Silencers Do Not Exist

You doubtless heard that a “silencer” was used in the recent Virginia Beach mass murder. Do not use the word “silencer.” The correct term is “suppressor.” I have yet to see a suppressor that made a gunshot silent; at best they make gunshot less obnoxiously loud. Only in Hollywood do “silencers” exist which made a firearm sound like a pellet gun. As Dr. John Lott observed, the only reason a mass murderer would use a suppressor is to make the noise less deafening to him. The use of the term “silencer” makes it easier to justify bans that will have no impact on nearly every murder in the U.S. The core issue here is that the victims were disarmed. One of the dead at Virginia Beach had told her husband the day before of her concerns about an employee who was going to be fired the next day. No, not the murderer, but the murderer had her scared also. Her husband encouraged to carry a gun the next day, but the city had a “no-guns” policy, so the murderer was pretty sure that the fish in the barrel were just prey.

I think the “gun-free” zones policy is too pat of an answer to solving the mass murder problem, but there are enough instances where armed victims successfully stop such crimes, such as Jeanne Assam, who shot a guy who walked into her church with an AR-15 and 1000 rounds of ammunition. (He had already murdered four people in the preceding 12 hours.)

Language defines how most people think. If the only word you have available to you is negative, you have lost part of the battle. This is why much of the focus of George Orwell’s 1984, is the revision of English into Newspeak, a form of English in which it was impossible to think “dangerous” thoughts. Do not use the term “silencer”: it is inaccurate and helps define the terms of the engagement with your enemy. Respectfully explain that suppressors do not “silence” a gun, they only reduce the potential for hearing damage.

Clayton E. Cramer teaches history at the College of Western Idaho. His most recently published book is Lock, Stock, and Barrel: The Origins of American Gun Culture.

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Clayton Cramer

Clayton Cramer – Conservative. Idaho. Software engineer. Historian. Trying to prevent Idiocracy from becoming a documentary.