"Investigation" into gun videos on YouTube misguided

"Investigation" into gun videos on YouTube misguided
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

Gun videos on YouTube aren’t what they used to be.

Once upon a time, you could learn just about anything you wanted to know about a firearm just by checking the site out. Someone out there likely did a video about whatever your issue was or what you wanted to know. It was great.


Then bad people did bad things and YouTube decided they weren’t going to host that kind of stuff anymore. They swallowed the anti-gun dogma completely.

Luckily, there are still gun channels on the site. They’re not necessarily what they once were, but they’re still there.

Yet a news “investigation” into the role YouTube videos played in the Buffalo shooting starts from a misguided premise presented by so-called experts.

A Buffalo News investigation into YouTube – the most-used social network in the United States – found that the platform has allowed videos linked to accused Buffalo mass shooter’s diary to continue to circulate.

Some of those videos demonstrate how to modify AR-15 style rifles and shoot at a human through bulletproof glass. Experts in online radicalization warn they could serve as training material for future attacks.

Now, in fairness, there are a few points they make that are more than a little troubling, such as their allegedly finding videos advertising where to find illegal components, like drop-in auto-sears. While I don’t think those should be illegal, I’m not fond of giving anti-gunners ammunition, either.

Yet let’s also understand something here. People who are likely to be radicalized in any way, shape, or form are also likely to seek out this information through whatever means they can. All of the stuff you find on YouTube is also somewhere else out on the internet.


While some people prefer to consume information via video, the information isn’t exclusively there.

Further, there are lawful and legitimate reasons for people to want to know all of that information. It’s not illegal to want to know how to effectively use a firearm against an armed opponent, especially since that’s kind of a requirement of self-defense. I mean, shooting an unarmed opponent is going to make it tough to convince the DA it was actually self-defense.

“But why would anyone need to know how to shoot a person through bulletproof glass?” someone might ask, like, say, the investigator on this piece.

Well, there are a number of reasons, up to and including the possibility that the person threatening innocent people is on the other side of bulletproof glass.

Now, I’m not saying this is the first thing you should learn or anything, but it’s on the list.

What the issues with gun videos on YouTube is really about, though, is hypocrisy. People who think private citizens shouldn’t own or carry guns because they lack the training of police are upset that people found a way to offer training to the masses.

That’s it. That’s the issue.

Did someone awful do something awful after watching these videos? Apparently.


But do we change police training when a cop uses that training to do something awful? Not when the training is actually sound.

Look, YouTube is very anti-gun. That’s very clear from what we’ve seen over the years. Yet the issue seems to be that they weren’t prescient. That’s not a valid criticism, nor is the fact that these journalists could find videos on forbidden topics.

After all, YouTube has millions of hours of content uploaded daily. A channel with five subscribers isn’t likely to raise a lot of eyebrows no matter what they uploaded.

There are plenty of things people can blame YouTube for.

The Buffalo shooting, however, ain’t one of them.

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