-15s, although popular, are not the most powerful rifles on the market.
Dean Hazen, owner of The Gun Experts in Mahomet, Illinois, told the newspaper that “copy-cat” shooters favor the weapon because of a “perception thing.”
“Thank God they don’t know any better because if they did they would use much more effective weapons,” Mr. Hazen said.
But Wednesday’s ridicule grew out of a frequent criticism by conservatives and gun-rights supporters against the mainstream media’s coverage of issues surrounding firearms: that it’s supposedly based on technical ignorance and cultural prejudice.
For example, in the context of a Hawaii U.S. senator earlier this week saying domestic abusers shouldn’t have access to weapons (this already was federal law), former Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino noted that “Advocating for new firearm laws while simultaneously having limited to no knowledge about current firearm laws is a hallmark of the Left.”
On Sunday, Texas gunman Devin Kelley killed 26 and wounded 20 others in the deadliest church shooting in U.S. history.
Kelley died shortly after his attack after crashing his vehicle and shooting himself before cops arrived. He was also wounded outside the Baptist church by Stephen Willeford, a former National Rifle Association instructor who heard the attack and sprang into action with his own rifle.
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