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Fake News: L.A. Cops/Media Tout Rocket Launcher Seizure That Wasn’t

January 8, 2013 | Filed Under 2nd Amendment, California, Constitution, Crime, Democrats/Leftists, Guns, Journalism, Law, Liberals, Los Angeles, Media, Media Bias, Progressives, Regulation, Warner Todd Huston | 5 Comments

-By Warner Todd Huston


Chief Charlie Beck and L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa, Dec. 27, 2012

The L.A. Police Department had big news on December 27. They had seized a pair of rocket launchers! This, of course, would have been shocking news if only they really had found “rocket launchers” in the City of Angels.

As the L.A. Police Department’s “gun buyback program” came to a close, Chief Charlie Beck had frightening news for his city. A pair of “rocket launchers” had been turned in.

Chief Beck proudly paraded the pair of launcher tubes at a press conference and gravely told those assembled, “Those are weapons of war, weapons of death. These are not hunting guns. These are not target guns. … they have no place in our great city.”

The media, of course, dutifully ran to press with the “news” of the dangerous weapons of war found on the streets of L.A.

Such outlets as NBC News pounced on the story. Unsurprisingly, so did the L.A. Times. Wire service UPI did, too. So did the The New York Daily News.

LA Weekly, was really in high dudgeon with writer Dennis Romero expressing his outrage.

“Cops picked up two — count ‘em two — rocket launchers (!) (and not one, as other outlets are reporting), an LAPD official with close knowledge of the program told us. Holy hell why do people on our streets have military grade rocket launchers?”

That might seem like a good question.

Only one problem. The story is pure puffery. These so-called “rocket launchers” the L.A. Police recovered weren’t a danger to anyone. In fact, at least one of them was never a danger to anyone.

It turns out both were one-use, AT-4 grenade launchers used by the U.S. Army in anti-tank operations. Yes they are grenade launchers (not really “rocket” launchers proper) but these tubes are pre-packaged weapons that can be fired only one time and cannot be reloaded. They are one-shot only weapons. So, yes, that means the tubes the police had were completely and permanently harmless.

But even more absurdly, at least one of the tubes was a training piece and never fired a grenade and never could have. It was a device used only for showing young soldiers what such a weapon looks like. It is a hands-on training tool that is 100% inert, un-fireable, safe as a plastic kid’s toy gun.

As Paul Szoldra explains, “It is, quite literally, a long, green fiberglass tube that does nothing.”

Further, these hunks of plastic can be bought at many military surplus stores and have even turned up on ebay in the past.

What we really have here is the L.A. Police making a big story out of nothing and a gaggle of Old Media lapdogs lapping up the fake story because they haven’t a clue about the topic.

Instead of the media giving us scary stories of rocket launchers infesting the streets of L.A., this story should have been reported as the L.A. Police trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the citizenry and the media alike.
____________
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, RightPundits.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDaily.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.


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