has a prompt where you are supposed to claim 10 words and do something off of them. "Meta" was one of the choices, so I'm going with that. This post's prompt: Guns.
I know a little about guns. I grew up (and still live) in a small town in North-Central Wisconsin, where hunting and guns are a part of life. I’ve shot pistols and rifles, at both paper and live targets. I know how to clean any number of guns, even how to reload shells. I fully understand the power, the sound and the feel of them.
Now I know that most shows and movies tend to play fast and loose with the capabilities and effects of guns. Mostly for drama. A real .22 shot, even with a .22 rifle, barely sounds like a shot at all. Now something substantial, like a .270 or a .308 (both rifles), those are real noise makers, with substantial kickback that will leave a hell of a bruise or even knock you on your ass if you don’t properly support the gun. As for shotguns, they are filled with, well, shot
, small- to medium-sized BBs that spread out from the barrel when fired. The shorter the barrel and the more buckshot in the cartridge the wider the spread and the more damage that can be caused. And, believe it or not, guns don't have unlimited ammo. All of this? Routinely ignored or tweaked by writers to make the everything more dramatic for an audience that usually doesn’t know the difference.
There are some shows that do a fine job with guns (most of the time, at least): Supernatural, Person of Interest, Bones, 24, Burn Notice... Shows that deal with people who know guns often have technical experts who keep guns fairly accurate. That’s always nice to see. For example in the latest episode of Supernatural Bobby says that he would be able to use his 30-30 (an actual hunting rifle), when we see him later he is carrying a bolt-action rifle -- consistent with a 30-30. This actually made me very happy.
Supernatural actually does it really well. The number of people on the show who know guns and know how to handle guns is very realistic. As is the fact that not everyone who knows guns turn out to be psycho’s waiting to kill innocents. They handle the guns well and with a keen eye to the safe handling
of the guns. In Person of Interest, Reese pointed out the stupidity of holding a gun sideways and shooting it. 24 usually had the pistols lock back when out of ammo rather having the hammer hit an empty chamber. Burn Notice is especially awesome when it comes to guns -- Michael’s voice-overs often explain the real way guns work and how it’s different than the myths we believe. These shows have writers that usually write intelligent (or at least researched) interactions with guns.
My gun-geekiness aside, I don’t usually get upset if they have a prop or effect wrong. It’s television after all and if the general viewing public won’t believe the shot using the accurate props, well, I get why they would change it. It is just television after all.
It still surprises me, however, when writers get basic facts wrong about the people
who own guns and about the laws that surround them. Two easily researched
items. In the episode of Criminal Minds called “The Tribe”, Morgan states that a group of ~200 people have over 400 guns between them. This is said in a way to imply that this is an unheard of and (probably) nefarious number of guns. Ah... not it’s not. A gun is not a one-size-fits-all tool. Most of the people I know who own guns own several different guns. You wouldn’t take a .22 to hunt dear and you certainly wouldn’t shoot a rabbit with a .308. And a lot of people who own guns own pistols in addition to rifles. And shotguns, as I said before, are a different animal altogether. Quite honestly, if you would have a group of ~200 gun-owning people, I would expect there to be a hell of a lot more guns than 400.
And for that matter, where did Morgan get that information from? Because New Mexico (like Wisconsin and a lot of other states) doesn’t have a gun registry. There is no record of who owns guns or how many guns any person owns. Yes, there are background checks when you go to purchase a gun (and a waiting period for the purchasing of a handgun), but that’s it. And if I would receive a gun as a gift (which is acceptable), I don’t get a background check, just the person buying the gun gets the background check. And that’s only if it’s bought through a store. If I buy it out of the want ads or off a garage sale, there is no background check. And, yes, I can do that.
I know, I know. It’s TV. It’s not real. I get that. I just really enjoy it when the shows take the time to get it right.