Jake Wagman just got taken for a ride at the Post Dispatch. In what can only be explained as an incredibly clumsy PR stunt by Russ Carnahan's staff, this picture of Russ at the St Louis Police Academy supposedly firing a pistol ("two of which were pretty close — if not right on — the bullseye!") is just waiting to be mocked.
Here's the picture, courtesy of the Post Dispatch (though it's not clear if they posted the picture or took it).
I want to make sure that no one is getting firearm safety training from either Russ Carnahan, the Post Dispatch, or any senior police officer who would actually allow this picture to be taken with anything resembling a loaded weapon.
Let's count the mistakes.
1. Always wear protection for your eyes and ears. A gun shot is a very loud noise, and permanent hearing damage can be sustained firing a pistol indoors and so close to other.
2. Never point a gun inside your office. Only use in or at an approved range. This prevents senior police officers standing next to you from being hit in the face by hot steel casings and losing an eye.
3. If you're going to shoot a firearm, don't close both eyes. It's going to make a loud noise. It might even jump in your hand. But if you're afraid of it, don't shoot it.4. Never point a weapon at a photographer. It is a very bad idea to shoot downrange with a photographer in the line of fire. Even if the photographer is using a zoom lense, mistakes happen, and it is the height of irresponsibility to point in the direction of a human being you do not want dead.
In all seriousness, this is a very bad photo. Anyone who knows gun knows this is a PR setup, and anyone who doesn't know guns is likely to be wetting themself in the corner at the sight of a Democrat holding one. You would think this photo would be bad enough from a newspaper that refuses to give any bad press to Carnahan, but it gets worse.
Jake's story buys the story that Carnahan shot the target three times near the bullseye. A couple things.
1) What was the distance? Shooting a 9mm is easy. At seven yards, anyone can hit the target, and there's not a chance Russ was shooting further than 7 yards. I'll donate $100 to his campaign if he can shoot 15 yards or further inside the 8's. Better yet, let's see how he does with a .45.
2) Who shoots three bullets? Is this the new 3 bullet clip? The very idea that any gun enthusiast would stop shooting after 3 bullets and leave the rest of the clip full is laughable. You don't go to the range and shoot 3 bullets. You don't ask a police officer to borrow their gun for a few shots for a photo op. Either they were at the range, or this was completely made up, and he fired nothing.
3) Update: Commenter Ohkay3 points out something I missed. Those are either very large holes for that 9mm, or this is a very, very tiny target. I'm actually quite curious if this is even a real target. It's closest cousin online is the DOE Green target, but it's not an exact match. Anyone know someone who works with the St Louis Police who can tell us if they use this target on the range?
We're used to the Post Dispatch reprinting Carnahan propaganda and hiding Russ from scorn and ridicule. We know the PD online editors will manipulate headlines to make them Republicans look bad. We know that even when they do report on stories where Russ is featured, they won't mention his name.
That doesn't mean we have to allow the Post Dispatch to print dangerous photos of police officers and Congressman mishandling firearms. At least this explains why they are so terrified of gun violence. I'd be scared too if that's the way people handled weapons around me.