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Last night MSNBC began one of their prime time newscasts with a long-winded piece about the conspiracy theories swirling around Operation Jade Helm. The intro including a clip (not a magazine) of President Obama making fun of anyone stupid enough to think the federal government was/is their enemy. MSNBC [eventually] made a connection between the Jade Helm conspiracy theorists and Donald Trump and his supporters: fake news!

The mainstream media’s condescending condemnation of “fake news” makes me laugh. Truth be told, the only difference between “fake news” and “real news” is the amount of factuality a report contains and how those facts/inventions are presented. In other words, facts are important, but spin matters. And there’s always spin. You might even say that the act of journalism — deciding what information to include and what to exclude — is spin.

As a gun blogger, I constantly come across so-called news reports that manipulate facts to further an anti-gun agenda. I consider these reports fake news. Here’s an example from headlined While people and drugs come north, guns pour south into Mexico.

The headline seems straightforward, let’s say factual enough. But the sub-head quickly removes that impression: Often overlooked in border security debates is the river of guns and ammunition that flows from the United States — especially Texas — into Mexico, arming cartels and smugglers. Then there are the opening paragraphs. . .

Walls, fences, boots on the ground and camera-equipped blimps — all have been pitched as ways to stop the illegal flow of people and drugs over the southern border into Texas and beyond.

But overlooked in the rush to secure the border, score political points and stymie the threat of spillover violence is the river of handguns, rifles, assault weapons and bullets of all shapes and sizes that continues to flow southward from the United States to Mexico, arming some of the very people officials say present the greatest threat to Americans.

From 2009 to 2014, more than 73,600 guns seized in Mexico were from the United States, according to a 2016 report from the Government Accountability Office, the congressional watchdog over the federal government. More than 13,600 were confirmed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to have originated in Texas. But that figure could be higher — the report also states that because of factors like altered serial numbers on weapons and incomplete information on records, the states of origin could only be traced for about 45 percent of the U.S. total.

That continues a years-long trend of Texas as a major supplier of weapons used in crimes south of the Rio Grande, according to the ATF.

Ah yes, the ATF. That would be the same federal agency that enabled, indeed oversaw gun smuggling by and to cartel members from U.S. gun stores (stores that were officially instructed to STFU about it) in the criminal enterprise known as Operation Fast and Furious. To be fair, writer Julian Aguilar mentions F&F — in the story’s last paragraph.

As for the stat dump upon which this entire piece is based, it’s a classic case of incomplete information presented without proper context to make/hide a propaganda point. Again, it’s what I’d call fake news.

For example: the 73,600 guns cited are a subset of the total number of guns confiscated by the Mexican government. The subset does not include the tens of thousands of cartel firearms that began life as official U.S. exports (to Mexican police and the military). Or, for that matter, unofficial exports (see: F&F above).

By the same token, the Trib fails to mention the study’s admission that “the high number of firearms traced in 2009 reflects a single submission by the Mexican military to ATF for tracing of a backlog of thousands of firearms.” GIGO, as they say.

That’s without considering a simple question: how many of these confiscated firearms came from cartel members and how many came from Mexicans trying to protect themselves from cartel members? And the Mexican police. And the Mexican Army.

Suffice it to say, facts matter. But as the Talking Heads sang, facts all come with points of view. Regardless of the facts of a matter, some points of view are more credible than others. Reading this, how can one take The Trib seriously?

Illicit arms trafficking from Texas has for years contributed to the carnage in Mexico, where tens of thousands have died since a full-scale war between law enforcement and rival cartels began in 2005.

But convincing lawmakers to scale back gun rights in Texas because of the connection to violence in Mexico has been, so far, a non-starter in a state that has adopted “Come and Take It” as an unofficial motto.

This shiny piece of anti-gun agitprop — masquerading as journalism — implies that “scaling back” gun rights in Texas is the key to reducing the slaughter of innocents in Mexico. Which is a twisted version of the truth: expanding gun rights in Mexico is the key to scaling back the violence south of the border. As Albert Einstein pointed out “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” Like the right to keep and bear arms.

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  1. So why is it our responsibility to stop guns flowing south?

    If it is, then shouldn’t the “source” countries for illegals and drugs be responsible for stopping them flowing north?

    Seems to me you shouldn’t be able to have it both ways, otherwise it’s too easy to dodge responsibility while pointing fingers. Oh, wait…

    Also, re carnage in Mexico etc. How many of those US-sourced guns are full auto, and how many were made after 1984(?). If they’re newer than when the registry closed, they’re not coming from private collections. Leaving who that would be supplying them again….?

  2. I recently watched a video of Gen Mattis (still in uniform) recently giving this lecture/speech (at the Foreign Policy Research Institute?) in which he seemed to say that we have a role to play in the carnage in Mexico because of the guns that go to Mexico from the US. I think it happens in the Q&A part.
    It would be good to scratch a bit deeper on that issue.

    • Very likely Mattis was referring to the BATF roll in Fast & Furious; effectively FORCING Texas gun dealers to sell to known smuggers sending the guns to Mexico.

  3. “Fake news”… do they really think anyone is listening anymore? They preach to their own choir but are desperate to be taken seriously. Got to give it to the Russians, at least they knew the real news was between the lines, not on them. Besides, you have to love the irony; “Truth (pravda)” was always the least truthful paper in existence. Maybe the msm should change their name to “truth”, at least the lies might be funny then.

  4. Everyone who thinks action is required by the US would absolutely have to acknowledge that the most effective way to stop both north and south rivers would be to seal the border. So, that should be our effort, does not require any sacrifice of freedom by Texans or anyone else. Was that easy, or what?

  5. Mr. Farago, you are a true patriot!

    Yours is a noble sacrifice, watching MSNBC for the rest of us.

    Truthfully, even for love of country I doubt I could do it for long.

    • Amen. With the standard millennial attention span of a fruit fly, yet the crusty opinionated outlook of my grandpa (bad combo, especially when I’m supposed to be listening to my better half’s story about her day), I couldn’t stand reading the original article. Thanks, RF.

  6. I have a question I think we all ought to ponder: To whom should America supply (sell or subsidize) guns:
    – no one at all outside the US
    – legitimate government of Mexico
    – Sinaloa Cartel
    – Autodefensas of Michocan (good-guys)
    – “Autodefensas” of Michoacan (bad-guys)
    – legitimate government of Iraq
    – Christians in Iraq
    – Yazidis in Iraq

    Some will argue “no one at all, outside the US”. Worth considering at least for its merit of consistency.

    Others will argue that it’s OK for America to export arms to legitimate governments such as that of Mexico or Iraq. Even so, it’s clear that official exports to Mexico leak into the hands of the cartels; those to Iraq fall into the hands of ISIS.

    It’s unrealistic for Americans to try to sort-out the “good” Autodefensas from the “bad” Autodefensas who are merely Cartel members claiming to be “defending” a village.

    It’s unrealistic for Americans to try to predict any foreign government’s capacity to defend their magazines and arsenals or protect their citizens.

    There is only aspect of America’s arms policy that IS clear from the foregoing examples. That is: By restricting arms exports exclusively to those the Feds identify as legitimate, we leave disarmed the common man/woman/child of all foreign countries. Among these left disarmed are millions of bad-guys; and, good-guys alike.

    Could the Feds do a better job? Could they identify the good-guys among the citizens of Mexico or Iraq? I don’t think so. If this were the correct judgment, then what SHOULD America’s arms export policy be?

    Do we, as Americans, really believe that: “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, . . . “?

    • If the US is okay selling arms to people in other countries, then they should be okay selling the same items to its citizens…at the same price as the international market pays for those items. Gogo $15 M4s….

    • Any country that protects the right of its citizens to bear arms would be a good candidate, in my opinion. That way we don’t have to be another country’s watchdog. With a country that allows for an armed populace, there’s a pretty strong guarantee that US-exported guns would remain in the possession of moral people.

      That’s why everyone wants Glock to stop selling to CA, right? ?

  7. I don’t doubt that American guns go to Mexico to live and work- anyone who has driven to Mexico knows that border control going from El Norte to El Sur is non-existent. Its almost like Mexico needs a barrier of some kind to keep the guns out. Like a moat, or a fence, or . . . what’s the word I’m looking for?

    Anyway, a better way to combat drug cartels in Mexico would be to form a police department of some kind. One separate from the drug cartels, of course.

    • Minefield. The word you’re looking for is minefield. People will stop crossing in either direction once little five year old Maria’s father sees her turned into a pink mist.

      • Only an obstacle if it covered by direct fire weapons. If not covered by fire it is not an obstacle (boots on the ground) Rule # ___ at Ft Benning School for Boys.

        Applies to minefields, wire, and walls.

  8. How about we build a wall. We will keep our guns and Mexico can keep their drugs and illegal immigrants. I don’t know why these things are so difficult to understand.

  9. “Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian.” ― Henry Ford.

  10. The Chinese built a wall once a long time ago I’ve heard. I don’t think it always worked. Nor have other walls since then. Probably the best way to deal with the problem is to disincentive the behavior. Then a wall would be unnecessary.

  11. Robert,

    Very good take down of a BS article. This is a great example of how to factually rebut this crap in a step by step and concise manner.

    Keep it up.

  12. 73, 600 guns.

    How about we auction them? Just for the novelty, I wouldn’t be surprised if they could average $500 per, giving a nice sum of $368,300,000 — a but more than a third of a billion.

    Now, how many miles of wall can we build for that? Assume we’re using illegal intruders who have committed felonies since arriving for the labor….

    [buzz…. whirr…. click]

    I make it about 250 miles, not counting costs of transportation to the work site, surveying, engineering, or environmental impact studies, for a wall 18″ thick of reinforced concrete block filled with concrete as it’s built, and topped with broken glass and other sharp things sticking up.

  13. If I had to guess there are quite a few guns going south. The cartels would only want non military handguns for their prestige value. They can smuggle military hardware for a fraction of the cost of paying full retail in the states and not have to pay straw purchasers and mules for nerfed down guns we get. I’m betting that the arms going over the border are going to non cartel criminals and regular folk who cannot buy arms from their country’s only gun store.

  14. Kudos for listening to news that doesn’t necessarily agree with your opinion. Personally, I think that’s a large part of what’s wrong with the media now, and why they get away with horribly one-sided reporting. People only want to hear facts that reinforce what they already think, and they can find a news source that will tell them that. They’ll either only tell one side of a story, or make up facts to back up an opinion they already have. We seem to have lost the ability to have a reasonable discourse about an issue. There is never just one answer!


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