Ever wonder

why the general public doesn’t know the difference between a semi-auto and an automatic weapon?

I was watching Court TV last night and “Under Fire: Deadliest Police Shootouts” was on.

They were portraying a California incident in which a man called 911 from outside a liquor store in an effort to lure the police into an ambush. The narrator identified the firearm used as an SKS, a Police representative was shown in an interview opining that “these weapons are only good for killing people”.

Then they started the video, apparently from a parking lot security camera, with the sound of automatic weapons fire dubbed in.

Here is the letter I sent to Court TV regarding the show, I’ll update if I get a reply.

I used to enjoy the shows on Court TV. In last night’s episode (April 5, 2007, 8:30 pm) of Under Fire, however, your credibility was stretched to the limit and I’m unsure whether I can depend upon your reality based shows to provide factual information.

The problem lies in the audio track that was dubbed over the segment regarding the California incident in which a man “ambushed” the police outside a liquor store.

The narrator breathlessly describes the “assault weapon” used and identifies it as an SKS; however, the audio dubbed over the incident is of sustained, fully automatic “machine gun” fire.

Anyone who knows anything about firearms knows that the SKS was never produced in a form capable of fully automatic fire and that the vast majority of them have an ammunition capacity limited to 10 rounds in a fixed box magazine. Sustained, fully automatic fire, as your audio track implied, is impossible with this firearm.

I realize that the audio tracks are dubbed over silent video to add excitement to the viewing experience, but some people may not understand that. The fact that the scenes are portrayed as actual, at no point is it indicated that the audio is not original, may lead some uneducated viewers to assume that the portrayal is accurate.

This type of egregiously misleading portrayal is nothing more than propaganda. It is used to dupe the public into thinking that semi-automatic civilian firearms are equivalent to fully automatic modern, military arms. It is nothing more than a lie.

Is your network in the business of entertainment and information, or propaganda?

Furthermore, one Police Officer involved in the incident made the comment that these types of weapons are “made to kill people” and are good for nothing else.

During the segment, however, it was portrayed that the police involved had AR-15 rifles. If these types of weapons are “made for killing people” then why do the police need them? Is the sole purpose of the Police to kill people?

If not, then why do they need weapons whose only purpose is to kill people?

Firearms are nothing more than tools. In the right hands, the most dangerous tool can be used effectively and safely for good purposes. In the wrong hands, even something as basic as a baseball bat can kill people.

The criminal in this story was the perpetrator, not the tool he used to fulfill his nefarious purposes.

Absent a convincing argument to the contrary, I am forced to believe that your inaccurate portrayal of this incident was intentional; the only other possible explanation is egregiously incompetent editors. Either way, it demonstrates that the credibility of your network is highly suspect and may have more to do with a political agenda than a truthful rendering of the incidents that you portray.

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