Coming on the heels of former “Today” show host Katie Couric’s now-debunked “documentary” on criminal gun violence in America, HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” contributed a one-two punch, taking aim at the most popular rifle in America, the AR-15.
The segment, titled “AR15: Modern Sporting Rifle,” which airs this week, takes a sharp — and perplexing — departure from the series’ typical mix of hard-hitting reportage on corruption in the major sports leagues, inspiring stories of adversity, and profiles of sports celebrities, and instead focuses on the development of a specific firearm and its alleged unique lethality.
“I’m talking about a gun now known as the AR-15, a weapon designed for wartime, but one that has somehow morphed into one of the most popular pieces of so-called sports equipment,” Gumbel says in his intro with clear disdain. “Under that guise, millions of AR-15s have been sold in recent years, primarily for people who claim to want them to hunt or compete in target shooting. But AR-15s have also played an ugly role in the mass shootings that have become all too commonplace throughout this country.”
The report, he says, will expose “how America’s gun industry has marketed its deadliest product.”
AR-15 Ammo Is Not Super-Lethal
To argue that the “Real Sports” report on the AR-15 is a broadcast version of anti-gun trolling would be an understatement. In the 20-minute segment, reporter David Scott resurrects tired arguments against the AR and the companies that manufacture it, painting it as a weapon somehow outside the norm of common firearms and one that’s been the focus of a diabolical industry scheme to “normalize” it with faux sporting events and deceptive marketing.
It’s not surprising that Gumbel, who’s had a long and public anti-gun track record, would focus on these arguments, as they are the same ones being raised in a civil lawsuit against Remington Outdoor Company by some parents of the shooting victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School who allege the gunmaker illegally marketed a military weapon to civilians.
The “Real Sports “segment buttresses its claims in an interview with Jim Sullivan, one of the original designers of the M-16 (which fires in both semi-automatic and full-auto modes) and its civilian counterpart, the AR-15 (which fires in semi-automatic only). Sullivan claims in his interview that the bullet the AR-15 fires is somehow uniquely deadly — that it causes such catastrophic wounds that hits “almost anywhere” were fatal.
“It’s more lethal than any cartridge that was fired by any army in history,” Sullivan says. Clearly the non-shooting public — or even casual shooters who might own an AR but not know that much about it — would be shocked to hear that from one of the original designers of the rifle. But Sullivan’s claim is perplexing, even to many of his fans, because it’s just so demonstrably false.
The AR-15 fires…