NPR: Mr. Potato Head is Deadly

 Militarized Mr. Potato Head  (coutresy

The NPR piece Why The AR-15 Is More Than Just a Gun starts off all pro-AR-15-like. I’m a vet not a nut, my wife and I love ’em, etc. On the other hand, one wonders if Ailsa Chang’s decision to use a vet whose been on “multiple combat tours” is meant to undermine the argument by encouraging listeners to think “Hmmm. PTSD much?”  Maybe that’s just me being paranoid. Or not. ‘Cause midway through this piece the author riffs on the AR’s Mr. Potato Head-like modularity: “But this Mr. Potato Head is deadly. The AR-15 was the gun used by Adam Lanza when he opened fire in Newtown, Conn., last December. Twenty-six people were killed, including 20 first-graders. Everyone was shot more than once — as many as 11 times. And that’s what the military wanted out of this gun — the ability to kill even without good aim, a weapon with high-capacity ammunition magazines that could spray bullets within close to medium range.” It gets worse . . .

“Those design features in a civilian market have horrific consequences,” says Tom Diaz, a gun control advocate who has long followed the commercialization of military firearms. “So you can call it whatever you want — tactical rifle, black rifle, assault rifle, modern sporting rifle. It has the capability that the military wanted for warfare.”

Sr. Diaz is the author of The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry Are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It, wherein a “widely respected activist and policy analyst—as well as a former gun enthusiast and an ex-member of the National Rifle Association . . . presents a chilling, up-to-date survey of the changed landscape of gun manufacturing and marketing.” Including an entire chapter on the dangers of civilians owning a Barrett 50-cal.

Anyway, not so widely respected in these parts, eh Mr. Bond? Why would he be? Diaz lays down the anti-gun tropes like a soldier “spraying” covering fire in a fierce gun battle. Specifically, he returns to one of his book’s main themes: “Aggressive ‘hyper-marketing’ of increasingly lethal weapons by a faltering industry.” NPR regurgitates the drivel without complaint.

In advertisements for these guns, there’s a common message: Get in touch with your inner G.I. Joe. For example, a web commercial from Sig Sauer features soldiers in combat boots crouching with their assault rifles next to military Humvees.

Bazinet says, despite these ads, the gun industry is not driving the market for military-style weapons — instead, it’s the consumers who are clamoring for them.

But gun control advocates aren’t buying that. Diaz says the industry is filling a demand it was forced to create. Data from the General Social Survey, a public opinion survey conducted every two years, show the percentage of American households that own guns is declining. Diaz says kids these days would rather pick up a video game than a hunting rifle.

“It’s just a fact that hunting has been in serious decline, so those kinds of guns just don’t sell as well,” he says. “Well, you’re in business, you got to sell something. These assault rifles — these military-style rifles — appeal to a broader range of people.”

So he says the industry pounced on these products to stay relevant. With fewer households to sell to, Diaz says gun makers have to keep coming up with newer, sleeker, more high-tech weapons for people who already own guns.

I guess Diaz (or NPR) dialed-back on the phrase “increasingly lethal,” lest both he and NPR be taken to task for saying really stupid things like . . . “Mr. Potato Head is deadly.” Which begs the question: who’s going to design the T-shirt for that one? And can someone please get Don Rickles to voice-over an animated short along the same lines?


  1. avatar JSIII says:

    The AR is no easier to aim than an AK, Shotgun or other long arm. Long guns in general are much easier to aim than handguns.

    1. avatar Sam C says:

      Actually, it is easier to aim than an AK because of the longer sight radius.

      1. avatar JSIII says:

        Ehh slightly but thats my opinion. I actually shoot AK irons better than an AR.

        1. avatar richard says:


        2. avatar Joe says:

          Me too! I’m good with an AR, but much better with an AK

      2. avatar Gorba says:

        Most AR-15s (carbine-length gas system) in the US have the same sight radius as an AK.

        You are spreading misinformation.

    2. avatar Pat says:

      Unless your an impoverished and uneducated third world villager who lacks a cleaning kit, the AR is the far superior choice.
      Better to have both, with an M1A (or 308 equivalent), shotgun, bolt rifle, revolver and semi handgun of various sizes and calibers….and….why not….a 50cal. rifle thrown in for good measure.

  2. avatar K. Nguyen says:

    “. . . the gun industry is not driving the market for military-style weapons — instead, it’s the consumers who are clamoring for them.

    But gun control advocates aren’t buying that. Diaz says the industry is filling a demand it was forced to create . . . Diaz says kids these days would rather pick up a video game than a hunting rifle.”

    Consumers clamor for them because it’s what kids these days are seeing in their video games, YouTube videos, and in other media that they consume. It ultimately influences their preferences in the guns they seek to obtain.

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      And in the kids’ military experiences. But “military firearms”, an AR-15 definitely is NOT.

      And I haven’t seen any figures, but I doubt hunting is in the sort of “decline” hinted at by these low-left… er, low-life scumbags.

      I want to get this Mr. Potato Head, spray-paint him olive drab, and send him to Alisa as “Mr. Hand Grenade Head”.

  3. avatar ZD87 says:

    “Diaz says the industry is filling a demand it was forced to create. … These assault rifles — these military-style rifles — appeal to a broader range of people.”

    If these rifles appeal to a broader range of people, aren’t the companies just responding to demand, not creating it? It’s tricky spinning something so obvious as “people want modern sporting rifles.”

    1. avatar Rich Grise says:

      I think you’re wasting your bandwidth – those people don’t believe in the free market.

  4. avatar ErrantVenture11 says:

    Wow…I listen to NPR on the way to and from work just to get an idea of what is going on in the world. I’ve found that generally they’re not nearly as biased as Hannity & Co. make them out to be. But pieces like this make me think they just stockpile their bias then spew it all out in one story. This is a pathetic piece of journalism.

    1. avatar A-Rod says:

      No matter how far to the left NPR strays it is still more fair and balanced than Fox News.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        I disagree. But even if you’re right, none of my tax money goes to Fox News.

        1. avatar din says:

          sure it does. it goes to the companies who advertise on fox news. you can pretend it doesn’t all you want, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

      2. avatar Sid says:

        I disagree. I listen to NPR on the way home but my bias-meter is pegging out. Even when the news is going against them, they have to leave with a parting shot of “the decision to allow _______ has many in DC have called for limits on _____”.

        1. avatar Duke of Sharon says:

          “sure it does. it goes to the companies who advertise on fox news. you can pretend it doesn’t all you want, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.”

          Is TTAG hosting a contest for most economically ignorant post of the year? I nominate the above.

    2. avatar William Burke says:

      “I listen to NPR on the way to and from work just to get an idea of what is going on in the world.”

      You are in danger of falling asleep and driving into a bridge abutment and killing yourself. Please, STOP!

      NPR is part Delphi Technique, and the somnolent, flat voice of the news readers is designed to put you in a suggestible alpha state.

      Raise your hand if you’ve gone on the nod during an NPR broadcast. It’s a deadly soporific.


    3. avatar waif says:

      You seriously think NPR is less biased than Fox News? Not for nothing does NPR get poo-poohed as Nat’l Palestinian/Progressive Radio. Al Jazeera has more unflattering stories about Hamas than NPR.

      1. avatar The Blue Angel says:

        It’s more like National Pravda Radio. It’s nothing more than a state run, far left propaganda machine designed to brainwash the dumb(m)asses.

        1. avatar A-Rod says:

          ‘state run’ – um no, their own financial records show the VAST majority of thier money comes from private donations and not the federal government. ‘far left’ – gosh, if more right wingers would contribute and voice thier opinion then maybe NPR would swing back towards the right. Just a thought. ‘propaganda machine’ – Hello? Is that you Pot? This is Kettle calling.

      2. avatar A-Rod says:

        Yes, I do. Fox admits that their prime spots that attract the most viewers will be dedicated to opinion and commentary, ie the news. Clearly reporting news is secondary.

        1. avatar waif says:

          NPR may fill their primetime slots with news coverage, but it remains as slanted as Fox’s primetime “opinion” coverage, just not as gauche or obvious. Believe what you want, but if you consume NPR’s news with the assumption that you are listening to non-biased reporting, you are accepting an incomplete worldview.

          Which is fine with NPR.

  5. avatar Bob says:

    Kids these days will pick up of video game over just about anything else. Irrelevant fact is irrelevant.

    1. avatar K. Nguyen says:

      The irony of what Diaz says is that there is a fair chance a kid that picks up Call of Duty will indirectly make them clamor for that same “military-style” rifle they played with in-game when they turn 18.

  6. avatar Wassim Absood says:

    I can’t speak for other consumers, but I’m clamoring for them because they are effective. Call me a bluff old traditionalist, but if I am in a situation where I have to pull the trigger, I want the most effective firearm that I can afford.

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    Welcome to National Pubic Radio — you paid for it.

    1. avatar Skyler says:

      Oh, but they insist that we don’t.

      1. avatar Davis Thompson says:

        Forget the funding, why have we given them so much of the spectrum? Put those frequencies up for auction and see what happens to NPR.

    2. avatar William Burke says:

      More like the petroleum lobby and Ford Foundation. They don’t call it “National Petroleum Radio” for nothing.

    3. avatar Duke of Sharon says:

      The same amendment–the first–protects both freedom of religion and freedom of the press. We’ve inserted the phrase “separation of church and state” into the national dialogue although it doesn’t appear in the amendment. Why can’t we have “separation of media and state”? We should be as aghast that feds fund a news outlet as we would be that they funded a church. Particularly in a secular society where fewer and fewer people believe in God, or attend church, state control of the media is more damaging than state control of the church.

  8. avatar Steve says:

    ” It has the capability that the military wanted for warfare”

    Uh, so did the M1 Garand in the 40s. So did the musket in the 1700s. Should we ban those as well?

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Oh man. My mosin has been flying under the radar and you have to go and spotlight the milsurps. Wonder what this NPR whiner would think if he saw the 150 foot bayonet that comes with it?

      1. avatar Gyufygy says:

        “Why is someone waving a radio attenna at me?”

  9. avatar Gyufygy says:

    I wish I’d stop impulse buying games on Steam. Could maybe afford another box or two of ammo.

    Actually heard a good segment on Marketplace on the local NPR station not an hour ago on the ammo crunch and reloading. Included a nice, simple, factual explanation of how reloading works, and I didn’t hear a single anti-gun bit that made me cringe. It was a rather nice change to the usual media portrayals, such as the tripe above.

    1. avatar K. Nguyen says:

      But those sales on Steam are hard to resist!

      1. avatar Gyufygy says:

        Prepare yourself.

        The Steam Summer Sale is coming.

      2. avatar Sixpack70 says:

        Steam kills me during Christmas time!

  10. avatar Anonymous says:

    “It has the capability that the military wanted for warfare.”

    That’s BS. The AR15 commonly available today has the capability that the military wanted for warfare in the 1920s and 1930s. In WWII the US military used the semi-automatic M1 Carbine and M1 Garand. Even fully automatic thompson submachine guns were utilized back then. Now days its about very high capacity, SBR, submachine guns in tri-burst and full auto that “the military wants for warfare.” All of which are not commonly available without a great deal of money, permits/licenses, paperwork, registration, and intrusive background checks. The statement above is not an accurate depiction of what the military “wants.”

    “Including an entire chapter on the dangers of civilians owning a Barrett 50-cal.”

    Arbitrary. If someone wanted something bigger, they could find a way to get it. What about the dangers of pressure cookers and fireworks? Toilet bowl cleaner and walmart fungicide (for manufacture of H2S), Fertilizer and diesel, a million things can be used:

    and we are going to focus on the Barrett 50? Sounds like gangnam style uneducated in firearms paranoid susie homemakers.

    “Data from the General Social Survey, a public opinion survey conducted every two years, show the percentage of American households that own guns is declining.”

    This should say… Data from the General Social Survey shows the percentage of American households actually claiming to own guns is declining.” I wouldn’t admit my arsenal to them either.

    “Diaz says the industry is filling a demand it was forced to create.”

    Gun manufacturers creating a demand??? That must be like government creating jobs.

    1. avatar Sid says:

      I’ll bet this kind of homemade gun will scare NPR producers:

      1. avatar Davis Thompson says:

        American exceptionalism at its finest.

      2. avatar William Burke says:

        That’s absurd. That’s a gun for King Kong.

        1. avatar Tony says:

          It has stopping power on both ends.

  11. avatar Major says:

    As both an avid NPR listener and a conservative (yes, we exist,) stories like this cut to the bone. It is funny to listen to them try to be politically correct when referring to the “type” of firearm.

    1. avatar Ben in UT says:


      Love freedom and really enjoy NPR.

      This is frustrating.

      1. avatar A-Rod says:

        +1. A Prairie Home Companion and Car Talk are worth my donations alone.

  12. avatar Rich Grise says:

    If you want to see inanimate objects with volition, check out the movie, “Small Soldiers.”

    Spoiler alert!

    The scene where he’s attacked by the Barbie dolls really creeped me out!

  13. avatar Roadrunner says:

    AR 15 is high tech? It’s half a century old.

    As if there was no such thing as murder before the gun. Someone please tell Abel.

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      I cain’t.

  14. avatar Chaotic Good says:

    I’m still waiting for them to explain why an AR is deadlier than a Mini or any other ban-state legal gun.

    1. avatar Rich Grise says:

      Don’t hold your breath. The grabbers are as blind to that as they are to the fact that all of the latest massacres have taken place in “gun-free” zones.

      1. avatar William Burke says:

        They know. Until we are totally disarmed, THEY LIKE IT. Miserable collaborators.

  15. avatar Andy says:

    Never ceases to amaze me that these so called intelligent reporters ,don’t know what they write about.They are so far up the leftist socialists in government butts,that they have to come out to catch their breath.They just follow the disarm the citizens agenda,because it fits in with the leftist ideals that they have been taught and embrace.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  16. avatar Davis Thompson says:

    Don’t tell this asshat about 300 Blackout.

  17. avatar JWhite says:

    “It has the capability that the military wanted for warfare.”

    Yeah… It shoots bullets, and it’s cheap as hell to make and maintain.

  18. avatar CarlosT says:

    I bet there are a lot of executives out there who wish their industries were “faltering” like the firearms and firearms accessories industries.

  19. avatar Toasty says:

    Some yoyo in the comment section of this article said that the calibers of “assault rifles” are more dangerous than “regular sporting rifles”. Dear god the ignorance never ends. There is no political advocacy group that knows less about what it’s talking about than gun control advocates. NO ONE EVEN CLOSE. I can’t find any other group that knows less about the basic objects and laws in question than these people. He does get points though for admitting that the ban is pointless since very very few people are killed by “assault rifles” anyway and mass killings can just as easily be committed with other weapons.

    1. avatar David says:

      Very good point (about mass murders with other weapons)! I think I remember reading about something else, around the same time as one of the other mass shootings (Aurora perhaps? not sure) where a man in China used a kitchen knife to stab 20 kids to death in a school, and then the teacher and others in the room. We should probably start stocking up on kitchen knives, maybe some Tactical Assault Pressure Cookers and Tactical Assault Rocks while we are at it. Gonna be gone soon I imagine

      Tactical Assault Rocks for sale here:

  20. avatar Pat says:

    The evil, jug-eared, SOB, Barry (kid Kenyan) Obummer with ‘double barrel Joe’ is the greatest firearms salesman of all time. He and his libtard (democrat) ilk are the ones who pushed the robust (fading…yeah, right) gun industry (and their ‘sporting rifles) into the stratosphere. What is the poor, weakening NRA to do, I mean, going from four million to five million members since Newtown.
    Never, EVER vote libtard (democrat) again.

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      Kenya is a big ten-four. YAHOO! News a day or two ago lamented that Obama would not be visiting his “country of birth”, Kenya, on his upcoming Africa visit. COUNTRY OF BIRTH!!

      Cat. Bag. They don’t even care, either. Traitors.

      1. avatar Pat says:

        After it was announced that the trip would cost the taxpayer over ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS (imagine Mike Myers saying that as Doctor Evil), they may be trying to cut a few corners and wont visit the crappier places.
        So, is there actually a limit to his shameless ability to spend OUR money? Probably not.

  21. avatar William Burke says:

    One more time: TRAITORS. COLLABORATORS. People of the Turd.

  22. avatar Tony says:

    NPR = Nationalized Public Radio

  23. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    I was disappointed.

    NPR is frequently well balanced, but this was middle and negative. Whether or not any of the interviewees mentioned defense, soeone connected with the piece should’ve mentioned that something in the AW category is about the only thing short of a Guard platoon that’ll hold off and repel 5-7 modern Vikings.

    I wrote ’em a letter.

  24. avatar Rocky says:

    Well, since my local station is dropping Science Friday from the line-up I will just be listening to my old music from now on.

  25. avatar 15doller says:

    I listened to this report when it aired. The most telling thing cannot be transcribed. The journalist had the opportunity to shoot the AR in question and her response is telling. I suggest listening to the report to hear the emotion behind her voice. She discussed how most owners of such guns use them at the range and derive pleasure from the sport.

    I am a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. I find most gun enthusiast lean in similar directions. NPR seems to reach both sides of my divided view. I encourage my firearm toting brothers to give it a listen with open ears. You may be surprised,

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